the Adventure Mike and Jeanette sent daily reports through
so that the website could be updated.
Status Report 7
The Silver Spirit is Back!!
Mike and Jeanette got back to Jozi on 26 June and have been
parted from the Silver Spirit since then.
This week they were reunited with the Rolls and the backup
Toyota HiLux which were both in fine fettle despite the long
sea voyage from London.
They cleared the vehicles through customs in Durban without
a hitch and arrived back in Jozi last night.
Mike says the trip up from Durbs in the Silver Spirit was
like 'going home' in more ways than one! "She 'purred'
all the way".
The Adventure will be flighted on Carte
Blanche on M-Net next Sunday (17th) and featured in the September
edition of Woman and Home.
26 June 2008
Our Travellers are Due Home!
Mike and Jeanette are due back in South
They have had a wonderful time in England
and Wales, visiting old friends and making new ones.
The weather has been very kind to them and
the Silver Spirit continues to purr along.
Mike and Jeanette became members of the
RREC (Rols Royce Enthusiasts Club) and attended the UK Annual
Rally last weekend, where there were more than 1 000 Rolls
At the rally they screened a 45 minute video
compiled by Koos Roets from the 60+ hours of video shot on
The Rolls and the Toyota will be loaded
into containers and shipped back to SA very soon.
March 2008 Cape Town Waterfront
the 25 March to 30 March the Silver Spirit was on display
at the Clocktower Square on the V&A Waterfront in
Cape Town. Campmaster erected a small tent, a table
and 4 chairs, to simulate a safari camp, and Stormhoek
provided some wines to make it a real African Safari.
March Cape Town
members of the Silver Spirit team, Mike and Jeanette van Ginkel
and Koos Roets, flew from Joburg to Cape Town with 1time on
28 March, together with a second cameraman and other ‘ground
crew’. Some frantic final organisation took place, followed
by a drive up Signal Hill to watch the sunset over Cape Town
and then a crayfish braai in Gordon’s Bay.
1 - Sunday 30 March 2008 Cape Town Table Bay Hotel
Sunday 30 March the team met for a wonderful breakfast at
the Captain’s Table in Sun International’s Table
Bay Hotel. From 10:00 a number of Rolls Royce’s and
other classic cars joined the team at Quay 6 on the Waterfront,
in front of the statue of Oscar the Seal. A typical small
Cape band made music while owners and spectators alike checked
out the wonderful cars on show.
Cape Town was at its best – the weather was beautiful
and Table Mountain looked magnificent. The Table Bay kept
us nourished with tea and biscuits while the numbers grew.
Mike and Jeanette gave an interview to various members of
the media and E-TV shot video for the evening news.
Rolls Royce’s then formed up for a cavalcade through
the hotel’s grounds and on to Stellenbosch.
here to play the E-TV video on YouTube...
March 2008 Cape Town to Stellenbosch 49km
of the Rolls Royce’s escorted the Silver Spirit to the
beautiful gardens at Le Jardin, where a Stormhoek Picnic was
held. Le Jardin provided the guests with a sumptuous cold
buffet and the entire event was lubricated with delectable
Stormhoek Wines, the ‘Couture’ Rose being the
favourite, over ice, on a hot afternoon. That evening was
spent at the Devon Valley Hotel.
Stellenbosch is a place of great beauty and culture and is
the heart of South Africa's wine industry and is the second
oldest European settlement in the Cape after Cape Town.
2 – Monday 31 March 2008 Stellenbosch to Matjiesfontein
received a big welcome at Maatjesfontein from David Randon,
who presented us with 4 bottles of fine champagne to celebrate
special occasions along the way. The Silver Spirit met up
with another classic Rolls. We stayed at the historic Lord
Milner Hotel where legend has it that ghosts rove around at
night and people hear laughing and the sound of billiard balls
in empty rooms.
Matjiesfontein is Afrikaans for Fountain of Little Mats and
this picturesque little village is situated just off the N1
almost halfway between Cape Town and Beaufort West and remains
a popular stop-over for train passengers and motorists alike.
The town is steeped in history, having been command headquarters
and "home" to many British officers during the Anglo-Boer
War. On the outskirts of the village was a huge remount camp
for over 20 000 troops and 10 000 horses was established.
The hotel later served as a convalescent hospital for wounded
entire Village was restored in 1970 and declared a National
Historic Monument. We took a trip on an Old London Bus that
does a daily tour, visited one of the two museums, sipped
wine aboard an original steam train, and Jeanette summoned
us to dinner using an old bugle.
3 – Tuesday 1 April 2008 Matjiesfontein to Kimberley
passed a very interesting evening with Mark Harding, the original
owner of the Silver Spirit, at the lovely old and historical
Kimberley is, of course, the source of many famous diamonds,
including the world’s largest. The first diamond was
discovered in 1866 and led to the diamond rush where the prospectors
and entrepreneurs included Cecil John Rhodes, Barnie Barnato
and others. Some of the most interesting history of South
Africa comes from Kimberley. The ‘Big Hole’ is
still stunning to see and the Kimberley Museum is an old mining
town, beautifully restored.
4 – Wednesday 2 April 2008 Kimberley to Johannesburg
afternoon and evening was a wonderful event at the Palazzo
Hotel at Montecasino. Friends, Rolls Royce owners and sponsors
joined us for a garden party, beautifully orchestrated by
the Palazzo staff. Stormhoek Wines were again in great demand.
Campmaster again set up an example safari camp.
The Garmin Skydiving team amazed us all with a landing in
the pool! They then handed over two Garmin Nuvi sets (fortunately
dry) for the Silver Spirit team. Karl Jensen gave an amusing
speech to send us off and Tom Borrill told us a little about
the work of Rotary in Southern Africa.
would like to thank the Palazzo for making this such a special
5 – Thursday 3 April 2008 Johannesburg to Francistown,
the Thursday morning we set off from Johannesburg with the
Silver Spirit team enhanced by the second vehicle, a Toyota
HiLux and team members Roger Pearce and Mark Campbell-Gibson.
We were accompanied by Roy Watson for part of the way in his
beautiful Bentley. Later that day we entered our 1st country
- Botswana. We had a pleasant stay at the Cresta Morang in
Francistown is the second largest city in Botswana, but quite
small by world standards, with only just over 100 000 inhabitants.
We travelled on good tar to Groblarsbrug
– the border post – known as Martins drift in
Botswana. We were delayed by almost 3 hrs because 2 trucks
decided to attempt the single lane bridge over the Limpopo
from opposite ends at the same time! Neither would give way!
Luckily Roger walked ahead and gave some instructions and
the truck on the Botswana side performed a slow reverse! Botswana
customs and immigration were particularly pleasant and we
were on our way in a jiffy. We refuelled just over the border
because the petrol is substantially cheaper in Botswana.
We decided to take the secondary road via Selibe-Pickwe to
Francistown. The stretch from the border to has got bad with
many large potholes appearing out of nowhere. From Selibi
Pickwe the road improved and one can do a good 150km/hr between
the towns. We got some hassle at a vet road block just before
meeting the main Gaberones – Francistown road at Palape.
Foot and mouth disease is of huge concern in Botswana since
they export nearly all their beef to the EU. We did however
manage to stash our biltong rations!
6 – Friday 4 April 2008 Francistown to Livingstone,
Zambia 520km (Victoria Falls)
convoy proceeded to the Kazangula Ferry to into cross into
Zambia. We were amazed at the 7 km line of trucks waiting
for the ferry. There are 2 ferries which take 1 truck and
6 cars. We were lucky to catch the first one, jumping the
queue of trucks. We made some friends on the short ferry trip
and had a brief rest.
We stayed at the lovely Sun International Zambezi Sun in luxury.
The staff gave us a warm welcome. We visited the amazing Victoria
Falls and the magnificent Royal Livingstone Hotel was a wondrous
Victoria Falls can be viewed from Zimbabwe or Zambia. Unfortunately,
due to political upheaval in Zimbabwe, most people only see
the Falls from the Zambian side, although a short walk across
a historic bridge (and two border posts) are all that are
needed to see both sides.
7 – Saturday 5 April 2008 Livingstone to Lusaka
proceeded north to Lusaka overcoming some very bad potholes.
We tried to miss them all but hit a few bad ones. In Lusaka,
capital of Zambia, we stayed at the Holiday Inn.
Lusaka is a bustling African city with friendly people, colour,
and purpose. Zambia is the current head of the SADC and takes
a lead in many matters.
week on the road, 3 countries and over 3 000 km and all is
8 - 6 April 2008 Lusaka to Mutinondo 700km
6 April we travelled north to a private game lodge, Mutinondo,
which was a special experience. Mutinondo Wilderness lies
within Chief Mpumba's area on the plateau 30 km west of the
Luangwa Valley in the Northern Province of Zambia. The area
consists of 10 000 hectares of privately owned land encompassing
pristine Miombo woodland, massive chunks of granite inselbergs,
crystal clear rivers to swim in and drink from and picturesque
waterfalls and glades (dambos).
Although we had planned to camp we spoiled ourselves by staying
in the magnificent lodge.
9 - 7 April 2008 Mutinondo to Mbeya, Tanzania 450km
was an early morning start as we set forth for the Tanzanian
border and Mbeya. On the way we stopped at Swera Ngando –
a wonderful stately manor in Africa. You can read about this
in a book called The African House.
We crossed the border to Tanzania and stayed at Ungentule
Lodge on a coffee estate. Utengule Coffee Lodge is an oasis
of calm on the slopes of the Mbeya mountain range in Southern
Tanzania, with spectacular views across the East African Rift
area around Mbeya has been called the "Scotland of Africa",
because the hills are clad in heather and bracken. Actually
the flora is more closely related to the Fynbos indigenous
to South Africa’s Western Cape than the Highlands of
Scotland. Loleza Mountain, which rises over the town.
10 - 8 April 2008 Mbeya to Morogoro 700km
early start for the trip north to Morogoro. On the way we
had a great sighting of lions next to the main road and traversed
some amazing mountain passes before dropping down onto the
11 - 9 April 2008 Morogoro to Arusha 650km
to Arusha and a pity we never saw Mount Kilimanjaro in all
her glory – she was covered by clouds.
12 - 10 April Arusha to Nairobi, Kenya 300km
to Kenya – country no 4!
The roads up to Nairobi were poor – but they were building
a new one. The new prime minister actually stopped to admire
the Rolls at the Holiday Inn.
13 - 11 April Nairobi, Kenya
Nairobi we had our first resupply and service day and another
night at the Holiday Inn.
14 - 12-April Nairobi to Archers Post, Kenya 350km
Saturday night was
spent at Sarova Shaba Lodge on the periphery of Shaba National
Reserve. The park is home to a host of wildlife, some of which
can be found only here, including the reticulated giraffe,
Grevy's zebra, gerenuk, beisa oryx and the Somali ostrich.
The park also hosts lion, cheetah, elephant, buffalo and leopard,
and over 100 species of birds. The Lodge is most famous for
the hundreds of crocodiles in the Uaso Nyiro River
15 - Sun 13-Apr Archers Post, Kenya
night at Sarova Shaba Lodge, which was at one time the home
of George and Joy Adamson, the famous conservationists.
16 - Mon 14-Apr Archers Post to Marsabit, Kenya 250km
early start, bound for the Saraba Shove Lodge in Isiolo. This
was the end of the tar! The road from there north to Marsabit
was extremely bad with the worst corrugations and rocks that
we tried to avoid, not always successfully! I was absolutely
amazed how well the Silver Spirit handled the terrible conditions.
Behind the wheel, while I had full control, there were occasions
when it was impossible to avoid large rocks and the ‘middle
maniejie’ hitting the bottom of the car. Driving in
these conditions requires a decision every second and can
Marsabit proved difficult to find accommodation we could get
to. Recent rains prevented us from getting to our planned
lodge. Marsabit mud was impassable! We found rooms at the
Catholic convent just outside town. In the evening we took
a 10km drive to an extinct volcanic crater which we were all
amazed by. It was huge and beautiful. We enjoyed wonderful
sundowners and snacks.
17 - Tues 15-Apr Marsabit to Moyale, Kenya 250km.
left Marsabit in the mist at 6am. Now we hit the most terrible
conditions you can imagine. Each time we feel the roads cannot
get worse they do! Huge rocks, terrible corrugations, deep
gullies a meter deep every kilometer. Our average speed over
250km of sheer terror was about 25km/h.
We arrived at the Ethiopian border at 13:15 and found customs
was on lunch until 1400. Eventually after clearances we were
through by 1530. At this stage we got to look under the Rolls
and found that one of the brackets of a shock absorber had
been broken and needed repair. Roger and Steve got stuck in
and did this repair together with a few modifications to the
underbelly protection plates which had had a good hammering
but had held up.
18 - Wed 16-Apr Moyale - Awasa, Ethiopia 450km.
Report coming soon.
19 - Thurs 17-Apr Awasa - Addis Ababa 300km.
Report coming soon.
20-22 - 18-20 April Addis Ababa (waiting for Visas)
Being stuck in Ethiopia
waiting for our Sudanese visas, we have had time to learn
what a fascinating country this is. It has recently overtaken
Egypt as the second most populous country in Africa after
Nigeria. Apparently the population now sits at 91 million!
Travelling through the southern parts this has been very evident
as there is a constant throng of people along the road. This
is in contrast to Zambia when, driving in the north we would
not see a person for hundreds of kilometres. We read somewhere
that 50 million of this population is under 18! We wonder
how this country is going to cope with the responsibility
of developing this huge population because most of the rural
population seems desperately poor.
Ethiopia is the only country in Africa never to be colonised,
although it was occupied by the Italians during the Second
World War. Ethiopia never adopted the Gregorian calendar with
the rest of the world and officially follows the Julian calendar
which has 13 months. This makes them about 8 years behind
the rest of us. Ethiopia is celebrating the millennium this
year. The official date today is the 12th April 2000 (this
even appears on the newspapers)! Another weird thing is that
time of day is measured differently in Ethiopia. 07:00 in
the morning to us is 1 o’clock here. 08:00 is 2 o’clock
and so on. 15:00 is therefore 9 o’clock in Ethiopia.
The Ethiopians believe that they are the descendants of King
Solomon and Queen Sheba who produced a child out of wed-lock.
Being complete taboo at the time – they had to send
this son away. According to ‘legend’ King Solomon
ordered that all his generals send their own first born sons
to escort his son to safety. This massive migration ventured
up the Nile River from the Middle East and eventually settled
here. Ethiopians believe – their emperors i.e. Haile
Selassie are the direct descendants of this son. As a measure
of protection from God, King Solomon apparently sent the Ark
of the Covenant along and it is believed by Ethiopians to
still be housed in the Sanctuary Chapel at Axum. Although
disputed by western historians, this is taught officially
in Ethiopian schools.
Today (20 April) we ventured out of our glorious hotel to
explore Addis Ababa “the new flower”. As Africa’s
4th largest city it is quite daunting to drive here. We went
to Maskel Square to see the millennium lights we then explored
the Merkato market – said to be the largest market of
its kind in Africa. We certainly got to experience the sights
and sounds there. Our cameraman – Koos fell victim to
a pick pocket and lost his wallet!
We are desperately hoping our Sudanese visas will be ready
early enough tomorrow (21 April) so we can head north once
again. We are all missing the road now!
23 - 21 April Addis Ababa
Hooray! The Sudanese
approved our visas. Unfortunately we could only collect them
at 15:00 (or 9 o’clock local time). This meant it was
too late to drive north. The visa application process was
very trying and we would strongly recommend people get this
done before they leave home. But in South Africa it takes
6 weeks to apply for it so we just ran out of time. Not only
does one have to drive through Addis to the Sudanese embassy,
spending extra time in Addis can play havoc with one's budget.
We plan to leave at 06:00 sharp tomorrow so that we can get
as far as we can to try make up on lost time. We aim to reach
Gonder tomorrow and then into the Sudan the next day. Unfortunately
this means we will miss the Blue Nile falls and Lake Tana
– the source of the Blue Nile.
The Rolls went in for some maintenance today (21st). The part
had to be taken 30km out of Addis as the power at the workshop
was cut due to load shedding! In Ethiopia this is a common
occurrence as they refer to it here as “rationing.”
They seem to have similar problems with power as we do back
home. Ethiopia relies on hydro-electric power and due to low
rainfall this season they are not able to produce enough power
to feed its growing capital city.
We went to a supermarket and stocked up on some provisions
for the Sudan. We also found some wonderful cheeses and enjoyed
them with sundowners from our hotel room balcony. On the 11th
floor we have a beautiful view of the city and our self made
cocktail party was a fitting send off to Addis Ababa. This
evening we all ate wonderful pizza at the hotel. The Italian
influence certainly still remains in the food here.
24 - Tuesday 22 April Addis Ababa to Gondar 775km
By 06:15 we out of
the Hilton hotel and finding our way out of Addis. Addis does
have wide streets in comparison to most African cities but
it is a deceptively huge city, and it took quite some time
to leave the city boundaries. Steve did some impressive navigation
as Roger lead us out of the city bowl. When heading north
out of Addis, one travels in one direction and that is upwards!
The main road winds up an impressive pass onto the Ethiopian
highlands. Whenever we reached what we thought to be a plateau
we encountered yet another steep mountain pass leading skywards.
The landscape changed dramatically from typical African savannah
grasslands in the south to endless alpine tundra fields filled
with grazing livestock. And as we have become accustomed to
in Ethiopia – hundreds upon hundreds of people using
the roadway as their path to and from wherever they are going.
Our GPS recorded a maximum altitude of 1 0202ft. Higher than
the Sani Pass back home where we tested the Rolls. The altitude
certainly could be felt taking its toll on the performance
of both the Hilux and the Rolls. This altitude also affected
the ambient temperature and there were times we were positively
freezing when we got out to admire the panoramic views. Today’s
route took us the closest to Ethiopia’s highest peak
called Ras Dashen sitting at an impressive altitude of 4 543m
(14 901ft). We also encountered many abandoned tanks and armoured
vehicles in fields next to the road. Although most were merely
shells, some still had there guns very much attached and we
all wondered from where and from which war these originated.
One tank certainly had a Russian engine inscription on it.
We will endeavour to find out more about these treasures but
if anybody could help us place them, we would love to know!
By far the highlight of the day was our first crossing of
the mighty Nile River. More than just a river-crossing this
entailed us dropping off the escarpment into the bowels of
a massive canyon known as the Blue Nile Gorge. Many parts
of the impressive pass are under construction which made for
some hair raising driving on gravel sections with sheer 1
000m drops into the valley below. The descent is so significant
into the Nile gorge that one can notice the rapidly increasing
temperature and vice-versa as one climbs out the other side
back onto the highlands.
When one gets the first sight of the world’s longest
and most historically significant river, it is a truly spiritual
experience. Even this far south and not yet married to the
White Nile she is an impressive sight. Perhaps 300m wide and
flowing with all the enthusiasm needed to get across the formidable
Sahara, the worlds largest desert. It was such a shame that
we were not permitted to stop and absorb the experience. In
fact we had a rather terrifying encounter with an Ethiopian
soldier running at us armed with an AK47. He was shouting
ferociously at us and we had to make a quick judgment of whether
it was safer to just drive on or stop to interpret what he
was screaming. We did stop - luckily it turned out, as the
current bridge is unsafe and only one vehicle is allowed to
cross at a time. Never mind that the preceding vehicle was
a 50 ton truck – probably overloaded nevertheless!
Anyhow we could all think of much worse ways to die than
falling a hundred meters from a collapsing bridge into the
majestic Nile at this most beautiful place! Such hazards,
we have learned, are just par for the course when travelling
in these wild and remote places. We can however report that
there is an impressive modern bridge being furiously constructed
next to the old one. In a small way it is a shame that future
travellers will pass over that bridge oblivious to the dangers
which we “early pioneers” endured at that very
We reached Gondar by 17:30, unfortunately leaving us with
no time to view the Royal Enclosure. This world heritage site
is the main attraction for international tourists to this
part of the world. That is, those mad enough to be heading
for the Sudan! The site houses several castles from the 12th
century built by the Ethiopian emperors with architecture
and grandeur not known to the world during those times. We
did however get to see them in the distance from our hotel
perched up on a hillside overlooking the city.
Anyhow, another early start tomorrow, as we tackle one of
the 4 major challenges of the entire quest. The road from
Gondar to the Sudanese border is not only over treacherous
sliding gravel but also known to be dangerous bandit territory
with a real risk of ambush and hijack. Once inside the Sudan
we face the other challenge of getting to the main highway
running from Port Sudan to Al Khartoum. According to our captain,
Roger Pearce, if there has been rain, this road can be almost
Wish us luck and thank you for all your messages of encouragement.
We may need them today more that ever!
Mike, Jeanette & the SS Team
Click for stunning photos and an interesting
website on Gondar http://www.galenfrysinger.com/gondar_ethiopia.htm
25 - Wednesday 23 April 2008 Gondar to Khartoum 850km
The team is in Khartoum,
where they will be until Sunday.
The team left Gondar at 06:00 for the border crossing into
Sudan. Everything went smoothly and they were in Sudan earlier
To their delight, there
was a new tar road all the way to Gedaref so, rather than
stopping at Gedaref, they took the decision to push on to
hit problems on the way - the radiator on the Rolls sprung
a leak and the engine came loose from the engine mountings!
They carried out running
repairs, made sure they had a lot of water, and limped to
Khartoum, arriving at 22:30. According to Marc, after 16 hours
on the road they were all physically, emotionally and mechanically
However, the Silver Spirit Team is well named.
I spoke to Marc, Koos and Jeanette today and the flagging
spirits of yesterday are already behind them.
Roger is arranging the necessary repairs,
Marc is writing the daily report, Koos is organising photographs
and Jeanette is, of course, shopping! No mention of Mike or
Steve - perhaps they're still sleeping it off!
Jeanette says she was chatting to someone
in the supermarket and they have just been visited by a lady
who is driving a tractor from the North Pole to the South
Pole. And we thought Mike and Jeanette were crazy!
The team will stay in Khartoum until Sunday,
when they will set off for Dongola. They are leaving one day
later than planned but will spend one less day at Wadi Halfa,
still getting the ferry to Egypt on Wednesday.
26 - Thursday 24 April 2008 Khartoum
After a horrendous
sixteen hour day from Gondar to Khartoum we were up bright
and early to get the Rolls repaired. Fortunately a taxi driver
directed us to a “radiator repair shop” where
we pulled the radiator out.
The radiator core had cracked so a decision was made to fit
a new core. We had also broken two more engine mountings which
were a bit of a bugger to change.
The temperature was showing over 50 degrees on the Rolls
dashboard. We have two tool boxes, one plastic and the other
steel. The lid of the plastic box was open during the day
and it quietly melted and folded over. The steel box and its
contents was not affected. The coolest place was under the
Rolls. Steve Pickering, our resident on the road engineer,
did a sterling job under the circumstances. Pity there are
no beers here to rehydrate with!
During the day we came upon a local Steers and Debonairs
and guess what we had for supper? Home delivered pizza! Strange
Come the end of the day the Rolls is in fine condition and
a run across the city in the heat shows we have not damaged
the engine despite running for about 400km with little or
As mentioned previously, traffic, not only light, but the
traffic lights in Khartoum are quite intriguing. Here they
have a red a square box next to the light tells you how many
seconds you have to wait till it turns green and of course
when it turns green it tells you how many seconds you have
until it turns red. The traffic is better controlled and behaved
than in Addis.
Please remember that all this driving is on the right side
of the road which for us on the wrong side, however, Jeanette,
has now become very adept at driving these chaotic conditions
that we have experienced in Addis and Khartoum.
27 - Friday 25 April 2008 Khartoum
“Sunday”here in Khartoum. A lazy
day with everyone banned from touching the cars. We went for
a drive and took in the Sudan National Museum which gave us
some of the history of the ancient times of Sudan. We then
went to the Royal Palace Museum where we learned recent history
of the last 150 years and the struggle for independence which
took some 70 years of unrest until they obtained independence
in 1957. At that time Queen Elizabeth II came to Sudan and
together with her sister Margaret, confirmed independence
to Sudan from Britain and Egypt.
Interestingly enough, there were four Rolls Royces in a glass
enclosure in the grounds of the museum. The oldest of the
Rolls Royces was a 1924 sedan that was donated to Sudan in
1952 by King Farouk and used at that time by the Governor
General. Another interesting car was an open top 1952 Rolls
Royce that Queen Elizabeth and Princess Anne paraded in and
raised the Sudanese flag for the first time. According to
museum historian none of these cars had been used for the
last 36 years. The cars were in pretty bad shape and really
in need of some TLC.
Our drive took us along the banks of the Nile to the west
side which is the old city called Omdurman. By the time we
finished with this visit the temperatures had soared to 50
degrees and driving in lunchtime so we sought out Steers,
which was air conditioned and had really traditional hamburgers
– they were great.
Back in our air conditioned bed room I did my interview with
Radio 702 which went off well. This interview was videoed
both in SA by Tobie Swanepoel and here in Khartoum by Koos
Breakfast was ice cream on waffles, lunch was Steerburgers
and for supper we went to a splendid Lebanese resturant next
to the Canadian Embassy where we had things with strange names
but we all enjoyed. With alcohol not allowed they have the
most amazing array of fruit juices and cocktails. The lemon
juice and mint is really splendid. This was in the open air
but with mist blowers that cooled the air by 10 degrees to
make it very pleasant.
After a tiring day we had a pleasant night back at the Bourgainville
28 - Saturday 26 April 2008 Khartoum
A nothing day where we all lay around reading
and catching up on some rest. In the afternoon we washed the
cars. This was followed an hour later by a huge sandstorm
over Khartoum which was very spectacular from the flat roof
of the guesthouse where we were staying. Back to square one
with the cars!
Breakfast was Sudanese grapefruit and supper was a Nile Perch
and Rice. Very splendid indeed washed down with Château
Sudan Orange le Juice.
29 - Sunday 27 April 2008 Khartoum to Dongola 600km
After a very early coffee only start we crossed
Khartoum to meet up with our guide who arrived an hour later
and by the time we had left the outskirts of Sudan we were
about two hours behind schedule. Out of Khartoum is a tar
road built by Osma Bin Laden's company. To my great joy this
road is tarred all the way through to Dongola.
At Dongola we boarded a very rickety ferry
with five other cars and dozens of people to get us from the
west side of the Nile to the east side where a very bad dirt
road continues up to Wadi Halfa. As dusk was settling in we
stopped alongside the 3rd cataract of the Nile and set up
camp. Spaghetti and Tuna for supper washed down with a coffee.
A restless night for most because of a strong wind blowing
but it at least kept the temperatures down.
30 - Monday 28 April 2008 Dongola to Wadi Halfa 200km
Another early start, this time coffee with
rusks, cheese and crackers. We set off in high spirits to
tackle another two hundred kilometers of a mixture of track,
sand and stone. At about 10am our guide decided to head east
out into the desert proper to take a short cut. It is a long
story but it took about 10 kilometers for the rocket scientist
guide to bury his 4x4 bakkie in some very soft sand at the
bottom of a wadi and of course the Roller, all two and a half
tones of her, followed suit. It took about two hours to get
out of that mess using all the equipment we bought and never
thought we would use. Thanks to the HiLux with its diff lock,
.8 bar tyre pressure and the wonders of a good snatch rope.
We then had to backtrack with the guide receiving strict instructions;
I can’t put into print exactly what he was told, to
stay on the track.
We battled on and early in the afternoon
there was an almighty bang from the back of the Rolls as a
shock absorber punched its way through the body and into the
parcel shelf. There was not an awful lot we could do about
it and pressed on. Somebody was watching over us as the road
suddenly got better and in fact the last fifty kilometers
into Wadi Halfa.
We celebrated getting into Halfa with cooking
some Nile fish we had bought in an earlier village and washing
it down with (not telling)
31 - Tuesday 29 April 2008 Wadi Halfa
We had camped over night at a nice spot next
to the Nile and we were woken to the sound of braying donkeys
coming down to the river for brekkie.
They weren’t into our coffee and rusks.
It did not take too long to find a guy who
could weld and soon we had the back of the Rolls in the air
and a new fabricated plate was welded in. Not an easy place
to get to but it never ceases to amaze me how these people
can manage with very basic and crude tools. This welder would
make a fortune in Johannesburg. Here's hoping it holds.
We are booked onto the ferries for tomorrow
and whilst we should get into Aswan in Egypt on Thursday,
the cars will only get in on Saturday. With Customs being
closed over the weekend it looks like we will only get the
cars out by Tuesday or Wednesday next week, Inshallah.
32 - Wednesday 30 April 2008 Aswan, Egypt (50km)
We woke this morning for a communal breakfast
of beans, dry egg, piece of cheese and dry bread. Washed down
with a Miranda it’s not so bad.
Checked out the lifeboats and other things
this morning. 280 berths on life rafts and boats with nearly
600 people on board. Great. Not only that but they are all
tied to the deck!
Around about 14:00 we pulled up outside Aswan
as there was a passenger missing. They searched high and low
for Mr Said but I suspect he has long been barbel feed. Oh
Docked at 15:00 and we eventually disembarked
at about 18:00. After a lengthy customs and immigration procedure
we arrived at our beautiful hotel with huge cold showers,
ice-cold beers and G&T, an amazing buffet and finally
Unfortunately they had cancelled our booking
and Aswan is full. We are in a hovel in the central market
and it is not licensed and serves only local food. However,
it is comfortable, the showers are wet and the people are
We are booked onto the ferries for tomorrow
and whilst we should get into Aswan in Egypt on Thursday,
the cars will only get in on Saturday. With Customs being
closed over the weekend it looks like we will only get the
cars out by Tuesday or Wednesday next week, Inshallah.
33 - Thursday 1 May 2008 Aswan
Hopefully the barge with the cars might arrive
today (Friday which is the local Sunday). Yesterday I met
a customs guy who is prepared to work today if the cars arrive
by midday so we will see what happens.
34 to Day 36 Friday 2
May 2008 to Sunday 4 May 2008 Aswan
Communication from Aswan has been bad, so
just a short report for now – more later.
Busy clearing cars which we finally did this
afternoon. We are busy washing cars and cleaning up after
the desert and not much else to report.
Those not busy with the cars have had trips
along the Nile in feluccas and lunched here and there but
not much else.
Tomorrow we head off for Luxor.
For those interested in prices, things are
different in Egypt. Diesel, which which is over R 10.00 per
litre in SA, is just R 1.50 in Egypt. But a 375ml beer is
R 50.00 here!
So far Koos and his 'assistants' (other members of the team
press-ganged into taking photos) have shot some 47 hours of
video and 1 600 still photographs!
37 - Monday 5 May 2008 Aswan to Luxor (231km)
Up and away at last onto the roads of Egypt. Travel for foreigners
between cities either by own car or bus is restricted to convoys
between the town centres. With us on the convoy were Sib (from
Morningside, Sandton, on his way from SA to Nrwayon his Vespa
scooter) and Lodewyk from Russia on his Kawasaki. The convoy
was going at 100kph and the scooter at 80kph, which was a
bit scary for Sib. The hotel had packed us a lunch, which
we ate, before the start. Usual cold boiled egg, piece of
cheese and bread.
Our convoy of about 30 vehicles left Aswan at 08:00 for Luxor.
This small convoy just roared through villages, towns and
cross roads with no stopping. The roads were quite good with
wonderful views of the Nile and the large luxury ships which
ply between Luxor and Aswan. There was a half way stop along
the way where every con man in Egypt was lying in wait for
the likes of us. No, we did not buy genuine Papyrus paper
made from banana leaves!!
Into Luxor at about 1.00pm and joy of joys we passed a KFC
on the way in. Definite sign we had arrived in civilisation.
We all shared a large bucket of chicken for lunch.
A photo shoot around the Temple of Luxor followed then back
to our hotel, which from the street was a bit of a dive but
inside opened out into a lovely establishment along the banks
of the Nile. A very good find.
38 - Tuesday 6 May Luxor to Hurghada and Marsa Alam
Again up early to take the convoy from Luxor to Hurghada.
We did not go into Hurghada as we peeled off right at Safaga
for the 200km run down to Port Ghalib. On the way down we
passed a convoy of buses coming the other way with over 100
luxury tourist coaches in it. The idea of the convoy is to
safeguard the tourists but somehow I think that when you get
a convoy of over 5000 people, which follows the same route
day after day at the same time, they have missed something
somewhere. Furthermore, when the convoy turned left for Hurghada
we carried on with out a convoy to Port Ghalib!
On arrival at the Sun International five star plus Palace
Hotel we went ahead in the Toyota to set up the cameras. Awaiting
the arrival of the Rolls was a team of Sun International staff
and two very well groomed, I nearly said beautiful, camels.
On arrival the cameras popped, the champagne flowed and Mike
and Jeanette were paraded on Casanova and Madonna, the two
fine camels. All very grand.
It is very difficult to describe this Sun International resort
but think of the Palace at Sun City by the sea. Absolutely
magnificent. Blue, blue warm waters with lots of palms and
pools. Many restaurants and shops of all descriptions. We
are being quite spoiled.
A late lunch at the Look Out bar brought our day to an early
39 - Wednesday 7 May Port Ghalib
Unbelievable. In the desert I get for breakfast two of possibly
the best poached eggs I have ever seen. Absolutely perfectly
done in water and not in a poached egg pan.
This was followed by a trip on a rubber dingy to a small
bay where we snorkelled for a while. Jeanette has been looking
forward to this for a long time and there was no stopping
her from floating from one end of the reef to the other. It
was a big problem getting her to pack up and get back to the
hotel about 5km up the coast. A wind had come up and we had
quite a trip back in the rubber duck bouncing from one wave
to the next. We did come across a couple of very large turtles
swimming about in the now choppy waters.
A splendid sandwich and beer lunch next to one of the pools
set us all up for an afternoon snooze.
In the evening we wandered over to one of the other Sun International
hotels and watched belly dancing along with our supper of
curries, Chinese and fish. We have sampled some of the Egyptian
wines and some of the dry whites are not a bad drop.
A very pleasant day.
40 - Thursday 8 May Port Ghalib
Tried a range of local cheeses, breads, yoghurt and jams
for breakfast. All very good although some are still eating
eggs in an omelette which has become very boring. You are
going to get a Delhi belly on this kind of a trip so why postpone
The press has come down from Cairo to meet the Silver Spirit
Adventure so lots of filming and a long lunch with the journalists.
An ice-cold glass of the local Pinot Blanc went down well.
Well organised by the lovely Ramona.
We had the Roller up in the air today for the first complete
inspection since Khartoum. Horrors of horrors. On the Khartoum
to Wadi Halfa road we have lost the complete diff skid plate,
broken a rear trailing arm mounting off the diff and one rear
shock has called it a day. The skid plate is not a problem
as we are now on tar and we have changed the shock. We will
have to find somewhere to weld and repair the diff sub frame.
It was never going to be easy and we are nearly there.
Tonight is an early night as we are off tomorrow to Hurghada
for another day of snorkelling, eating, drinking and behaving
like slobs. It is really is tough at times.
Note from webmaster - the Gallery is really worth viewing.
How the other half live!
41 - Friday 9 May Port Ghalib to Hurghada (240km)
We have no report from the team for this leg of the journey.
Hurghada is 250km north of Port Ghalib.
The road follows the coastline the entire way
42 - Saturday 10 May Hurghada to Cairo (480km)
When we say early start we mean early start. The Hurghada
to Cairo convoy leaves from a point 60km north of Hurghada
at 3.00 am. This means we had to be up a 1.30am am to be there
The previous evenings meal was a Seafood extravaganza which
featured Chinese, Italian and Lebanese traditional dishes
such as pasta, stir fries etc. Still trying to work it out.
Piece de Resistance was a huge carvery, which featured a complete
grilled goat including its head. Somehow didn’t go down
well with our lot.
The drive up the coast of the Red Sea in the dark was very
quiet except for the gentle snores of one cameraman and a
medic. We passed many an oil and gas well with their fires
lighting up the night sky.
Just outside Cairo we lost the convoy due to the Rolls' appetite
for fuel but this was a bit of a blessing in disguise as we
found a new highway leading us into the city. Diesel by the
way is 90 cents a litre and petrol is R1.10 a litre. When
did you last see the money counter on the pump with a lower
figure than the litre counter?
Anyway, into Cairo we travelled with much joy that the Rolls
Royce and crew had done it. Somehow we navigated across the
city unaided with our first stop at the Pyramids of Giza.
The police promptly threw us out when they saw all the filming
equipment but we did surreptitiously manage to get some photos
and footage in.
From there we headed west to our overnight where an ice-cold
bottle of champagne was opened to celebrate the getting from
Cape Town to Cairo in the Rolls. Michael and Jeanette have
proven that you are never too old to dream.
Sadly, we had to see Steve off on his plane back to Johannesburg.
Steve did a great job keeping the wheels turning from Nairobi
to Cairo. Lucky bugger gets to watch a Grand Prix on Sunday
with cold beer!
43 - Sunday 11 May (Cairo)
No report for today.
44 - Monday 12 May (Cairo)
A normal start to the day with pre-cooked omelette, (cooked
before I woke up I reckon), and beans. There are various other
choices of goat by-products such as yoghurt, cheese, milk,
meat and so on.
We set off for some sightseeing and took in the Citadel and
then the National Military Museum next door, which was a great
find. The most amazing building with ceilings, wall and fittings
to compare with the Palace of Versailles. A fantastic place
and we overstayed our time by two hours.
Later in the afternoon back at the hotel Michael and Jeanette
were the subject of a film shoot by an Egyptian television
station. This went on for nearly five hours into the dark,
rushing up crowded streets in the Rolls. Eventually the lady
called “Tequila and Orange” and that was the end
45 - Tuesday 13 May (Cairo)
Surprise, surprise. The day old omelette has been changed
to day old scrambled egg! My friend the goat remains.
The reason we have been hanging around Cairo is to get an
audience with the Governor of Cairo to deliver a letter of
Goodwill from the Mayor and people of Capetown to the Governor
and people of Cairo.
Today was the first possible opportunity and what a grand
occasion it was. Lots of pomp and ceremony and the exchanging
of letters. The Governor is a very gracious man and gave us
half an hour of his time with him expressing great interest
in the trip and South Africa.
It must be mentioned here that this meeting with the Governor
was made possible by the staff of Sun International in Cairo.
Up the length of Egypt the people of Sun International have
been a huge help. The stay in Port Ghalib, finding us room
in a fully booked out Hurghada, advice on the roads, the meeting
with the Governor and more. Our trip through Egypt has been
made so much more comfortable with their assistance. The meeting
with the Governor today was a true highlight of the trip (please
don’t all rush out and ask Mamdouh Sheshtawy to arrange
a meeting with the Governor!) And let's not forget the launch
in Capetown at the Table Bay Hotel and the splendid accommodation
at Victoria Falls. A BIG thank you to Sun International from
46 - Wednesday 14 May Cairo to Alexandria (250km)
At last we leave Cairo and its noise and bustle. We are up
early for beans and egg before setting off on the short run
of about 250km to Alexandria.
Our first stop was the Metropole Hotel in Alexandria, which
is one of the ancient splendid hotels of Alex from the 19th
century. The hotel is reputed to stand on the site where Cleopatra
entertained Mark Anthony. The hotel also featured in a 50s
movie called “Ice Cold in Alex”. Mike and I entertained
a beer or two at the famous bar.
One of the features of Alex are the ancient trams, which
We finished off the day with a wonderful Lentil soup and
an awful steak.
47 - Thursday 15 May (Alexandria)
The egg and bean breakfast is slightly different in Alex
but still beans.
We visited the shippers where a decision was made to use
containers instead of a RoRo service because of the high likelihood
of theft between Alexandria and Naples. From a safety point
of view a good decision but in the end much more expensive.
The two giraffes on the front of the HiLux, the deep throat
sisters, were pinched off the bonnet before we got the cars
into the containers so, so much for safety.
We spent the rest of the day loading and the day ran out
and as a result me missed our trip to El Alemein, something
I was really looking forward to. The bureaucracy is horrendous.
It took four hours to get a pass to go into the port. Next
On the way back to the hotel we picked up air tickets for
Rome via Cairo.
Supper was an interesting experiment with Crêpes, which
turned out to be an omelette in English but apparently not
48 - Friday 16 May (Alexandria to Cairo to Rome)
Up early at five to catch the only flight to Cairo at eight
am. Into Cairo International and after a short wait we took
the flight for Rome on Egypt Air. It was a very pleasant flight
and the goat stew wasn’t bad either. On the flight the
Captain mentioned we were heading for Rome, Inshallah. Now
that means God willing and I was hoping he had some faith
in Airbus and Pratt and Whitney as well.
We took a train into Rome on a very crowded train dragging
Jeanette’s luggage along with us. Good thing she had
prepared herself for a short trip.
At the clean Hotel Morgana, around the back of the station,
we came upon Mario who runs a pavement pub. Due to an unfortunate
misunderstanding about the size and the number of beers required
I arrived at a dinner date in an unfortunate condition. I
believe that my Tripe was splendid.
49 - Saturday 17 May (Rome)
Today was topless day as we travelled around Rome on a topless
bus and took in all the sights. I retired after lunch after
all the effort put into the previous afternoon for a small
relax and also to try and get rid of a cold.
Mike and Koos enjoyed the bus so much they went for another
lap in the afternoon.
Dinner was a repeat with my date of the previous evening
but this time with a clear head. My friend is in Rome learning
to speak Italian, which is very fortunate as the menu that
evening was only available in Italian. We decided on something
very light e.g. light ham and melon but the fruits of her
lessons delivered us each a large plate of chops and roast
potatoes. Of such are stories grown.
50 - Sunday 18 May (Tuscany))
With a couple of days to kill before the cars arrive in Naples,
Inshallah, we have decided to hire a car and travel Tuscany
We set off for Siena where we had a long walk and a good
lunch. From there we set off for San Gimignano where we found
a splendid family hotel in a nearby village.
Soup was mix of barley and blended bean. Main was olive oil
and lemon infused strips of grilled sirloin. To die for, doll.
51 - Monday 19 May (Florence)
Today we headed for Pisa, took the photos holding the tower
up and then headed for Florence where the heavens opened.
Ever tried to park in Florence in the pouring rain? David
is closed on Monday and after getting drenched to find this
out, that was the end of Monday.
The restaurant in the little hotel on the banks of a local
lake where we spent the night was also closed on a Monday.
However, a bit of luck was had when the innkeeper suggested
we go to a small restaurant he and his wife frequent. Amazing
pork knuckles although in English we know them as shanks.
52 - Tuesday 20 May (Touring Umbria)
Today was a slow run around the lake dropping in on the most
amazing and quaint villages. The Umbria area is really something.
On the way down we stopped in at Monte Casino and visited
the monastery on the top of the mountain. Very special. It
is amazing to see how well they have copied the place in Fourways.
It poured all the way into Naples and later that evening
I picked up Lorraine who had flown in from Joburg for the
last week's run into the UK.
An appalling Margarita Pizza for dinner.
53 - Wednesday 21 May (Naples)
A nothing day. We returned the rubbish Renault Scenic and
did the Museums of Naples. I reckon the museums of Cairo are
far superior and I find it quite depressing to view Egyptian
artefacts outside of Egypt. They should return the lot from
all over the world.
54 - Thursday 22 May (Capri and Pompeii)
Up early and the sun is shining. A quick decision and we
are off to the Isle of Capri by ferry. From Capri village
we took a cab up to Ana Capri and the views on the trip up
were fantastic. We sipped our Napoleon brandies at the Hotel
San Michel and we never got our lips wet. (Who wrote that?)
From Capri we caught a ferry to Sorrento and from there we
set off for Pompeii which after the fourth time has become
a bit of a bore. I must say they have tidied it up a bit.
From there it was back onto a train for the run back into
A long day, which was finished off with a Spaghetti and Pesto
55 - Friday 23 May (Naples)
Today was a long and complicated day at the docks finding
and clearing the cars, which we got done by late afternoon.
Later on we went for walk around the back streets of Naples
with children playing in the rain and finishing off the day
with a very fine Pork cutlet.
56 - Saturday 24 May (Naples to Maranello)
On the road again. We have arrived at our overnight stop
of Marranello, the home of Ferrari. We have visited the factory
museum and listened to some amazing cars rushing around the
streets. Koos is like a kid with a new toy.
We are off to the Cavallino Restaurant across the road from
the Ferrari factory entrance for supper and tomorrow we head
off for somewhere near Monaco.
57 - Sunday 25 May (Maranello to Cannes)
Continuing our drive up through Italy and France
today we head for the French Riviera with an overnight in
We passed by Monaco exactly as the Grand Prix started which
was a bit of fun being able to glimpse down into the town
from the freeway above in the hills. We were all disappointed
with the results, having spent the previous day at the home
Today was the last day of the Cannes Film Festival and downtown
is awash with beautiful people strutting about and the exotic
cars rushing by were amazing. Lorraine and I were there with
the Toyota. The display of exotic motor yachts along the waterfront
made us realise we come from a different world. Anyway, crepes
on the sidewalks of Cannes on the last night of the Film Festival
was fun but the 3km walk back up the hill to the hotel wasn’t.
58 - Monday 26 May (Cannes to Millau)
BACON. The first sign of civilisation since we left
Nairobi, what a relief, what a breakfast!
Last night on the walk back from downtown we passed a wheel
alignment shop where we have taken both cars to get their
wheels pointing in the right direction after the trials and
tribulations of African roads. Lets see if they can balance
a Rolls wheel that has been straighten by hammer! (They couldn’t
and we have had our first wheel change)
Whilst the cars are being repaired the others are taking in
the local village of La Cannet, which is over 1000 years old.
The rains came down again and we headed off for the village
of Millau, the site of the worlds highest bridge. The plan
was to get to Millau and then the following morning to set
out to find the bridge. Well, I missed a turning and the next
thing we were on this bridge way, way above a valley and village
below. Unbelievable and not for those who are not keen on
heights like me! Imagine a bridge over the Umzimkulu valley
and you have a rough idea. I liked the opinion that they built
this bridge over the valley for the simple reason that they
59 - Tuesday 27 May (Millau to Arras)
Today we were up early to have another run over the
bridge to do a film shoot. Just as spectacular as the first
trip across but this time with the cloud cover below the bridge.
Then a long, long day with pouring rain to the town of Arras
about a 100km out of Calais. The run across Paris in the rain
in the late afternoon traffic was interesting to say the least.
There are a few Parisian drivers who heard the wrath of the
team leader today.
We ended up in a pub across from the hotel where they put
on a dinner for us. Simple and spectacular. Cheeses and bread
to die for.
Sadly today the Rolls finally had a front shockabsorber expire
on the amazingly smooth roads of France. Scratching our heads
on this one and some poor bugger has to change it, which is
about a two hour job. Guess who?
60 - Wednesday 28 May (Arras to Goodwood, UK)
WE MADE IT!
After a lovely evening in the French town of Arras in an Irish
pub we left this morning for Calais and a short trip under
the Channel by car train. The HiLux had to go in with the
buses, as it was too high for the car compartments.
From Calais it took three hours to drive down the coast to
Goodwood where the trip officially ended.
It was a difficult last leg for a couple of reasons but the
cars behaved perfectly, in particular the Toyota HiLux was
literally driven out of the showroom in SA and up to the UK.
The Rolls had a couple of suspension problems which were not
unexpected as these problems would be easy to resolve for
a return trip and they are only problems which you will find
during a trip of this nature. Fortunately we were able to
find very helpful and very capable people in Nairobi, Addis
Ababa, Khartoum and Wadi Halfa Without them we would not have
made it. One also needs to remember that the Rolls fully overloaded
weighs over three tons. This puts incredible strain on components
that one would not normally think twice about. It says a huge
amount for the original design and construction of the car.
We were advised that all sorts of things would go wrong. We
were advised that the aluminum engine would implode if it
was overheated. Driving two hundred kilometers with little
water and the temperature gauge off the scale because of a
broken radiator put rest to that little myth. A hugely impressive
motorcar, which made it in style to the UK despite our best
Hopefully after a good cleanup it can go back and win another
prize at a Concours d'Elegance.
61 - Thursday 29 May onwards
Well, now the trip from Cape to Cairo to London is over and
what an adventure it was!
Roger and Koos have now returned to South Africa, bringing
many juicy tales.
Mike and Jeanette will be spending time in the UK visiting
friends and touring and will be on show at the Rolls Royce
Enthusiasts Club Annual Rally at Kelmarsh Hall, Northamptonshire
on 21 and 22 June.
Mike says that with beer at R 45 and everything else costing
the earth, they will be on 'short rations' for a while.
89 - Return to SA
Mike and Jeanette are due back in South Africa today.
They have had a wonderful time in England and Wales, visiting
old friends and making new ones.
The weather has been very kind to them and the Silver
Spirit continues to purr along.
Mike and Jeanette became members of the RREC (Rols Royce
Enthusiasts Club) and attended the UK Annual Rally last
weekend, where there were more than 1 000 Rolls Royces!
At the rally they screened a 45 minute video compiled
by Koos Roets from the 60+ hours of video shot on the Adventure.
The Rolls and the Toyota will be loaded into containers
and shipped back to SA very soon.
We have posted a few new photographs in Daily Reports
and in the Gallery.