This is where I pick up my story. K2K was the biggest challenge I had ever taken on. It was a foolish pipe dream at first and step by step, it started to take shape. I was naive and full of energy, what came to be was something I could have never have expected. Enjoy.
It all started with…
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: West2Wild Project – Day 1STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1 DATE: 12/13/2011 05:59:02 PM—–BODY:
An amazing 24 hours!
Kai and Robyn arrived at Henko late last night. We all instantly got
along making packing the Mercedes Vito Van, which was sponsored by
Mercedes Benz South Africa, and discussing the next few days so much
more fun and exciting.
The four of us (Henko, Leni, Kai and Robyn) set off at dawn on our new
exciting road trip up the beautiful South African coastline.
Despite Kai´s constant need for the loo- the trip went super smoothly.
We stopped off at Heidelberg, which excited Leni as it reminded her of
the German town with the same name. We had some coffee and Robyn
practiced her first day of veganism! Go team!
Finally we arrived in Tembulethu, which is just outside of George.
Meeting new YEP Lani and her family was wonderful. They showed us the
stunning landscape inhabited by wild zebras, bonte bok, and ostrich,
which we will now call our home for the next two nights.
After setting up camp, we explored the area around us, experiencing
true South African beauty. We then headed to the Carmel Holiday Farm
to organize our presentation details for the following day.
After meeting Gary, the organizer, the four of us headed down to Vic
Bay, a famous South Africa surfing spot, to explore the beach front.
We arrived back at camp, and failed terribly at making popcorn on
Henko´s gas burner.
All in all, we had an incredible first day, enjoying each other’s company!
Thanks to Lani´s family for the land!
More pics in the West2Wild Gallery
—–EXCERPT:Amazing last 24 hours!Kai and Robyn arrived at Henko late last night. We all instantly gotalong making packing the Mercedes Vito Van, which was sponsored byMercedes Benz South Africa, and discussing the next few days so muchmore fun and exciting.————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: WEST2WILD DAY 2STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1 DATE: 12/21/2011 09:28:48 PM—–BODY:
Day 2 West2Wild Project
Early in the morning we crawled out of our damp sleeping bags and headed straight to Mossel Bay, where we were given a very interesting presentation at the so-called „shark lab“, which is a shark research facility. We then even dissected a small shark…. After spending the morning at the shark lab and surrounding area we drove back to Lani’s house to collect some more secondhand school books and clothes which we donated to the local “Life Community Centre”. The smiles on the childrens’ faces made our day seeing how happy they are about the clothes!
Lani’s Dad explained to us what they are doing to preserve the land (that we are camping on) and how their project works! Afterwards we all felt really excited about the project and how the community will benefit from it and also the hard work that people are doing to preserve this very special piece of coastline close to George! We did some more exploration on that truly stunning piece of land; we hiked to a lookout point with the most amazing view with the waves crashing hundreds of meters below the cliff.
At 8 p.m. we had our presentation at the Carmel Holiday Reserve, which went very well.
Tomorrow we will leave very early and unfortunately we have to say ‘Goodbye’ to Lani as she is unable to join us on the next leg of our exciting adventure.
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: K2K CHOCOlaaaats….YUM YUM :)STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1 DATE: 12/21/2011 09:43:29 PM—–BODY:
All revenue goes towards the schools…christmas prezi’s!!
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: JOIN THE K2K EXPEDITION!!!STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1 DATE: 12/22/2011 09:04:03 AM—–BODY:
JOIN THE K2K EXPEDITION!!!Do you have you have a hunger for spreading environmental and youth awareness, climbing to great heights and getting lost in East Africa?!?
We are looking for an extra team member to join us from start to finish!Drop the K2K team an email:firstname.lastname@example.orgRequirements for selection:
- Must be able to join the entire expedition from 14 April until late July/August 2012
- Speak English (bonus, if you’ve got some swahili under your belt)
- Rock climbing experience (esp. Traditional climbing)
- Be a people person. You must be able to get a long within a group and play your part.
- Must be able to communicate and interact with kids at the schools.
- Must be able to cover all your own basic costs for the extent of the expedition (food, clothing, transport, etc.)PLUS: If you have any neat skills, such as first aid, media savvy networks and anything like that, please let us know!Let us know if you have any questions about applying.It’s going to be EPIC, so don’t miss out!!
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: We have a proper video camera!STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 01/21/2012 09:12:23 AM—–BODY:
Thank you Moose, aka Nic Good, and the Fresh Air Crew, for lending us your camera.
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: K2K, getting into the Spirit of things with….YogaSpirit! STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1 DATE: 01/30/2012 05:56:24 PM—–BODY:
YogaSpirit & K2K teaming up!!
At YogaSpirit in Constantia Village, we believe that a healthy body and a peaceful mind translate into a more effective life. We offer Bikram and Vinyasa classes for practitioners of all levels, seven days a week, all year round. Besides prioritizing a strong physical practice, we promote restorative elements such as breath awareness and conscious relaxation. Our Intro Deal is R100 for two weeks of Unlimited Yoga. Available to all new students. www.yogaspirit.co.za | 021 794 5300 |email@example.com
“The K2K team will be training with YogaSpirit for the 5199m climb up Kenya and getting nice and loose for those 19 hour taxi rides across East Africa!”
COME ALONG AND DO SOME CLASSES WITH US!!!!!!!
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: UPCOMING PRESS! Radio and Bear Grylls, Himself STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1 CATEGORY: Press DATE: 02/02/2012 07:47:57 PM—–BODY:
Kai is heading up to Johannesburg and Pretoria on the 8th of Feb to talk on two radio shows and he’s ALSO been asked to do the opening presentation on K2K at the BEAR GRYLLS presetation in Pretoria!
K2K Press Schedule:
- 10th/Feb/2012: BEAR GRYLLS Presentation – Pretoria@St Albans College
- 11th/Feb/2012: Saturday, 3pm SAFM
- 13th/Feb/2012: Monday, 4pm 5FM on the FRESH DRIVE
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: GreenPop….we’ve teamed up!! STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 03/10/2012 01:25:34 PM—–BODYIn Zambia, we’ll be heading to Livingston where we’ll be communicating the ideals of GreenPop and the issues with deforestation at the schools. We’ll also be planting the first trees of the 5000-10000 which will be planted by GreePop themselves in July. Check them out: href=”http://www.greenpop.org/projects/trees-for-zambia/”>————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: We’ve got the power!!STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1 DATE: 03/18/2012 08:20:31 AM—–BODY:
Well, just about!
Our GoalZero goodies are on their way to us, and we can’t wait to start putting them to good use.
Yippee….. mean green energy at our fingertips!
At this every moment I’m sitting on a broken bench in some budget backpackers in Windhoek!!!
So that means that…..YES….KAPE2KENYA 2012 HAS started!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Its been more than a year and a half in prep, but the 4month 14,000km epic has started and we’ll really trying to make MOUNTAINS METAPHORS!!
Blog DAY 1& 2- 15th-16th April:
We kicked it off with a 20 hour bus ride from the mother City to the Capital of Namibia. The ride was a bit cramped but it was nothing to the 1.5 hour trek to the place we’re be staying the night….all due to the 40kg packs we were carrying!!!! Goal Zero Solar panels, cameras, Netbook, CapeStorm Downjackets (weird that we’d only wear it on KENYA :P), Camco Flyers, PETZL Climbing gear and our humungous La sportiva boots (could kick down a building)… We are carrying everything on our backs that we’ll need for the schools, travelling and the climbs (No Fed-EX here).
Right now, we’ve been contacting radio stations to spread the word of K2K. And tomorrow we’ll be heading to Swakopmund by train( ) to get ready for our climb on Spitzkopper (thought we’d kick the trip off with an adventure!!)
Follow us on our K2K blog (http://www.kape2kenya.com/k2k-blog/
Thanks for reading…or if you can’t read thanks for listening!!
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: We still need your help!!STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 04/18/2012 09:33:00 AM—–BODY:
So, we are on the road. We have made it to the beginning of our first leg: Namibia. We are super excited to be on the road and looking forward to our first training session on the Mound in the Ground that is Spitskoppe. We are going to spend a few days climing as part of our training programme for Mt. Kenya. After that we will be heading off to visit our first schools in Zambia. More to come on that!
In the meantime, we still need to raise funds to keep us fed as we move up through the Namibian desert. Please continue to donate and share our Indiegogo page and video with your friends and contacts along the route.
Thanks to all of you for helping us get on our way!!!
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: Indiegogo Update from ‘Kape 2 Kenya 2012’STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 04/18/2012 02:00:00 PM—–BODY:
Updates from ‘Kape 2 Kenya 2012’ 1 new Announcement: Hey everyone!!
Now that the guys are on their way(http://www.kape2kenya.com), we’ve reduced the amount that one must donate in order to claim the Greenpop tree for planting in the upcoming Trees for Zambia. -————————————————————————————————————————————-
You can support our awesome partners at Greenpop while supporting us. Donate just $50 and claim the perk above and Greenpop will plant a tree in your name on their upcoming mission to plant 5 – 10,000 trees in Southern Zambia, Africa’s hardest hit region when it comes to deforestation. http://www.greenpop.org/projects/trees-for-zambia/
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: Windhoek to SwakopmundSTATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 04/19/2012 09:13:11 AM—–BODY:
*Windhoek to Swakopmund* ** We left the Cardboard Box Backpackers on Tuesday evening, to catch the *Star Line TransNamib *train to Swakopmund. This is a fantastic way to travel, provided you have the time. It was an overnight train, but had no sleeper cabins, so we slept semi-upright again, but I found it much more comfy than a bus…. plus you save on accomodation expenses if you travel at night! Clever, ne’!
The desert sunrise from the train was spectacular, to say the least. Our fellow passengers (hardly any at all) were all very nice, and we chatted long into the night!
I must say, we didn’t really no what to expect from Namibia, but we have been blown away by Namibian hospitality and friendliness. We’ve been even more impressed however, at how clean and tidy this place is! Windhoek is pretty much immaculate. Swakopmund is even more tidy! The Namibian Government widely premotes recycling, and has huge campaigns on the go…. just separate your trash at home and it gets picked up and recycled. South Africa, we have a lot to learn from our sandy neighbours!
We’ve very kindly been hosted by Bruno Nebe, who is a staunch conservationist and really interesting guy to chat to. Ever heard of a * Pangolin*? Nope, neither had we. It’s not surprising since there have only been two found in Namibia, by Bruno who is focusing a lot of his energy on this amazing creature. This puts this little “ietamagog” very high up there on the endagered species list. Keep tuned to kape2kenya for pictures and info on the *Pangolin*. In the meantime have a look at the research being done on the Pangolin at Bruno’s game reserve: http://pangolins-namibia.blogspot.com/
Today we organise our mission to Spitzkoppe for some climbing this weekend!!
Till next time Jono
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: Spitzkoppe, NamibiaSTATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 04/21/2012 12:03:09 PM—–BODY:
The guys have made it to the first Mountain: Spitzkoppe. Here’s what they had to say about their first big hurdle –
SMS from Kai: Got up this morning @ 545 to head for Spitzkopper. Carrying 30 Kilos of H2O each, walking rest of way to base camp. Climbing the mountain tomorrow! Much luv to everybody!
SMS from Jono: Already at Spitzkoppe campsite 🙂 and there’s signal! Woohoo. Hitched a ride from Swakopmund to turnoff, and another to entrance. Bought water & walked 3.2km to camp. Aah, lekker!
—–COMMENT:AUTHOR: Bobbie FitchenEMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.orgIP: 22.214.171.124URL: DATE: 04/22/2012 06:09:53 PM
What a great day to be climbing – EARTH DAY. Kai sms ‘Spitz is so beautiful so awsum!!! Love from us all at TIMBUKTU.
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: SPITZKOPPE…what an adventure!!!!STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 04/24/2012 10:02:01 PM—–BODY:
Right bam, in the middle of the toasty Namib desert is a 1700m granite lump of rock. Spitzkoppe was at first just a fun idea so we could keep fit for Mt. Kenya, which would be happening in a month and a half. However, this trip to the middle of a very hot nowhere, was filled with logistical problems.
Firstly, the basis of the K2K expedition is to be carbon neutral, so that meant we had to figure out a way to get our gear, food and especially water to our camp. We thought we could do it all on foot and maybe hitching a ride here and there.
So on the 20th we set off from Swakopmund at around 6am to see how we were going to get to the Spitzkoppe turn off 122km outside of Swakopmund. 10 minutes into looking for a ride, we found someone heading to Windhoek and he agreed to drop us off at the exit…SCORE!! So we arrived at the turn off and started the long 34km walk to Spitz – in 34 degrees Celsius!! 20 minutes into the trek, a family from Zambia heading to Spitz stopped and we hitched a ride in… Why were we so worried?!?!? It had been so easy.
We did, however have to carry 30L of water (each) to camp, 3.2 kms away (bit of a knee buster!!)
We set up camp and stared up at the beautiful granite walls we’d be heading up to next day and were super psyched- probably a bit too confident.
We set off the next morning at 7.30am. At 8am it was already +30 degrees and we were feeling it.
2 hours into the approach, we started to get totally confused by the conflicting written and photo description of the approach. 7 hours into the approach, water began to run out and it was too late to even start climbing the route (even if we found it).
We got back to camp disappointed and heavily irritated; how could we have not found the start of one of the easiest climbs on the mountain?
We studied the guide that night and the next morning we headed off even earlier to find the route. We went up weird and dangerous gullies till eventually we were high up the mountain, still very lost, getting ourselves into very hazardous situations. The granite was crappy, and without warning slabs would just fall off the wall. Scary. 8 hours into it we thought we’d found the correct route, so I headed off to check if we could abseil off a rather large rock. As I checked it out, I heard a crunch and felt pressure on my back. Shit…a refrigerator sized chunk of rock was about to fall! I tried to push back and then quickly jumped out of the way. A second later it was crashing down a very steep gully… J and I had lost our nerve and we weren’t that interested to climb a route which we could easily do.
We headed back to camp dehydrated and disappointed. The following morning (23rd) we left and started the walk out.
On our way out, we saw that there was a school in the small village of Spitzkoppe. We met the principal who was really interested in the K2K expedition and the message we were trying to send out. Unfortunately, the kids were writing exams so we couldn’t do the programs, but we handed out the Camco solar panel flyer’s which they were very interested in and the activities we had on water sanitation…it wasn’t what we’d been hoping for, but we had still managed to spread OUR MESSAGE!
The trek out wasn’t nearly as easy as getting in. 4 empty bakkies drove past, which dampened our spirits. 5 hours went by of trekking in 35 plus degrees….then…we hit a bit of luck: A local guy selling gem stones on the side of the road offered us a ride on his DONKEY CART!! What amazing timing. We met the two stubborn
In my opinion is was a success. We may have not made the summit, but we had traveled to a very remote place in the middle of the desert by sustainable means, carried all our gear and WATER in by ourselves, spent +17 hours on a tricky mountain, gone to a school and made it out again!
Our legs and minds are getting stronger and this is only the beginning!! (pix to follow)
Thanks for reading! Kai
—–COMMENT:AUTHOR: Bobbie FitchenEMAIL: email@example.comIP: 126.96.36.199URL: DATE: 04/26/2012 11:33:19 AM
That’s real special, Kai.
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: Back “home” at the Cardboard Box Backpackers – WindhoekSTATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 04/30/2012 06:24:08 AM—–BODY:
Another overnight train ride brought us to the last leg of our Namibian journey. With school holidays having just begun, it was a lot more crowded than our trip to Swakopmund…. three coaches this time, with all seats sat in! It was not the most comfortable ride, but we’ve come appreciate the accommodation savings that overnight travel provides.
Well, our time in Namibia is up and we’ve spent the last three days relaxing at our home away from home, the Cardboard Box backpackers in Windhoek. This is a great little venue, with friendly staff, neat rooms and dormitories, and a small tidy (albeit sandy) camping area. And cheap too. N$70 pp/pn for camping, and N$95 pp/pn for a bed in a dorm. I opted for a dorm bed this time, to give my back a bit of a rest, and was really happy with the mattress I slept on – firm and seemingly new!
The two cherries on top – a free cup of coffee and plate of cinnamon pancakes for breakfast……. AND ….. FREE WI-FI. Big bonus.
From a travellers perspective, Windhoek seems to be a bit of a transit lounge, with travellers hanging around, recovering from previous adventures, and planning future ones.
The Cardboard Box reminds me a little of the Interzone in William Borroughs’ “The Naked Lunch”. Journalists with talking type-writers are replaced by blogging travellers with all manner of electronic gadgets, and bug powder dust is replaced by Windhoek and Tafel Lager.
We thoroughly enjoyed our chill time here, and I got round to some decent cooking, taking full advantage of Chad’s rosemary bush and herb garden!
Today at 09:30 Namibian time (one hour behind SA) we are off for an interview on a local radio station, Radiowave 96.7FM. So, if you have a world radio, or internet radio, do tune in.
At 13:30 we get on our Intercape bus and head up north into Zambia, were we are looking forward to our stay at Jollyboys in Livingstone. The owner, Kim, has very kindly offered team Kape2Kenya a 50% discount on our camping fees! Thank you Jollyboys, we cannot wait to get there!
See you in Zambia!!!
Till next time
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: Livingstone……..The place to be!!!!!STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 05/05/2012 07:47:23 PM—–BODY:
We barely had time to set up camp and we were off again to catch up with Misha and Jeremy (GreenPop). Jono and I managed to find the meeting spot, the Museum, which was surprisingly only 50meters away from Jolly Boys- SCORE!
In the meeting we met with various teachers and environmentalists from Livingston and Lusaka. It was fantastic to meet with people who may live thousands of kilometres away from each other, however when it came down to the environmental issues facing Zambia the support each person showed for K2K and GreenPop’s Trees for Zambia was immense.
After one hell of a moving discussion Jeremy, Uncle Benji, Kebe and I raced off (being late again!!) for an interview with Claudous on Zambezi FM for “Tree Tuesday”. When we arrived we were welcomed to the sound of drilling and were quickly informed that the Aircon had gone KAPUTTTT! We were going to have to wait a litttttttttle bit (Love Africa!). We eventually got into the hot and stuffy studio and an epic discussion began. Uncle Benji and Kebe spoke with such passion about our need to stop being selfish and make sure that our children’s children can live in a natural environment that they enjoyed so much when they were children (which was way back!). We got K2K out there which was a plus for sure and we also got much more people, in Livingston, aware of what amazing things were happening in their home town.
On Wednesday, Misha and Arthur took us out for a treat. Arthur (cannot for the life of me remember his surname). Arthur owns a house right on the Zambezi and he’s a sailor, I think you can see where this is going! However, just before we sailed off into the Zambezi I experienced one of the more unique briefings. Basically, in the briefing Arthur said that if we did get attacked by a hippo…then we must drive under the surface to escape! But we must make sure we don’t knock into any crocs…brilliant!
That evening on the Zambezi was incredible and we were able to get talking about Arthurs ideas and solutions towards charcoal use and the destruction of the forests in Zambia. We were introduced to houses made from crushed-up glass (re-cycled)! And… it’s actually in practice!
Friday arrived and it was Misha and Jeremy’s last few hours before they jetted off back to Cape Town. However, they made sure to make those last few hours very productive. We tagged along and went through to one of the schools that we were going to seeing with our programs. We met the teachers, got some interview time, saw the facilities and got nicely psyched up! This is the same school which will be writing the pen-pal letters for the Canadian schools which we’ll be posting.
We’ve been super busy but still managed to see the might which is Victoria Falls…to put it bluntly…its rather big.
School opens on Monday…Wish us luck J
Over and out (in Africa)
—–COMMENT:AUTHOR: StephanieEMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.orgIP: 188.8.131.52URL: DATE: 05/08/2012 03:28:44 PM
Hey guys….the bus was not only one hour, but two hours later than I expected into Lusaka. Kalulu’s is a nice place, although under construction. Broad’s might be better, but I’ve no complaints!
See you around Africa.
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: The Programs actually worked???!!!….Yes!STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 05/10/2012 08:12:54 PM—–BODY:
And it all began!!
We left early on Tuesday morning for the Ministry of Education. After looking a bit for the person we needed to meet (who we never found), we finally found someone else who was more than happy to print out some of our worksheets for the schools which would be starting in the next 45 minutes (always seem to be slightly late!)
The worksheets were printed and we were ready to make magic happen. After asking for directions a couple of times and taking those so called “shortcuts”, we arrived at Mujala Primary School. We found the principal’s office (which I was quite familiar with from my school days…all 6 months ago!), by the way – no matter where you are in the world, you always feel like you’ve done something wrong when you go into a principal’s office! We met Mrs. Zimkombwe and then we were welcomed to 20 or so kids from random grades (who were the Tree Ambassadors of the school).
I was dead nervous and even though he didn’t look it, I think Jono was too (but, he’s just too cool for school). We all went under a tree outside and the mood relaxed. The kids were slightly shy, but after a couple of minutes of “em” awkward moments all of us got into it nicely.
Ok, if you’re asking what we’re actually doing with the kids, let me explian…
· Introducing ourselves and why we’re actually there. In this case it was telling them about our crazy 4 month, 14000km expedition and GreenPop’s Treevolution happening in Livingston.
· Learning the kids names and then hearing each of them share why they love trees (works like charm)
· Then we give them our KAPE2KENYA/GreenPop worksheets (as seen here)
· The activity for the worksheet comprises of:
- Kids get into groups of 3 or 4 or 5 (depending)
- They come up with their own team name (anything that relates to trees. Ie: the Eagles)
- They go outside and choose a tree to outline.
- When they outlined a tree they’ll go to the tree and by placing the sheet onto the tree and shading within the outline it creates texture on the page.
- Discussing it through with each other they finish it off by drawing 5 blocks/clouds/thought bubbles and writing down 5 different reason why we must love trees
· We generally finish with a discussion and then I’d give a bloody good speech about how the we (the youth of Africa) must nowdecide that this is the time to Make Mountains Metaphors.
The students at Mujala were so interested in the programs and once the other students saw what was happening, we were swamped by 60 more, all checking out what the original kids (doing the tree-programs) were doing with the worksheets, as well as scrabbling around to get Jono to take their photo! It was mad but fun as hell for everyone within 250 meters of us!
The first school was a super success and the programs had worked! After all the planning and so much doubt about if it would actually get the kids and teachers interested, it had worked.
We left Mujala on foot for DJ Claudous Hunt’s Tree Tuesday show on Zambezi FM. Our interview was supposed to be MAX 30 min, but stretched on for almost an hour – we must have been good!
The first school was done and radio interview number 2 was completed. So feeling as triumphant as a Spartan, we crawled back to Jolly Boys to sleep it off!
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: DAY 2: A Shock to our systemSTATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 05/11/2012 02:45:20 PM—–BODY:
After a hugely successful day 1 of the Zambian workshops, Jono and I were UUBA excited to kick off day 2.
However, instead of one school, we’d have to deal with TWO including Mukamusaba basic school which was the penpal school. The kids would be writing letters to a Canadian school who had donated a whole load of trees for the big plant in July.
That morning we hopped onto our rented bicycles and sped off towards Mulwani Basic School about 5 or so Kilometres away from Jolly Boys (we initially thought that it was about 25kms away. So we ended up arriving early, which would be a first!!). The workshop began and we had a group of nicely fired up and slightly noisier kids than we had had at Mujala, which was brilliant.
After about 3 hours at the school we were ready to leave and the kids helped us put their drawings up on their classroom wall (special memory).
We bombed back towards Livingston on our bikes to get to the next school on the other side of town. Murphy’s law decided to make my life slightly more difficult so the minute we left the gates of Mulani my bicycle pedal fell off and the arm connected to that! End result, it took slightly longer to get to Mukamusaba.
Arriving at Mukamasaba just by the skin of our teeth we met with the teacher who told us that we were only going to start in the next hour, so… relax J
An hour later, some kids strolled in looking rather uninterested with life. With only a small number of kids in the class it didn’t seem worth it to start yet. So we waited and waited some more. About 15 minutes later we got another pupil and then without warning a flash mob of kids poured into our Not-So-Big class! We could barely catch our breath when another crowd swamped us.
80 or so kids from different grades sat/stood cramped up in the class. The noise didn’t help either. How on earth were we supposed to do this?!? Jono and I are climbers with very little experience in crowd control! We pushed through the wall of noise and managed to get their attention (with much help from Jono’s ear deafening whistling abilities). The workshop began; however it wasn’t long until we had lost their concentration again.
I’d had enough of the hot and stuffy room and sent everyone outside to sit under a tree in their groups…
This was when one of the most spectacular things happened. The minute everyone got outside the entire atmosphere relaxed and everyone just mellowed out. No one was cramped and it just showed how powerful and beautiful Mother Nature is!
The two of us had managed to survive Mukamusaba and had received one of the best responses so far! We got a whole load of letters written and a whole load of happy faces.
We left Mukamusaba 4 hours later and we walked back to Jolly Boy’s for a well-deserved and very cold beverage.
Cheers for now,
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: DAY 3: A lot of heaven, and a little hell.STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 05/12/2012 05:51:11 PM—–BODY:
Thursday 10 May 2012
Two schools today, on this our final day of school visits in Livingstone, and what a special day it was!
Both schools were about 20km out of Livingstone, on the other side of the game reserve. Since you are not allowed to walk or cycle through the park, we decided it was best to hitch-hike. We walked for about 5km before thumbing down a ride from none other than Harriet Milimo, the Provincial Youth Development Co-ordinator. Mrs Milimo was as grateful for the work we were doing in her province as we were for the lift she offered us. This trip seems to be filled with the most fortuitous coincidenc. I guess Karma can be quite the sweetheart too when she wants to!
Our first port of call was Simonga Basic School where we were met by the head teacher Chester Mufalali. After a brief chat and meeting with two of the school’s teachers and a new student teacher, we met with the grade 7a class and ran through our K2K and Greenpop spiels. The pupils seemed quite excited to see us, and responded to us in a most lively manner. At this point we were grateful that it was a relatively small class, compared to 60 odd pupils in one class on the previous day! Once outside for the practical part of the session, we were shown the two trees given to the school by GreenPop. They both seem to be doing very well, even with the lack of water in the village. The new electricity supply, due soon, should help with the problem when submersible pumps are installed in the borehole systems.
Next on the agenda was the Tongabezi Trust school, Tutajane Basic School, which means “Hold hands together”. Mr Mufalali arranged for two of his school kids to walk with us to the school, about 5km away. It was a huge blessing, as there were no signs indicating where, in the middle of the Zambian bush, the school was situated. After passing through the small Tongabezi community we came upon the school….. and we were totally blown away! Tutajane Basic school a elven paradise, set in a small wooded grove with quaint pathways leading from hut to hut (which serve as the classrooms). We were met by a teacher, Syndey, who also heads up the school’s drama department and dance troupe (which recently came first in a big dance competition). It was so refreshing to see educational posters, and childrens’ projects stuck up on the walls of each classroom. Each class also cultivates their own mini-nursery of various tree varieties. They recycle old milk cartons as seedling trays, and are most fortunate to be situated a few hundred metres from the mighty Zambezi, so water appears to be no problem for them. Although we were there to talk about the importance of trees, it felt to us that even the youngest child there had an intrinsic understanding of the nature of trees and our relation to them.
After a delightful day amongst the trees and children, we were offered a lift back to town in the school bus. Along the way we were treated to the sight of a giraffe ambling gently along the side of the road. Aaah, another tough day in Africa!
Friday 11 May 2012
Our last day in Livingstone, and we spent it soaking up the vibe at Jollyboys which after two weeks really felt like home. Kim and her staff run a great show there and provide guests with everything they could possibly need. Jollyboys is not a backpackers. It is a veritable resort! Thank you, for having us and making feel so welcome and chilled at all times.
At 7pm we said our goodbyes, shouldered our heavy packs, and walked down to the Taqwa Bus station. Boarding time was at 19:30, but we only boarded at about 20:45 after it arrived more than an hour late. Upon boarding, we quickly realized that this was definitely no Intercape Mainliner. Very Budget is the apt description. I managed to fall asleep in a rather uncomfortable position, and was woken soon afterwards with our solar panels falling onto Kai’s head from the overhead shelf. Ouch!! I must have fallen asleep again for a little while, but at some point I was woken by some violent vehicle movement and opened my eyes to the bus swerving all over the road and the passengers all shouting at the driver to wake up!! Eish! We saved the equivalent of one dinner on the budget ride, but from now one I’d rather go hungry every so often, and splash out on some good transport.
At 5am this morning (12 May) a friend we’d made on the bus, Harry, escorted us to the Lusaka Backpackers. We checked in at 6am and promptly passed out in our dorm room.
Tomorrow we leave for Lilongwe on the Zambia-Malawi bus, at 5am. More tails from the road once we reach Mabuya Camp in Lilongwe.
Till next time!
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: Malawi: The country which invented the word, “Chilled”!!STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 05/19/2012 07:28:08 AM—–BODY:
We arrived at Mabuyo Camp (our backpackers) late on Sunday evening. We were feeling cramped out from the 15 hour bus ride and hungry for food which didn’t include cheap Mari Biscuit’s or boiled eggs! We dumped our bags and ran to the Mabuyo restaurant for a humungous dish of local food. We said nothing for the next half hour. The rice, beans and chilli deserved every bit of our concentration!
We woke up late the next day to be introduced to a lifestyle that most people would struggle to adapt too. A concept called “CHILLING”…and OH… did we chill that day.
Tuesday came quite quickly and we arranged a radio interview on Capital FM which is definitely a plus. Then, we decided that we should pull up our socks and get sorted with the schools that we would be visiting. The issue we were facing was since we had stayed in Zambia for that extra week, we ended up missing our chance to get to any high schools in Malawi as they were busy with their exams – quite the disappointment. However, we are pretty stubborn and with a couple of phone calls and a ton of help from a teacher from Malawi, Richard Hewitt, we managed to secure some excellent schools! On Friday we’ll be heading to our first school in the Kusungu District about 3 hours outside Lilongwe – what a bonus!
The brilliant thing about this trip is that not only are we trying to spread awareness but we’re learning so much ourselves. What we have been seeing is that Lilongwe has some of the most sustainable types of transport. Public transport is rife and always running. People walk and cycle everywhere. However, the highlight for me was the bicycle taxis! It is basically a standard bike with a comfy seat for the passenger, all only costing 100kwacha (around 2 rand) for a ride into town! They also transport goods around the city such as luggage, sugar cane and anything their calves can endure!
This is the special thing about this trip. We are seeing things in “Third World” countries which “First World” nations should learn from.
Kudos to Lilongwe so far!!!!!!
To be continued….
—–COMMENT:AUTHOR: Bobbie FitchenEMAIL: email@example.comIP: 184.108.40.206URL: DATE: 05/19/2012 11:29:33 AM
Nice hearing from you guys – thought you may have got lost on the lake! Looking forward to seeing some of Jono’s pics. All is wet and rainy in the Cape otherwise we are so enjoying your blogs. X Bobs n Pat and the Timbuktu pack.
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: Click the pic to see more pics of our recent visit to Mtunthama Primary School in MalawiSTATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 05/23/2012 11:25:11 AM—–BODY:
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: Paradise Found!STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 05/24/2012 06:58:50 PM—–BODY:
It was a slight morning-after kind of morning, but we were okay with that. We’d missed the early bus to Mzuzu in the north, but we were okay with that too. Malawi certainly was having its laid back effect on us. The night before had been a little unexpected fun. Feeling victorious after visiting our first school in Malawi, and making it back from Kasungu in one piece, we stumbled into Mabuya Camp pub and found a party in full swing already. A bunch of Israeli girls were pouring shots and things were getting raucous. Oh well, last night in Lilongwe, we may as well join in the madness.
Having slept well past the early bus, we packed up leisurely and ambled up to the AXA Bus depot (pleasantly far away from the chaotic general bus depot) to buy tickets for the 12:30 express bus. It was little pricier than the “early” bus, but our only option if we wanted to reach Mzuzu that day. The fancy coach was unfashionably punctual and departed at precisely 12:30! Sitting in our velour seats, waching telly on modern drop-down monitors, we could hardly believe the luxury. What a treat! While Malawi slid by quietly I put my headphones on and got totally lost in the beautiful scenery passing by my window. Towards late afternoon we passed big granite domes and rounded hills; it was starting to feel most tropical, and climbable! Then we passed through the massive Malawi pine forests!! We ogled at the landscape around us, jaws dropping around every bend in the road. A passenger sitting behind me proudly informed us that Malawi has the biggest forest in Central Africa. Just before dark we pulled into the bus station at Mzuzu, home of Malawian coffee. We quickly organised a share-taxi to take us (and about five other fully laden passagers) to Nkhata Bay. The taxi driver deposited us and three rather bewildered Americans right at the entrance to Mayoka Village, a backpackers’ we’d be advised to just rock up at. Well, what a sight! In the black of night, the steep steps leading down to the main reception and restaurant were lit up with solar garden lamps and the chalets dotted around were glowing warmly. There was great local music coming from the restaurant/bar area, far down near the water, along with hearty laughter and chatter. It was an utterly magical arrival, like stepping into a village out of Tolkien’s imagination. Gullupmhing our huge packs down the rustic stone stairway, we heard our names being called out. Down in the restaurant were Jack, Henry, Tim, and Tom, student doctors from the UK, and Chris and Jess, volunteers from Canada. We’d met them at all Mabuya Camp in Lilongwe and struck up a great friendship. By the time Kai and I started signing in, we had been handed ice cold beers and told that our friends had kept two beds available in their dorm. Now this is how a holiday should start!! After the school success in Zambia and the hectic bus rides to Malawi, we felt we deserved a little paradise. And wow, did we find it! Mayoka Village, owned and run by husband and wife team Gary and Kathryn Wiggill, is, to say the very least, quite spectacular. It perches on a precipitous slope which tumbles right down to the lake, and blends in beautifully with its tropical surroundings. The delightful stone and reed chalets are linked to the main restaurant and gathering area by a network of undulating paths which feel like they’ve been trod by many a mystical and magical creature. Inspired and designed by Kathryn and Gary, and built almost entirely by Mr Kallanje, Moyaka is filled with life and love. And they are doing their bit for the planet too! With one compost toilet built so far, and more in the umm pipeline, the visitors and residents can give something back to the earth with each sitting.
The restaurant, with its fantastic and varied menu, serves seasonal veggies grown in Mayokas veggie patch on the property and one in Mzuzu. Seasoning and herbs are grown on the property too. The bathrooms all have loofah vines growing on their roofs. Not many establishments can boast offering their guests home-grown loofahs. The staff members are all super friendly and welcoming, and the activities offered are good fun… but the free tea and biscuits daily at 4pm was my favouritel! We went for the boat cruise to a little rock jumping area, where we hoped to find some deep water soloing. Given more time, we would have loved to explore further north which may prove more promising for DWS. Next door to Mayoka Village is Butterfly Space, a backpacker’s and volunteer’s lodge. It is a wonderfully wooded retreat, run by Alice (A.J.), who also runs a little school on the property for disabled children and young adults. We spent a morning there with her class and had great fun drawing fish and trees and hearts and flowers and such. Alice also took us to a nursery school, which she is building, in a village just outside of Nkhata Bay, and then to the local primary school which is now growing its own veggies and is building a great water catchment and containment system. We told both Alice of Butterfly Space, and Kathryn and Gary of Mayoka all about Camco and handed them some flyers. It would be great to get the schools around Nkhata Bay powered up by solar energy. The lodge owners are also very keen to start harness the sun’s vast energy to help power their respective establishments. It seems that sustainability and eco-awareness are the trend here in Malawi, with solar panels on sale in a lot of places, and many people doing a lot of good to lessen their impact on the environment, so it was a shock to hear that the south of Lake Malawi is currently being trawled by a Chinese fishing company. This is terrible, and will be disastrous to the local subsistence and commercial fishermen. We are very keen to do what we can to protect Lake Malawi from the greed of big fishing companies!! All in all, our stay at Mayoka Village has been an amazing treat, and an education! Go Malawi!!! And many thanks to Gary and Kathryn for having us, and contributing to our journey by upgrading our accommodation to a waterfront chalet! It has been a very good stay indeed. Do check them out online, http://www.mayokavillagebeachlodge.com, and on Facebook: Mayoka Village Beach Lodge. Also check out http://www.butterflyspace.com and on Facebook: Butterfly Space We are now off to Mzuzu again where we will spend the night. Tomorrow we catch the train across the border into Tanzania, and on to Mbeya where we catch the train to Dar es Salaam on Saturday. Till next time, and from a new country.
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: Leaving Malawi for a not-so-chilled-out spot!STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1 DATE: 05/30/2012 06:49:53 AM—–BODY:
Next Stop… Mzoooooooooooooooooozoooooooooooozooooooooooooo J
On Thursday (24th May), we very sleepily and rather reluctantly decided it was time to leave the beauty of Lake Malawi and the relaxation station which is Nkhata Bay. After a cup of sweet tea (was a ritual at 4pm everyday) and a final, slightly teary, swim in the crystal clear water we headed into the bustling town to find a taxi to Mzuzu. We found one (the cheapest as usual) and we were on the road again. The 45minute drive turned into 3 hours. Simply, we had found the nicest taxi driver in Malawi and even though his taxi was held together with Nsema* and duct tape he found it necessary to tow another broken down taxi to Mzuzu. He still managed to charge the other passenger’s for the ride, a true businessman).
We arrived at our backpackers, Mzoozoozoo! It was one hell of an awesome looking place. Owned by a rocker-dude and designed and built in such a way to suit the needs of dirty backpackers, hippies and those who love weird and wonderful designs. For example, our dorm room for the night was a caravan in the middle of a bamboo grove!
We hit the hay early that evening. I felt like death warmed up, sickly and pathetic having caught a stomach bug a day or so before. But, we had to wake up at 5.30am the next morning to find a bus from Mzuzu to Mbeya, Tanzania. We had no idea, at that point, how much of an epic it was going to be.
TILL NEXT TIME
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: Onwards to Dar!! PART ISTATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 06/06/2012 09:36:38 PM—–BODY:
The not-so Mobile locomotive…
The ironic thing about this whole train debacle is that we’d been rushing for the past two days (from Malawi) to make sure that we’d arrive at the TAZARA Station on time and we actually arrived early. We left our grubby hotel (in Mbeya) early on the morning of the 26th May to hopefully get a ticket to Dar Es Salaam. We heaved ourselves into the Daladala with the best looking suspension and after a rather uncomfortable 20minutes we arrived at a rather large building which looked like it was designed by the Soviets sometime in the early 70s…in other words, not much passion or friendliness went into it. Nonetheless, we scrambled up the endless steps and ran to the ticket office, hoping that the tickets hadn’t sold out. We were welcomed to a boarded up booth. The office was supposed to open at 9.30am, it was 10.20am and nothing. We waited (that word is going to become quite familiar) for a bit while we ate our burnt/stale coconut biscuit’s (our nutritious breakfast). The minute we heard the board slide a way, a heard of people rushed to get to the booth. Pushing and shoving babies out of the way Jono managed to get to the front of the line and we had our tickets on the sleeper liner-score! The train, from Zambia, would be arriving in Mbeya at 4pm and then 24hours later we’d be dipping our feet into the warm Indian Ocean…well that was the plan. We sat and waited (there it is again), eating cheap biscuit’s and drank cheap sugary drinks for the rest of that day…just being useless. 4pm came and past. An hour and a half later the train arrived and we suited up and got ready for the mad rush to the train. However, instead of the doors opening a very uninspired lady wheeled out a black board with some writing on it. It was all in Swahili so only when a whole load of people started to mob the office and the air was of the station was filled with angry and unhappy voices did we sort of get the picture that something wasn’t quite right. “Apparently”, something was blocking the rail between us and Dar and we were only going to leave the next morning at 8am. However, this story changed numerous times over the next coming days. At that point, I was feeling like death warmed up, some kind of stomach bug. We decided that we weren’t going to sleep in the station that night and we’d sneak around station, jump the fence and go find our sleeper carriage- some real Mission Impossible, 007 stuff! We stealthily made it onto the train and through to our room. When I say “stealthily”, our bags got stuck in the passage and it took a lot of effort and a by making a bit of a racket to squeeze them through to our room 10meters away, but it’s the thought which counts. We found our bunk beds and feeling light headed and nauseous I passed out for the next 13hours.
At 7am we lazily rolled out of bed and sat around looking forward to our departure which would be happening in an hour! That hour passed and we had still had not moved. We only left a 3pm that afternoon, because apparently they didn’t know where the train’s engine had disappeared off to-seriously! Eventually we were moving. Passing through beautiful rice fields, maze fields and open grass-lands. It sort-of-kind-of made the wait worth it and as soon as Jono and I relax into the rocking movements of the train-we became nicely tranced out. It’s a pity this only lasted 2 hours…
Get ready for the next one. Kai
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: Onwards to Dar… PART IISTATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 06/08/2012 10:28:05 AM—–BODY:
There, in the middle of no-where (a very beautiful no-where, but a no-where nonetheless) is where we stayed stagnant.
A few more hours went by and then we got a little sick of being clueless so I went off on a reconnaissance mission to find our train steward, who didn’t like his life all that much and he seemed to take it out on his defenceless passengers. Melodramatic much? After some searching I found him sitting on the train tracks chowing down some sugar cane. He told me quite quickly that we’d be leaving in 2minutes… Really?!? Does he really think we’re that dumb? However, he did give me a slight death stare so I tried to look like I believed him and retreated back to the cabin.
Hours passed by painfully slowly. So we decided to take turns in exploring our immediate environment while the other stayed guarding the cabin from any other inquisitive passengers. In fact, we were quite close to a small little village. Their clay mud huts stood nicely camouflaged in the tall maze fields and avocado trees. The atmosphere then exploded into laughter and plain old noise due to crowds of locals and their many kids from the village swarming the train to see why we were intruding on their turf. Lively, indeed. It got dark and it became quite obvious that we weren’t going anywhere so we got ready for our second night on the train.
I always seem to sleep through anything interesting. At about 1.30am, Jono awoke to a whole load of banging and shouting. A mob of fed up passengers from the 3rd class cabins, who were running out of food and money, had decided that it was time for the conductor to answer some questions. They ended up chasing the poor fellow down the length of the train to the staff cabins! For the next hour or so, a full on protest had broken out! Jono thought that there was some kind of coup happening, so he got his Swiss Army knife (and tooth-pick) ready to defend us- Chuck Norris would be proud!!
We woke the following morning (in one piece) to the same old view outside our window. We waited some more and then, 15hours after we first stopped, we eventually left. We were moving, but only after several hours of movement did we give ourselves the satisfaction to believe it. We passed through huge green valleys; we travelled into deep forests and then crossed empty savannahs. For hours, I sat gazing out of the window; it was just something just so unexpected. Hours went by and then we began to figure out that we were quite hungry, well I was at least. For the past days I hadn’t eaten anything more than peanuts and crappy biscuit’s. I should probably mention that I’m a silly vegetarian and finding a meal in East Africa which isn’t fried in animal fat, or hasn’t got some kind of severed limb stuffed in it, is pretty tough, especially on a train which only serves beef or chicken. So when we eventually stopped at a decent looking station we jumped off in search of some nutrition. The great thing about being on the equator is fruit and veg grows everywhere. For barely anything we managed to buy rugby ball sized avo’s, huge bunches of bananas, banana chips, green oranges, tons of tomato’s, and fried sunflower seeds- what a feast it was going to be!
Eventually our third night came about and feeling full for once we were rocked to sleep (because doing nothing makes you exhausted).
We woke to the jaw dropping view of the Selous Game Reserve. Giraffes, zebra and other exotic animals were seen. What a unique and amazing way to wake up. And then, on our 4th day (was supposed to be 24hours) we arrived at sea level and soon after that the legendary city of Dar Es Salaam was spotted!
Thanks for reading… Kai
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: Salaam Dar es SalaamSTATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 06/09/2012 11:42:19 AM—–BODY:
The Nature Reserve gave way to urban outskirts as the train clacked its way eastwards to Tanzania’s capital city. This was a moment we had been preparing for. Passports, credit cards and cash all safely stashed; packs locked; a few key phrases memorised – Hapana (no), Niache! (bugger off), we readied ourselves for the madness.
We stepped off the train into the completely unexpected. Taxi touts asked politely, and with one “Hapana” they went on with their day. A calm walk across the orderly platform later, and out into the road after being shown to the best place to catch a *Dala Dala* (mini-bus), other Swahili phrases were brought out. These along the lines of “Asante” (Thank you), and lots of “Asante sana” (thank you, VERY MUCH). The Dala-Dalas seat about 20, but usually have about 30 passengers, so we quickly realised that we were not going fit all of our kit in one of these during lunch time rush hour.
A brisk 4km walk along the main road, accompanied by a Japanese tourist, brought us to our home for the next few days. Econolodge is in the heart of the predominantly Indian neighbourhood of the city centre, so one sniff and I knew I was in gastronomy heaven. Joy on every street corner with incense, curries, perfumes, and freshly made barfis everywhere. This mish-mash of cultures, and even crazier mix of architecture, is also home to the widest and freshest selection of fruit we’d seen since Woolies Constantia. Sipping coconut milk from nature’s cocktail mugs, we immediately set off to get a little lost in bustling downtown Dar. Traffic and timid are two words that don’t work together in this place. It’s all very polite however. Once a (generally narrow) collision has been averted, it’s all smiles and asantes. After a delicious and relatively inexpensive dinner at a fully vegetarian restaurant, Tasty Bites, we wondered around a while, marvelling at the nightlife in the city, before heading back to the lodge to prepare to meet the folks at CAMCO the next morning.
After a surprisingly easy and quick Dala-Dala ride, we were in the ‘burbs meeting with Jeff Felten and Andrew Mnzava at CAMCO Tanzania. We suddenly realized just how far we’d come on this journey, and proudly presented our expedition to our fantastic sponsors. Kai spoke enthusiastically about his life and adventures so far, and we felt incredibly welcomed by CAMCO. Jeff kindly invited us over to his family home for dinner, where his wife Lucie presented us with a feast, the likes of which we hadn’t seen in ages. And there were even more than enough vegies for Kai! To Jeff and Lucie Felten, and to CAMCO….. Asante sana.
—–COMMENT:AUTHOR: Bobbie FitchenEMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.orgIP: 220.127.116.11URL: DATE: 06/10/2012 07:49:02 AM
Thanks J for taking us into your world – Dar sounds fab! Lots of luck and love for the BIG hill in Kenya. Pat and Bobbie.
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: the 13th…not all too lucky STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 06/24/2012 11:51:29 AM—–BODY:
After the quad busting load up to the met station we were quite glad to know that the following day would be a relaxed acclimatising stroll up to pick-nick rock at about 3700m. We woke, bright and early. After a cup-a-joe and some sugary muesli we were off. Not 5 minutes into our hike we saw Kamara (Johns preferred name) running up towards us. Between him trying to catch his breath he told us that a couple of very arrogant monkeys were jumping all over our tents and crawling under the fly. We hurried down to check it out. We saw a caretaker walking towards us with some wrappers in his hand and then… we saw it. To get to some of Jono’s snacks, one of those little buggers had torn a bowling ball size hole through the mesh of our beautiful Hubba Hubba!! We ended up clearing out the entire tent so there wouldn’t be any more repeat offences.
Later than we expected, we were off (for real). We walked up through the forest until the jeep track turned into a single track which took us into the thick forest. An hour later we were welcomed to the infamous vertical bog. The slog up the bog was a navigational hazard because you never knew if you were on a path or in a muddy stream and then every now and again you’re hauling your boot free from one of the many muddy and dirty ditches scatted along the way – fun fun.
We walked into the clouds and then we were at Picnic rock! Thousands of meters below us we could just see the tiny town of Naro Moru which we’d come from just days before. We got a full view of the devastation where massive fire tore through the slopes in January however, happily most of it was already bogged over.
Sadly, with ominous storm clouds moving in there was still no sight of Batian or Nelion. As the clouds began to swamp us, we decided, with a mouth full of peanuts to start the decent back to camp.
Over and Out
Kai (the one & only 🙂 )
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: At least I know, I could get a job as a porter 🙂 14th JuneSTATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 06/24/2012 11:59:35 AM—–BODY:
The great migration to Mackinders Camp started early, early the next day at 5.30am. We’d be lugging all of our gear for over 9hours to 4300m. The rain the previous day had made the bog even more boggy and with the extra 30kgs we sank even deeper and I personally saw my arse a couple of times – definitely a tough one. I arrived at Picnic Rock at about 11am (just a bit earlier than the rest of the team) and after taking a great deep breath I headed back up an even steeper hill which, now, had patches of snow and frost covered flora. The trek was tough and hitting the 4000m point with my left butt cheek going numb didn’t make it any easier. However, this time I had some motivation…a full view of the magnificent summits of Mt Kenya! By the way, I knew that is magical view was spurring the others on as well (well, how could it not).
I arrived at camp feeling rather spent. 40 or so minutes later Kamara and Wanderi (our helpers) strolled in and then a bit of that Jono decided to say hello. Garth was still quite far behind and when he arrived we were informed that he’s waterproof jacket had gone missing! With sleet and high winds on the climb it would be reckless to climb without one. Basically, “ No Shell, No Summit”-(yikes).
Right now, everyone is trying to stay as hydrated as possible and adapt to the new, unfamiliar conditions a 5000 meter peak brings. But, with the snow covered peak of Kenya in full view 24/7 the excitement is at a new high!
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: Semi-Cooked rice and baked beans…yum yumSTATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 06/25/2012 10:20:55 AM—–BODY:
Garths jacket has been found! Even though the radio barely worked at Mackinders and we’d almost lost all hope of finding it, a bloke from mountain rescue came across it and it is now in Garths “safe” possession. Big Thanks to everyone from the Mt Kenya Mountain Rescue and the camp caretakers. Sorry for putting you through that.
Ok…back to the trek. We had a chilly and very windy acclimatising hike up to Hut Lake which gave us a breath taking (like we really needed less oxygen to our brains) and definitely one hell of a dramatic view of the snowy south face. The Hanging glaciers (aka seracs) and powder snow is a great contrast to the thousand meter cliffs of dark brown and blackened volcanic rock. The first thing I thought when I saw it was “you mean, we’re supposed to get up that?!? Huh?!?” We checked out the colourful lake. Green and bright yellow algae surround the crystal blue water from the glaciers. At this point J was looking very professional, cleaning and strewing in one of his many pricy SLR lenses. I decided not to embarrass myself by taking out my silly point and shoot. Instead, I just tried to take it all in. It was exactly 2 months to the day that J and I had left the comfort of Cape Town for the 4 months epic and here we were looking at the pointy peak which had fascinated us so much for so long. We’d been through quite a lot, from 40 plus degrees in the Namib dessert to the might of Vic falls, the humidity of Dar Es Salaam and in between all that we’d been rushing around trying to get to as many schools as possible. The fact of the matter is that we’d arrived at the base of Africa’s second highest peak, carried all of our gear, had very little money and done it all as sustainably as possible! Now, it was all up to us Manning-up (a bit more J ), trusting each other and getting ourselves up that magnificent peak.
We ate semi-cooked rice and two cans of baked beans that evening because it was going to be a big mission getting ourselves, with all our stuff, up the rather steep and very loose volcanic scree which lies between us and Top Hut (4790m).
Written under the influence of Baked Bean Power,
—–COMMENT:AUTHOR: BelzEMAIL: IP: 18.104.22.168URL: DATE: 06/27/2012 11:20:16 AM
Good luck with the rest of the mission!! Sounds great! with regards Baked Bean Power always rememeber rather out than in!!
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: Bloggy Bye-ByeSTATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 06/28/2012 09:01:33 AM—–BODY:
27 June 2012
Today, with much sadness (and big bro-hugs), I say goodbye (or rather, See you later) to Kai and K2K, in order to return home and attend to personal responsibilities.
This has been the most amazing adventure I’ve ever undertaken, and each moment has been burned into my memory permanently. While attaining the summit of Batian was a huge acheivement on its own, it (as our slogan “Making Mountains Metaphors” suggests) was merely a small physical representaion of the huge lessons learned, and personal awareness acheived, throughout our long journey to get to the top.
Kai, we’ve proved without doubt that we can acheive our goals in a way that is kinder to the planet, and I am honoured to have done it with you! Now my young tjom-tjom, carry that flag home proudly, in a way that is kinder to yourself. Go forth, with love, share your newfound knowledge, and live it up to the absolute max.
I will be keeping things on the go from down here, at ground control, Major Tom. Defrost your visor and keep your capsule in good nick.
Jono Kilima Joseph
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: The Ascent of Mt. Kenya, Day 1: A TOUGHY for Sure – 19th June 2012 STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 07/09/2012 04:33:51 PM—–BODY:
Day 1- 19th June 2012
Our nerves were on edge, our hearts were racing and whenever one of us felt slightly brave we’d take a quick glance at the beautifully jagged and ever-so-frightening northern face of Mt. Kenya. A matte black wall with slivers of grey snow scattered around it. It looked like something out of Lord of the Rings!
After a silent but delicious meal of 2 min noodles, cheesy sauce, and Soya chunks (power to the vegetarians!), we said some dramatic and rather nostalgic ‘good-nights’ (quite pathetic, really) and tried to get some sleep -tried. I personally got up 4 times that evening for the loo, that’s how nervous I was! This was it; all the prep, the training and waiting (so much bloody waiting) and we were about to be put it the test.
We woke at 4am on the 19th of June, had a bit of breakfast, gulped down a couple warm cups of tea. We shoved on the packs and slid our Petzl harnesses on, and then heaved the endless amount of gear and rope onto
our backs. And we were off!!!
The guide says that it takes 45 minutes to reach the base of the climb…they lied. Only if you’re some kind of hybrid of Usain Bolt and a Sherpa could you maybe get up there in that time frame, maybe. To get to the base of the climb it involves boulder hoping and dragging yourself up scree all at a 45 degree angle. It was a tough approach; however, it caused us to start the climb far too late.
As we climbed higher so did the temperature and it wasn’t too long till my ultra warm CAPESTORM Jacket was stuffed into my bag I was down to my thermals with every vent open- crazy to think that 2 hours before it was below zero. Jono lead us through the sketchy scree like a champion and other than getting lost a couple times and some dangerously close rock falls we were climbing well. However, the combination of the loose terrain,
getting a bit lost, and being three of us (with Garth not being very comfortable or prepared with Traditional climbing) it took us much longer than J or I were expecting.
We arrived at the half way point (the famous Amphitheatre- 4700m) in the afternoon and the weather started to move in. We decided that it would be a good plan to bivy there because we still needed to negotiate our way past Firmin’s Tower and the crux pitch before dark fell and it was very unlikely that we’d make it in time.
We got our survival bags, my FireFly sleeping bag, some space blankets, the two Therm-A-Rests and our small bags of food and water rations out. We only had 2 litres of water each for the 3 day epic! The sleet fell but it was exciting. When the weather cleared at about 8pm we had the most amazing and breathtaking view of the nights sky and the dark shadows of the pointy peaks which lay below us. It was just the three of us, the mountain, and for entertainment, the rich Milky-Way. We tried to sleep with little success and after one of the longest nights of my life, a sharp red and pinkish line revealed itself across the horizon. As the sun rose, so did our spirits. Once my toes defrosted and we’d had a chocolate bar (pretty much the extent of the food I ate that day), we began climbing…again.
Thanks for Reading
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: The Ascent of Mount Kenya, DAY 2: Summit Time!! – June, 20th 2012STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 07/09/2012 04:52:51 PM—–BODY:
Jono climbed hard and flew through the crux pitch. However, still climbing irritatingly slowly we made it to Shiptons Notch (the final leg to the summit at about 5100m) far too late and my doubts concerning pushing on grew. Sleet was falling and the wind was picking up. We then began the extraordinary and definitely one hell of a thrilling traverse along the South West face of the mountain. What lay beneath our boots were snow covered pointy rocks, glaciers, and a whole load of fall, what fun!
It had just become a race for the summit, but at this pace it wasn’t going to happen. So something very quickly had to be done, it was decided that Garth wouldn’t be able to push for the summit, if he did we’d never have made it. Getting to the summit is definitely the primary goal of any climber. However, when it comes to big ones like Mt. Kenya, it’s different. You’ve invested so much time and money; sacrificed so much and there you are just a few meters from that summit you’d been dreaming about for so many years, it takes a lot to give it up and turn around. That stubborn drive to risk everything is called Summit Fever and that’s how most deaths and accidents happen on big mountains. On Mt. Elbrus in 2010, a friend of mine didn’t accept that he should turn around and he collapsed on the decent resulting in him coming really close to dying. I’m so happy and grateful that it didn’t happen on Kenya, big kudos to Garth for sure.
J and I left G in a safe little notch on the ridge and we powered onto the summit, climbing efficiently and quickly.
A short while later we were staring in disbelief at the famous boulder which makes the summit of Batian (5199m). We scrabbled the next 2meters and there we were…at the top! Bro hugs were made. I would have cried but I was so dehydrated I just couldn’t. It was windy, barely any view due to the emmence amount of clouds which were moving in. The only reference that we couldn’t go any higher was the iconic summit of Nelion which stood 10meters below us.
At 4:52pm on the June, 20th 2012 TEAM KAPE 2 KENYA (AKA Kai Fitchen & Jonathan Joseph) stood on the true Summit of Mt. Kenya!!
However, we were only half way and we needed to get down and this is when it got really interesting…
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: Thoughts from the Road…its coming to an end BUT… I’ve gotta keep the momentum goingSTATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 08/05/2012 11:02:21 AM—–BODY:
From Nairobi to Arusha…Arusha to Dar…Having the TAZARA live up to its reputation as being unreliable and useless…getting massively ripped off (again) in the cowboy town of Mbeya…and then being welcomed with open arms to Malawi (“The Warm Heart of Africa”)…and that’s were I begin to type these concluding blogs of KAPE 2 KENYA 2012.
With this expedition (as with any mountain), getting to the summit of Kenya was only just half-way. The public transport idea was the basis of the entire expedition and travelling back from the mountain by public transport has made this more of an adventure than I could have ever imagined.
The climb was tough and mentally tiring. To be honest, when I got back to Nairobi I was ready to get back home – to be able to sleep in my own bed, to raid the fridge and find my little comfort zone. But flying home would have proved absolutely nothing and would undermine the basic principles that we set out with on K2K. I’ve experienced so much more than I would have ever expected travelling back the way I have. Yes, I have travelled the same route coming back (so far), aside from the odd detour here and there. I’ve been able to go back to places I’d travelled to on the way up, however, this time the difference was huge. Feeling a bit more confident has made a world of difference – I was able to explore places like Arusha, Dar and Mzuzu even more and I got to absorb far more local action than I did on the way up. I met friends I’d made on the way up and strengthened those friendships this time round. If I’d never befriended certain people in Lilongwe I would have never known to check out the historical town of Zomba, Malawi which is packed with excitement and beauty – big thanks to Allison for making it so unforgettable. Even though it was unforeseen that I’d be travelling solo on the way back, I’ve grown in an even bigger way and the ability to be spontaneous and act on a whim has really been a highlight for me. Its been good, to say the least.
Being back in the friendly and relaxed garden that is Malawi has also given me the time and space to think. Think about keeping the momentum of K2K going. K2K has grown beyond belief, considering that it was just some crazy idea a year and a half ago and I’m not all too keen about letting it fade away. I’ve been thinking also about making sure that the next one is even bigger and badder – did someone say KAPE 2 the America’s?!
I’ve proved to myself that climbing in a manner which doesn’t destroy the environment can be done. Experiencing the raw power of nature through climbing and in a way which can benefit communities, get more people (especially the youth) involved and make sure to generate awareness through pictures and video via the 101 ways of updating people through the internet – it’s all possible.
I’m not saying that every time you travel somewhere you’ve got to do it in the mad way I have. However, being more considerate is a must. Maybe it isn’t necessary to fly to some far flung South American or European country for a weekend multiple times a year. That’s why I chose Africa to start with – because its my home continent and there is so many wonderful places within reach of a bus or train line. Why not check out your own country’s beauty before you set off on a 10,0000 km flight to some random place on the other side of the world? I can definitely say this as a South African and if you’re lucky enough to live in our amazing part of the globe, save some cash and go check out the Cederberg or the Wild Coast or what about our neighbouring nations with so much nature to cherish and protect. I can assure you that it’s far better than checking out rainy old England (no offence 🙂 ).
If you’ve been following my travels so far then the final message that I will leave you with is essentially the same one that I began with: Next time you travel, climb a mountain, sail a boat, or just a about anything in nature, just be a little bit more aware that we are facing great challenges and we need to be work together to make sure our children and grandchildren (sorry, for being corny) get to experience the beauty which we often take for granted. Leave your fancy 4X4 at home and take the bus (or cycle) because if a silly 18 year old Capetonian can do it all the way to Mt. Kenya and back, I bet taking it to school or work is pretty doable!
Theres definitely more to elaborate on and a hell off a lot more to reflect on BUT…while its fresh in my head and my heart I thought this needed to be said!
Sent from a sandy beach on the magnificent Lake Malawi!
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: Mind-blowing Mulanje…STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 08/15/2012 10:44:00 AM—–BODY:
Like everything on this trip, getting to the mountain is generally more tiring than the actual climb…this time it wasn’t all that different.
Oh…Firstly, I should introduce the new team:
Allison (Zomba’s Socialite and our game consultant), Chris (Captain Canada), Bahia & Aaron (The blokes from the A+B=FilmUnit) and yours truly (the one who “thought” he had Bilharzia and… Malaria and…something tropical and deadly a day before we headed off for Mulanje …Turned out I didn’t 😛 )
We had plans to wake up super early on Saturday and make sure we’d be hiking by 9am. The alarms were set and when that dreaded chime arrived we all, in unison, decided to press the Snooze button all too many times. We eventually rolled out of bed, shrugged on our packs, had a couple tablespoons worth of peanut butter and wobbled out the doors.
Arriving late. We found a mini bus, heading for Limbe. Piled our bags in and waited for the mini bus to fill. 2 hours later we left Zomba. We got to Limbe and quickly hopped onto another mini bus heading for the town of Mulanje. Travelling was cramped, but bearable. However, it was quite disconcerting to smell a burning clutch and some rubber. Every now and again, the driver would jump out, walk around the taxi kicking the tires, acting like he knew what he was doing.
As we got closer to the town and the haze faded the Massif of Mulanje came into view and, quite quickly, I felt rather small. Vertical ancient granite walls towered above the lush forests – jaw-droppingly beautiful! We crawled out the taxi and then, after a stale donut and a couple of bananas, we engaged in trying to find a taxi to the forestry office (which didn’t cost us an arm and a leg). We eventually found a lady, known as Ms. Leopard (Grrrr…), who was heading that way and would give us a lift for a reasonable sum. We crammed in and headed off. Apparently, it takes 15 minutes to get to the forestry office. However, with Ms. Leopard behind the wheel we had bicycle taxi’s strolling past us giving us a wave!
One of the many cyclist’s who over took us was a super bloke named Wilson who offed to porter up some food for the five of us.
We were 3 or 5 hours behind schedule, but honestly, no-one could care less. We were in the mountains and it was time to switch off and get into mountain mode. The first day was short but really steep. We managed to gain over a 1000m in the first hour. It was hot and sweaty work but seeing the forestry office and villages shrink and disappear way from view was exactly what I needed- just being back in the mountains. After the steep (close to vertical) section we made it to the Chambe Basin and a world of pine trees and even more slabs of granite were burnt into my memory. The plateau is mainly used for timber and from what I saw, it’s being done as quickly as possible.
We arrived at the Chambe Hut just before dark and got supper going because, quite frankly, I was rather bushed from heaving up an abnormally large bag. In this case, unlike Mount Kenya, I decided to bring stuff that I didn’t actually need. A book or two, my slackline (didn’t use it, but slacklining has become a large part of my existence since I started this trip) and some random other extras. We got started with supper and snacked on the couple tons of ground nuts we’d roasted the night before. Eventually we settled down in a cabin next to a fire, which the caretaker had lit for us. We chatted that evening about life and the meaning of it (quite usual when camping) and then decided that being in the Hubba Hubba that night would be a waste of good stargazing so some of us slept underneath the glowing southern night sky -beautiful.
We woke late and refreshed. Chris was woken by being pecked by a number of crows which was a laugh (at least it was for me). After, another lump of peanut butter we headed off towards the next camp. It became a lot more bush-like and we saw the evidence of the most recent fire which was a great contrast to the dark green forests the day before. We strolled for a couple of hours and then we saw Sapitwa peak, Malawi’s highest mountain which stands at just over 3000m. We got to camp and stretched out, playing cards under the malawian sun. Chris and Allison headed off for the summit while the rest of us decided to relax and enjoy the mountain’s serenity. I was feeling nauseous and just not right from the so-called tropical illness I got a couple days before and A+B just wanted to chill and get a bit of footage.
Allison and Chris made amazing time and soon we were digging into instant noodles and soya chunks which we ended up dousing in Nali chili sauce, the greatest thing ever created by man (just saying).
The long descent the next day was tough on the calves and after a cool-off dip in the waterfall which was the first real wash I’d had in the past couple of days it was time to say good-bye to Wilson and catch the mini bus back to Zomba.
Mulanje was exceptional and I was so amazed that we didn’t meet another group on the mountain. Its some of the most breath taking scenery I’ve ever had the pleasure to walk in! Wilson, the caretakers, and the few locals we met on the mountain were friendly and kind and I do want to go back and spend a whole lot longer hiking and climbing in and around Mulanje. Fun fact: Mulanje has the longest rock face in Africa…hmmmm…sounds like a challenge! All in all, as I’ve see in Malawi alone, from the lake to the mountains there is just so much potential for it to be a global adventure mecca.
My advice: If you are thinking of going to a place to experience nature in a raw, unspoilt way….GO TO MALAWI!!
Big thanks to Allison, Chris, A+B and Wilson for making the final leg of my KAPE 2 KENYA 2012 adventure so unforgettable!
Cheers for now
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: See you there!! STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1 DATE: 11/26/2012 09:45:38 AM—–BODY:
Since I’ve been back I’ve been presenting and writing many article on the expedition. Its been tough, being back in the land of normality, but its been a whole new world of excitment. Just being able to go through the footage and absorb what happened has been fantastic.
I want to share my experience with the people that have helped me make it happen…
So…If you’ve been following us, supporting the cause and/or you’re just keen to see and hear first hand how KAPE2KENYA went…
Want to know….
how I was able to handle crowds of kids with Vic falls as a back drop?
and how the epic climb of Mt. Kenya went?
Kai will be presenting on KAPE2KENYA at the Mountain Club of South Africa in Cape Town.
Hope to see you there!
MAKING MOUNTAINS METAPHORS
If you’ve been following us, supporting the cause and you’re keen to see and hear first hand how KAPE2KENYA went!?
Want to know…. how Kai was able to handle crowds of kids with Vic falls as a back drop? How they managed to heave 40kg backs into crowded taxis? and how the epic climb of Mt. Kenya went? Kai will be presenting on KAPE2KENYA at the Mountain Club of South Africa in Cape Town.
Hope to see you there!MAKING MOUNTAINS METAPHORS
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: K Day! Mt Kenya – Day 1 (11 June 2012)STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 06/23/2012 07:56:46 PM—–BODY:
Well, we are here! To be precise, we are at 3048m, camping at the Met Station along the Naro Moru route.
We started off at 6am from the Mountain Club in Nairobi yesterday. Garth (who had joined us in Kenya’s capital to help document our mountain adventure) looked a little shell-shocked when, rubbing the sleep from his eyes, standing on Langata Rd leading to Nairobi city centre, waiting for a mini-bus taxi, with two backpacks each, before dawn, he suddenly understood that this is how we’d been travelling for the past two months. Amazingly, the third Matatu to stop had enough space for us. More amazingly, our gear fitted in too (at a price of course). Benson had very kindly suggested he escort us the main bus station and help arrange a decent ride to Naro Moru. By 08:30 we were happily heading off, and Garth with camera rolling, had mellowed into travelling the K2K way.
In Naro Moru, we met with Jane, who’d arranged our porters, John and Joseph (no word of lie), and she gave us a delicious lunch to send us into the park with full bellies. She arranged a taxi for the three of us, two porters, and all our gear. Once we’d all jammed in, Jane hopped in too for the ride, to make sure we were well looked after at the gate. We’d planned to spend a night just outside of the park, but the conservation officers said we couldn’t. The daily fee is based on what time you enter park, so we waited outside till 6pm to go in, and set up camp.
This morning we were up early, and hiking at 8am. We took the 9km hike to the Met Station pole pole (slowly slowly). The walk along the jeep track took us through incredible forest, including the beautiful bamboo belt. We have enough days on the mountain to acclimatize slowly and well, so Kai’s excellent planning has given us two nights here at just over 3000m. Tomorrow we do a day hike through the vertical bog up to Picnic Rock and back. On Thursday it is through the bog again and up to Mackinders Camp, a 10km slog into high altitude territory.
Till next time, from a little higher! (The Original) Jono
—–COMMENT:AUTHOR: BelzEMAIL: IP: 22.214.171.124URL: DATE: 06/27/2012 11:22:28 AM
Ahh!! My previous comment has been deleted because of the authentication blah blah!!! Anyway, I can’t wait to see the pics and hear the stories! You guys are doing a great trip man, very jesalous!!!
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: Onwards and upwards, to Mt Kenya!!STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 06/10/2012 08:25:26 PM—–BODY:
Well, we have one more sleep until we start what we’ve spent nearly two years dreaming and planning. By the time most of you read this, we will be jammed into a Matatu, rolling our way towards Naro Moru.
Tomorrow we start our trek up Mt Kenya, and ultimately to the top of Batian at 5199m above sea level. It has taken two months, seven schools, and seven thousand kilometres of road and rail, to get from Cape Town at sea-level to Nairobi at about 1700m, and soon we hope to reach the apex of the Kape2Kenya journey.
We would like to give really huge thanks to the Mountain Club of Kenya (www.mck.or.ke). The MCK has gone out of their way to make us feel right at home, with access to their bouldering wall, swimming pool, slack-line trees, fantastic library and clubroom. Ivy, Asa, Federico, Hiram, thank you so much for all of your kindness and support. Benson, you have been amazing. Thank you for taking care of us as only you can! And the Masaai security guards with real bows and arrows, you guys are frighteningly cool. We look forward to the gathering on the 26th!
Chat to you all from the mountain! Apparently if you can see a town, you can get signal.
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: The Tanzanian Saga…STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1 DATE: 05/30/2012 07:53:01 AM—–BODY:
Getting to the border involved a cramped up ride in a cargo/passenger bus to Karonga (By the way, the cargo was hundreds of cheap alcohol sachets…great). We then needed to get to the Tanzanian border around 1.5 hours away from Karonga and then find a taxi to Mbeya, 4 hours’ drive.
We arrived in Karonga five hours later and thankfully, all in one piece. Luckily that same bus was headed to the boarder! We drove for about an hour but then Murphy’s Law kicked in, we’d apparently run out of petrol 8kms away from the border. After a bit of shouting, some arguing and a lot of exasperation we decided that we were going to walk the rest of the way, because we were convince they’d done this on purpose to get more cash out of us.
We walked and walked some more and then a very surprising thing happened. One of the guys’ who was working on the bus drifted past us on a bicycle taxi and he had brought two other bicycle taxi’s with him which he’d paid for, what a champion! The taxi cyclist’s eyes bulged when they saw our mammoth packs. All together I weighed about 125kgs so they were going to have to work for their money that day. We had a wobbly start but their almighty calves powered through and soon we were going at a decent speed. The one problem J and I found was that having 40 kgs of dead weight strapped to our backs resulted in the packs slowly pulling us off the back of the bikes, so for the next 30minutes we were holding a constant crunch. How I don’t have a six pack after that still ceases to amaze me!
We made our way closer to Swahili-land and it was amazing how the landscape changed so dramatically. Rice fields as far as the eye could see, beautiful banana and mango trees, dark green groves and the increasing number of clay mud huts- was utterly breath-taking.
We hoped off the taxis with cramped out abs and I was feeling ready to wretch everywhere due to that pesky stomach bug, but we had country to enter. Getting our stamp to leave Malawi was an absolute breeze but then the Tanzanian saga began.
We walked into no-man’s land, which is between the Malawian and Tanzanian boarder. Immediately we were mobbed by 101 blokes trying to get us to exchange money. We had a few bucks on us so we thought it would be easier than a bank. 5 minutes later a guy had already run off with Jono’s cash which was just one of the many irritations which would follow. Just by the skin of our teeth we made it to the Tanzanian boarder to get our much needed Visa’s. We sorted the emigration documents out in a jiffy (we had become pro’s at that). It all seemed fine until we were welcomed with the wonderful sum of $100 which they wanted us to pay! We refused because we had researched it and S.A citizen don’t need to pay for a Tanzanian Visa. We were convinced that this was some kind of scam so for the next hour or so we sat there threating that we would set our tent in their office if they didn’t let us in. An Idle threat of course but it still sounds pretty hard-core. After a while they got bored with us and seemed very keen to go home so they gave us our stamps; however, they still wrote in our passports that we needed to pay the sum when we left the country. In reality, South Africans did actually have to pay for Tanzanian Visa which we were completely unaware of. At least when we walked over boarder we felt triumphant.
As night fell we stepped over into Tanzania and were swarmed by Taxi drivers all offering us inflated (mzungu*) prices, trying to get us to put our bags into their vehicles and then trying to sell us a sweet potato at the same time-it was utter madness. We eventually found a taxi at a sort of reasonable price and we were off for Mbeya.
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: New K2K Logos, WebsiteSTATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 09/20/2011 09:39:04 AM—–BODY:
Hey! Check out our new look and while your at it, stop in at the new K2K website. We now have a home that we can make our own. We will continue with the blog and will be posting updates as we get closer to the expedition.
We also are calling out to YOU! We need your support to make K2K happen. In addition to our current supporters, we are looking for individual, corporate and financial sponsors to help us get to Kenya (and back). If you have a company that would like to get on board with our project, help to share our green mission with the youth of Africa, or just have a great idea, WE NEED YOU!
You can help us with:
- MONEY! We need all the help that we can get. We are lucky enough to have Capestorm (who is donating gear and apparel) and Goal Zero (discounted solar batteries), but we need more help.
- Travel assistance – We will be traveling by bus, minibus, bike, or train through 6 countries. We could use any sort of local assistance, even just some good advice as to where to stay and what to chow!
- Accommodation – While we go, we will be stopping at local schools to hang out with the kids and talk about their connection to being green. Sometimes we’ll be staying at the schools themselves, but we also need nightly accommodation. If you have a guest house, hotel, campground, or barn, drop us a line.
- Spread the word! Please spread the news about K2K. Share our story on your Facebook page, tweet us, or drop a hint to your local newspaper, or radio station. We need as much exposure as we can get. We want everyone to folllow us on our journey.
- Good ideas – If you think that you have a great idea that would make K2K even better, send us an email or hit us up on Facebook.
————-AUTHOR: Kai Fitchen TITLE: THE TEAM STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 04/13/2011 06:45:00 PM—–BODY
Jonathan ‘JONO’ Joseph
I find myself most at home in wild rugged places, and strive to ensure that future generations are afforded the same opportunity to explore a still-magnificent planet. There is enough left for everyone, but only if we act now.Although I had very adventurous upbringing I only discovered mountains properly in 2001 when, after one Drakensberg hike and some beginner rock climbing I decided to give Kilimanjaro a bash. No-one was available to join me so I set off on my own and came back after a successful summit hooked on mountaineering, but realised that these experiences are best shared. I have since been blessed with opportunities to explore some of South Africa’s most amazing mountains and share ropes with some of the country’s finest climbers.
My love for mountains, my love for Africa, and my love for people makes me very proud to be a part of the Kape to Kenya Expedition.
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: ECO-SCHOOLS!STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1 DATE: 04/24/2011 10:00:00 AM—–BODY:
At the schools, we’ll be spreading the message of LIVING IN AN ENVIRONMENTALLY SUSTAINABLE MANNER.
The program will cover 2-3 days at each school. Being as interactive with the students as possible.
Topics such as:
- General spectrum of being Eco-friendly (I.E Reduce, reuse, recycle Etc.)
- Targeting local issues within their community & helping the students solve these problems
- Showing the students how to start campaign and community based programs which will be effective and long term (I.E Recycling programs and “plant a tree day”)
————-AUTHOR: Kai FitchenTITLE: THE ECO-ROUTE!!!STATUS: PublishALLOW COMMENTS: 1DATE: 04/23/2011 11:30:00 AM—–BODY: