Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa
This day should be our last day, lots of distance to cover; tonight we want to be at the lake again. The day starts badly.
First, the jumper cables prove to be less effective than I had hoped. It appears that when a battery gets an internal dead short, it interferes with the current passing to it from the donor bike. Next time I'll fit a jump connection straight onto the starter.
Nardus’s quote for the day; “All you need for a lekker trip is two KTM’s”.
The second reason this day starts badly is this:
When we planned this trip I did a lot of research on the landmine situation, seeing as this is such an out of the way area. I found this.
The red marks indicate mined areas. So it’s not like the place is infested. But there are several areas on our route that is suspected to still be mined, and the info comes from the villagers. You’d be stupid to ignore it.
Basically you are safe as long as you stay on well used pathways. Mines are generally planted close to villages. If there is an area close by a village that is not being worked or walked, then you would do well to first enquire from the villagers before going there.
The previous evening we broke all these rules. We followed footpaths that led to huts with planted fields. We went off these tracks to the only area with trees, no paths and no sign of agriculture. This is where we slept. For some reason we did not even think about the landmine risk. I really cannot explain why we slipped up like this.
We have about a two hundred meters to cover to get back to the road. About eighty meters out we start riding into and out of 4 – 5 landmine holes. Lucky for us there had been a sweeper team here at some stage that detonated them.
I am mightily pissed off at myself. I don’t like making mistakes in general, and I hate making mistakes like this. This is not the kind of mistake you can fix afterwards if it goes wrong.
Back to the ride. As the morning progresses we get to ride entertaining tracks again, bush, no bush, short sand pieces and a rut or two. Actually quite relaxing and I am slowly able to let the landmine mistake go and just enjoy the ride.
We pass through villages,
and do the neverending bridges. I am embarrassed to say I just never picked up any skills in dealing with these confounded bridges. They just plain out-psyched me.
Here’s Brian, waiting for us to catch up.
We make it to Marrupa. We stop for lunch. Apparently they also have taxi problems.
We get cold beer, and spectators.
Oh, and I learn something new. I always look at these Portuguese menus and the only thing I recognize is ‘frango’ – chicken. And everytime we get served the toughest mother…ker of a chicken you ever had to remove from in between your teeth. This has been going on for years now.
Finally the penny drops. Frango does not mean chicken. These people do not serve chicken, they serve either hen or rooster. ‘Galinha’ means hen. ‘Frango’ means one badass, muscle and sinew, agro, fight to the death cockerel.
Every single time I thought I ordered chicken in Mozambique and Angola, I’ve been ordering rooster. Things are looking up for next time. Portuguese peri-peri galinha is in my future.
Leaving Marrupa, we still believe that we can make it to the border before closing time. From where I’m sitting now, that wasn’t so viable an expectation.
It’s me and the bridges again and with the battery now dead, the bike’s idling is also getting worse, stalling in the most awkward of places. Normally on a bridge. And a bridge is normally the lowest point around.
Cue my mates to run-start my bike going uphill.
We ride again on tracks that is not in agreement with T4A. And we ride fast, because we want to make the border, a couple of hundred kilo’s away. It closes at six. This time we get lost quite a bit.
In the end I set the GPS to compass and this proves to be quite effective. Just make sure you are heading within a 30 degree variance of where you want to be.
This is the second day straight that the bikes are ridden hard over uneven terrain and it begins to show.
On my bike a bolt on the carrier goes it’s own way and my back wheel eats all my stretchies, my side cover and part of my tent.
Brian donates his pannier bags and brackets.
Hennie’s bags are also showing serious wear.
Steeking like this makes for not many pictures, but the scenes are still worthy, even though it is entrusted to the feeble memory.
And everytime we stop, this scene repeats itself.
One thing happened that sticks in my mind. Late afternoon we are backtracking again and it is hot, wev’e been going hell for leather for hours already. I ask a local directions, which he takes to be a request for water. A little girl of about 4 is summoned and she returns from the hut with a tin cup filled with the best tasting water I can remember ever having.
Cool, clear, sweet and beautiful. Just a little cup in which a universe of peace and quiet and reflection. Strange.
At dusk Nardus again get’s pulled off by police and given grief for speeding. Justified I would say, but it wastes another half an hour.
Check out the young one on the back.
We keep going after dark, and when we finally reach the border post we pull into the shebeen we stopped at that first day. They are kind enough to let us sleep in the yard.
The riding part of the trip is just about over. We sleep 50m from the boom.
This is Mandimba border post, I have always had a pleasant experience here.
Packing up the next morning, and it appears that I may need a little wipe down before I meet the Missus.
That's about it folks. I will post some thoughts on the trip and a last couple of pictures that did not make it into the report tomorrow.