We left the Catholic mission by 07h15 and waved goodbye to Father Goutier. Shortly out of town we bought a large supply of bread to use up our remaining Congolese francs and I think the lady loved us - we were her biggest sale for the year - taking 16 loaves! Simon's friends had said they battled to find bread in Angola, so we were taking the opportunity while it was there. The road didn't seem so bad on the way back and we passed easily through the towns, not being hassled by police or immigration folk (we thought perhaps our friends Jean-Pierre and Michel who had to make their own way back yesterday might have decided to stir it up a bit for us - Larium paranoia again) we made good time. At the turn off at Songolo a guy who said he was from OCC tried his luck for money after we had been to douane. We just drove off and ignored him. The immigration guy at Lufu was fantastic. He was exceptionally organised and friendly and when the OCC guy turned up on his motorbike to hassle us, the immigration guy told him very diplomatically to go away, as we were tourists and his 'stuff' didn't apply. There was a refugee holding camp at the border and it all looked quite well done.
On the Angolan side they kept us waiting for 1.5hrs unnecessarily while they apparently phoned through to Mbanza Congo. I went and spoke to the guy and said it was past the deadline they had set for themselves and I explained (again) that we had to go to Mbanza Congo anyway, so we could just check in there. They conceded and off we went. Michael and Simon had just finished their game of chess, so the timing was just right. We were stopped at one checkpoint in MC and then made our way through, with Simon and his GPS map in the lead for the route which Simon's friends had said the UN recommended. The road was pretty small and in poor condition so we began to doubt ourselves, but it was on Simon's GPS so we persisted.
We also saw another UN encampment which made us feel more positive that we were on the right track.
Simon found us a nice little camp along a well-beaten path into the valley and we set up camp and Glen did an oil change on Cadbury. Then we had some visitors who were very unfriendly to say the least! The one guy starting shouting at us in Portuguese saying we couldn't camp there and was not impressed when none of us could speak Portuguese. Quite a few Angolans speak French so I tried that, but to no avail. Then I tried my best phrasebook Portuguese which went some way, but not enough. They said we had to camp in the village, but we decided we'd rather not stay somewhere we weren't welcome. Then we discovered some of them could speak French so I told them we wouldn't stay somewhere where the people were so rude and unwelcoming and we'd rather drive in the night and find another more friendly village. So, we packed up and off we went... for another 3 hours! It was impossible to find a suitable bushcamp and eventually we decided to ask a village if we could camp there. The phrasebook came out again, much to the delight and hysterical giggles of the girls I was talking too. Then along came Pedro who could speak French. I asked him to ask the chief or village elders if it was OK. They were very friendly and welcomed us to camp right in the heart of their village. They also sadly told us that the road we were on was not passable and that to get to Luanda we had to go via Tomboco and Nzeto. They were very understanding when we said we were exhausted and needed to sleep, so we tied Togo up and went off to bed.
After a very good night's sleep, we were awake at 06h00, as were some of the villagers. Michael took Togo for run (along with Emmanuel) and I went for a little 'toilet wander'. We left by 06h45 after paying the village $5 for their hospitality (with which the chief was delighted) and taking a few photos to send to them at a later date.
We were all slightly concerned that we would have to go to the police/immigration this morning, particularly as Glen and Pat had seen them waving and shouting at us when we left the town on the wrong road yesterday. We stopped for a quick sandwich breakfast along the road after we had passed the 'horrible village'. We also stopped to investigate some wreckage on the side of the road...
Glen and Pat led the way and picked up a policeman en route, near Mbanza Congo. We weren't sure if that was going to be a good or bad thing, but it turns out it was of no consequence and we drove through the town unstopped, despite missing the turning at the roundabout and us heading for an army base. So, then Simon led with his GPS map. We saw a white person at the Medecins sans Frontier place so we stopped to chat and ask some advice. Peter was so pleased to see tourists and said we were the only ones he had seen in his 5 months there. We stopped to by diesel next to the market and we changed money too.
The diesel cost 30 kwanza a litre and the exchange rate was 80 kwanza to the dollar. The road was far better than yesterday, though loads of very very fine dust. We all tried in vain to keep clean, but we just resigned ourselves to being dirty...
I couldn't believe how many baobab trees there were. Not the absolutely massive ones you find in Zimbabwe, but still characterful, with gnarled bark and big heavy fruit hanging down. There were also loads of granite kopjes and Michael and I both said how much we loved this kind of African bush.
We got to Nzeto a while before sunset. It was like a ghost town. With a few wide, colonial roads fringed with dilapidated buildings and the odd group of people spotted about. We bought fuel from the roadside and headed down to the beach area to see if we could camp.
Pat found a man who spoke a bit of English and quite a lot of French, so he did some translating for us and asked the guard at the little pub if we could camp and he said it was no problem at all. We said we would have some drinks at the pub later. Once our translator left the guard said he wanted 1,000 kwanza and we said that was too much (more than we paid at the mission in Mbanza Ngungu). Then we spoke to the owner of the pub and he said 100 kwanza was fine and that we could come for drinks later. It wasn't the ideal place as it was dirty and Togo soon found some human sh-t to roll around in - so it was off for a swim in the sea for her and then Michael rinsed her off again. Then we all went for a bit of a swim and rinsed off with some jerry can water. Togo was shivering, so I put her in the vehicle to dry off and I read my book, while Pat sat outside and the boys went for a drink... I went to sleep with the sounds of the waves crashing on the beach, which was great!
We were woken early in the morning by Togo barking as the guard had come to get his money. Michael told him we'd come and see him a little later (all with hand actions as the guard doesn't understand a word of English, nor French). Pretty soon afterwards we decided we'd better get up anyway. Michael wandered off to pay the guard the 100 kwanza we had agreed with the owner of the pub the night before, but now his story has changed and he wants not 1,000 ($12), but 10,000 ($120). What a joke, anyway some other guys came up and start chatting to Michael and they told the guard that 100 was plenty. I started to wash up the dishes from the lunch yesterday and do Togo's bowls. The guard came round to see what was happening in the camp and we were all busying ourselves. Then I noticed Togo wasn't about, so I called for her, expecting her to come running out of the bush somewhere as always, but there was no response. I called and called and wandered pretty far looking for her as the guard told me he saw her running in the direction of the military base. Michael went in the opposite direction and then the others started to help too. To cut a long story short, after searching for quite a while, I began to think someone had picked her up as she doesn't normally stray too far. The only reason I didn't cry was because I knew I wouldn't be able to whistle for her if I was crying! I thought she might have inadvertently got locked in a room in the pub somewhere, and then I thought (cynically) - perhaps someone may have locked her in deliberately... I wandered through and called and whistled and then I heard her whimpering. The guard had locked her in the toilet! The bastard had tried to steal her! He had also led Michael on a wild goose chase showing him her footprints wandering off. I was absolutely fuming as was everyone else. Still, it was probably a good lesson for Togo and us. We'll keep a closer eye on her and she'll hopefully not wander off with strangers so easily. As we were leaving the guard was pointing with his fingers making shooting gun signals at us because we hadn't paid him what he demanded. Frankly, we didn't care, he certainly didn't deserve it and his pathetic actions didn't worry us at all. But clearly, our 'guard' dog needs to become a bit more vicious...
We stopped about 30kms outside of Nzeto to buy honey and the came across a broken down truck which was laden with fruit which we thought we'd ask if we could buy. I made everyone a sandwich with our fresh bread (which could kill someone if you hit them with it). We helped the truck people with their puncture using our compressed air and went on our way. Just before Caxito some police official decided that he needed a lift to the next town so said we had to have our passports stamped there and he had to go with us. We had the age-old argument about no-one coming in our car, because of insurance, and of course the dog! Eventually he gave in after two passing cars refused to give him a lift and we said we were prepared to wait and have lunch (I think my asking his name also helped). So we drove through Caxito and as no-one stopped us, we continued straight through, only to be 'caught' when we stopped to let Togo have a pee. The policeman must have radioed through and the chief at Caxito followed us out though the town when we hadn't 'checked in'. He wanted to some in our vehicle and again, we had the age-old argument... We promised to go back into town to register and he soon overtook us in another car and showed us the way. They were all very pleasant and simply wrote all our details down in their little book.
We passed a few amputees en route to Luanda and saw a lot more blown up vehicles on the side of the road, as well as more evidence of bullet-ridden buildings.
We were stopped at a checkpoint before the town and it was pretty quick and easy. I bought a load of cheap sardines for Togo's dinner. A can of 155g cost just 25c! We joined a queue for diesel at a fuel station and spent just under two ours getting to the front and filling up. The wait was well worth it as the diesel was only 10c a litre! We also chatted to various locals who were all extremely friendly and helpful. We set off for the mission as the sun was setting. The traffic was pretty bad and the drivers ore aggressive than we've encountered elsewhere, but not too bad. We went past an absolutely massive market area which had closed down for the night, it spread out for hundreds and hundreds of metres and it must heave with people and activity during the day. On our way along the waterfront we were overtaken by two guys on a motorbike who shouted 'follow us', we weren't sure whether we should or not, having been led astray by bike-helpers before... as it turns out they couldn't have been more helpful. They stopped and told us they also enjoyed travelling a lot and that we should come and have a drink at their pub and they might be able to find a place for us to stay. Roy owns a fantastic pub and restaurant called Miami Beach which is on the beachfront and is one of the best establishments we have seen in Africa so far and Mike is the sound technician there. We spent a very enjoyable evening with them, chatting, drinking and eating. The ambience was friendly and lively and food was quite expensive, but absolutely delicious and when it came time to pay, Roy wouldn't hear of it! We stayed at a friend of Roy's, Max. He and his girlfriend, Maria, were so hospitable. We parked all three vehicles in his secure yard, he gave us the use of his little annex, which had a double bed, shower (hot!), toilet and a kitchenette. Pat stayed in the room and we all used the bathroom facilities - it was absolutely great. Max also had a soft heart for animals and fed Togo milk. It was so refreshing to come across such wonderful hospitality. Thanks to you all - you made our stay in Luanda a memorable one!
We had a relaxing wake up and left Max's at about 12h30. We made our way out of the town and down along the coast and had been advised by Max not to stop before Barra do Cuanza for anyone in civilian clothing, only police.
We didn't encounter anyone, except friendly locals waving as we drove past and some opportunistic police at an un-yet, fully-functioning toll booth. It was before a big bridge and looked like a typical European tool road, with about 3 or 4 pay booths. We pulled up and the policeman said it was 50 something or other (I thought he'd said dollars, so I said 50 kwanza), then he said 100 and then said $50 dollars again, but by then we had given the 0 kwanza. When I asked for a receipt he indicated I should pull over to the right where the other police were and he promptly disappeared with our money. The other police were very friendly and took down our details and said we could go! I was so mad with myself for giving over the 50 kwanza, even though it all looked official, but decided for 50c it wasn't worth it! We also saw the most beautiful bouganvillia along the side of the road, pity about the litter.
We drove down to Cabo Ledo where we found a lovely quiet part of the beach to camp, after enquiring with some local builders - Barnaby 1 & 2 and Bibi. We flew Simon's kite, played frisbee and watched the spectacular sunset.
Glen - off his head, so nothing new there :-)
Then we went off to the restaurant in the local village about 1km down the beach, which Glen and Pat had sussed out earlier. We had some of the best fish I have ever eaten there and because there was a slight mix up with the order, we ended up with some lobster for tomorrow. Queros, the owner of the restaurant arrived near the end of our meal and he came and joined us when we were finished. He bought us a round of drinks and we had a great time chatting with him. He had lived in SA for over ten years. We drove back to the other end of the beach, where it was deserted, because we decided we'd prefer a quiet night without people, dogs and the TV from the restaurant floating down.
Had a relaxing day today. We woke up early with Togo and then went back to sleep, which was luxury. When Michael got up later he had to wash Togo as she had done her 'rolling in human sh-t' trick. She went swimming with Michael and Glen and got caught up and dumped by a wave and has been a bit edgy with the sea since. We spent the morning enjoying the cool, overcast sky. I cut Michael's hair, as well as Glens (though he had a more normal style this time).
The guys worked on Jenny's brakes and I cooked toast for breakfast.
The afternoon got hotter and I sat in the shade catching up with journal entries, Michael had a quick sleep and Glen cooked up some paella rice for the lobster.
We had a delicious meal with the sun setting over the deep blue sea - what more could you ask for?
We had a relatively relaxed start today, leaving just before lunch. The road condition was pretty poor with potholes of various shapes and sizes all over the place. Cadbury's radiator mountings sagged and the fan fouled the radiator cowing so Michael got some cable ties out and before too long, Glen had tied it all up and she was ready to go again...
We did our good deed for the day today by helping a group of locals retrieve their taxi minibus from the bushes! We were driving along and saw a fairly large crowd of people sitting and standing about in the road. We assumed one of the taxis had a puncture and the passengers were waiting for it to be fixed, but then we saw a second taxi deep down the slope off the side of the road. How he managed to keep it upright, I've no idea! Michael was pretty sure we could winch it out and the driver was delighted we were prepared to help him AND that we weren't interested in money! Michael manoeuvred Nyathi into place and attached the winch using a snatch block and shackle to give maximum pulling power and control. It was pretty easy and once we had winched the taxi into a more sensible position, Glen drove in further down into the bush and up and out further up the road. There were cheers from the waiting crowd and lots of thanks from the driver. It was great to be able to help!
Unfortunately that ate into our camp-seeking time and the sun was almost setting before we set off again. We agreed that we'd drive into the night until we found a decent camp place on a beach somewhere after Lobito. Tonight we saw the first confirmed presence of mines. It was shortly after crossing a bridge and on either side of the road there were areas demarcated with red and white stones and a sign warning against mines.
We stopped and filled up at a fuel station in Lobito and saw the locals having fun on some funfair dodgems which had been set up alongside the road. After some exhausting driving we found a place called Baia Azul (near Baia Farta) and I asked in my best Portuguese whether we could camp there and how much it would cost? The guy (Augustus) was so friendly and said it was no problem at all, at no cost and asked the security guy to show us how to get onto the beach. The beach wasn't great as there was quite a lot of litter and broken glass about, the majority of which we picked up before Togo had a chance to find it. Then we all just fell into bed, too tired to even eat last night's leftovers...
I got up early and took Togo for a long walk along the beach. She had great fun chasing and pouncing on the little crabs and then wandering where they had disappeared to as she had pushed them underground. She tried tasting a few, but their wriggliness put her off. She paddled for a while with me and even fetched her hosepipe once or twice, but then decided she'd had enough.
When we got back to camp I cooked up a poorman's version of bubble and squeak, mostly just to use the night before last's leftovers so they didn't go to waste. We all agreed the each wasn't great and that pretty soon it would be inundated with Benguela day-trippers, so we made tracks... Jenny and Cadbury did a slight detour, as they got bogged down in the sand a bit, but Nyathi managed okay.
The road was still pretty poor, but we soon came off the semi-tarred section and onto dirt. It was Glen and Pat' turn for vehicle problems again today. Cadbury's exhaust worked it's way loose and snapped off at the end. Then their roof rack mounting sheared one of the mounting bolts just below the windscreen, so it took a while and some digging in Simon and Michael's toolboxes to fix that. I just busied myself making tomato and marmite biscuits for everyone to snack on!
We passed some pretty impressive evidence of landmine activity today, with four truck shells in a row along one section. I still get a bit nervous when we stop and am not keen to walk off the road if I can avoid it, which is probably a bit paranoid, given the percentage chance of finding a landmine.
Then we went onto some pretty minor roads in search of a beach camp. We were all using our GPSs and Glen and Pat were leading, with Simon and us following. Unfortunately they missed a turning, which was pretty obscure, so you could hardly blame them. Michael and I charged after them, flashing our spotlights and hooting, but they didn't see us. Eventually we caught up with them and discovered that Cadbury had a puncture. It was a slow leak, so Glen decided we should pump it up using Nyathi's compressor and head back to the correct road and then down to the beach. So we did that.
The road was even less major than the other one (which we hadn't thought was possible)! You could see it had been used very little in the last year and was very overgrown in places. It would have been challenging enough in the daytime, never mind the night, but we just took it slowly and after much winding, ascending and descending we came down to a beach nestled in between the mountains. Unfortunately there were buildings there and some faint glimmers of paraffin lamps gave away the human presence. Nevertheless, when everyone descended upon us they were ever so pleasant and said we were welcome to set up wherever we liked. I think they were absolutely astounded to see tourists in their neck of the woods! Before the night was out they brought us some of their catch...
I met Fernando, who could speak French, so that helped a lot, although it is amazing how you learn to get by with a phrasebook (thank you Simon) and hand signals. There were quite a lot of dogs about, so we tied Togo up for the night, while we cooked up a quick dinner of pasta and sardines. We even had dessert of fruit and custard, followed by hot chocolate. Simon wasn't feeling great so he went off to bed straight away.
Michael was up before 07h00, along with a lot of the villagers. He took Togo for a mammoth walk all the way along the beach, past the fishing village and to the headland - as far as the eye could see. We all had hot chocolate for breakfast (and Simon had leftover peaches) and Michael and Glen set about fixing their punctures, while Pat sat and gutted a whole load of fish the locals had brought us and I typed up the journal. There were loads of flies all over the place which didn't make t too pleasant. Then Fernando brought along a giant, fresh (still alive!!!) squid. I asked him how much he wanted for it and he was having none of it, he said it was for nothing. Despite our requests for someone to 'prepare' the squid in the right way for cooking, they just said you can eat the whole thing - eyes and all (they had already taken out the ink sacks) and that we should keep it in a fridge until we were ready to cook it.
I decided I liked calamari steaks enough to chop up the squid, but I didn't have the heart to cut off its head! It was still very much alive and it's tentacle suckers were holding tightly to anything they could find and it's skin was still filtering through beautiful shades of colour in a chameleon-like fashion. Patrick did the honours and it wasn't easy. Then I set about preparing it for dinner. The squid still seemed to be alive and when I sliced through it with Michael's bowie knife, its muscles rippled and contorted and its suckers continued to suction! I dutifully cut it up into steak size portions and calamari rings, washed it all thoroughly with sea water and then put it in the freezer.
After the guys had finished with the tyres we moved across to the far end of the beach which was clean and deserted. The villagers were more than happy with that and we explained it was easier with our dog to be away from all the fresh fish, people and of course, other dogs!
We spent the afternoon relaxing in the sun, playing frisbee etc. Glen and I went for a long walk on the beach, in search of his light which he had been inadvertently dragging along behind the vehicle in the sand when we moved.
Then we made dinner and Glen did a sterling job with all the fish Pat had prepared. Plus we had some freshly picked mussels (thanks Michael and Pat) cooked in red wine and cream (thanks to Simon's pantry). There was so much food, we decided to keep the squid for tomorrow.
The fresh sea air and the sunshine activity soon took its toll and we all headed for bed. Michael and I discussed the idea of staying on for another couple of days and letting the others go on ahead. The beach was so remote and nobody bothered us, so it was the perfect place to just relax and unwind a little after a fairly frenetic 2.5 weeks travelling.
We woke up at about 07h30 and Pat was up. Michael and I agreed that we'd like to stay on a while and part ways with the others for now. Everyone was absolutely fine with it. We completely understood that Simon wanted to get down to see Nicole asap and that Pat wanted to get down to South Africa sooner rather than later, it's just we wanted to take it easy for a while...
We busied ourselves with swapping and downloading of pictures and GPS data. Simon gave me some of the stuff from the food kitty and we tried to make sure we all returned the things we'd borrowed from each other. We gave the guys some peanut butter and hot chocolate (which is coming in handy now with the colder nights) and I gave Glen my plastic chopping board and a sharp little knife that he had been eyeing and teasing me about having two of them :-)
They wrote messages in our travel book and it was actually really hard saying goodbye. We have been travelling with Glen and Pat for almost 10 weeks and with Simon for almost 4! It is amazing that you feel like you've known them forever, because you don't normally spend all the hours of the day with someone like you do when your travelling together. We drove back up to the village with them so they could use Nyathi's air for their tyres and then we watched them chug slowly up the steep mountain road and away. Then Michael took some photos of Fernando and his family and all the fish out to dry...
We moved ever so slightly further down the beach, closer to the rocks and away from all the tyre tracks. We spent a very indulgent afternoon lazing topless in the sun, having a quick dip in the cold sea, reading, writing postcards and emails, exploring the next beach behind the rocks and playing with Togo.
Michael picked some mussels for himself for dinner and I did the squid and some couscous for main course. It wasn't exactly restaurant standard, but it was tasty and gave the jaws good exercise! I spoke to my sister which was fabulous. We chatted for quite a while and it was so good to hear news from home, but unfortunately the clouds built up and we lost connection...
It was pretty overcast all day today, but it wasn't really cold, just a cool breeze. We had a bit of a quiet, lie-in this morning which was great. Michael spent the best part of the day playing computer games and downloading emails. I went for a walk with Togo and mid way through she found a big stick on the beach and promptly ran all the way back to Nyathi with it. I carried on walking and when I got back about half an hour later I discovered her stick was a big juicy eel. She was chewing her way through it like nobody's business!
I wrote some postcards and then started reading a book, which was fatal because nothing else got done until supper, which I only started doing at 20h00, which is late for a stationary day! In between cooking I was reading the odd page. I finished the book, because I just couldn't put it down, but I only got to bed after midnight!
The squid was quite tasty cooked in the tomato and chilli sauce, but I still don't know how to get the melt-in-the-mouth result. Togo was delighted there was calamari tentacle leftover, which I cooked up in palm oil for her, though I'm not sure where she found the space after the eel!
We were up at 06h40. Michael tried to download and send messages with the sat phone, with partial success. I fed Togo and swept all the sand out of the tent area and the cabin and cab. Then we went for a very quick and cold dip in the sea. We washed and then rinsed ourselves in fresh water - bliss! We made our way over to the village and said our goodbyes. Michael gave Tony (who volunteered his services during the tyre-repairing operation) some batteries for his radio which he was very pleased with. Fernando took me up to his house and tried to give me some mango juice powder, melba toasts and biscuits, but I took just two sachets of juice and convinced him that they needed the biscuits and bread far more than us. I was really touched and told him we were delighted with their kindness and hospitality. We left them with some more spare foodstuffs which we put together last night, some fish hooks and a spare tarpaulin on which they could lie all their fish out to dry.
We made the slow ascent up the hill with them all watching and waving from below! I got my exercise this morning by running ahead, up and down the mountain/valley taking photo and video footage.
It was a pleasant day's journey except for Togo throwing up the squid she ate this morning, which I only noticed on her blanket when we made a pitstop (we think the eel may have something to do with it). In fairness, she is remarkably good, because when she felt ill again she came and pestered me a bit and then made balking noises so I shouted to Michael to stop the car and I unceremoniously dumped her outside where she promptly threw up - really the delights of travelling with a dog are untold!
The rest of the journey was uneventful, but we passed some spectacular scenery ranging from flat barren land as far as the eye could see, to eroded mountains and bushveld with the odd small antelope, springhare and even a giant monitor which scuttled across the road in front of us!
We camped about 25km away from the main road, right on the beach, with the waves crashing just 20 metres away. I made a quick dinner, we packed up camp and I spent the rest of the night catching up on journal entries.
We saw the most spectacular scenery today and climbed to almost 2,000 metres. We had an early start and decided not to worry about breakfast, because we wanted to get going before any potential visitors arrived. We drove through the most beautiful and stark sandstone canyons (we're not talking anything too massive), but the wind erosion had carved up the earth into very interesting shapes.
Then Michael pumped up the tyres and I walked ahead to get some much needed exercise. Then we followed the railway line across a plateau which seemed to go on forever, then we reached tar and had to do some more tyre pumping so I took the opportunity to whip up some hot chocolate and we treated ourselves to our last ginger biscuits.
The scenery became more like the bush as we know it, with lots of scrubby bush and acacia trees and granite outcrops everywhere. We were stopped at the police checkpoint in Tampa, which was the first time in ages (all the others had just smiled, greeted us and waved us through). Then we began to climb from about 500m up to just over 1,900 metres. The road was incredible and the views even more so! The chill was much more distinct and we both felt like wussies sitting in the cab with our fleeces on.
Lubango is a fairly big city nestled at the foot of the mountain. We both commented on how much better developed the southern half of Angola is compared to the north. We topped up with fuel again, fearing the price might increase as we moved further south. We also stopped at two little supermarkets to buy some lovely fresh loaves of bread (which we gnawed on while travelling) and some ice-cold drinks! I also bought a whole basket of small tomatoes from a roadside seller for just 50 US cents.
The road deteriorated rapidly after Chibia and became badly potholed, with slightly better sand alternatives running alongside every now and again. It threw any chance of reaching the border today out of the window! Togo and I got to have another walk ahead of Nyathi when Michael decided the going would be a lot easier if he let some air out the tyres and he transferred fuel at the same time.
After a tiring, bumpy ride we had to look for a campsite and spotted a little tar road off to right. About a hundred metres along it became sand and on the right it opened out into a big clearing, which looked promising. We soon discovered it was a weapons destruction site. There were a number of pits filled with all sorts of weapons and the surrounding earth was littered with exploded debris. Michael and I had a heated debate about whether it was safe to camp there, but eventually agreed that as there were other fresh tyre marks there, plus hundreds of cattle spoor that any mines or other nasties which might be 'found' would have been already.
We spent a quiet evening listening to the noises from nearby villages and shortly before going off to bed a guy called Antonio who lived nearby walked past so we introduced ourselves and asked if was OK to sleep there. He said absolutely no problem, we were welcome, but we should take care as people had come along and stolen some of his bricks for his new house that he was building, which was no more than 10 metres away from where we had parked Nyathi.