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Old 03-30-2009, 04:32 AM   #16
on2wheels52
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I'm in too, glad you're sharing.
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Old 03-30-2009, 05:29 AM   #17
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Yep, what they said.

More please!
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Old 03-30-2009, 06:48 AM   #18
metaljockey OP
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Today we want to get back to the lake. Maps of the Mozambican side of the lake shows almost no roads, so we expect the place to be sparsely populated.

Our route for the day;




Everybody ready, bikes warming up and there goes my clutch cable. The one I personally inspected before the trip. And it breaks inside the housing, no end sticking out.

Itís Sunday morning. Luckily the informal sector doesnít respect business hours.

The owner of the lodge pitches up and and after having stripped the cable out, he takes us around Lichinga to find a mechanic.

Hennie has a spare length of cable that we can slide into the housing, we just need to fit the ends which we donít have. The knob on the KTM cable is made of plastic, so we cannot re-use it. So we make one up and braise it onto the cable.




Meanwhile the locals show off their skills.




Iím again amused at what holds vehicles together over here, check out the leaf spring fix and the tie rod end.






Anyway, the short version is that when you heat up a cable like that it goes brittle. Twice we go back to fit and twice it snaps before we can even get out of town.

So finally with local help we trace a used cable that came off some abandoned jalopy. This one has the lead knob on one end and when we fit it, it seems to work.

Our guide that took us to a variety of backyard mechanics.




With all this commotion we get away a little late. I am really keen to get to the lake again. Over here it is called lake Niassa. A little silly seeing as niassa means lake. So we are en route lake Lake. Iíve never visited the Moz side of the lake and there are not many tourists that do.

Niassa province has always been known as the forgotten province. Its over here.




To reach it from within Moz you have to brave some pretty bad unpaved roads for several days. There really is just one arterial road connecting Lichinga to Pemba. In the rainy season, it becomes unusable, even to 4 wheel drive vehicles. This effectively cuts Lichinga off from the rest of Mozambique until the rivers go down again.

Ironically, this remoteness is the very reason that the civil war had less impact than in the rest of the country. Many people fled to live in the bush here and even the animal population survived the war.

The previous night we ate dinner in town and met one of the locals who told us some interesting things.
Unlike the USA, in Africa you do not criticise your country's leader lightly (or loudly). The previous leader, Samora Machel, had a habit of sending a truck to criticís houses at night to pick up the whole family, who then were unceremoniously driven up to Niassa and dumped in the bush. The understanding was that this was very accommodating of the President and if the unwanted person was so foolhardy as to make his way back down to Maputo to reclaim his house or business, he should not expect to live very much longer.

We hit the road on the way to Metangula, a settlement on the lakeside. It turns out to be a very entertaining road as Lichinga is situated on the highlands and the road winds down with many twists and turns. What makes it even more entertaining is that the asphalt is covered with a thin layer of river sand, maybe to make it last longer, who knows?

When we get to Metangula we are met with not much more than some huts and this ancient tree.




We see a road split off to the north skirting the lake edge, this is not indicated on any maps we have, but we decide to follow it as far as it will take us. If we are lucky, it will take us right up to Cobue, our target for the day.

It turns out to be a lovely road that quickly turns into a lovely track that quickly turns into a lovely voetpaadjie. We also find that contrary to expectation, there are many people staying here and we pass through village after village, scaring the poop out of chickens and some people.

We notice that the houses here are prettier than in Malawi, check these out.







Interesting titbit; the roof lasts about 6 months before having to be re-thatched. The thatch is not personally collected, you buy it from grass cutters, whose only job is cutting thatch and selling it.

Our late start have us running out of daylight pretty quickly though and we start looking for a place to camp. Some locals direct us to a wide beach and we pull in.

Very quickly the local chief pitches up and there are all kinds of discussions re permission to stay over, what mission we are on, where are the others etc. The fact that we are just four guys riding for pleasure is a concept that turns out to be almost impossible to grasp here.





This beach is one of the places that the Ilala Ferry stops. This is the lake's ancient and only ferry that keeps a loose scedule. This beach therefor has a lighthouse, and taking pictures apparently is a no-no. Iím sure it is still some suspicion left over from the war. This area is clearly not visited much by strangers. After writing down all our details we are welcome to make ourselves at home.

That night we are backlit by a huge brush fire. We finish off the warm beers that we brought and unknowingly set a trend for the next two weeks. This would be the first of too many too warm beers.




Finally I am where I wanted to be, the western shore of Lake Malawi. I sleep well.



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Old 03-30-2009, 07:47 AM   #19
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Hey MJ, nice report! I really appreciate the bit of history you add to your travel reports, your description of the location, of the people. It really makes a difference. I'm looking forward to what is next. I guess no more pictures of ex-pat Malawi girls? Love this house. Maybe it belongs to the village chief. Or the "doctor". Or priest? Behind it, to the right, I can spot a run down house.
Great stuff man!
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Old 03-30-2009, 09:52 AM   #20
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More please !
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Old 03-30-2009, 01:55 PM   #21
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Sweet, another MetalJockey report!
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Old 03-31-2009, 07:54 AM   #22
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The next morning before sunrise I’m up to take a couple of pics.













When the first rays flow down onto the beach, Hennie and his bike are there to receive the blessing.




Here’s my lodgings for the night.







This boat sank during the night.




Not a problem for the owner and in short thrift it is recovered and fitted out with mast and sails. The fish ain’t gonna catch themselves.




Feathered fishermen also start their day of toil.




I just love Baobabs. Nardus getting ready for the day’s ride.




Some of us applied our minds when we pulled up the previous afternoon, some of us did not.




The early morning riding is easy and pleasant as can be. The crop on the left is cassava, more about that later.




We get drawn to a pub by the blaring speakers. Nardus dances an ethnic jig because life is good man, life is great.




Maybe I should qualify that, life is great for all of us except Hennie. Look at that face (on the right).




Somewhere he picked up a stomach bug and today is going to be the day that he would rather forget.


We settle in to enjoy some breakfast beers while Hennie disappears off into the bush.

This is where the music is powered from.




We quickly draw spectators.




By the way, the beer we are having is Castle Milk Stout. Very dark, very sweet, plenty strong and it is often used by new mothers to get their breasts lactating.
Yes, good shit. You don’t need no breakfast if you have two or three of these. Did I mention they were warm?

Arty Aqualine pic.




Mattel hasn’t reached everywhere yet.




Self portrait; the day was heating up nicely.




I want to get to a 'lodge' owned and run by the local population. The problem is that I have only read about it and we have no idea where it is. It is on the lake though so we keep going north, hugging the lake on increasingly diminishing tracks. This is our second day of riding where the GPS has no tracks. The new version of Tracks 4 Africa will be more complete, you can thank me later.













Very good riding and lovely scenery.




Here and there we are made to work though.







That there is a brand new bike. Damn!







As the heat intensifies, so does the terrain.




This is bad news for Hennie, he looks like shit and we start to worry that it might be malaria. He does not have a headache though, so we hope for the best and he soldiers on. Well maybe soldier is not the word, more like flounder.

At one stage I take Hennie’s bike down an ugly section and the next thing Nardus and his behemoth come storming down the mountain and he takes out my parked bike. Those 950s can keep a line, whether you want them to or not.




Where ever we stop for a break, Hennie uses his opportunities, and orifices, all of them.




What can you do? We wait and amuse ourselves with tall stories.




We were to see many of these beautiful trees.




Mango trees.




Hennie; wondering how long this day is going to be.




On the advice of locals we swing away from the greenery next to the lake.




We have to cross some mountains, or rather hills, to do a loop into the interior before we can reach the lake again. Like this.







A lot of it is navigating by intuition, we don’t do too badly though.







The heat is something fierce here, but the most excellent paadjies makes up for it.




Now and then we need to stop and regroup, as two of us scout tracks, while two wait to see if it is the right way.




Things are going a bit slow, so I amuse myself with the camera.




Another self portrait, I’m the guy in the glasses.







Hennie’s diminishing powers has him at wits end. Every time he needs a little muscle, he doesn’t have it and he goes down.







Even my bike seems to be feeling a little weak in the knees.




The bikes are starting to show some wear.




Still, when we get to ride on top of the hills, it is Nirvana.




We can finally get some airflow over the radiators, and our heads, which is a relief.







Periodically we come to areas that are burnt. This was to be a common sight for the full duration of our trip in Moz.




New life giving the ashes the finger.




We stop once we reach a marked road again with the idea to lie down in the shade for half an hour. Within two minutes we realize that the heat will kill us, much better to keep riding and generate air flow. So we continue.










After going down a couple of dead end tracks, we get back to the lake again.




We don’t waste much time getting in the water. Today is also the first day that we start drinking lake water. We used what water we had in the hills.




Not much further and we get to the lodge I was looking for.




It’s heydays clearly over, we are the only guests.




It has basic huts and wonderful views.




We are very happy to be here though and the staff are very happy to have us. Someone is sent to fetch beer and 20 minutes later we wade into warm Black Labels. When I say warm, I mean 28-30 degrees Celsius.

For a snack we have some cassava (or manioc as it is known elsewhere) prepared. It is a root that can be fried, boiled, mashed, eaten raw and much more. Throughout Africa it is used to still hunger pains, it can grow anywhere. This is what it looks like.







The lodge is situated on a scenic peninsula, really an ideal spot. Reminds me of the Seychelles.




These kids had a whale of a time until they were chased away by the staff.










While all this joy of life stuff is going on, Hennie is down for the count.




Check out the sail on this mokoro.




We ordered chicken and msima for lunch and it is served under the beach pergola. These guys are looking after us really well. Even the beer goes down to 26 degrees after being kept under a wet towel.




How’s this for lunch with a view?




Having eaten well, and deserving a bit of rest, we spend the afternoon horizontally.










Peace descends upon the valley.







metaljockey screwed with this post 04-05-2009 at 11:17 PM
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Old 03-31-2009, 09:02 AM   #23
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Laugh




Mein Herr, mj, das mann needs an haircut !


So now we can see u bl**d* b*st*rds having a good time while Hennie has a hell of his........

Eager to see how he avenged himself....>-)
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Old 03-31-2009, 11:15 AM   #24
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Quality

Yet another quality ride report from the great MJ and fellow advrider buddies. Awesome pics as usual, great route planned or should I say scouted out!

SHEESH, hope Henne gets better, thats just the shi --- er I mean, blows- er I mean to bad. Gotta be a real advrider to manup like that, riding in the heat - mizzzzzzerable

NOW, GET WITH THE R.R. ----- I need more of this at a faster pace please.
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Old 03-31-2009, 11:58 AM   #25
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I'm in!
How did the 800's do?
They look good dirty.
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Old 03-31-2009, 01:26 PM   #26
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Absolutely nice pics and story.... its only going to get better
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Old 03-31-2009, 01:53 PM   #27
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Wow, wat zoīn mooie strand! Your ride reports can turn anyone into an ADVsiteīs adict, the Angola ride is a masterpiece. BTW if you need any help with translations into or from portuguese, just pm me.

Nog meer pics aub!!
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Old 03-31-2009, 02:44 PM   #28
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wonderful!

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Old 03-31-2009, 02:56 PM   #29
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Looks like a great trip

Wow - get writing and posting more pics...am sure we all want to know more.
Stay safe.
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Old 03-31-2009, 03:41 PM   #30
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