Driving Tanzania AGAIN

When we left Rwanda, we went to Tanzania again. The road after the Tanzaniza border was horrendous. It was full of potholes and trucks. It was as bad as the Zambian roads! There were lots of judder bars which Daddy did NOT like. We didn’t see one judder bar, because we were following a truck and there was a lot of dust. Then the Taniwha got airborne! We stayed that night in a car park of a motel. There were lots of kids looking at us, one threw his ball at us. It was made of smushed up plastic bags and string.

Tanzania is really big, so we had a long driving day. We did a wild camp and there were hundreds of flies. Daddy made a big fire.

Then we drove to Lake Shore Lodge, on the edge of Lake Tanganyika. But on the was Daddy said the car was being a bit funny. Then when we were really close to the camp Daddy discovered that the chassis was broken. The chassis is the bones of the landrover. Breaking it is really BAD!!

But, Lake Shore Lodge is the best campsite in the world. We stayed three night. They had a workshop, so Daddy could fix the car. We went swimming in the lake and the best thing was going kayaking. When we went kayaking we saw a kingfisher catching fish. I shared a boat with Daddy and even had a go at paddling. It was fun!

I also have been busy sewing my birthday pillowcase from Genevieve. I think it looks good!

Then we had another long driving day, back to the coffee farm. We had a yummy dinner there. Next we are off to a new country: Malawi.


Rwanda is a very small country, but it is very hilly.  It was also very clean, we even saw people sweeping the main road.  On our first day we stayed at a campsite with weird puppets in the trees. But what we really liked was that it had a table tennis table. It was fun. There were also 2 dogs that we fed some sausages. But it made the puppy run round like crazy.

We also could try some basket weaving. It was fun, you had to wrap some plastic, (or specially dyed sisal) around a special grass. After a while the needle hurt my fingers. We bought a bowl, but we aren’t sure if we can take it back to New Zealand.

The next day we drove to Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. We went to a supermarket there. The cars were crazy on the road. And there were lots of bicycles. We went to the Genocide Memorial Museum. Mummy and Daddy took turns to go in. 25 years ago the Hutu tribe tried to kill all of the Tutsi tribe. A lot of people were killed.

After Kigali we went to Lake Kivu. It was really pretty, but I nearly fell in the lake. We had dinner there, and I had pizza!

Then we drove through the Nyungwe Forest Park. There were lots of soldiers standing at the side. We saw a few monkeys. Then we stayed at an ecocentre. I liked the hammock with the view over the tea plantation and the valley.

Then we drove to Tanzania.




Goodbye Uganda

After the Murchison Falls National Park we drove south. On the way we stopped at a farm because the car stopped working. There were lots of lights flashing on the dashboard and we couldn’t make it up a hill. Daddy had to put the Taniwha in low range. The farm had a really nice garden. and lots of banana trees. Genevieve and I made horses. Daddy fixed the problem too.

Then we headed to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. On the way we stopped at a place where they make sculptures out of bronze. We had a drink, but it was very ‘pole pole’. That means slowly, slowly in Swahili. The guy explained how they made the sculptures. First they carve the shape out of wood or clay. Then they  cover it with wax. Then the cover the wax with ceramics and fire it. That melts the wax leaving a hollow which they pour the bronze in. My favourite sculpture was a squirrel. It was part of a set of clan totems. He told us that there were about 57 different clans. When you were in a clan you had to protect its totem, and you weren’t allowed to eat it. If you got married then you had to protect your wife or husbands’ totem too.

After that we drove to the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest. Mummy really wanted to see the gorillas, but they didn’t have any spaces. Genevieve and I were too little.  Mummy said we would have to come back to Uganda one day!  We learnt about Gorilla’s at the information centre. Did you know:

  • They are the strongest mammal.
  • The senior males are called silverbacks.
  • They live in a group called a troop.
  • They eat mainly leaves, but sometimes ants,
  • They don’t have tails, like monkeys.
  • They build nests to sleep in.

Daddy did some more work on the car. Mummy, Genevieve and I went to meet some kids at an afterschool club. They sang some songs, did some drumming and some dancing. Then they showed us their art work. Some were really good. We bought a little picture of a gorilla.

The next day we drove through the Impenetrable Forest. It was very beautiful. We saw lots of colobus monkeys at the side of the road. It was a real jungle. But all around the park is farm land, even on really steep hills. We also saw a dusty gypsum mine and children were working, chipping away rocks. They didn’t have any masks to wear.

The last place we stayed was at Lake Mutanda. A man let us pull up his fishing net, and throw it back in the lake. Then he made us some fishing rods out of sticks and string. He put a little worm on the end for me. I didn’t catch anything though.  In the morning, the car had sunk into the soft ground, but it was no problem to get out.


The next day we went to Rwanda.

How the &%£! did he do that?!?!

It’s been an action packed few months for Man vs LandRover. Loads of routine stuff sorted out in Nairobi at Jungle Junction – rocker gasket, service etc (huge thanks to Chris and spannerman John).

In Amboseli Park, we managed to pop one of our rear shock absorbers – then had real trouble sourcing replacements (+2 lift…). Eventually “Selim the Parts Guy” got involved, and within a few hours presented us with a pair of shiny new Bilstein’s. Needless to say, ride quality has drastically improved… Around the same time it became apparent that one of the radiator mounts was busted, an easy fix fortunately.

One niggling issue that has been driving me mad for some time has been an intermittent problem with the auto box stick having difficulty selecting gear – this came to a head a few weeks back with the box dropping into limp mode (3rd gear only) – the classic flashing M&S lights issue we have had before, in Finland. That episode led to a new XYZ switch, but they cost a fortune… so I removed the XYZ (painful), drilled it open, and found corroded tracks (it’s a rotary switch). After cleaning it out, reassembling and many hours of alignment faffing, the autobox gearchanges are silky smooth, and a few thousand km down the road the issue has not reoccurred.

The big one… we drove a horrible stretch of road leaving Rwanda, managed to get the truck a bit airborne, and upon landing tore one of the front spring mounts clean off the chassis, as well as cracking some welds in the roof. To be clear, we hadn’t realised the damage was done until a few days later (it must have been hanging on by a thread of steel, and there was no change in handling or “stance”). We were about 50km from our planned campsite (Lake Shore Lodge, on Tanganyika) when the steering became incredibly heavy, and I had a nasty feeling that we had lost our Power Steering. It turned out that this was the shock turret slowly making its way up through the engine bay, and was now in contact with parts of the steering system. In the village 5km from the lodge, the metal finally parted, the shock turret popped the bonnet upwards at a jaunty angle, and the driver’s side wheel ended up firmly in its arch.

We limped up to the lodge, and as fate would have it we met the owners who were more than happy to help us out – workshop, staff, welder, cold beers… all put at our disposal. Top job too, and at an incredibly reasonable rate. Chris, Frankie, Pruva – you guys are amazing. Not sure about bare feet in the workshop, but I can’t dispute the quality of the work!

If anyone gets the opportunity to stay here, don’t think twice. And the food is sublime. Eleanor will blog all about it. So the chassis is back in one piece (replacement spring mount is being provided by the lovely Marsha from SpannerMonkeys in the UK, will get the chassis chopped and welded again in Windhoek), the pillars have been welded (B’s have held nicely, A needs a bit more TLC down the road) and the bonnet is pretty much back in shape.  How the shock turret managed to miss everything vital on it’s tour of the engine bay remains a mystery.  That’s it for now…

Murchison Falls National Park

In Uganda we went to the Murchison Falls National Park. We stayed at Red Chilli Campsite.

First we went to see the Murchison Falls. They are on the Nile River. The Falls are on the Victoria Nile and is where the river goes through an 8 m wide gorge. It is very impressive and there was lots of spray!

I did some research on the Nile River. It is the longest river in the world, (6,695 km) and goes through 10 countries. It ends up in Egypt, in the Mediterranean Sea. It comes from the White Nile, which is made up of the Victoria Nile, the Albert Nile and the Mountain Nile. Also the Blue Nile, which starts in Ethiopia. The Blue Nile and the White Nile meet in Sudan. Even though the White Nile is bigger, it loses more water and is only 15% of the water that gets to Egypt. The Nile is important to Egypt because it carries minerals from the mountains and makes the soil good for the Egyptians to grow their crops.

The next day we got up and went on a game drive. We had to take a ferry, that only held 8 cars. We crossed the Nile River and drove to the delta where the Victoria Nile goes into Lake Albert and the Albert Nile starts. We saw lots of animals, especially giraffes. Some of the giraffes were very dark in colour. We also saw lots of elephants and buffalo. And lots and lots of different antelope. We also saw some lions but some naughty tourists went off the road, close to the lions and scared them away. They got fined for being naughty.  This park is different to other parks as we didn’t see any zebra or wildebeest.