Run away to Africa- Mphingwe Lodge to Beira

After having an early English breakfast and settling my bill I struck out on a risky adventure. I took the 4X4 road on the east of Gongorosa National park. Where one person said there might be a lodge to sleep at.  Another website on my cell said there was a place to stay. To start the road was not bad but had sandy middle man. When a car came I had to pull off and stop.

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Only saw my first vehicle after 40km of sand. Passed Inhamitanga did not see any lodge. Passed Inaminga saw a sign for a safari company but seemed to point at some huts. This used to be the main railway sidings for the Sugar cane plantations when the Portuguese were here. Station and some buildings are just a shot down ruin. Apparently there was one of the big battles that took place here as it was a strategic place in the civil war. There is a town laid out with nice wide streets and run down houses. Some been used and others ruins. There were some government buildings.

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

It was a Sunday morning when I passed through here. Town was like a big street gathering. People sitting on the walls in front of shops talking and shouting comments at people. Stopped at a tavern to see if they had cold water. Some chap took a chance with the communication problems and made sure he had a Coca Cola on my account. Water was low and it was very hot. So bought a Coca Cola and sat on the veranda and watched the antics people were getting up to. After finishing my drink I rode down the street looking in shops to see if I could get a good meal as it was about 10:30 am and knew there were no big towns for a long way. On the edge of town I found a nice take away/ sit down eating place. Ordered a half chicken and chips. Here met a trader that could speak English. We had a long chat about Mozambique and business and the road ahead. He offered me a lift. He was first going to have to do business in town and would leave much later. I said that I will start down the road and if he finds me on the road I would like to accept the offer. However I must have travelled much faster than him so did not see him again.

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Temperature rose to the hottest day for the trip. It went to 45 degrees Celsius on my cycle computer. The water in my bottle was as hot as tea. Had to stop under trees every few kilometres to cool down, as I could feel heat exertion setting in. The road was also very badly corrugated. Every now and again I would find bolts and washers that had been shaken loose off of vehicles. Do not know what was worse the corrugation or the deep sand that I was doing earlier. Earlier in day the sand was so bad that I had to push my bicycle.

At about four in the afternoon I arrived at Maunza. This was a small town and knowing there was not towns for a long way I started to look for sleeping accommodation at the first place I came to. It happened to be an overnight place. Very new with tiled floors and beds without mosquito nets over the bed.

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

The person that tiled had not had proper training as you could see how things do not line up right. Well at least it looked clean. I was the only person in that wing of rooms. On another wing there were men that worked for the railway company. It seemed to be a school. The host must have been a teacher. He could only speak Portuguese.

I placed an order for supper but could not understand what was on the verbal menu. So said Sadsa and half chicken. He said no chicken. Then he changed his mind and said ok. Later I worked out why.

The host then invited me over to sit under a tree in front of the school to talk with the men. However they could not understand too much, just Harare and bicycle. Then there was the echo of Harare going down the streets. Little later there came a Zimbabwean that spoke English. He then told my story to a few people sitting near. It turns out he works for a white Zimbabwean farmer that got kicked off his farm. So he employs people like him and sends them away to get training in conservation agriculture. Then he places them in small villages all the way from Kenya to Mozambique to train the locals. He then supplies seed and purchases the harvest back from them. The people he employs advise the rural farmers. I am sure they do not know the true value of their harvest, as they do not have market information out in this remote area. It is also difficult to transport produce out to cities. Cost of transport also prohibits marketing in the cities. I then told him how we farm at home. Even had a few pictures and videos of no till planters, sprayers and harvesters on my cell phone. He wished he could come and get some experience with this large scale farming.

I asked him how do these people make a living in the area. He said the men refuse to work. They have lots of wives and children. Then the women toil on the fields to feed the family. He says a thirty five year old man like him would normally have about five wives and twenty children. This way he does not have to do anything and when he gets old his children will have to look after him.

While sitting under this tree with the men. A woman came down the road with a child. She was disciplining the child which was crying. It struck me as I was sitting under this tree that it was a safe area.  I realized then that the family structures were in place. She was teaching what is right and wrong. That is why I felt safe here. Where as in South Africa the family structure was damaged and the migrant labour had caused broken families, resulting in gangsters and criminal activity. We do not always realize the value of family structure to maintain a safe happy community.

For protein there are a few men that drive trucks to Cohora Basa and purchase fish and bring them back to sell in the village. The other trade is poaching in Gongorosa nature reserve. When I was sitting there he pointed out a Toyota land cruiser pick up. He said these were game guards from the nature reserve that are involved in anti-poaching. However some of them are involved in the poaching to, if I understand correctly. There are no cattle in this village as the insects kill them off.

It took until eight thirty at night to prepare supper for me. I can only think why it took so long. I think they had to barter for the only chicken running around town, then catch it, kill it and then cook it. By the time I got the chicken it had a lovely taste and was in a stainless steel oven tray with a little sauce. However I had to put my foot on it to hold it down when trying to rip a piece of flesh off. Not that there was much flesh on those bones. Must repeat again it was tasty. All the while the host sat across the table from me and watched me eat. When I was finished he signalled to the cook to bring him his food. He had the other half of the chicken. He seemed to enjoy it. Did not look half as tough as when I was trying to eat. I had to stay to see if he managed to rip the flesh off those bones.

It was a hot steamy night with very little air movement.  Did not sleep to well as I could hear the mosquitoes flying around. All I could think of was getting malaria. The host had armed me with a tin of doom (insect killer). Had to give a spray every now and again when I heard the mosquito air force was getting heavy.

Crossing town at sunrise I saw there was a lot of government buildings as this was the provincial capital. There were also lots of old ruins from the Portuguese time and the war.

Digital Camera

I also gave that Indian a message that I would be passing Dondo just after lunch. He wrote back that the colleague of his had died and was busy with arraigning to send his body back to India. In his words “he was no more’’. So he would not be able to see me. First five or so kilometre was hard sand and made good time. Then stopped for muesli cereal along the road at about eight in the morning. Did this to try to cover as much distance before the heat of the day. This section of the road was through a bit of a tropical jungle.

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

There were quite a few logging trucks on this road.  There was also a truck hauling cotton out driven by Chines men. The road became deep sand and made for some hard ridding.

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Before midday the rain came in made the sand a little harder. The rain cooled things off nice and gave me an extra boost. This was 36 km from the tar at Dondo. The rain got heavier and heavier. Then passed a village where I could see a vehicle coming from the back. It took some kilometres to get to me. When it over took me it was a pick up full of people on the back. They all laughed at me. Not far down the road I over took it, then there was some comments. Few kilometres down the road it over took again, this time they shouted what sounded like motivation. All the time the rain was coming down and rivers of water were coming down the road. I rode in the shallow rivers so as to get the compacted sand under my wheels. Not far down the road I overtook them again this time they were calling me a machine. Then they over took me again where on they passed comments of respect. All of this racing I was doing with the pickup was to help me to keep up a good pace. Otherwise the rain and road conditions would have started to wear me down. Finally after about ten kilometre of this I could not ride anymore as the wheels were sinking into the mud deeper than the rims on the wheels. The road had become a river bed. My bicycle chain had so much mud on it, you could just feel it grinding. At this point I was twelve kilometre from the tar at Dondo.

Digital Camera

I had to get off and push through the deep waters and bad mud patches. The rain had stopped leaving me with a real mushy road. I could tell it was getting less rural by the amount of vehicles starting to move up and down the road. I was getting closer to the tar at Dondo.

At the T junction at the tar road there is a taxi rank with a small market. There were a few eating places. I picked a place where two people were sitting eating. I just pointed and said want that. They were eating Sadsa and fish. It was about two in the afternoon and the hard work of the day and the wet rain had made me very hungry. It was so nice to get some warm food down in the stomach. The two men invited me to join them. They could speak a little English. We had a good chat and they bought some water for me.

Before leaving the taxi rank I tried to wipe off the mud from the chain and put some lube on. Chain and bottom bracket were making funny noises from the rain and mud. Now it was tar road down to Beira.   In some places there was a wide shoulder on the road and riding went fast. This was so easy compared to what I was ridding before Dondo. However there was some sand tipper trucks that did not give way for me and I had to jump off the edge of road whenever they came past.

Hotel in Beira was a welcome relief to take a shower. Tried to take a photo to show how I was mud from top to bottom. However you would have to zoom in but the camera does not have enough pixels.

Digital Camera

Run away to Africa – Maturara to Cia

Next morning rode up and down the main street, which was a sand road to find road crossing over the Zambezi river. Only to find the longest bridge which is 3.7 km is only a railway line bridge which has a walkway on the one side. Then to find the entrance had to ride around a little. Again fell off bicycle because cleat could not click out fast enough. By this time the cleats were very tight from all the sand and dust stuck in them. By the time I finished this trip the cleats were well worn in and started to click in and out easier.

Digital Camera


I walked down the railway line to the bridge where there was a flight of stairs to climb. The walkway was very busy. People with bowls of mangoes on their heads. Motor bikes and bicycles all went up and down the stairs. Then there were the holes in the walkway floor. This is where the concrete slabs have broken. Then there was just a piece of steel off cut thrown over the gap. To prevent the bicycles or motor bikes falling in the gap. Even people would have to watch their step. I tried to ride across however there were some places I did not trust myself. I pushed my bicycle across some sections where there was not much walkway to pass over. People were friendly and willing to give way to anybody who was in more of a hurry than they were. No matter in which direction they were traveling.

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

At Sena on the other side of the Zambesi River I dismounted the walkway in the middle of a busy town market. There were a few surprised comments passed at this white man that appeared with his bicycle. I just followed the flow of people through the market to the main road. The road from the market was washed away in the middle with a big donga (gulley) so that it was almost impossible to use a car down it. That did not stop the shops from functioning along the road. Road to Cia was wide, sandy and very flat so had to peddle all the way. There was no chance for freewheeling, to take a rest.

Digital Camera

Found people riding bicycles up to 10 Km out of Sena to get to their lands, to work them with hoes. There was a man lifting a woman to a land with a bicycle. Another man with a stick with four chickens tied by their legs upside down, strung across his handle bars. There were others with fresh produce and goats on their bicycle carriers. They were on their way to Sena for exchange or sale. Actually if there was an irrigation scheme this would make a lovely sugarcane area.

Halfway to Cia tried to buy cold water at a road side tavern. No luck, settled for cold Coca Cola. Sat down at a table and waiter helped me. When local children came to look at my bicycle they showed them away. Interesting at this place there was an agricultural high Tec farming project on the go. There even seemed to be some kind of farmers association or co-operative. Looked like it was motivated by some outsiders. There were some tractors and implements around this village. It is very rare to see tractors in this country. Anyway filled water bottle with Coca Cola and was on my way again after cooling off at the tavern.

On the outskirts of Cia I stopped to buy cold water. Without any luck. Had to settle for Mozambique fizzy drink. Sat under the shelter at the shop and drank. It was very hot and nice to get out of the sun and sit on a square seat. Store keepers husband tried to talk with me but found it very difficult as they did not understand English/Afrikaans or broken Zulu. That is as far as my communication skills go. Interesting to note that their home language has some words that are similar to Zulu so here and there was a word that we understood.

At Cia there was a type of one stop garage/filling station with a Standard bank ATM. Here I stopped and drew cash with my bank card to make sure I could pay for upcoming accommodation. Had not eaten yet as food was running low and my Metical was at the end. By this time it was about two in the afternoon. At the one stop there was not much to eat. Was mostly soaps, tooth paste and creams. Suppose lots of people passing there are traveling far. As this is on one of the main routes going north. In the end bought a Pallone roll which I bit a small hole and squeezed it out as I rode. Now the road was tar and not very hilly. Pushed on as Lonely planet guide said there was a nice Lodge 30 km south out of town. Road rolled nice and fast especially with some food in the stomach. Here there are some nice forests. There are logging concessions in this part of the forests.

I arrived late afternoon at Mphingwe Lodge. What a gem in this third world place. Little wooden huts with made up beds and towels rolled up on your bed. Bedside lamps mats and mosquito nets. Everything was polished and shinning. Shared ablutions with wood carvings and floors polished after almost every person that used them. There was a restaurant with cold water and cold drinks.

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Digital Camera


There were chairs around a fire place where travellers can sit under the stars and tell each other of their adventures or work in this rough country. I found it an oasis in the wilderness. Last nice place like this for me was Ugezi tiger lodge three days before. Here I asked somebody to do my washing. So I stayed two nights giving him chance to dry it. It was more to enjoy the rest in cheap luxury (Only 600 metical). They have walking trails in the forest. People say bird watching is good. Even with binoculars the birds were to elusive to see, hiding behind branches or flying off. This is because of all the poverty and wars. The people have been hunting birds and animals with catapults and dogs, just to get food. Watch not to lose your way on the trails as you could be walking in circles for days.

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

Digital Camera

When at this lodge I met an Indian that had spent six years on contract repairing the railway line. The same line I had been traveling alongside all the way from Tete. He had some men with him from India who were coming to quote on a new contract. The one man had fallen sick so they had stopped for the night. I heard him calling out for water in the night. Sounded like the man had got worse during the night. So the next day they took him to the hospital. Anyway the night before as we were sitting under the stars he offered for me to eat at his house and to spend the night, when I pass Dondo. He said some years back he hosted a tour cyclist in his camp on the railway line.

I also met a South African couple that have been doing mission work in northern Mozambique for the past twelve years.  They had some interesting comments to make. In that remote area there is no TV or radio so they get no negative exposure. This makes the people very positive and enjoy a happy life. The worst thing that can happen is the roof leaks or the rain does not come in time to plant.

They spoke of some good meaning people that thought women spend too much time collecting water. So they put in pumps and pumped water up to the village. Hoping to free up time for the women to educate themselves. This resulted in the fabric of the village falling apart. Some villages became none existent after a time. Whereas the older women used to talk with the younger women at the water source and help them with different problems. There would also be listening ears to talk to when they felt the need. There developed a social order in the village when there was the interaction at the water source. Makes you think about civilization. Actually we are replacing a social system that was very successful and self-sustaining. Whereas the capitalist system has only existed for a relatively short time.  The capitalist system has resulting in cannibalism of the poor for the enriching of the rich. In the end there has to be laws to prevent the exploitation of the poor or unexpecting person. This couple also said they have come to enjoy the slower pace of life and the simple things. When they go back to South Africa they do not enjoy it. All the crime and running up and down style of life.

From CapeTown cycle tour to the Waterberg.

What an atmosphere grows around the city of Cape Town at the time of the cycle tour. The whole central business district is humming with bicycles and visitors. The bus services are full of cyclists and people sharing stories of previous year’s rides. What a nice way to market a city for good. The cycle tour generates a large income for the city. The local people all add to the atmosphere of the race day. There are the musicians along the road playing music to the passing cyclists. Then there are supporters singing and chanting. Road closers with bicycles having right of way , gives a feeling of cycling freedom. On the other hand it can get a little crowded.7cab3526d153cb331c57250b98de1b9c_DSC_4307


What makes it even more special is been able to travel down and lodge with other pig farmers and our vets. There is the constant joking and comradery that goes on between all.

As for my race it was very enjoyable. Weather was perfect. Not much of a wind. I rode in the cool of the day, having an early start time. I had done the 947 race in Johannesburg to get a good seeding to get an early start. If you start after 8 am that means you will land up in the middle of the day on the road. The wind normally comes up later in the day. The heat from the midday sun can fry you a little. Riding over lunch is not nice, you keep getting the feeling to eat something solid, liquid energy drinks do not satisfy. Resulting in you starting to feel weaker. My time was 10 minutes more than my target time but more than an hour improvement on my first Cape Town cycle tour.a54d88a3751a690880ec575c8ad864fb_DSC_8722b9807f5086ac6d07f7f83aa52771532b_DSC_8498

After the race it took more than a week to get the bike back to the farm. Making me very lazy. It had been raining so I had to put my old Maxxi cross marks tyres back on. IMG_20160325_184255 (2)Then I did some turns around the farm. Nice to get off the tar and back into the sand and mud. I was looking at my rainfall for this year, it is now at 450 mm. That is just 25 mm short of the long term rain average. I have been complaining about the drought. The rain finally came however little late for some crops. It looks like we will be able to harvest some sunflower. The sunflowers that the Guinea fowl did not eat, has come up quite nice, especially now that rain fell at critical times.IMG_20160323_181051 (2) Now the Kudu have been helping themselves to the top flower. Thus making some side shoots come out with small flowers. Hope they get some seeds in these small flowers.

Some waterways have been dry for a few years and these had water flowing in them for about two weeks.IMG_20160324_172421_1 (2) I now have hope that we should get enough growth in the grass before winter. This should help to take the cows to next summer.


Just finished a weekend on the bicycle. Had a chance to get out and do a loop through the Waterberg mountains. 2016Titan Potgietersrus

I have a problem to get into the mountains as it is very flat on the Springbok flats. I went up the Kloof pass at 35 degrees Celsius, according to my GPS it was 285 m ascent. Kloof pass has a rideable gradient. Not like some sections up to Pigs peak.  Round trip was only 2000 m ascent. This is not enough if you are training for the Trans-Afrika. My idea was to test to see if I want to sign up for the Trans-Afrika. I found that I had forgotten how much pain and pushing through it takes to finish a long day in the saddle. Found that after passing Naboomspruit, Potgietersrus, Kloof pass and getting to Vaalwater my legs did not have enough to go on. Thus spend the night at Vaalwater hotel. Where Titan had his own bed.

2016 titan vaalwater hotel2016 titan berlin road

This is the last stretch down to my farm.

Tweeted my trip on my twitter account @kennyfagan. However no nice scenery photos. This time it was focused on my bicycle Titan. You must tell me what type of photos you would like to see. Some people want to see what the area looks like, in case they want to ride in the area. Others want to see what the ride looks like. Others just want to hear the adventure. Some would like an accommodation review so if they do the ride they know where to stop.

Well let me know what you would like to hear by using the reply box.

Cape town cycle tour



Time to take a rest. Bike is posted to Cape Town, for the Cape Town cycle tour. Too late to do training now. Will have to do some running this week, to stop myself from getting lazy. Looking forward to see what my time will be as I have put some road tyres on and a pair of tri bars. Need to do better than my 15 km/h on the Trans-Afrika. After all it is just a breakfast run. Next time must write in for two laps. Ha Ha.

Looking forward to the weekend. Will be flying down to Cape Town from Johannesburg on the 4 March, with our vets and a number of people from the pig farming industry. CS vet and pharmaceutical companies are sponsoring the weekend. I will be riding in their kit. They have lined up some activities for us.

This is the second time I will be doing it with them. Actually they dragged me kicking to the first one. I had never done a cycle race before. Annie one of the vets gave me her place in the race and she transferred it to my name, as she had decided not to ride. I did not even have a cycle shirt at that stage. Actually bought my first shirt on a special at the expo before the race. That KAWAY shirt that you have got to know me in. This was in 2014. I had only ridden tours in Africa. I had cycled in Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi by that stage. Been a tourist on a bicycle is very different to riding the biggest timed race in the world. Think that year there was over 33000 riders. Even now I am not used to having so many riders around me. Very easy to have an accident.

So cycling will have brought me to Cape Town three time in the last few years. Amazing how cycling starts to make a big world smaller. Saying that it makes me realize how small the big cities in Southern Africa are. When I was a child they looked so big and could only be crossed by bus or car. Now on the bike it is less than an hour cross Johannesburg. Cape Town city centre in 15 minutes.

Having said all that I would be ungrateful if did not brag on getting 60 mm rain this week. It rained on three different days. The parched earth sucked up the water as fast as it fell not leaving much to run away. I was wondering what we are going to have for winter grazing. There is a marsh/water way that the farm gets its name from called Meisjesvlei. This is the first time in three years I have seen water running down it.IMG-20160227-WA0000 On the top of the farm there is a quarry that collects water in the rainy season and then it seeps down to the underground supply. Last night I found a puddle of water there for the first time in two years.


Puddle of water at Dead mans Island

There are two months left in this rainy season. Sure hope this rain keeps up. South Africa is experiencing its worst drought in a 100 years. We have been lucky it is not as bad on the farm as some places. This rain will be enough to take the sunflowers that survived the scorching heat to harvest. Here are some photos at sunset on the farm in the past week.



December 2015

Been off the radar for a short time. Does not mean that I have been up to nothing. Christmas and New Year are a busy time on the farm. The public holidays result in working half staff. With this we have to keep feeding and watering animals. We cannot just close the doors and open in January. If only the people sitting in town knew the long hours and effort that goes into putting food on their tables. It pains me sometimes to see the food that goes rotten and wasted.

We have been in the grip of a drought. We landed enough rain in the first half of December to plant about 400 ha sunflower just to be followed be three weeks of heat wave. This was max temperatures over 33 degrees. This farm is situated on the Springbok flats bio diversity which is basically African Savanah. As the pressure of the drought pushes the wild animals to their limits they turned to the germinating sunflowers. Looks like the animals have eaten any plant that pushed its first two leaves out of the soil. Looks like we will have to plant again. That will also not work if we do not get any more rain.

We have had to continue supplementary feeding cattle. If there is no rain before winter we will not make it to the next summer rains without bringing in extra bales from our other farms where we have stock pilled some hay. Normally it is very dry in February and march with some rain in April. Hope January and April bring good rain. It will be good for the cattle but too late for crops.

The pigs have been under pressure from the high temperatures resulting in lower feed intake and thus growth. I have not spoken much of this part of my life but it is the main activity which I am involved in. All other farm activities are side lines.

Having said that you may have seen on twitter that I have done a few rides. There was the quick weekend to my sister at Belmoral. That was a nice warm up ride of 320 km. I have made two trips down the R101 to Pretoria to see family.

All in all they were very hot rides. Resulting in me looking for times to cool off. There was the dip in the irrigation canal in Rus De Winter.

Two rides home from Pretoria finishing in dipping in the pool with cycling clothes on to cool off.

 There was a comment on twitter saying that I should rather take up swimming. Swimming long distance could be very dangerous when the sleep monsters strike. If you see how slow I ride my swimming is even slower. I would need a life jacket.

As the New Year begins the question all ask is what I am going to do in 2016. That is the same question I ask myself. Is always nice to have a goal to work for. I am in the Cape Town cycle tour. This is just a nice short party trip. A lot of pig farmers and their vets normally go down and do it. Then I am very tempted to ride the Trans-Afrika again to defend my title of Lantern Rogue. I really enjoyed the Trans-Afrika. I am not much of a racer but it was an amazing adventure. I see @BufflSoldier01 is planning a trip to East Africa in December. It would be nice to join him. I have been longing to cross some boarders up in Africa again. There is the element of the unknown. By the way Andy Masters I think you should start a Race from Karonga Malawi to Johannesburg or Cape Town. Call it the Trans-Rift. I would most likely be on the starting line. Well will let you know what I will be up to.


The owner of Swahili game lodge invited my family and I to come around and visit. I help to supply meat for his lions. He has started a Lion breeding project to try establish the original genetic blood line of the area. The lion numbers have been dwindling and together with that comes a smaller gene pool. Resulting in the lion becoming more susceptible to other cat diseases. He is now hand rearing the cubs to make sure of their survival. His intention in the end is to turn the lions out into his game farm once the lions are adapted to the environment.

He gave my wife ,daughter and I a chance to play with the cubs. These are some amazing little animals. The have these big paws with razor-sharp claws. There is now way of getting in contact with them without getting a few scratches.

20150307_141632 20150307_141546 20150307_141006

Then there was the Zebra foul that was bottle feed as its mother was killed by lightning.


Also heard some sad news that the next door game farm had two rhino poached the previous week. Now this week there was another rhino poached on another farm in the area. Looks like the poachers are focusing on our area now. This is so sad. This terrible scourge is destroying the rhino population and one day there will be none left to show the future generations.20150307_154044

All in all it was a wonderful day finished with a game drive.


Sunset over a African Savannah


How nice it is this evening. I sit in my garden typing this post as the sun slips away over the African Savannah. Actually the sunset on the top of my blog was taken last year in the winter from my garden. Tonight sunset is a lot different to that cloudless evening last year. There is an expectation of rain with the sun peeping around some clouds leaving a silver lining with some orange pink touches. Well forgive me for not giving the right name of the colour .You need to be an artist to know the name of that colour.


Every evening from the time the rainy season started I drive across the farm passing this wetland to find the White face duck. As I get there they fly up in a cloud. So I decided to take this photo. Actually it is quite nice. It makes it possible to count how many there are. This is not all the birds as they do not all fly up together. The white bird is a Sacred Ibis.


Today I came across this very well camouflaged insect. It looked like a tree seed that had legs growing out of it. If there is anybody that knows its name you are welcome to drop a comment.


Actually I started writing this post to tell about the preparation for the tour I am taking with my father. Looks like I will have to put that in another post.

Summer rains start

There was no late summer rains last summer. This lead up to a very dry winter with a shortage of grass for the cattle. Then the rain did not come. This is a very unpredictable area. We have had two dry years in a row. The average rainfall is 470 mm per year. However on a good year we get 900 mm and in a bad year we can get 250 mm. The rain came in on Friday. It was such a heavy down pour the lands got washed away and the bush wetland areas have water standing in ponds.


The rain was one month late and the cattle had calved and the cow were starting to get a little thin. We had to give them some extra feeding. Now it is Monday and the green grass shoots are starting to sprout. When the ground dries out a little more, then we can start planting. The planting team will have to work night and day to get the seeds into the ground before the window for planting passes.



I always love the rainy season. The clouds are amazing and the sunsets are out of this world. Then there are the migrant birds that come in for the breeding season. You cannot see it but there are White Faced duck out on this body of water.


Waterberg road trip(Nyl zen oog)

Thought to do a few long day rides this long weekend. So off I cycled to Nylstroom and purchased some slime, knowing my back wheel was dry. Using some insulation tap strapped it to my carrier. Next stop was the biltong shop (beef jerky shop) to make sure the stomach had something to work on. Planning to ride for a full day with no stop for lunch. Then a little extra water just to fill up the water used to ride to Nylstroom.

I love the signs I find along the road. Take a look at this.20140614_120209 Every winter there is run away fires that are very difficult to stop in these mountains. They sometimes burn for days. Normally fanned by a strong wind. They often burn down game lodges and farm houses. Not easy to get into the hills with fire fighting vehicles so they have to fight on foot. Due to the trees and wind these types of fires are best put out by fire fighting vehicles and helicopters. However cost of helicopters is prohibitive.



There were some nice climbs with some good solid gravel. I can see in the rainy season the road gets washed away in places. May get a little slippery. So if you want to try the Nyl zen oog road winter would probably be better.

Interesting to watch the farms and lodges along this road. Most farms were small and can be seen that their economic viability has been pushed to the limit.20140614_122546 Most turning to a mix of guest farms and agricultural practices. Others going all the way over to game farming. These tending to be up on the hills where irrigation water is limiting.

Coming near the top of the mountains my water started to get low. I thought to get some water from the streams. As water is seeping straight from the mountains. At every stream I thought no let’s get at the next. To bad as at the top of the hill there was no nice clean streams to drink from. The top of the hills opened up to open cattle country. 20140614_132140The road became very sandy with big corrugations making going very slow. Just had to ration water and eat some biltong to get the mouth wet.

Came across the main water supply dam for the town of Nylstroom. What a nice deep body of water between the hills. Having steep cliffs coming up to wall it in.



Name of dam is Donkerpoort.20140614_140737


Round about here the bicycle wheel bearing started to give the same feeling as two weeks  back. That time one ball bearing had worn flat on one side and had to be replaced. Put wheels back together after greasing them and all looked good until now. Estimated to be about 60 km from home so had a look and decided that I could not do much. Wind had come up and fortunately turning to ward home it helped. Knowing the condition of the bearing I set out on the tar road home from Nylstroom. Making it 132 km for the day with average speed 19.6 km/h.

Stripping wheel down at home found the axil cone has developed some rough spots. Will have to make a trip to town, to get some spares. Looks like Jimmy cycles is seen a lot of me lately.

Waterberg roads

This weekend rode bicycle into Nylstroom and did some business. After which I took the Vaalwater road. Just out of town I found this new sign. 20140531_114110

This touches my heart as I am a farmer and people do not know what goes into putting a plate of food on the table. Some way down the road I took a right turn at this sign.20140531_122309

Not more than 2 km a right at the next sign.


Now at this corner stood a herd of cattle that were crossed with an indigenous breed called Inguni. I see the owner has chosen not to burn the horns. There was a study done which found animals with horns could handle more heat than those with out. As the horn acts as a type of radiator for the blood. That is also why they stopped cutting off Rhino horns to prevent poaching. However due to the number been poached they had to resort to removing them again.


This road had a good surface but after some way it became very sandy and corrugated. At one point there was a steep down hill which I used to my advantage but due to the rough surface it felt like I damaged my front wheel bearings. The down hill in the distance is what damaged the bearings.


Passed some dams up in the mountains. Here is one of them.


Rattled my way to the end of this road and decided could go no more until I had taken a closer look.


Could not see or feel what was making the strange feeling so had to carry on home as there was another 50 km to go.


Pity the impala ran away from in front of this dam before I got my camera out.20140531_144516

This just looks like a dirt road but was trying to show the straight road. The road on the horizon can be clearly seen with the eye but not by my camera. From this point it is about 20 km home. This road also gave me a puncture forcing me to stop and pump wheel up once. Tried to make it home with out pumping again but could not ride any more when I got  200 m from my gate.

Did 125km for the day. The sand roads and hills had pushed my heart rate quite high for most of the day. By the time I got home it felt like I had just run the Comrades marathon. I had also tried to use Energade for the second time. It gave me the same problem as the first time. It gives me a head ache when I first drink it, then once it gets to the muscle it burns. I then have to drink extra water to try to get the extra energy out of the muscle to stop the burn. Looks like I will have to stick to Game. What is nice about Game it is a powder. So can pack extra with me on the long cross border trips. I use one packet per 100 km. I also mix it weaker than recommended taking into account the day temperature. The hotter it is the more I dilute it.

Well as always when pushing yourself to the limits. You make a decision to never do it again. Now a day later I am planning my next route into the hills.