Sunday, 29 March 2009

Cape Town

Finally the end is reached. We have been to the edge of Africa and it doesn't go any further. This will be the final posting from Africa before we return to Austria where we expect to be frozen to death. On Tuesday we will have a nice last day at a private resort before we leave on Wednesday to the airport. Surfing was not possible in this short time because the good surf is a bit far from here and it would have caused too much trouble to go there.

The last few days we have explored Cape Town and enjoyed the city. We have been sightseeing, shopping and enjoying delicious food. Today we even have been in the largest shopping mall in Africa. It's huge and over 400 stores are located there together with a food court and entertainment area. Now it's the final evening and we have to pack again our backpacks for the final move.

Thursday we will arrive in Austria and I start work again on Friday. Over the weekend I hope to have enough time to write a summary of the 90 day trip. It will take way longer to process all the pictures we have taken. Several thousand pictures from all over Africa! The best will be processed and put on-line in an independent gallery. It's quite a mixture of countries, people and animals as well as also the incredible nature.

Thursday, 26 March 2009

Finally: Cape Town

The end of Africa is reached! We arrived today in Cape Town at the late afternoon. The final journey took us almost 22 hours from Windhoek to Cape Town in a bus without air condition. The drive itself was not too bad. Good roads and a nice view.

Now we will chill out here until next week. There are a lot of activities we will do here like surfing, going up the table mountain, sight seeing and much more. I have now also completed the picture gallery. Now only the pictures of South Africa are missing and then the gallery is full.

Wednesday, 25 March 2009

Next Stop: The End

We arrived today back from our trip to the red desert and the highlands. Sossusvlei's rich orange sea of sand dunes is one of the most astounding sights in the world. They are the highest sand dunes in the world (up to 300m). The dunes are much higher than their nearest rivals in Arabian Africa. The older the dune, the brighter the color from slow iron oxidization and a zillion minute fragments of garnets. These dunes range from burnt orange through blood red to deepest mauve, and geologists say that this supreme desert could be the oldest in the world. In the Nama language, "Namib" means "vast"

To reach the remote dunes we've decided to take a 4x4 car and to camp at the entrance of the park. It was really worth it. Camping was quite cheap and the night sky was impressive. So many stars in the sky! Many people also go to Namibia for observing the stars. On our third night we have camped on a farm specialized for star gazing in the Namibian highlands. Many professionals and amateurs stay there and enjoy the dry climate with almost no dust and forms of light at night.

Now we are just a few hours away from our next travel and sadly also our last big travel in Africa. We soon board the long distance bus from Windhoek to Cape Town and will arrive tomorrow at the early afternoon. The last few days in South Africa will be used for shopping, eating good food and a big chill.

The next picture update will be in Cape Town. We have taken some great pictures from the desert and wildlife.

Saturday, 21 March 2009

Weekend Status Update

We just arrived back to Windhoek after a few days in Swakopmund at the sea side. The big difference from here to Swakopmund is that it is very cold at the sea. The cold air comes in from the sea and further on to the desert. In Swakopmund there are many clouds and then it gets really cold. You have to wear a jacket - Even in the sand desert.

Today is the 19th anniversary of Namibia's independence. It is one of the youngest countries in Africa and was liberated 1991 from South Africa who has occupied it after the Germans left. We have attended a celebration in Swakopmund. Many local groups and politicians have met at a open air place to celebrate. Unfortunately independence day means a public holiday: People stay at home, shops are closed, alcohol is banned and a lot of other fun.

Tomorrow we have booked a 4x4 for the next three days. We'll drive to the middle of the country where the big dunes are. Before we leave tomorrow we stock up on a lot of things to eat and for a decent barbecue. Not to forget also some cider and marshmallows. We'll be back on Wednesday and we continue to our final destination on the same day. The tickets for the long distance bus from Windhoek to Cape Town are already booked and we just have to be at the right time at the station.

The first pictures of Namibia are already online too!

Thursday, 19 March 2009


After our pleasant stay in Windhoek we have moved to the coast to do some activities in the fresh air. The city of Swakopmund is well known for the many fun sport opportunities. Sky diving, desert hikes, Quad biking, sandboarding and sliding and a lot more things can be done.

We arrived yesterday and it was indeed a very special impression for us. Instead of blue sky, high dunes and a great view out to the ocean it was overcasted, foggy and cold. Nevertheless we decided to go for sandboarding, sliding and on Friday to the big uranium mine 60km out of Swakopmund.
The town feels like a genuine German town with influences of whole Germany. There are many German signs from the foundation of the city but also enough people remain who speak German. Afrikaans is also similar to German and that makes it also feel like home. Like the rest of Namibia everything is just like home but not Africa. Clean, proper, safe...


Today was our special day. Again a sport activity! We wanted to check out how sandboarding feels and how you get up. The second question was answered first when we walked up the dune. The great is standard snowboard gear and I had a short Burton deck with strap-on bindings. The base of the board is a special plastic base with better gliding characteristics then the original wax base. As we arrived on top of the 90m dune no.7 we just had to ride down like on we powder snow. Before we started we had to wax the board and the excessive wax was washed away with dry sand. After the third time down I started to use the kicker and at the end of our session I was almost able to fully stand it.
The specialty of the day was to slide down on a plan deck back of the dune. The fun thing was the high speed we reached. Up to 72km/h! The record of the day.
After sandboarding for three hours we had a final snack at the base of the dune and later at the evening a DVD of the day. I highly can recommend trying out this sport. It's really fun!

We'll be back in Windhoek on Saturday before we rent a 4x4 for a trip to the red desert. We'll camp in the desert and climb up a 380m high red dune before we finish our stay in Namibia and continue to Cape Town for the final stop.

Monday, 16 March 2009

Picture Gallery Update

With help of the mighty fast Internet connection here I was able to update the picture gallery to the last picture. I also have performed so updates to recent albums with pictures from Edith and Walter. Check them out and enjoy!

Picture Gallery

From Zanzibar To Windhoek

Finally back online again! Country after country without proper Internet connection and now everything is different. We arrived today morning in the lovely city of Windhoek in Namibia. The German heritage can be seen everywhere. It's like this country doesn't belong to Africa as we know it. Now after a long time I'll post a quik update what happened recently.

Travel from Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania) to Livingstone (Zambia)

It all seemed to be so easy. After a few lazy days at the beach on Zanzibar we wanted to continue to the Victoria falls. The falls are conveniently located on the way to Namibia, the next country on our list. The drama started when we arrived back from the island in Dar Es Salaam. We had to realize that we arrived on an important Islamic holiday: The birth of the prophet Mohamed. We wanted to organize our ride to Zambia the following day and almost all travel agencies had closed. The first travel agent we've visited told us that our bus of choice doesn't operate anymore. As we are now quite careful whom to trust we went to this particular company where they confirmed the news. To cut down the travel time (on land at least 24h) we've decided next to go to the airport to find us a cheap flight. There we had to realize that there are no direct flights. The cheapest fares started from about 560$ The next option was to visit the main bus terminal. After a while arguing around with some companies we found a bus that should manage the route in 24h.
The next day started early as usual. at 5:30 am we boarded the bus and our journey started to the border. After a day traveling and countless police and bus weight checks we arrived at the border. There the bus staff told us that this is the final station and tomorrow! a bus will continue to Lusaka. That was of course great news for us because we've planned to just cross the border and driver over night in Zambia. After a night sleeping on the bus seats of a old, wrecked down bus, we had to wait the whole next day after the border at the Zambian side to continue our journey. Finally at 6:30pm we could continue. After getting stuck in a mud hole we really arrived in the early morning in Lusaka. From there we had for the first time luck and found immediately a connecting bus to Livingstone (7.5h)

Livingstone (Victoria Falls)

The Victoria falls are the main attraction of Zambia besides of the wildlife. It is a big tourist hub and many activities are offered for the adventurous tourists like rafting, bungee jumping or even a booze cruise. The falls have now high water and everything is covered under a water spray. It's almost impossible to see the bottom of the falls. The best thing was that there is also a bridge connecting Zambia and Zimbabwe that could be entered for free! Everything else was quite heavily priced. The good months to visit are from June to October when the water level is low.

The end is near!

Today morning we arrived after a 16h travel from Livingstone in Windhoek, Namibia. It is a drastic change here from what we have seen in Africa. It seems to be a perfect, safe and tidy place to live. Namibia was a former German colony and the influence can even now been seen everywhere. German street names, food, cars...
This will be our last major stay in an African country. We plan to go tomorrow to Swakopmund and Walvisbaai to enjoy time at the port and with some fun activities. After that we plan to visit the oldest desert in the World with its well known red sand dunes. Maybe we also take this time a own car. Let's see!

At the end of next week we want to continue to our final stop in Cape Town. There we will board our plane back on the 1st of April and arrive on the 2nd back in Austria.

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Travel Update

After a week traveling mostly in a bus we continue on traveling to our next destination Windhoek/Namibia. We are currently in Livingstone and yesterday we've visited the Victoria falls. In less then an hour we board the next bus to Namibia and it takes at least 18h to get to our destination.

After Namibia only South Africa is on our agenda. There we will spend our final days in Cape Town and on April 1st we'll be back on the way home to Austria

Sunday, 8 March 2009


It's time for a vacation on our trip through Africa. A perfect place is the island of Zanzibar just 70km before Dar Es Salaam. Ferries are connecting the island with the mainland and it takes around 1.5h for the ride. Stone Town is the biggest city and very picturesque. It is built in colonial style.

Nungwi, the village where we stay, is located in the north. The island reminds me a lot of Bali. A lot of palm trees, fruits, warm climate and relaxed people. The beaches are white and the sea is turquoise and blue. The tourists are mainly from America, northern and southern Europe. Many locals can speak Italian because they seem to come here in high numbers for a long time. We are here also very close to the rain season. Big rain is expected in two weeks and it is already very humid and hot. Beside of the romantic beach life there are also many bars and restaurant offering sea food and Italian dishes. At the local bars the music of choice is reggae. It's also easy too get enough supply for body and mind ;)

Coming up

In one or two days we'll leave Zanzibar for good and head to the Victoria falls in Zambia/Zimbabwe. The bus ride is expected to take at least 24 hours and will stay one or two days at the falls. At the moment the Victoria falls are reaching a peak in the water flow and that means a lot of spray and mist. We expect to get we when we come close to the falls.
Unfortunately I have to spare out swimming at the top of the falls at the famous devils swimming pool. Too much water goes now over the edge and it's not even worth a thought of swimming there now.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Pictures Uploaded!!

Finally I've got the picture gallery today up to date. All recent pictures are online and it just took a whole afternoon. In the next few days I'll update the captions and then all work is done.

Comming Up: Zanzibar

It's finally time for swimming! Tomorrow I plan to follow Edith and Walter to Zanzibar. They are right now on the way to the north of Zanzibar where the fine beaches are. In central Africa we didn't have an opportunity to go swimming because of the little fellows in the water (worms, bacteria etc.). As of the begin of the rain season it's now very humid in Dar Es Salaam (>90%) and at night around 30C. There are ferries leaving to Zanzibar every few hours starting at 7:15 at the morning. The ride takes 1,5h for 70km and costs around 35US$

Next week we will travel together to Zambia and visit the Victoria falls. Our first travel option with the train didn't work out because it's too expensive and I had too much trouble with staff and hawkers at the central train station in Dar Es Salaam. The next decision is between bus and plane. After Victoria falls (Livingstone) we will proceed to Namibia where I'm really looking forward to see the red sand dunes.

The end of our journey is also very near. We start now to check flights back to Austria at the end of March. I'll be really happy to have then a "normal" Internet again

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Kilimanjaro Part II

Yesterday I have arrived in Dar Es Salaam and met Edith and Walter again after a week. They've chosen YMCA as their favorite place to stay. Nevertheless the hostel was quite OK and today they are already on their way to Zanzibar. I try to relax here in the big city and follow later on Saturday.

Starting over where I left was the Kilimanjaro experience. After I've managed to get the visa without a yellow fever certificate I've managed to get a free ride to Moshi, a little city close to Mt. Kilimanjaro. The next challenge was to find a flexible tour operator who could organize a tour in short time. Luckily I found one and at 17:30 I signed the contract for 8:30 the next morning.

Day 1:

Got up early. Picked up all my stuff in my cheap hotel room and left the unnecessary things at the reception for my return. Almost in time (just half an hour late) my guide Haruni arrived and we drove to the entrance of the Kilimanjaro national park, Marangu gate. This route can be done in 5 days (without an acclimatisation day). After a late start because of some formalities and paying the park and hut fees (523US$) our backpacks got weighted and we could go. With a load of 14kg on my back I've arrived quite quickly after a few hours at the Mandara hut (2743m). After a welcome tea my guide and me had a nice little walk to a nearby crater and in the rain forest we've seen many whitetail monkeys.

Day 2:

After a night with little sleep we left the rain forest and crossed open moor land to Horombo hut (3760m). Again we have been the quickest group and therefore a long time to relax. After the obligatory tea and a briefing I've decided to ascend 200m higher and enjoy the view over the mountain. Unfortunately later the evening I've got a stomach ache and suffered from this for the next days. This time I've shared the hut with two Americans.

It is recommended to stay for a day at Horombo hut but I've spared it out to finish hiking earlier.

Day 3:

Short walk through moorland then alpine desert to "The Saddle" between the peaks of Mawenzi and Kibo. From here about an hour to Kibo hut (4730m). Kibo hut is the base station for the Kilimanjaro summit. This time I've just got outrun by an Italian marathon runner and finished second. It was very cold at this high altitude so I've decided to have a quick rest before dinner. Also inside the hut it was so cold because it was made of stone and without isolation! My light sleeping bag liner was not the right choice but the only available. After dinner I've showed my guide my equipment and he was shocked. I was adjusted for the but not for a high mountain. Hakuna Matata! - No problem! - I've organized from the porters my missing equipment: Gloves, extra pants, wind protection and was ready to go.

Day 4:

Very early start at 00:30 for the summit on steep scree up to Gillman's Point (5681m) which is on the crater rim. We have been the second last to leave the hut. After some where exhausting hours we've continued around the rim (about two hours) to Uhuru Peak (5895m) the highest point in Africa. After a few photos and enjoying the sunrise we've descended to Kibo Hut for tea and a one-hour sleep. Then down to the thicker air and relative warmth of Horombo hut. Our decision was to go further down to Mandara hut (2743m) because we could then end earlier the next day. Completely exhausted we arrived there at the later afternoon and after 4000 height meters in total.

Day 5:

The final day was the easiest. After two hours walking through the rain forest we arrived again at the gate. I was very lucky with this hike because it was at the beginning for the rain season. The descent was getting already wet and at the last night we had a heavy storm with lots of rain. Also remarkable was that I've met an 81 year old woman from Cape Town. She made it up to the base station (4730m)! If she has reached the top she would be the oldest person on Mt. Kilimanjaro.

After all I can say it was a great experience and I met many lovely people on the mountains. Especially with my guide Haruni I had a very good connection and we've learned a lot of things from each other.

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Tanzania - Kilimanjaro

Today I've arrived back from the Kilimanjaro trip. It was exhaustive, wonderful and a once in a lifetime experience. It began all in Uganda. After the nice chill out at the Hornbill camp at lake Victoria I wanted to ask for a flight from Entebbe/Uganda to Kilimanjaro international airport. At the Air Kenya office I've asked for a flight and luckily there was one just boarding. The boarding was interrupted for me and I could buy a ticket and rushed with my luggage and some dangerous articles through the security. After arriving in Tanzania I was again asked for my yellow fever vaccination. As I have lost it somewhere between Ethiopia and Kenya I just told the immigration officer that I have it and it's too much effort for me to get it out of my luggage. He was perfectly fine with this explanation and wished me a good stay in Tanzania.

... Now I have to stop writing. After the 4th power cut it makes no more sense writing. Rain season has started two days ago and it's really on-time. Heavy storms and rain started yesterday...


After a log time of absence I'm back again. I just have arrived back in Moshi, a city next to Mt. Kilimanjaro. Edith and Walter are now in the bus from Kenya to Dar Es Salam in Tanzania.

What happened recently?

Edith and Walter travelled from Uganda to Mombasa/Kenya to spend a few days at the beach. Meanwhile I've been on Mt. Kilimanjaro. We will meet together in Dar Es Salam
and continue our travel to Cape Town. I don't know any detailed plans
at the moment but I think we'll do some very nice things in Namibia.