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MAY 17, 2007

An English Breakfast

South Africa Route Map Vilankulo, gateway to the Bazaruto Archipelago. Forget what you may have heard, it has recovered from the recent cyclones and is well worth a visit - at least it is nice and quiet.

While at Zombie Cucumber, we had a few beers with Jan, his wife, his daughter and her husband. They were on a short holiday from South Africa and were wondering what made us drop everything to do this trip. The same questions we had been asked many times before leaving and along the way. We were joined in the conversation by 65 year old Dave, a South African on the final leg of his four month journey driving to egypt and back. Dave was happy to pass on some great advice about what we can expect moving forward. He modelled himself on the South African Explorer/Adventurer Kingsley Holgate.

Dave told us one story of Kingsley's that has since stuck in my mind. Put seven stones in front of you, one for each decade of your life. Remove the 7th stone as you will be too old, then remove all the stones up to your current decade. The number of stones left represents the number of years left to enjoy your life. Dave had only one stone left, hence his African Trip.

Travelling like we are, a lot of people come and go, you learn to make friends quickly, and move on just as quickly. You look at a person's good qualities and ignore their bad ones. Just as soon as we had met Dave and Jan, they left and in their place arrived a group of young English backpackers just starting out on their own adventure. Strangely enough it was refreshing being amongst fellow Westerners for a change. I know we came to Africa to experience something new, but at Zombie it has been refreshing to eat proper home cooked English food and relaxing with young British backpackers talking cricket.

After spending an evening with the Brits we decided to hire a local dhow to take us out to Margerique Island for a day of snorkeling.

We launched nice and early, after clearing the beach we set the sail and with the motor putting away we had a good solid pace out to the islands. As we drifted into the protection of the island we anchored near the reef, and as the tide was rising quickly jumped into the water. For the next hour or so we snorkelled along the reef, before kicking back on the beach in the sun.

As the sun rose a couple of the group set off into the island with a local ranger and returned half an hour later with a couple of mini bar size bottles of vodka and handful of cold beers. Paradise.

By around midday the guys on the boat fired up the onboard kitchen (a firepit) and as we moved under the shade of tree we were served a seafood buffet of crab, fish, salad, rise and fresh fruit.

After a short frolick along the beach with some of the local children we reboarded and set sail for home. With a tail wind the motor was switched off and we were free to swim alongside the boat. Darkness was setting as we finally beached at Vilankulo, flushed from the sun and an amazing day out on the water.

The Bazaruto Archipeligo

Sounds idilic doesn't it, well that is what Donna experienced, now let me give the same story from my perspective.

It is the same up until the snorkling, however after a few minutes in the water I started getting some crazy chills. Remember it is not cold here, the water temp is probably 26 degrees and the ambient temperature was in the mid 30's. I struggled on for around half an hour before having to get out. For the next hour I shivered away in the sun trying to get warm, eventually calming down. Only then my temperature kept rising.

By lunch time I was huddled in the shade of a tree with a massive headache. I struggled to get a few mounthfulls of food down (the fish was great) and was thankful when we finally reboarded.

Did I say we had a lovely serene sail home - my temperature soared and with the slow drift powered only by sail it took nearly three hours. Was I gratefull when we finally hit the beach.

Over the next two hours I started drinking water in case it was just dehydration (unlikely as I had been drinking all day) however my temperature kept on climbing till around 6pm when it hit 38.6. At this point I had two options, wait it out until the morning and get a malaria check at the hospital, when it could be well into the dangerous phase, or go straight onto the cure.

Within an hour of taking the medicine my temperature dropped and I felt a lot better. Add four days of not being able to move, muscle and joint pain, headaches and you've got paradise.

At least the food was great. After staying at Bamboozi in Tofo we are so glad this hit here in Vilankulo. We are in a comforable hut, with hot showers every night (which is a treat after not having had a hot shower now since Kruger park in Africa three weeks ago).

During our stay in Vilankulo it's thrown up a number of interesting insights into african life. One being the inability to get a direct honest answer to a question. Asking questions to African guys, we've found they are extremely polite and will give you the exact answer to your question, however they will not elaborate on the answer, for example we over heard someone ask the staff where the internet cafe was, they were promptly shown the map and given accurate directions, yet they never offered up the advice that the place had been shut down for three months.

One day when the main chef was out we asked the barman to make us a sandwich, no problem he said, what do you want. I asked for a ham cheese, tomatoe and onion sandwich, hmmm, he could do cheese tomatoe and onion, but he had never made one with ham before (asking him to just add ham was too hard), so we had to wait until the chef came back.

With the effects of Malaria easing - we have decided to head north to Chimoi and to evaluate there the decision to head into Zimbabwe or not.

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Margarique island and the snorkling sounds fantastic but poor Matthew you must have felt dreadful

Lachie & Stella - July 02, 2007

This is fantastic, that's all that I can say.  Keep in touch, and I can't wait to keep reading your new adventures!!

Ruth - May 31, 2007


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