Matej

Matej
Life is a journey

Route 102


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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Ticket to the Moon

I am on a mission to revive my motorbike which is parked in Zambia for almost 3 years. I am in Mozambique, on the boat. More precisely it's a 12 meter long 3.5 meter wide raft with two riverboat engines made in China. Raft has a roof with captain's bridge. The name of the boat is Gwenn. It a local boat which connects Songo on the east with Zumbo on the west of Cahora bassa lake once a week. Cahora bassa is the fourth largest artificial lake in Africa, 300 kilometers long, surrounded with mountains. We are floating on the lake for the second day in a row. There are some 14 local people on the boat including three women, two children and a chicken (hen) passenger but she left when stopping at an island. Passengers speak just local languages and mixing it with some kind of Portuguese. I don't understand anything. The pair of chinese engines are so loud I can't hear either. I use earplugs made of toilet paper. I don't want to damage my precious ears. Yesterday we were crusing continuously 8AM till 00AM. We stopped two times, just to deliver some bags to tribes on the islands. We slept on the boat. I luckilly brought a hammock called Ticket to the Moon. It was a pure luxury to sleep in a hammock whilst everybody else would sleep on the floor. Later in the night I watched the stars. Southern Cross, Orion, Milky way, Venus, Jupiter,.. what a lekker.

My food is running low. I brought only one loaf of bread, two fish cans, three apples, biscuits and 1.5 liter of water. I ate already two cans and two apples but I still keep some bread, one apple, some biscuits and the water. I am grateful for my body which consumes water so economically.

I keep trash in plastic bags while others are throwing trash into the water. We are on the lake for another two days. Enjoying but looking forward to an end.
     
   

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Rocky road towards Lake Kariba

While staying in Livingstone for over a month and planting trees with the nicest bunch of people from South Africa and international, my motorbike got some nice rest. But one morning I rediscovered an idea floating in my mind for a while. I want to go to lake Kariba. I want to see it from south where the mighty Zambezzi river flows in. It is the biggest artificial lake in the world after all. I want to see that beautiful sunset on the lake which I saw on google photos and also the place where the big boat starts a journey from south to north. I was reading about that boat but not sure if it still operates. So I will go and hopefully reach that sunset, sleepover in my tent or sleeping bag and return to Livingstone within next day. That was the plan.

July 3rd, 2014.
I started late. 12-ish. Staring point: Greenpop camping site in Zambia. After hitting the main road some 10 kms out of Livingstone, my direction was Lusaka. I drove for some 70 kms on a tar road when I reached little town called Zimba. I bought some oranges, bananas and peanuts. I paid 6 kwacha which was cheap. I asked a local man standing at the bus station for directions to Lake Kariba. I explained him that I want to reach most southern part of the lake. His English was bad. I told him that I want to see the starting point for the ferry. He said that the place is called Bimbi. It is a ranch of a white-man. That is the place, he said.
I filled up my fuel tank with 2,5 litres, from bottles as there was no petrol station. I wrote down the telephone number of the 'petrol guy', just for the case that I will need to call somebody on my way back. 
I started to ride. It was gravel road. Around 150 km one way. At first it was nice, then the road changed dramatically. Few hours later it became my nightmare...
to be continued
One photo for me please
Happy children.
Brothers. My friends.
New kids on the block
No idea where is the place called Bimbi.
Deep sand just after sunset. No signs. No directions. Scary.
Low fuel. No way back. Still far to Lake Kariba.


Monday, June 16, 2014

Planting trees near Victoria falls in Zambia

Wed 11.6.2014 Day 1 - I entered Zambia from Botswana side at Kazangulo. At the Zambian side of the border they charged me for tourist visa and also for carbon taxes, road tolls, insurance and something else for my motorbike. All together it was just above 100 Usd, including fake-fx rate profit, successfully made by local guys who jumped on me already on Botswana side when I wanted to embark the ferry to cross Zambezi river which btw costed me another 10 usd for my motorbike. It was hot and dry and I didn't care about the fx rates, it just took me almost two hours to get the papers done and get away from that border.

I drove 60 kms to reach Livingstone for the first time in my life. The road was beautiful, colour combination of the trees, grass and the sky was simply amazing. After five days of staying and hanging around Kasane it was great to feel the wind in my hair again.

When arrived to Livingstone I drove to see Zigzag hotel, owned by Lynne from austria. Mike, an australian friend from mozambique, tried to connect us together. Unfortunally Lynne was out of the country until July, so I spoke just to Mercy, the lodge manager. Then I drove to check Bundu white river adventures office at Maranga lodge as I met the owner Jo in the lodge in Palapye in Botswana few days ago on my way from South Africa up to Zambia. He wasn't there. But I came to see Greenpop working camp, so I tried to find directions to there. Actually, it was not so easy.

I arrived to Livingstone Guest Lodge and Farm just before sunset. It is 15 kms out of town on a gravel road. This is the place where Greenpop, eco-social company from Cape town is having their annual work&fun festival, called Trees for Zambia. I met the directors Misha and Lauren again after one year and two months break when I worked with them in their Cape town office. At dinner they introduced me to team as a new team member. I explained them my funny story how I arrived to Africa and how I traveled since then. http://www.greenpop.org/

Thu 12.6.2014 Day 2 -  Great breakfast was prepared by Amanda (Mans), Lans and  Zama. Other team members are:
Lee - production manager (cape town)
Tanita - project coordination (nederland, cape town)
Ola - anthropologist, joga teacher ( cape town)
Candice - waste management & education ( greytone, cape town)
Megan - plant manager, author (cape town)
Rick - plant manager, photographer (cape town)
Ben - driver (cape town)
Wayne - musician (greytone)
Marshall (Marsh) - musician, permaculture adventurer (greytone)
Kyle - plant manager (greytone, cape town)
Christopher - plant manager, musician (cape town)
Michelle - photographer (Atlanta, USA) 
Patrick - plant manager
Lauren - all round coordinator and communicator, leader
Misha - glue, father of Greenpop, multitasking manager, leader

It was a busy day, working in teams, preparing the camp site for different activities.
I was preparing terrain to pitch my tent. It was full of rocks but i managed it.
After lunch I was involved into production of eco-bricks, made from clay, sand, straw, water and waste (glass - mosi beer and plastic coca cola bottles)
Later I prepared stage and sound.

Fri 13.6.2014 Day 3 - very busy working day and party evening. full moon. During day preparing for tree planting and organizatioN of an event for promotion of Earth festival 26 and 27th June 2014 by Greenpop at Fez bar, Livingstone tonight.

Team members got different tasks. I was in the team driving with Toyota Hilux bakkie to town. We fetched 4 local volunteers at Livingstone Backpackers (salomon, Sebastian and Emmanual). We unloaded speakers and instruments at Fez bar. We collected some wood mash and delivered it to the bio-mass factory. We drove to the airport to meet Yes Rasta band and load their instrumenta and sound system. We delivered everything again to Fez bar. After that I drove 40 kms south of town with the volunteers to fetch 200 hundred trees at tree nursery and bring them to town. We unloaded 100 of them at biomass factory and 100 at munoli park. It took us hours to get the work done. It was finally time to prepare for the party. I was responsible for the sound so I did soundcheck with Yes Rasta, reagea band from Livingstone. The party was great and we all had good fun. I was playing with Tree-mendous band at the beginning, after speach of Misha, Lauren and Uncle Ben.
The Tree-Mendous Band:
Wayne - keys, vocals
Marsh - bass
Kyle - guitar, vocals
Lance & Zama - vocals
Matej - guitar, vocal

The party was broken for the football match in Brazil between Spain and Nederland which ended by result 1:5. While smoking outside, i met a couple from Galicia, Spain, tourists who came to watch the game to Fez bar. They invited me to visit them in august.

Sat 14.6.2014 Day 4 - finishing the venue and get it ready for volunteers and team. I was arranging bathroom (outdoor showers) area. I worked together with Marsh and we are now specialized for wooden shower matts. I was manufacturer and he was quality control.

Sunday 15.6.2014 Day 5 - arrival of volunteers and the rest of the team. I met Sean Spender from Canada and will McAneny from USA again after good one year.

Monday 16.6.2014 Day 6 - introduction day for volunteers.
Meg, writer from Harare shared her knowledge about the trees.
Volunteers drove with truck to town and later for a game drive.

It continues... And you can still join, check http://www.greenpop.org/.







Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Lovely crazy little town of Kasane in Botswana.

Warthogs, monkeys, you name it, all walking and jumping around at our campsite. Even crocodiles can enter easily fom the river. One crocodile dragged a tent to the river, including the guy inside. :) Chobe river is is simply amazing, in one 3-hour boat trip I saw crocs, kudus, buffalos, hippos, swimming elephants and many of birds 

Two weeks ago there was unfortunally an incident when a local man was killed by elephant when he was walking on the road on his regular way to his work. Not far from that, also next to the road, three lions killed a buffalo. I was lucky to see one of the lions later in the night when eating the buffalo. Hienas were preparing.

I also enjoyed staying and meeting people at Chobe Safari lodge. I will never forget this lovely crazy town, named Kasane in Botswana. Now via Victoria Falls, Zambia. :)


Sunday, June 8, 2014

Where Botswana meets Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia

Kasane is a little town at extreme north of Botswana, placed next to Chobe river. It borders to amazing Chobe forest which is protected wildlife area. It is a crazy little place where you can see wild animals walking on the streets like in a fairy tale. You can easily meet elephant crossing the road or spotted hiena checking around not to mention dead buffalos and hungry lions eating them practically next to the road.

From Kasane you drive just 10 kms east to reach border with Zambia or Zimbabwe and 40 kms west to Namibia. Border with Angola is also not very far.

Right on the Chobe river there is a lodge called Chobe Safari lodge from where you can enjoy meals or take a sunset boat cruise to admire more of wildlife, like crocodiles on the river banks, kudus, buffalos, swimming elephants, monkeys, birds, hippos and of course sunset.





French fries for breakfast. South Africa to Botswana.

Finally (3.6.2014) I started a long trip from Johannesburg in South Africa up to Victoria falls on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The road took me first to Pretoria where i visited my friend prof. Meyer with whom (and dr. Heyman) we met in Sesfontein in Namibia back in May 2013. It was nice chat with him after more than one year and we ate pommes frites for breakfast.
It was already 1pm when I hit N1 highway in direction of Polokwane. I turned off at Bela-Bela and drove on the backroads in direction of Grobblers bridge on Botswana border which was still few hundred kms away. When I reached little town Vaalwater I stopped two girls with backpacks, walking on the main road. They told me they go to Zeederberg's lodge behind Spar shop. I went to check the place and it was beautiful. Quite lodge surrounded with trees but fully booked for the night. Kind owners told me they have nice green grass where I can camp, so I decided to stay the night as also the sun was very low already. It was a cold night but I found the way how to warm up.

I started to drive around 12 pm and reached Botswana border in late afternoon. I was surprised by the high cost for insurance and road tolls for my motorbike but that's life. 
The days are short in the winter so I drove just to first town Palapye around 100 kms north west and stopped at nice lodge Itumela to stay the night.

Zeederberg's cottages - http://www.zeederbergs.co.za/





Lodge & Camping Itumela, Palapye, Botswana




Thursday, May 29, 2014

Basic maintanence in Johannesburg

South Africa. This motorbike is amazing. It needs so little maintanance. Anyway, I received a nice support from World of Yamaha workshop in Sandton, developed modern part of Johannesburg 's wider city center. World of Yamaha includes also shop for motorbikes, boats and music instruments and is owned by Bidvest financial company. So as I am musician I went to see also Yamaha pianos, guitars and other music equipment produced by this amazing Japanese company. Thank you Dyle, Adrien and Poli for your kind help with my motorbike. At the end we just needed to replace old engine oil with new one, the same with oil and air filter. I am ready for Botswana. Life is rad.
 
 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Celebrity on motorbike?

The other day I came out of Pick'n'Pay shop in Linden in Johannesburg. It was just before the dark. There was a white guy standing in front of my motorbike. He told me he saw my motorbike on the parking space and the sticker 'motoafrica.blogspot.com' on it. He told me he is subscribed to my blog for some time and that he read much of my adventures. He said he admires the LITE way of my travel. He is familiar with Wild Dogs, huge south african society of motorbikers.
Really amazing that somebody recognized me on the street, thousands of miles away from my home. Am I a celebrity? :) It's such a small world. Today I've met a beautiful girl named Kelly for the second time in my life.  One year and half ago we've met on the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town, 2000 kms away. We've chatted for few minutes and that was it. Since then we have been friends on Facebook. Today when walking in the crowd in Johannesburg we've bumped to each other at Deutsche Schule Beer festival near downtown Joburg. It's such a small world. :)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Visiting Mandela's house

I arrived to Johannesburg one week ago. I flew with Turkish airlines from Ljubljana via Istambul. It was a pleasant flight and I could even had a stop in Istambul for few hours. Istambul is a huge city so I decided to visit just the old part called Sultanahmet. We were hanging around together with Petra who I know from before and her boyfriend Gorazd from my country Slovenia. We met coincidentally on the airplane. Great fun, thank you both for nice moments.

After landing in Jozi I was picked up by coolest friend Joanne.:) She drove me with her car from OR Tamba straight away to pick my motorbike. It was parked at the spot since June 2013. Thanks to Willem it was not rusted as he was spraying it with Q20. Amazing Willem, thank you.

After beeing busy around Jozi for some days, I decided to drive to Soweto this afternoon. I checked Mandela's and Desmond Tutu's house on Vilakazi street. I ate delicous sendvich at Snack Kiosk.


New helmet Shoei Neotec

My previous helmet was Shoei Multitec. She did more than 50.000 kms with me, 37.000 of them in Africa. She saved my head many times. I am staying loyal to her but like king of Swaziland I was tempted by poligamy too.

Thank you Gregor Pavcnik from Ljubljana, Slovenia and Shoei for trusting me and introducing me to the Shoei Neotec, Multitec's younger sister. Although I will never forget the old one, new one feels simply refreshing.
Shoei Neotec

Monday, May 19, 2014

New tyres Mitas E-07

I have to 'Knock on wood' after mounting new Mitas E-07 rear tyre. The previous one (not Mitas) did almost 20.000 kms without any puncture. Thank you World of Yamaha in Sandton, South Africa to show me how to manually replace the tyre on my motorbike. It's really not that simple. Very special thanks also to Janja, Beno and Uros at Savatech company (ex Sava, now Mitas tyres) from my hometown Kranj, Slovenia who are supporting me at my ON and OFF-road trips in Africa and elsewhere.
Panorama Drive, Roodepoort, Johannesburg

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Kalahari desert crossing. From Namibia through Botswana to South Africa.

After two inspiring weeks in Windhoek, capital of Namibia, the road was leading me east, towards Kalahari desert in Botswana. As my plan after Kalahari was to re-enter South Africa, I needed to handle my SA visa in advance in Windhoek. Of course it was long procedure like always, I drove off Windhoek in early afternoon and was caught by the night still in Namibia. I decided to sleep at Xain Quaz, nice lodge & camping facilities just 10 kms before Gobabis. At Xain Quaz I've met the owner Dannie, his wife, their few months old son and springbok (animal), called Diggy Ding. I booked the night at the hut, I was the only guest anyway. I slepted like a baby, covered with two blankets, the night was freezing, close to 0C. In the morning I was surprised by hot black coffee and bisquits waiting on the table in front of my hut. Fresh air, combined with Diggy Ding company was more than enjoyable for me, not mentioning the sunrise.

Still the same morning I arrived to Gobabis, last town in Namibia before entering Botswana. Soon after leaving Xain Quaz I noticed some bad sound, coming from my rear wheel. I assumed it was bearings. In minutes noise became louder and louder. I stopped in the town. I went to petrol station and asked for mechanics. I was driving from one to another and at the end found Pottie's Mechanical Store & Workshop. They told me they have no spares. I insisted to open my rear wheel. As they opened it, the mechanic smiled and said, 'hey, it's the same bearings as for Hinda XL250. And you know what, I have them. :)'. They replaced my wasted bearings with new ones in one hour. That was big luck for me. I hit the road in direction of Kang still on the same day. Yihaaaaa!!!! :)

I started around thousand kms long drive on Trans-Kalahari highway. I've heard it is very lonesome & long road and you meet only animals and almost no cars / humans. It came out true. I saw lots of cows, donkeys, sheep and warthogs. Most of them were freely walking in the middle of the road. I really needed to be careful not to hit some. Luckilly didn't meet any lions, hyennas or similar.

Around 200 kms before reaching town called Kang, I was again caught by the night. I drove for another hour but then decided to stop somewhere and find a place to sleep. As there was nothing to see for long long time. But then I saw the sign "Lone tree camp". I thought it might be a camping or so. I turned off the road and stopped next to the fence. In a minute or two there were two off-road cars arriving just after me. I was really surprise as I was in the middle of nowhere and I didn't see cars for a while. People in cars didn't care much about me. They opened the gates and entered. As they locked the gate, I asked them 'What about me? Are there some camping facilities or similar?' They told me this is not camping but camp for anti-poachers. Anti-poachers?? I asked if I could possibly stay overnight somewhere as it is freezing outside. They let me in and I sent me to Isaac, chief of anti-poachers in that camp. Isaac was kind and he offered me a place in his house. I accepted. Thank you Isaac.

Next day I drove to Kang, drank a coke and drove another 500 kms to South African border. I crossed the border on Wednesday June 5th at Lobatse border post. I drove to Pretoria, actually to University of Pretoria where I held a presentation of my life experience for UP students and the staff. It was nice gathering and I really enjoyed it. Thank you to Prof. Heino Heyman and Dean Mr. Marion Meyer at Plant Science department for inviting me. I've met these two guys in Sesfontein in Namibia, one month before. They were there for business, doing research on so called 'fairy circles'.

After nice days spent in Pretoria I drove to Johannesburg where I've visited very cool folked Rise and Shine Acoustic Music Festival. Thank you Misha for the tickets. :) I also attended Converse music festival in downtown Joburg to enjoy the music and said hello to Misha Teasdale and Jeremy Loops, camerades from Cape Town. The other day I visited Markex exhibiton in Sandton and that was it. More than enough for five days overall staying in Joburg. Thank you Zarko, Henri and Nick for having me in Joburg and Cobus & co. for the dinner and so good bread. :) Thank you Joanne for taking me to the airport. What a wonderful experience and memories I have on Johannesburg and Pretoria. And Namibia and Botswana. And South Africa in general and Mozambique. And Kenya and Tanzania. And Swaziland. :) And ........ :))
My hut @ Xain Quaz lodge
in Namibia, near Botswana
Springbok Diggy Ding,
photo by Iphone, no zoom
Repairing my bike in Gobabis
Wasted bearings
Dawie replacing my bearings
Last kilometer of Namibia
I thought it was a camping 
but it was an antipoacher camp.
Botswana. Freezing at night.
Isaac, antipoacher from
Lonetree
 camp in Kalahari.
He gave 
me shelter.
Next morning at the sign. It is just
100 kms before Kang, Botswana
Leftovers

Trans-Kalahari highway
in Botswana
Leaving Avanti Lodge in 
Zeerust, South Africa
Where I've cut my long hair
in Zeerust, South Africa
My presentation at University 
of Pretoria, announced 
by prof. Heino Heyman
My temporary room @ 
Faculty of Plant Science
Train station in Pretoria,
South Africa
University of South Africa
in Pretoria
Rise and Shine Acoustic Music 
Festival in Sandton Johannesburg
Visiting BATT, representative
of Slovenian (Sava) tires 

in Johannesburg
Invited to taste delicious bread,
baked by Cobus Du Plessis

in Johannesburg