View Full Version : Karl - Grand finale..

15-09-03, 08:07
well, thats it, ive sent mave on her merry way and iv bought my plane ticket, so this is it, im going home. no more timewarp for me.

hasnt really clicked that its all over till now, its very sad to be here writing this knowing itl be the last of my installments. but on the flip side been looking forward to sunny ole home for a while and cant wait to see all you guys and gals.

this may be the end but i must bring you up to date on, the last and final part of, the story so far......

so, as far as i can remember i left you all (not that long ago for a change) just after my attempted sojurn into lesotho. after spanding another night at the bottom of sani pass (theey were a trifle surprised to see me again) i headed off following the line of the drackensburg mountains, heading towards dundee and a plethora of scottish towns. started on the tour of the various
battlefields from the anglo-boer, anglo-zulu and zulu-boer wars. so many of them, no weay i could visit them all without spending ages here.
yet another reason to return. one ammong the many reasons ive thought of so far.... so, anyway, been to the sites of the battles of ulundi, blood river (amazing lifesized bronzed wagon laager of 64 wagons and guns, on the boer side and a promising museum/craft centre on the zulu side in desperate need of funding and publicity. noughtily i didnt pay to enter the boer part [kinde didnt realise and there was no one arround to demand the cash] so instead i gave the zulus a nice fat donation. this place kinda sumed up the whole boer/ zulu thing, with the boer museum being all spangly and ostentatious, obviously plenty of money spent on it, with the zuluu museum sighnposted by a small sighn down a dirt track. very well designed in the form of the zulu 'buffalo horns' attack formation and the staff very enthusiastic but the whole shebang suffered from a lack of cash and visitors. not one of the white visitors to the boer side went to the zulu site whilst i was there.)
but i digress. alsdo visited spioenkop (impressive hill and views),
isandlwana (very eirie, quite a large site on the slopes of a high rocky protrusion surrounded by loads of white painted stone cairns marking the places where all the [british] combatants were gathered together and burried after the battle. nice memorial to the zulus though. average age of the zulu warriors was over 40!!) and of course rorkes drift (a lot smaller than i imagined, also on a hill too [that came as a surprise] but no sighn of a cockney telling the natives to stop chucking spears at im. however there was a pucka museum [as there allways is, even in the middle of nowhere] with some great dummies in 'period costume' [the zulus were all caucasion dummies painted brown with big lips] and a hillarious soundtrack of a conversation between two british officers thet would have fitted right in to a mr chomenly warner sketch!). also went to the site where the prince imperial died (the last of the bonapart line) which was in the middle of nowher next
door to a little ole ladys house who came out to get me to sighn the visitors book and part with some cash. cows everyuwhere. now we were in true zulu country and very pretty it was too. ther wierd thing was i kinda expeted all the guys to be quite beefy and formidable, but in fact it was thje other way round.
the majority of the guys had short (but not shaved )hair and were skinny to say the least. the girls on the other hand were
chunky also with short hair and the older women reminded me of those from the lilt ad, round and happy. the countryside onsisted of endless rolling hillsides covered in green grass with an endlwess sdupply of huts as far as the eye could see, all evenly spaced to give the imprission of a village that hed been pulled at the edges and streached to ten times its normal crcumference. lots of good tar and good fun dirt to ride on.

so, down to durban, throuigh vast suger cane plantations and into an allmost tropical environment, temp now arround 30 'c. spent a couple of days finding out about shipping mave back and other trivial stuff. not too impressed with durban, dont feel like a particularly friendly city, not much in the way of shops, but a great beach with plenty of surf dudes and people of indian/pakistani descent. peed it down on the day i left, so spent the day in mi waterproofs on the way to eshowe and tried to find cetshwayo's grave (big zulu chief). no luck finding his resting place but had an amazing ride on pretty bad dirt roads, most of which were allong the crest of sandune like hills/mountains.
lots of kids on there way home from school, so bach to people waving and shouting. cool views accross the countryside of dune like hills seperated by wavy vallys, dotted with coulourfull vilages
and the velvety greenest grass ive seen for a long time.

next, on to hluhluwe (pronounced shleshlooee, with a hint of the ll in llangollen)/umfolzi park, actually driving through it on the bike. passed several zebera, impala and wharthog with nothing between us except pure cleen unadultarated air. stayed in a game lodge and went on an all day game drive (5am to 6.30pm) and saw lots of white rhino, hippos, elephants and even a pack of wild dogs which appart from being qute rare were very clean,
bright and colourfull, reminding me of a canine version of a tortoisshell cat.
had a surreal, 'WOOAAH!!!!!! im in africa', moment whilst sat on the game truck staring at girraffs.

from hluhluwe, headed towards sodwana bay and booked in to do a four day open water scuba diving course. on the way i was flagged down by some designery types in one of those crysler, hearse type monstrosoties (very out of place in these parts, appart from the shape, it was shiny and lacked any kind of dents or bodily damage). it turned out that one of the guys was the
bloke who built the road i was currently driving on (not singlehandedly i enquired straight away) the others were a photographer and journalist and together they were writing an article on the road and its influence on the surrounding area. so as a wierd traveller tyope i was duly photographed and interviewed.
may even get into a book theyre planning.

spent the next few days in a classroom, sunbathing or paddling arround in scuba gear and finally doing a spot of diving in the warm sea whaching all the pwitty fishes and coral. i passed the exam after a lot of stress, it wasnt too haerd, but id not done owt vaguely resembling exams since doing mi bike test. anyway it was mucho fun and hard to leave once all was over. had
to go out and buy some swimming trunks though as id not brougyt any with me, how dumb is that!

then with saltwater still up mi nose it was off to swaziland, the plan being to spend afew days driving round admiring the countryside. this all changed when i met a huge group of bikers at the border who were on there way to the swazi rally. well it would've been rude to not go.... so a long weekend was
spent in the coumpany of lots of sa bikers and beer. got adopted by the cristian bikers group and aklso the ulyssees club. the criterea for being a member of the latter being that you had to be over 40, so i was made a junior member instead. it seemes to be that bikers in sa (correct me if im wrong here those that know better) do not belive in leather pants or gloves, but there is a large selection of (black)jackets, all in the 80s stylee, with cut off denim jackets and/or club logos on the back, supported by
dozens of metal and cloth badges. all very impressive but a bit, well, dated. most seemed confused by my appearence (no eather and lots of body protecting armour [probably thought i was a wimp, or fell of a lot.
this later part is true unfortunately, and people couldnt believe how many times me n mave had parted company on the trip]) and also the fact that the bike was covered in something that looked like dirt. which of course it was.
another big diference was i was carrying luggage (quite a lot it has to be said), which almost no one else was. instead each club got a member to drive a support vehicle that contained all the neccessery tents, tea urns, bries, fire wood, food, fridges, pots, pans, spices and all the other bits and bobs you 'need' when you dont have to cart it arround yourself. for a year.
anyway. i was prsuaded to enter the 'longest distense travelled' awward, which i was disqualified from (as i hadnt set off from england with the express pupose of going to the rally.-fair point i suppose). so i settled for winning the best/worst rat bike competition instead. hmmmm. dont think mave was too impressed.

what i saw of swazi was pleasent enough, but mave was playing up again, had been for a while, but something went pop or stick on a ride out wiv da lads (didnt realise how slow id got used to riding) and she was short on power on big hills n stuff. so decidded to head to kruger for a few days (well i was
sooooo close) then call it a day and head to durban and then home. kruger was cool, sew lots of wildlife, not quite so much like a zoo as other places id been, but driving on tarmack and seeing hundreds of cars on the road, not to mention the huge lodges [complete with campsites, toilets, shops, museums and libraries] and coaches kinda ruind it somewhat. but hey we saw the
usuall suspects plus a lions arse in the distence, cheetah and were charged by a black rhino with a gammy leg a few times coss he wanted to cross the road where we were. so all in all the three days was mucho funo, even though it rained like billyo on the last night and most of the time was spent emptying the canvas awning of water and descovering the tents we were
sleeping in wernt waterproof. but hey, this was africa!!

from kruger headed down to durban via standerton where i was invited to stay the night with an old sa couple who i met in a petrol station. food n all included.

so,finally i was back in durban and it took a grand total of 2 days (id allowed 2 weeks) to sort out shipping mave home (very sad to say goodbye, made me realise things were really over) and buying myself an airline ticket home. so, im writing this on my last night in africa and it all seems so wierd. looking forward to all the home stuff, even working again, but i know ill miss the place as soon as im gone. been having some sad moments, but i
know ill be back (allredy got several ideas for further trips, and thats just to africa. darednt think of anywhere else yet, too much for my poore ole brain.) anyway, this is truly the end, untill next time that is......


cast of countries, in order of appearence:

england, france, spain, morroco, mauritania, senegal, gambia, guinnea, mali,
burkina faso, ghana, togo, benin, nigeria, cameroon, gabon, congo
(brazzaville), congo (kinshasa), angola, namibia, south africa, lesotho,

total (road) milage:

28,000 miles/45,000 km.

total cost:

no idea. will work that one out when i have the guts....

Davey B
16-09-03, 18:54
Maverick,he's a hero. Solo down africa and all that.
Well done mate, look forward to a tale or two over a beer at some point in the future

22-09-03, 11:12
Hi Guys/Gals,

Please note I have posted these travelling stories on behalf of Karl (aka mavis_cruet on the board). I have not yet had the pleasure exploring the whole of Africa and would of love to have done what he has just finished. I asume he will be back in the UK soon and looking at the various reply's by email I have received from here and abroad(my 5 minutes of fame and glory:() Karl will have to organise a get together with some tips, beers and stories to enlighten anyone who have such a journey planned in the future.

If you want his email address pm me and I will forward it on so you can contact Karl direct.


01-10-03, 21:55
Maverick, I can't PM you (perhaps I'm too new). I would really like to get hold of Karl before I depart for Africa at the end of the month.


08-10-03, 12:39
Rick you can email Karl at the following address and sure he will give you info. Replace the "AT" with @ when emailing him.


else click on my profile button and email me. Think you need to sponsor the forum before PM is activated.