All our visas can be obtained en route except for the Ethiopian one. Until July 2010 is was possible to get it in Nairobi, but is now only obtainable at your home embassy or Addis Ababa. Because of this I caught a flight to Joburg to get a 6 month visa from the Ethiopian Embassy in Pretoria. After 6 visits to the embassy I finally managed to obtain all three visas. We received information that the Sudanese visa can be very difficult to get but with a little luck I managed to squeeze a meeting with the Sudanese Ambassador who pre-approved our applications for Sudanese visas and sent the forms off to Ethiopia were we can get the visas without re-applying. All in all, the extra 2 weeks in Joburg was well worth it, but left us itching to finally get back on the bicycles and continue this epic adventure.

Because of our extended break we thought we’d only cycle a half day and entered Stanger with an escort from the Stanger cycling club and the traffic police. I must say that shooting red robots with police siren blearing and lights flashing is a thrill all in itself. Zak and Nando’s provided a great lunch while Rani of Chandini travels gave us a goodie bag and promised to get us contacts in some of the cities en route.

The ride up the N2 was fairly uneventful but saw us bush camping in Eucalyptus plantations for the next 2 days. Due to the extremely dry undergrowth we thought it better not to test our new multi-fuel stove kindly donated by Mohammed Asvat and settled for cold snacks. Because gas canisters are not available in the rest of Africa, these useful (but expensive) little stoves can burn benzene, paraffin and unleaded petrol (all available wherever we will be).
The 2 week break may have been too long and we soon felt our bodies feeling more tired than they should so we stopped over in Mkuze at lunch for a break and met Timmy Moodley, deputy-mayor and 1 of only a handful of Indians in Mkuze and incidentally Timmy's wife and 2 children are hard-of-hearing. The hospitality we received was awesome and the showers, food and bed were a welcome break after our bush experiences.

We entered Swaziland via Golela and cycled to Big Bend were Stewart Watson put us up in a Hotel and made for Namaacha (the Swaziland/Mozambique border post) the next day. With some apprehension we cycled into a game reserve with signs warning of lion and elephant but luckily only encountered giraffe during our 15km cycle through the park.In fading light we were looking for another bush camp when we ran into Joe Kok, a contractor and avid cyclist who booked us into a guest house on a sugar plantation. This unexpected meeting allowed us to participate in the monthly Bingo at the club house and although we did not win, a great time was had (we are still a little amazed how Matthew ,a local player, managed to win 3 games with the same cards, but not altogether upset as he bought both Ria and myself a beer).


One thing must be said of Swaziland and that is the people are friendly. Always with a smile on their face and always willing to help. On the last day while looking for a place to camp, Ria and I stopped and Imraan continued cycling. We started shouting for him to stop but he was too far away to hear. The locals who were waiting at the bus stop saw this and started joining in the shouting and although they did not get his name right, managed to attract his attention by shouting 'Imrod' and whistling as only farmers can.


We arrived in Maputo in the late afternoon with traffic steadily building up but were pleasantly suprised to find truck drivers giving us a wide berth and even staying behind us if the lane was too narrow. Arriving in any new city can be confusing but luckily Dipak Govan and his daughter Natasha was there to escort us to their home where thwy have graciously put us up for the last 3 days. Indians are renound for their hospitality but the Govan family have outdone themselves. Starting with a grilled prawn feast on arrival to organising a tv interview for the evening news and taking us out to Maracuene where we caught a ferry to the Island of Macaneta and dined on grilled fish and calamari on an isolated beach as we watched local fishermen bring in their catch

Tomrrow we give a talk at the American school here in Maputo and have an interview with another film crew (that will air in Portugal no less) and then head off to the long white beaches and hammocks slung between coconut palms.