Saturday, March 26, 2011
At 11:30 in the morning amidst much excitement a camera crew arrived at the guest house where I was staying and we set off on a 5 km sprint from atop the heel down to the Keys Hotel close quite extraordinary experience really emotional time. Anyway I got there and was met by the rapturous applause of a group of American tourists as well as a couple of South Africans and people from the hotel. I was escorted to the 42 km Kilimanjaro marathon registration table we under the gearing lights of the camera as well as a few local journalists I signed in for the marathon .
For the next few days I was treated like a bit of a celebrity by hotel staff guests and crew from the Kilimanjaro marathon. The morning of Sunday the 27th we headed down to the stadium lined up for the marathon and settle for 42 km run around town of Moshi. It was an awesome marathon course was fairly easy up and down in the beginning and end 10 km up the hill and 10 km back down again I enjoyed all the way. For the first six and 7 km of the race I ran together with a group of five or six South Africans from all different regions of South Africa are after that , a chap from Durban ,Matthew Fitsimmons ,and I went ahead as we shared a common pace and seemed to find each other's company fairly comfortable, and we stuck together until about the 26 km mark at which point I decided to go ahead as a was feeling pretty good. It was easy going , a great run and we had little runners from the villages in jeans and slops managing to keep pace with us for extended periods of time . After four hours and 7 min later I crossed the finish , this was an exceptionally thrilling moment for me as I was now officially finished all running duties of my Cape Agulhas to Kilimanjaro solo run.
The celebrations at the Keys hotel with John and the guys from wild frontiers went on for most of the afternoon until people started falling into the swimming pool not of the own accord more because of the Kilimanjaro lager that had been consumed. On Monday I headed back to Arusha ,with John and Debbie from wild frontiers, to attend a cocktail party which was to be hosted by the Minister of tourism from Tanzania. Everyone was wearing three-piece suits but not us we had our jeans T-shirts and sandals . We were all given Massai blankets which now meant that my collection of Massai blankets had grown to 4.
The following day I headed out to the tanzanite one mine where I was in a spend the next three nights and rest up before Steve arrived and we could climb the mountain together. The stay at the mine was a fascinating experience. Doug and Anton organised the trip down the shaft for me to about 400 m below ground level which was the first time I've ever been down a mine in my life the heat and humidity was something I had not anticipated and it was very exciting guys who work there everyday have to be admired. Tanzanite is extremely labour-intensive to my a each and every crystal has to be dug out and carried to the surface by hand. I cause a bit of consternation underground when I was shown three pieces of Tanzanite ,that were being carefully guarded by the two Nepalese security guards , well I dropped them but the Nepalese security men was as quick as a hawk and managed to find all three pieces amongst the dirt on the floor within a few seconds.
Eventually Friday arrived and I headed back to the keys hotel to await the arrival of Steve. He eventually arrived at seven o'clock evening and we spent most of the evening having a couple of beers and preparing I equipment for the climate would start the next day it was awesome to see him.
Early the next morning were introduced to Arnold and Dennis who were to be our guides for the climb up Kilimanjaro. He Machame route was our route of choice. Fortunately my lack of equipment was not a problem because Steffanuti Stocks had purchased me a really warm jacket as well as a pair of mountain boots.
Neither Steve or myself seem to suffer from any effects of altitude gain besides a minor headache which Steve got on at the third day . On the day before we were to summit we came across a group of Americans and this proved to be rather amusing meeting we introduced ourselves as coming from Capetown and Johannesburg in South Africa and two of them introduced themselves as coming from California and San Diego. On hearing that we were from South Africa one of the Americans commented "you guys heard their is some crazy South African on the mountain who ran all the way here from South Africa". Both Stephen I had a good laugh and I owned up to being the crazy South African .
That night we woke at mid night got into our warmest clothes and headed for the summit. We expected the trek to take about six or seven hours. It was bitterly cold and the wind made it even colder but after shold to do so we eventually gained the summit the sun was not fully up to everything was quite dark and it was absolutely freezing we managed to get a good picture of Steve and of the guide and the signboard and I think of everything else that was photographed double but nothing of myself. The pictures that were supposed to been taken of me by the guide turned out just to be the letters O S and U from a banner we were holding because he had managed to find the zoom button instead of the take picture button.
The last hundred and 50 m to the top seem to have put Stephen a bit of pressure so when we arrived back at base camp we decided to have a rest for an hour or so before starting our descent. The plan was to descend for about 3 1/2 hours set up camp spend the night and then complete the descent the following morning. Well that ever happened. Once we start once we started our descent we realised that the opportunity of spending a night in a good bed with a warm shower was within our grasp so we told our guide that we would no longer be using the file nights camping facilities because we were intending to go all the way down in one shot. Arnold , who was fairly used our quirkiness by now agreed that this would be a good idea and that we could probably be of the mountain by 3:30 in the afternoon.
On arrival back the keys hotel we decided to celebrate and Cecilia had numerous beers and I made my acquaintance with Jack Daniels again. We shared my stories with other people who had finished the climb . It was an absolutely wonderful experience to have been to the summit of the highest freestanding mountain in the world and the highest peak in Africa with my brother.
And that brings to an end my solo adventure across the southern part of effort from Cape Agulhas to Kilimanjaro . Now it was time to get back to South Africa to see my family .
On arrival back in Capetown I was met at the airport by Richard James and Samantha as well as a large group of friends and co-workers it was magnificent to finally be home .
uffling on for six hours without stopping as it was too c
I would like to thank everybody who supported and followed me on this journey as well as all of those who pledged and donated to the charity's. thank you
Wednesday, February 23, 2011
I set off early from Dodoma with the intention of making it to Mei Mei a small village about 40 km out of Dodoma , Small village was an understatement , on arrival at Mei Mei it turnout to be only about three huts and a tiny shop . I decided to push on to the next village which turned out to be larger but was not much better. I did not really feel like socializing as I was starting to feel a bit ill again so I pushed on. At about 2:30 pm I stopped and made some food for myself. . I then headed slowly up the mountain pass through a beautiful lush forest area. I saw a little hunter
just after 3 pm and by 6:30 pm I had not seen a soul in over three hours I decided to duck in to the bushes and set up camp. I found a stunning little clearing in some dense undergrowth and setup camp and crawled into my tent. I was feeling terrible again. Some in the forest near my tent I heard a troop of baboons going absolutely mogey. I briefly wondered what the cause was because I was told that leopards still roamed the forests but I banished that thought from my mind and went to sleep.
I slept without waking until 5 am next morning. Sleep always makes me feel better.
The police at the checkpoint which I found after about 5km the next morning were pretty shocked to see this white man come roaming out of the forest at 6 am in the morning and ask me f I had not been bothered by wild animals. The day turned out top is a pretty big day. I was met but two \vodacom technicians who donated a can of Red bull before heading on their way and then I just kept going. I can seem to keep any food in me and am feeling weak and tired a lot of the time. Eventually after 70 slow km I came to the village of Keleme , I was met but a young chap named Johnson who assured me that he had the only guest house in town . I was worn out and tire and followed him to a house that did not look like any type of guesthouse to me but I was shown to a simple room that had a decent bed. The price was more than double what I had paid before but I decided not to argue as I just wanted to sleep. I did make sure that when I handed over the money ( much to Johnson’s horror) that I did so in front of the old lady who seemed to own the house . I think the price he had told me and what she was expecting were not the same. ….hehehe…..
I pushed on to Kondoa the next morning and was feeling much better. Got to town found a really cheap place to stay called “the new white house “and settled in. I headed up to the market where I came across two student nurses from Holland. We chatted for a while and they (Geetz Floor and Aulye) showed me around the market. When I got back to the guest house the lady in charge was very excited to tell me that two” musungu” girls had put a note under my door . It was an invitation from the students to have dinner. The dinner was great and they were good company, I think they were as starved for company as I was. They had been in Kondoa for 6 weeks and had 2 weeks remaining. I headed back just before dark and my stomach cramps returned with a vengeance later that evening...
It rained that night, and rained and rained and rained. When I woke up me t was still raining so I decided to stay in bed.
But as is my impatient nature when the rain eased I hit the road ………. Big mistake.
In the next 9 hours I covered only 27 km and everything was wet and muddy, the hills were big and the mud was slippery clay and it was a really hard effort to get to the village of Kolo.
Woke up today and the first thought in my mind was “happy valentines Sam “ . It was the 14th Feb. . . . It’s amazing how the road that was a pure slip and slide had dried over night. I made the uphill haul to Berko (40 km) by midday where I met three German motor cyclists, Torstein, Oliver and Peter. They said the road improved and that I was almost at the top of the hill and then there was about 30 km of stunning down hill.
I decided at that point that today I was going to get to babati and take a rest and try and get well. The run down the mountain was awesome. The road was red clay but nice and hard and smooth as can be most of the time. By the time the day was done I had 83 km under the belt and was feeling quite chuffed. McFadden from Dodoma was in Babati when I got there and had already organized a place to stay.
We then went out (bad stomach and all) and I got nicely smashed on Kilimanjaro lager, think McFadden was not far behind me. It was a great evening.
I took the next day off.
Babati signaled the end of the dirt and I was back on tar. I head for minjingo and made it no time at all, was felling much better, although it’s very worrying why this sickness just keeps coming back, I suspect its some form of dysentery. During the morning I met Larry and Sharon from grahmstown who were on their way to Europe . It was great to chat to fellow South Africans
. The next day was no fun, just felt terrible the whole way to Makyohini.
Met an American engineer who was staying in town and he gave me some medicine that should help if I have the parasite version of dysentery.
Left early in the darkness the next morning and had gone about 5 km when a noise in the bush caught my attention, I had not seen the normal early morning traffic of people on bikes or on foot, I turned on my head lamp and shone it in the bush. I got the fright of my life when looking back at me was about 100 pairs of glowing eyes in the dark. I was pretty quick to figure out that hey were mainly Zebra and Wildebeests but if there were zebra and wildebeest then what about predators. ….. I immediately stopped running and settled into a slow and nervous walk, wishing that sun rise would hurry up.
Eventually the sun stuck its head over the horizon and I started to feel much better. I met up with Silas on his bicyle and we had a good chat , I just loved his mobile radio .
Two day later and I am arriving in Arusha. I got a message from the people at Vodacom to ask in I could meet then just outside town.
I waited at the cultural heritage museum and at 12 pm a whole bunch of people showed up. I was caught a bit off guard as the ministry of tourism in Tanzania had sent there pro person as well as a whole pile of journalist and a local TV crew.
I had some interviews and was presented with a bag of local coffee beans, a stunning wooden carving and a Masai blanket. We then set off towards the Mount Meru hotel. Nguvu Kamando from Vodacom joined me on the road, which was a blessing as I would have got seriously lost in Arusha.
We arrived to a tremendous welcome at the Mount Meru hotel and I was asked to open a bottle of bubbly with a sword. I managed this without destroying the bottle. There was a reception in the hotel where stunning snacks (real food) were served, more pictures; Vodacom had put up some banners.
I eventually got to meet max from Wild frontiers that I will see in Moshi again for the Marathon.
The team at Mount Meru went out of there way to assist me and I stayed three nights in the most stunning luxury you can imagine. I got some antibiotics and they seem top have done the trick. I can recommend the strawberry milk shake to anyone who ever stay there.
After fter i had settled in i got to have a super massage by Boby Madina from Madelona Beauty (Arusha,Tanzania)
The hotly leant me a scale on arrival and I was down to 73 kg which is a bit worrying but by the time I left I was back at 77 kg simply because I ate everything I could find . Ruben in the kitchen of the Mount Meru Hotel was real star.
On Monday 21st Feb at 8:56 am I was heading for Moshi and I saw the Mountain forteh first time ..Awesome
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
Mbeya to Iringa was all aout km's . the total of 337 km was done in 5 days , 65 km , 73 km , 34 km , 85km ,33,km, and 47 km . I will not dwell on this week too much as I am once again limited for time but a few interesting moments caught my attention .
On the morning that I left Mybeya I was flying along , welli thoght i was flying as it was predominantly downhill and i was even running onthe ups quite well . it was stil dark and i heard foot falls behind me and i assume it was just another runner as i had seen one or two on the road .
Well i was right , it was another two runners and they were flying up this pretty steep hill . they were both dressed inthe karate outfits and had a brick in their hands which were clasped firmly behind thier backs .
I caughtthem later onthe other side ofteh hill and they were praticing some kicks before running back to town .
I aslo met my first South Afican cyclist . Uptill now i have met 7 cyclists but Josch Thilo from city bowl in capetown was my first South african . he has come all the way from europe on his bike and just like me seem really happy to chat to another person from home. We both lingered a while as the company was good .
I then met Johan the travelling sales man . He was busy hauling his shop up a mountain . I was quite taken by he efforts and even though i did not really need anything decided to make a few purchases to support his efforts of his mobile shop considering we were at least 7 km for the village he was heading towards .
The last night before Iringa I spent at the home of Mark Knightingale . What a fascinating guy this is . He has walked across more than 16 differnet countries in his life so far iwhich included , cananda and europe from north to south . Although we did nothave much chance to chat i found him very inspiring and took a good couple of tips from him
from Iringa to Dodoma the gong got tough .
The dirt roads were really bad and i was starting to feel ill . By lunch time i had a severe case or dihorea and my urine had turned a nastry red/brown colour . I tried eating and drinking more but it did not help . I stagered on until i reach Nyangolo where i was fortunate that teh loclChairman was aound and they put me in a room in one of teh elders houses . I was feeling slightly better so i jioned the chairman and his clan for a bit of African beer . Not my favourite stuff but i thought i would try .
The village sangoma( not sur eof Swahilli term) took a reall fancy to me and sat right up against me on th enorro bench and rattled on incestantly in swahili in my ear . The chairman thought this was really funny and told me that she was declaring her love for me . Thanksfully she evenually got told to leave by the chairman . next it was the tur nof all the small cildren who wanted to feel either the hair on my legs or on my head.
The next few days are mixture of exaustion , and feeling horrific . my boddily functions almost ceased completely at one point and I got preety worried . The heat was also compltely through the roof which did not help .
I spent one night in the bush as i ended up with no where to stay and darkness was closing in
On one of the days a got to a villge and all the kids froma schoool came charging out to see me . They were quite aggresive in there demands for sweets and i was pretty anoyyed so told them quite emphaticlly that there would eb no sweets today . With that one of them threw a small ston at my prams wheels .
The next thing I knew thay were all throwing stones at me . mainly at my feet and at my pram wheels but soem were as big as tennis balls .
luckily an adult stepped in and sent thm scattering .
I eventually crawled into Dodoma and got to stay a complimentary night at the New Dodoma hotel
I ate and drank and ate and drank somemore and by midnight my body was starting to act like normal again . i was really relived as i had been pretty concerned about it .
I met the GM of teh hotel Wellingtone and he made my stay a real pleasure and picked up my food and drink account as well . He then got the CEo of Vodacom Tanzania on the line and he told me that his regional Sales exec would come and see me .
Macfadyne arrived and treated like a king . He assited in every way possible . got some photos taken , drove me around to find new tyres as my one tyre had split . Made sure I had accomadation and food for the rest of my run inthe form a sponship of electrinic funds on my phone . What a good guy , He went well out of his way to assist me . Thanks Mac !!!!!!
Thursday, January 27, 2011
I Arrived in Mzuzu and had a good sleep at the Mzuzu lodge who donated a night to me , the next day I was on a rest day and went to the Mzoozoozoo backpackers lodge which was hidden in a side street with not too much signage at all . Well it was like a step back into the 60's . Gerard , the owner was very helpful and gave me a roomm on the house and intorduced me to some of his friends who were staying for a while . The one chap reminded me of the rolling stones drummer , and i suspect that back in the day he had enjoyed one or two acid parties too many .. they were all great . i t was a really relaxing stay and although i headed to bed fairly early the party did not stop till pretty late that night .
Next day i haead for Rhumpi turn off which is about 60 km . It was nice flat running and at the 52 km mark I met Danny and Chris who had cycled from cornwall all th eway down through africa and were heading for Capetown . I was pleased to meet some fellow travelers as the last one i had met wasthe crazy russian in Zimbabwe .
That night i nade my way to the CCAP ( presby church )üp on the hill near the Rhumphi turn off . On arrival i wa slucky to meet Treasure , on eof the chior singers , who could speak fair english . She organised that I stay in the ministers house and have supper there as well. The Choir then sang a song for me which was beautifully done . Th eministers wife asked what i liked to eat and i explained that simple Nshima( pap) with Tomato and onion was perfect for me as I new this was what they would probably be preparing for them self .
Much to my horror she promptly killed the chicken that had been wandering around th eyard and we had exactly what i had asked for but with some chicken thrown in . I felt mortified simply because no one else ate any chicken besides the minister and I . I am ahumbled everytime when people who have less give so much .
Next day I set off hoping to make it to the lake . on the way i found a bridge over a raging river made only of reeds , this was used with confidence by the local,s . My confidence deserted me when I was about half way across and it became quite nerve wracking but was well worth the detour .
I eventualy ran out of down hill and had a long slog up a major mountain and was rewarded by a spectacular view of the lake Malawi as i crested the top of the mountian . Wow ......Awesome .
I stayed on the lake shore that night at a camp site that was over flowing with people in overland vechiles .
The next morning I was running along when two cyclist,s snuck up behind me . they were Nelson and Linda from Canada . they had set off from Jhb and were heading to Nairobi . We travel a fair way together and they were really good company . They told me they had been waiting to catch up with me becuase they had been told by others that this crazy man was actully travelling alone on foot .
My entry into Tanzania was not as cheerful as the Tea picker in the photo above . I was warned several times not to get involved with the money changers at the border but i need to change money to get a drink as i manged to get quite dehydrated on the 50 run to the border . Eventually after muchnegatiation , lack of focus and down right stupidity i managed to exchange R50 worth of malawian kwacha,s for R5 worth of Tanzanian schillings . Well at least I managed to by a coke .
Wednesday, January 19, 2011
I spent th enight at the Luwawa forest camp and i t was great , I used the sauna and had some beers with George , laura nad Danny . It is an adventurers paradise .
I had a beautiful sleep in the church offic e, the normal pains I have been suffering at night in my feet were notthier , This could have been as a result of the huge anount of parecetomol i had taken for my flu but all the same it was a great nights sleep .
Friday, January 14, 2011
Well to say Zambia was hard would be an understatement . I think after seeing Samantha in Lusaka I was left left feeling really home sick and missed her on her departure , combined with that I ran down into the Luangwa valley which was hot , really hot , I am not kidding it was super hot .
. On my firat night out of Lusaka I made it to the hot springs at Chiniyniyu , The spring was hot but I had expect a camp ground or something but all that was thier was a small shop and the owner said i could pitch my tent near by . I had no sooner done this and he locked up and headed of home leaving me in a deserted area . My tent was pitched in a nice quite spot so i was not too worried . Ha ,,,, I should have been , I may as well have pitched my tent on the N1 near Jhb becuase thats how busy my deserted patch was after dark . All night long I heard people passing by my tent , no more than 10 meter's away . So after a pretty sleepless night , thankfully without incident , I packed up and set off .
I was really struggling to run in the heat and things were very lonely , It was new years eve and I had no idea where i was heading to becuasethe town on my map did not seem to exist .
I was feeling pretty down
Thank goodness for the head masters and the teachers .
I arrive at a village called Luwamba and found the headmaster of the local school , Nixon . He said i could put my tenet up next to his house and promptly disappeared .
I was joined by a grade one teacher Miraim who actually lived in the house which i camped next too . she was a star , she controlled the children who hovered as close as possible and her , her son Jossie and uncle Ezikiel became my new years buddies for the rest of the day . After dark I went to bed and fell asleep at about 9 pm .
i was rudely woken up at 12:04 with an ederly gentleman banging on my tent with a stick and shouting in his own language . I was still busy debating what to do about him when Miriam flew out of her house and let of a string of what sounded like harsh comments at the old chapped who then disappeared into the dark .
A couple of days later I stayed at another school where the History / Library teacher came to see me as he wanted to show me his library . I was spectacular , everything was in it's place , perfectly labeled and organised . He was very proud of his humble library and insisted that I select any book i like to take with me on my journey .
His biggest problem with his libray is that he does not really have that many books at all , so if you sitting out there reading this and feel like shipping some of your old books to Zambia where you know they will be really cared for then send me an email and i will give you his address .
I stayed at 5 schools in total in Zambia and the headmasters were great every time , som even letting me use a class room or there office to sleep in . Thanks Headmasters of Zambia
I have to jump forward to Malawi now as my time is running on this connection .
The children in Malwi are in awe of this strange traveler who pushes a pram , they either run for there lives or follow me like the pied piper .
I had great fun disrupting two schools . It happened something like this on both occasions.
A lot of the classes are held out doors where theteacher has a black board setup under a tree and the children sit in the shade .
I was passing a school on the second day in Malawi and I waved at some of the kids in a class under a tree about 200 meters away . They all waved back . I saw two little fellows at the back wave very frantically and then have a brief discusion with each other . One then could not resist it and broke ranks from his class and started running towards me . Well that was all it took for the entire class and two other classes to break ranks and abandon school to come and see the me .
They love my camera and go absolutely wild when i reverse the disply so they can see themselves .
last night I stayed in a village and camped under tree , I ruined the reputation of every south african braai master . I had an audience of numerous childern which slowly swelled as the afternoon went on . .
The fire I made failed and i had to get help for a 7 year old to get it going again .
I undercooked my toppers and the Nsima ( pap) I cooked also did not really turn out well at all .
despite my bad cooking i ate every bit with a smile as i was not going to let them know that my cooking really sucked .
Hope to update again soon but time is up now .