Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Truck in it's usual position, even the hydraulic jack to tilt the cab has now had enough and won't work any more! Fuel injectors are apparently fine so now to investigate the injector pump! Mandy and Pete back to join the campers tomorrow and then taking bets on departure date! Proper passports are on their way, Chris has caught a fish at last which has just been eaten and off to find fresh kudu fillet in the morning. Rundu has it's advantages! All still optimistic we will leave Namibia soon and progress with our journey, hooray!

Success in Rundu!
No news of the truck yet but Chris has caught his first tiger fish of the holiday and a big one too! A job well done says Thomas!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Interesting facts about Rundu

Having been resident in Rundu now for over a week we are all starting to feel like locals! We are very much part of the local community being haled in the street by other locals and catching up on weekend activities! Sadly though this has been an enforced stay again brought about by mechanical issues arising whilst trying to leave for the Zambian border on Wednesday morning! We travelled 50km from Rundu when the truck just stopped on the main highway necessitating a pull by the Landrover to get off the road so that Pete and I could yet again jack up the cab and endeavour to get the truck started! Yet again it was an issue with the fuel supply and so after bleeding the system the truck started and we headed back to town again to find a Garage suggested by the ever helpful Rudi. The garage were very accommodating and set to immediately remaking metric fuel lines from our existing imperial ones! What wonderful engineering braising the brass fittings onto new ones! After a test drive though the problem did not seem to be fixed and Pete and I arranged to return the next day to get it sorted!

We have now moved to a new camp site Kwasi Camp pleased that we have progressed a huge distance of 10 km since Sunday! Thursday saw Pete and I resident in the garage from 7:30 until 18:30 with continual testing and repairs. Eventually it was concluded that it was the fuel injectors or maybe the injector pump! Problem was that it was a long weekend Friday being a Bank holiday so we had to wait until Monday morning to take the truck back to the garage for them to take out the parts to send to Windhoek to be checked! So a week after arrival with a punctured tyre we now have to wait for the parts to be sent down today and hopefully brought back on Wednesday and hopefully put back in before the weekend! A lot of hopefuls I know but we have little option but to get the truck fixed!

Since we were effectively stranded it seemed logical for Pete and Mandy to fly back to Windhoek to try and sort out their passports. Luckily there was a flight on Friday afternoon and so they have spent the time shopping to replace some of the stolen items before going to the High Commission first thing Monday morning! Great plan but of course today is a Bank holiday in the UK so the High Commission is closed! Just another frustration leaving a busy day tomorrow before hopefully catching an early flight back to Rundu with the tested truck parts on Wednesday! Yet again HOPEFULLY!

In the meantime the McConnells have tried to make the best of it travelling to Poppa Falls over the weekend where the kids had great fun swimming in the river with the hippos and crocs! I on the other hand successfully hooked and battled a Tiger fish in front of an audience of 20 German tourists only for it to leap a metre out of the water and spit the hooks out at me! Much to my extreme disappointment! I will land one eventually!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Can it get any worse!!!

Still in Rundu, why? We were robbed, worst thing we lost was Mandy and I,s passports from the locked truck along with camera, phone etc.
The bright side is that within a couple of hours we had got a police report, contacted a marvellous lady in the British High Commision in Windhoek, filled in faxed temporary passport forms, bought postal orders from the post office and couriered the whole lot to Bernice in the High Commisiion. Not bad for a small rural town on the Angolan border. Thank goodness 'formula courier services' were so helpful as there is no printer connected to the Internet in town and they allowed the high commission to fax the relevant forms to their office.
We are now waiting for our temporary passports to be couriered overnight. Unfortunately this isn't the end of our problems as we now have an 8 page passport to traverse 12 countries and no Ethiopian visa which can only be saught in the UK! Watch this space for further progress!
We are still looking on the bright side and are ever hopeful we will be able to sort this latest drama and even better have at least one day without any dramas.
Our camp site is on the egde of the river less than 100 m from Angola. Wilst Chris pretends he is catching fish, the rest of us watch the Angolans playing and washing in the river, collecting water etc. Tomorrow we will collect our temporary passports and get as close to the Zambian border as possible. Forgot to mention we saw our first croc of the trip today, apparently these crocodiles are human friendly!

Sunday, 21 August 2011

More problems

Having spent a small fortune on a new tyre we set off north from Windhoek getting to a campsite in Okahanja 70k away. Next day we were heading for Grootfontein but we got an oil leak on the truck. We then found Rudi in Otjiawrongo who spent an hour fixing the leaks and refused to take any payment and was insistent we took his mobile number in case we needed any further help on our travels, another incredibly kind and generous person we have met on our travels. We then found a delightful campsite for the night about 20 k away. Next day we set off again ever hopeful that we would have a trouble free day, but no after about 200k we had a puncture in our new expensive tyre. After getting rescued again we were told that we had paid about twice as much for the tyre as we should have and that they should have installed a new inner tube. We then set off again to Roys Camp where we had been the previous year and had a pleasant night.
Setting off again ever hopeful of a pleasant day we did the usual 200k and had another puncture in the same wheel. The tyre is now in another repair shop and tomorrow morning we will go and get the verdict. My (Pete) impression of Namibian tyre men is getting a bit tarnished. Howevr writing this listening to the Angolans across the Kunene river celebrating a football match is at least peaceful.
We have now made it to Rundu and the weather is much warmer - hot days and cool nights, and at least we no longer have any frost in the mornings! The children are surviving well, doing their school work on the move and have found various ways of entertaining themselves on the side of main roads whilst waiting for vehicles to be fixed, poor baby Anabal (the doll) is the latest victim to be winched onto the roof of the land rover by her neck!
Chris continues to hunt for nasty beasts,the scorpion being the latest! He says he hooked a tiger fish today but then promptly lost it!
Hopefully we will make it close to the Zambian border by tomorrow evening, tyres permitting!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Eventful First Week!

Having left Franschhoek early on Wednesday 10th August our vehicles were brilliant for a whole two hours of our journey! On our climb up the pass near Clan William, the landrover started to over heat and continued to do so for the next 5 days! Shorlty after a quick mend by Pete, we stopped in Citrusdal to mend a fuel leak on the truck. These delays meant we had to stay over night in Vanrhynsdorp where a mechanic came out to try to fix the land rover. However this was not to be so plans to go across the Kgalagardi were cancelled and we drove North to Namibia in the hope that we would make it to Keetmanshoop to see the 'best land rover fixer in Southern Africa'! Luckily for us we did make it to the Namibian border where we stayed for the night and then made it on to Ai Ais for a swim in the springs and a trip to see Fish River Canyon - both definitely worth a visit. Sunday took us on a 180 km journey to the land rover man's farm! This should have taken us 2 hours but took 12 hours resulting in us arriving to set up camp at midnight! Both land rover and truck broke down simultaneously and after a few generous offers of help a Namibian farmer called out a mechanic he knew who lived 90 km away! The very kind man persevered with both the truck and the land rover which limped the next 20 km or so until he had made a fix! after 2 days on the farm replacing the cylinder head gasket, turbo and sorting out some hosing we were on our way again! We arrived in Windhoek yesterday to find that we  need a new tyre for the truck! We must surely now be ok with the vehicles and yes Johannes of land rover fame in Keetmanshoop certainly lives up to his reputation! What we have learnt from this is that the people in Namibia have all been incredibly helpful and kind to us along our way.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Getting ready

Leavinjg Heathrow

Finally the departure is here, we leave tomorrow morning. The truck was picked up in Walvis Bay last Monday and finally after various trials and tribulations arrived in Franschhoek at 11:00 pm on Thursday. Since then all four adults have been packing and preparing for the trip ahead. At the moment everyone is too tired to be excited, even now we have a slight fuel leak and already had to arrange for a mechanic to meet us 4 hours into the journey tomorrow! Hopefully this will be a small repair! From Franschhoek we head to the Transfrontier Park where we will cross into Botswana.