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Scouting News from Gordon Park
Matopos, Matabeleland, Zimbabwe
2013/14 East Africa Scout Expedition
1st Bulawayo (Pioneer) & 8th Bulawayo (Hillside) Scout Troops

the start of the trip with everyone - Christopher Brendan Mackenzie, Norman Scott, Dylan Irwin, Nicholas Trivella
The start of the trip with everyone - Christopher & Brendan Mackenzie
Norman Scott, Dylan Irwin & Nicholas Trivella

‘The spirit of Adventure is in inherent in every boy but is hard for him to find in the crowded city’ So said Baden Powell in his writings for boys. And so Christopher and Brendan Mackenzie, Norman Scott, Dylan Irwin and Nicholas Trivella left Bulawayo to go to the “Roof of Africa”. The following notes over the next few weeks will inform you of our adventure as it unfolds.

30th of November 2013 -Day 1- distance covered: 709km
We met early on Saturday morning so that we would be able to get to the largest lake in Zimbabwe, Kariba. We had to pay a fine of $20 to a FEMALE police law enforcer as she insisted that our vehicle (by name Ingulugundu) was crabbing along the highway, other than that we had no other problems. Lunch was late, but we ate at a restaurant in Chigutu, which was fair enough. We arrived at Barbra Bourne’s house where we ate a perfectly prepared diner which tasted like the best food in heaven.

Kariba with the sun-set

1st of December- Day 2- Distance covered: 183km
After a peaceful sleep we ate breakfast, packed the Land-Rover slowly and headed for the border post at Kariba dam wall. We crossed the Zimbabwe border with almost no problems and leisurely walked on top of the dam wall holding back the mighty waters of Lake Kariba. The wall holds back a lake around 280 km in length. We then passed through the Zambian border which delayed us. Soon the truck was moving slowly to Eureka Lodge just south of the city of Lusaka, where we camped the second the second night of our trip.

2nd of December- day 3- distance covered- 600 km
After our breakfast, we took the car to a nearby workshop to get the roof rack repaired because of one of the metal plates had broken the previous day. We had seen some wildlife on the wilderness area of the lodge, and then soon left for our long drive to a fantastic national park, named “Kasanka”. The journey was tedious. As we headed north we entered thickly forested areas where the tree canopies covered high above us. There were very few hills and the roads within the Kasanka national park were tad bumpy. There were many rivers which were flowing making the vegetation green. We arrived at the park soon after darkness where we stayed the night at the Kasanka conservation centre. We slept on stretchers under mosquito nets although it looked as though it was going to rain during the night, but fortunately it didn’t.

bucket shower
Bucket shower

There were bucket showers (buckets installed on the roof of a hut which supplied the water for the showers which you had to fill by climbing up a rickety ladder with a bucket of water and fill the shower bucket on top of the roof). There were many insects, which posed a threat to our swiftly made dinner, and they were going to battle with us as I got bitten by a Matabele ant. Ouch!

3rd of December- day 4 – distance covered- 150km
We woke up early in the morning and travelled out of kasanka National park to David Livingstone’s memorial which marks the place where he died in 1873. His heart was buried in the village of Chitambo and his body which was first salted and dried, was carried by his closest followers Sussi and Chuma over 1000 miles to bagamoyo (which took them over 9 months). They then accompanied the body to England. The body was eventually buried in Westminster Abbey on the 18th of April 1874.

Returning back to Kasanka national park we went to see giant fruit bats that awaken at around 1600hrs. On our way there, we saw a species of antelope that I had never seen or heard of before, the ‘puku’. Later we found out that the males are more solitary and that puku are a common species in that national park. Luck was not on our side again. On our journey to see the bats, all the braces on the left side of the vehicle broke, putting us further behind time on the long trip ahead. Then hell broke loose as tsetse flies raided the land-rover in the national park which created a problem as Norman Scott and Dylan were both bitten. Then another problem arose, since we had to shut all the windows and air vents to prevent the merciless flies from continuing their attack on us, we almost died of heat as the temperature was super high, something like 35'c, that made us feel as though we were in a sauna.

The lost bride
The lost bride

Chris got so hot that he took Brendon’s mosquito net and got out of the vehicle (he looked like a lost bride). Then the extremes changed as it started to rain, which was a relief at that time. We got out and went to the bat viewing point down the path and then waited for the bats. Then it started storming. The bats came out at that time, we wanted to take pictures of the bats and so we got wet. Then we went back to the car, and got out of the park quickly. Before we left the park completely, we stopped to have a wash down with some buckets of water at the edge of a settlement. We then got out of the park and drove as far as we could down the road and that was the place where we stayed that night, which happened to be on the side of the road between the park and the Luapula river bridge(near DRC).

4th of December 2013- day 5- distance covered- 525 km
We were determined to catch up our lost time so we woke up a bit earlier (boo) and left within 30 mins. We had a bumpy ride on the what appeared to be a smooth tar road. The Luapula bridge was of concrete construction and it was 2, 8 in length. Having crossed the bridge we had our first sighting of the black Lechwe. At Mansa, we refilled the vehicles’ diesel tank and bought a whole lot of food from a supermarket. We were the centre of all the little eyes around us as we had lunch in the car in a large rural area which seemed to go on forever. Norman was stopped every now and again by the police, which slowed down our progress a bit, and on top of that our progress was slowed down even more, due to having to ask for directions.

 millions of bats-in-the-sky
Millions of bats in the sky - Kasanka National Park
we went to see giant fruit bats

The afternoon was a bit more interesting since we stopped at a small waterfall, Ntumbachushi. The environment was a bit denser with middle sized trees which had a dark green pigment. There were large amounts of undergrowth. Eventually the tar road came to an end and we found ourselves on a gravel road which was very potholed and because of the rain muddy and slippery. Our night was in someone’s backyard just off the dirt track. We had only put up mosquito nets that night although it looked as if it would rain.

5th of December- day 6 – distance covered- 525 km
We got an early start on that day still hoping to catch up the lost time. We packed up and then left the area swiftly and ate breakfast further down the wrecked dirt track, which was wet due to the previous rains which made the Land-Rover slide. Just before lunch we had some more mechanical difficulties with the roof rack. We fixed it up and drove further down the road (dirt track) and then had lunch. In the afternoon we eventually made our way to the tar road which was much smoother. It was a relief. We arrived in a big town (Kasama) late in the afternoon where we refilled the tank. We made our way to a small park, Mwela rock paintings. We struggled to find a campsite in the park. We were forced to stay in the leaking Land-Rover whilst it rained. Eventually we found a shelter (auditorium) where we slept that night.

at the Kasama railway station
at the Kasama railway station

This weeks travel journal will have you sitting on the edge of your seat biting your finger nails as us intrepid adventurers travelled deeper into the heart of Africa. As our story evolves you will see how our scouting skills are put to good use with our limited equipment at our disposal with our combined great ingenuity we get through many tight scrapes.

6th of December- day 7- distance covered – 30 km
Soon after our early breakfast we got in the car and travelled from the auditorium in Mwela rock paintings (park) to a monument just north of the bridge over the Chabeshi River. We arrived there late in the mourning due to the harsh dirt road we had to turn on after the tar road. The monument was put there to mark the place where General Von Lettow- Vorbeck who led the German forces in east Africa during world war 1 surrender to the British district commissioner ( Hector Croad). This was ironic since Von- Vorbeck’s army was undefeated. They had surrender because news came from Croad that the war had been over in Europe 3 days earlier (in 1918).

Storm Ahead
Storm Ahead

The monument had an old artillery weapon from that time and it had plates telling of the story. After our visit at the monument we got back onto the tar road to get to Mbala. We took a turning onto a terrible road which was currently being graded, but only so the first few kms. Every now and again a wheel would just lose its grip making it go round like a spinning top but much faster. We were bouncing around like flubber in the back of the car whilst Norman was skillfully driving along. The car almost fell over a couple times. Then large amounts of steam came out the bonnet. It looked a mini atomic bomb mushroom. On stopping we had opened the bonnet and noticed that we were in trouble. The vehicles radiator had sprung a leak (oops). This meant that we would have to become squatters again. We set up camp on a small opening on the side of the road close to lake Tanganika. And then we discovered why it was the deepest lake in Africa as it stormed that night, luckily no-one got wet (dang).

Radiator camp
Radiator camp

7th of December- day 8- distance covered- 82 km
We had to get up early AGAIN since the radiator was broken. We had a long drive ahead of us as we had to return back to Mbala to receive help (a town we crossed the previous day in northern Zambia) . To make the situation even more precarious our permit to stay in Zambia ended the next day (Sunday), this meant we had to find somebody to repair the radiator which we eventually did in the Townships of Mbala. Josphet, the welder we found took us to one of his friends in the townships. Within an hour the Radiator had been repaired to a higher standard than that done in Bulawayo. With Ingulugundu now repaired we headed for Mpulungu port on lake Tanganika(45 kms away from Mbala to pay our carbon tax which we should have paid in Kariba which we should have paid on our entry into Zambia but due to a computer malfunction we were not able to. Arriving after the customs offices they necessitated us staying the night in the town. We were fortunate on finding Nkupi Lodge where we stayed at their campsite

Fun in the mud
Fun in the mud
8th of December- day 9- distance covered- 154 km

On returning to the customs office we paid our dues and headed back for Mbala. In Mbala we visited the Moto Moto museum, an excellent depicting the cultural heritage and history of the area. Our permit for our stay in Zambia was drawing to a close so we headed for the Zambian/Tanzania border post some 30 kms from Mbala and said farewell to Zambia. On entering Tanzania the roads although still gravel surfaced were in much better condition and we made good time reaching Sumbawanga where we found accommodation, camping in the grounds of the country club.

9th of December- day 10- distance covered- 512

More low range work
More low range work

We broke camp and left the lodge at around 0800. We were in the rain whilst we were packing, so everyone got wet except for Chris since he was in the car packing (probably because he was too scared to get wet). The rest of us were cowering under the small bit of roof on the storage veranda. We wanted to get to Ujiji (a town by the northern waters of Tanganika). We ate lunch whilst we were travelling in the hot car. We had to close the windows every now and again due to the tsetse flies in the area. We were travelling on a gravel road which deteriorated into a slushy mess churned up by the heavy trucks in front of us slowing us down to a mere crawl in low range 4 wheel drive. Unfortunately we discovered that Norman cannot read. There was a sign that had ‘Ujiji 300 miles’ but Norman read it and used kms instead of miles. We pulled over at around 20.00hrs at the side of the road were we slept. Brendan and Dylan slept in the car and the rest of us were under a tarpaulin. Dinner was prepared quickly (Chris must have been hungry).

Washing laundry
Washing laundry
10th of December- day 11- distance covered- 215

We got up early and started travelling on the same road as the previous day. We were in the firing range again as we had barely done 30kms when the left back spring main blade snapped. Being in the bush miles from anywhere, we simply removed it, turned it around and continued cautiously down the road. We ate breakfast when we turned the spring around (11.00hrs) which was also our lunch. We headed straight to Ujiji where Stanly met David Livingstone in 1871. We saw the monument and visited the museum at the bottom of that hill. We felt as though we were living in a movie since we spent the night in the museum (in Ujiji) which came alive because we were there. We brought a strange dinner from the locals (a mixture of scrambled eggs and chips fried together, Egzzi).

11th of December- day 12- distance covered- 160

Big horns
Big horns

After we woke up at the museum we packed and then we went to view the lake down the road. Norman went to replace the broken spring which took most of the in finding a replacement main spring.Kigoma is definitely not a land-rover town. The rest of us were wasting time in the museum almost all day. We eventually left at around 1630 and travelled as far as we could, at around 2300 we stopped at a village where we slept in the car for the remainder of the night.

12th of December- day 13- distance covered- 428

Broken back spring
Broken back spring

We woke up early in the morning and decided to continue on our journey. At roughly 1100 we stopped at an unnamed town and had brunch. Unfortunately Dylan lost his appetite (wimped out) since we had liver on a pancake. We continued on the trip with few stops all the way to lake Victoria which we wished to cross the water via ferry that night and then go to a boat club for dinner. We did not make it as the ferry did not travel during the night. We pulled off at a village just past the port where we slept ready for a 0500 boarding of the ferry.

13th of December- distance covered- 474

Mechanic in the bush
Mechanic in the bush

Boarding the ferry with the vehicle along with 8 fully loaded trucks we sailed across a bay to the main city of Mwanza. On arrival of the boat club we had showers, ate breakfast and washed the car down of the sick mud from the journey to Mwanza (6 inches thick). On checking the engine water oil brake fluid Norman discovered that the fan belt tensioner on the alternator had disintegrated. To add to our problems Mwanza was on electricity load shedding. We eventually found a engineering shop where it was welded together using generator and a light welder. Continuing our epic journey we headed along a newly tarred highway for Singida where we found accommodation at the Luthran guest house. We scouts slept in rooms whilst Norman slept in the landy on the pavement outside as Security.

Taking lunch to the three left at the museum
Taking lunch to the three left at the museum

14th of December- distance covered- 423

Our most northerly destination of the trip, Moshi at the base of Kilimanjaro was now a reality. The main road was being rehabilitated in places which meant bumpy bypasses for several kilometers, once again delaying our progress considerably. In Arusha Norman detected the tinkling of broken metal under the bonnet and once again the repaired fan belt tensioner was total history. However Arusha is land- rover territory and we bought a replacement along, land-rover kilometre, fitted it and headed for Moshi (79 kms) arriving late we found honey badger lodge where we were warmly welcomed and GIVEN ROOMS to sleep in.

-- Written by Scribe…Nicholas --

At the start
At the start

Moshi, the legendary start to many a climb of Kilimanjaro.

15th December- start of hike
Chris’s Birthday party had to wait until the end of the climb. We woke up early and then packed our hiking bags and day packs in preparation for the climb ahead. We received breakfast at the restaurant at Honey Badger lodge. The head guide (Eppa) came to check our equipment and suggested we rent essential that we were unaware of for such a climb. Taking a kombie to the start of the Macramé route (although we were originally going to take the Marange route) having had our lunch we then started along the mountain trail. We eventually arrived at the camp (0800) which the porters having gone ahead of us had already set up. Dinner was eaten quite late and we had a sleep (so good that we did not want to get out of our sleeping bags).

16th December-day 2 of hike

along the way up
along the way up

We were woken up by waiter (Isam) at about 6.30 and were told that the hot water for washing our hands would be ready in 15 minutes. We soon set about repacking our packs, which took some effort to do as not all of our gear would go back into our packs Brendan, Nicholas and Dylan had already started to put on some warm clothes. The water to wash our hands soon arrived, hands were washed, and we headed towards the dinning tent where there was breakfast which was soon devoured. We then proceeded with the hike, at first it looked like it would be an easy day as the first few meters of the day’s hike was a very shallow incline BUT we were wrong! The path soon got steeper and steeper which made the going much harder. On the up side we had many more - and much longer breaks, as Norman had started to develop malaria and because of his back. Almost every time we stopped the guides would almost immediately prompt us to drink water and of course Dylan had forgotten to fill up his water bottles so the head guide found Isam and asked him to fill the bottles and bring the bottles back. It was no sooner that the bottles had left, than they returned filled up to the brim. We were soon close to the point where the lunch stop was held and the rain came down on us. It was a scramble to get our rain coats and ponchos on before we got wet. The guides however did not have a problem they simply took out their umbrellas.
It was now a mad dash to get to a nearby cave where we would have lunch and be able to put on the rest of our rain gear without the fear of getting wet. Soon lunch was over and our guides had abandoned their umbrellas and had donned their ponchos. The gators ( part of our rain gear are used to keep the rain from going into our boots ) were a bit difficult for some of us to put on as none of us had ever used them before but Marsel ( one of our guides ) helped us with them. We soon set off again towards our next camp. It did not take long to reach as it was not as steep as before, which was hard going, but now ahead was the next camp located near a lava field. The way ahead of was a shallow descent of about 50 vertical meters.
We arrived at camp at around 1 o’clock. We were so tired that we dove into our tents trying to acquire some rest as well as warmth after a brutal day’s hike, in no time Isam came to tell us that hot water is here for washing and that dinner was ready. We then went to the dinning tent were after one small bowl of soup we couldn’t eat any more of the delicious dinner before us. We went back to our tents to hit the sack like a bunch of sloths for we were so tired.

the driving snow
The driving snow

17th December day-3 of hike
Isam woke us earlier than usual. Breakfast was properly made to perfection. We ate a bit, but Dylan ate as much as he could. Soon after that we left on the days plan to get to the lava towers (4650 mamsl (meters above mean sea level) and then drop down to Barracco camping grounds (3950 mamsl). It was a gentle start to the day, which meant nothing an hour or so later. It got steeper and rockier. We could see ice ahead of us. Norman still struggling was ahead of the rest of us (except the guide, Marsel).
Suddenly Dylan stopped (and so did his appetite). The disgusting yellow color on the floor by his feet made me and everyone else look away. The weather changed sides against us as it started to rain, but apparently it wanted to murder us, so it sent its best forces, large amounts of snow beating down on the surface of the mountain and fast chilling wind. We escaped its furry behind a big rock, where we ate lunch. During lunch we were able to get the guides to show us the short cut, bypassing the lava towers. We went on, eventually the snow stopped. Anxious to get to the toilet Nicholas hurried ahead with Chris just strapping along a few meters behind. Soon some porters came and took our daypacks (what a relief). We arrived at camp at 1630, signed in and then vanished into our tents for a while. We were barely able to get out of our tents for dinner but the smell of food seemed to do it.

18th December day-4

Chris at the top Uhuru peak
Chris at the top Uhuru peak

Woken in haste as the tents were shaken and we were told to come for breakfast. When arriving to the dinner tent we were ordered to eat but our appetites had dwindled as we struggled to finish a small bowl of oats. Isam made sure that we all had full bottles of water for the climb. The time had come for the challenge of the hike where we were to scale the barranco wall. Approaching the wall with both excitement and fear of not making the top we started to climb. Step by step we climbed higher and higher up the wall with aching body parts we arrived at the top to be welcomed by a breath taking view of the vast area around and below us but was short live when Dylan’s appetite gave out more of the unwelcome yellow gung. We dip down and up and eventually down into karanga valley which sat below the lunch point. We had a break before going up to lunch. On going up, the decision was made that Dylan could no longer go on for it would be harder on all of us and it would take longer to reach Barafu camp (Swahili for ice), Dylan agreed with the decision and we all had to say goodbye to him and one of the guides (Martin). After lunch and saying goodbye to Dylan we started up towards Barafu camp through a thick fog and a steep slope. We walked what appeared to be the toughest uphill to the small camp on the edge of Barafu. Soon we arrived with excitement and fatigue as we staggered into the dinner tent. We were soon welcomed by the hot water for the coffee/milo/tea. Tired and cold from outside, we snuck in to the tent, put on all the warm clothes we owned in our bags which were carried by our porters from day one.

on the way down
On the way down

19th December day-5
We grugdingly got out of our warm sleeping bags at about 2300 and put on our last jackets etc. We each had 4 longs, 1 shirt, 2 fleeces, 2 thick jackets, as many socks as possible, 3 beanies, 2 pairs of gloves and a scarf on. We had coffee and then went on our final ascent to the roof of Africa. We slowly walked up the mountain with breaks every now and again. Suddenly, before getting to the top of the first part, we were down to 3. Norman was politely asked by the head guide to return back down and get some rest. It was a shock to all of us. Soon after that we hit the ice; it was quite thick and endless. At around 0200, after pushing hard, Nicholas and Brendan folded due to lack of oxygen and an injured knee. Chris was able to get to the top, even he wanted to give up several times, but our skilled head guide was able to keep him going.
We left Barafu camp after lunch and made our way down the mountain side. Norman fell behind so we left him in good hands of our skilled head guide. We got to the largest camp on the mountain, Mekwa camp for our last night of Kilimanjaro at around 1700 and waited for Norman before having dinner and going to bed.

Chris receives his certificate
Chris receives his certificate

20th December the last day
Waking up at our usual time we had breakfast and started to walk quite late. Chris decided to stay with Norman and the experienced guide whilst the rest of us stormed down the hill to the last point which was the Mekwa gate. This was the exit point from Kilimanjaro. The three of us Nick, Brendan and Marsel were soon joined by Chris who said that Norman’s condition was getting bad so Marsel asked if the 4x4 could bring him down so that we could get him back to Honey Badger lodge for treatment and rest. We got back to Honey Badger. Chris’s dinner took place at honey Badger lodge and was paid for by Amos. Honey Badger chefs made the main dinner, but Norman kept a cake for dessert since the beginning of the expedition. Then we went to bed.

Chris's 21st dinner at Honey Badger
Chris's 21st dinner at Honey Badger

21st December rest day
Chris and Nicholas went shopping. The rest spaced out for the remainder of the day.
Our attempted climb to the roof of Africa was only achieved by Chris.
A Merry Christmas to all our readers.


A few more pics:-

Norm is still trying to learn how to use his smart phone but will teach him by the end of the trip.

so here are a few more pics of the mountain:-
1 at the start
2 along the way up
3 the driving snow
4 Chris at the top uhuru peak
5 on the way down
6 Chris receives his certificate
7 Chris’s 21st Birthday dinner at Honey Badger

Our epic climb now a memory we settled down to enjoy the remainder of our tour from Moshi to Dars es Salaam stopping off at Amani national park in Usambare mountains which contains unique Flora and

the Amani forest road
The Amani forest road
fauna even to Tanzania. The mountain range is fairly far in land receiving the sea air from the Indian ocean. The road up into the national park was full of hair pin bends making our ascent exciting.

22nd December distance covered- 244
Chris went shopping with David in Moshi stocking up for the following days of our trip. We left at lunch time after ice-cream and chips. We threw Chris into the pool along with $100 for his birthday before leaving. We wanted to get to Amani that day although we were only able to manage to get to Rock Hill restaurant (just before the turn off), where we camped that night. We ate dinner at the buffet and brought some soft drinks. We slept under mosquito nets.

23rd December distance covered- 108
We broke camp and left for Amani (the place where the African violet was discovered 1892 by Baron Walter von saint Paul Illaire. It was made commercially available in 1927 when 10 different blue flowered strains were put on the market. It is today, one of the worlds perennial pot plants ). Amani is Swahili for peace. Chris (being clever) broke a cable brace holding the roof rack right off when we stopped at the gate of the park.

Christmas cake
Christmas cake

We arrived there at 1400 which meant we could do our washing that afternoon and have a hot shower that night. We had dinner (mash potatoes and steak and butternut). We ‘stole’ the bed mattress from the house we were staying at, and then went to sleep. We slept in tents.

24th of December- distance covered- 358
We cooked and then ate breakfast before we left. We left the reserve late in the morning and then headed down to Dar es Salam after repairing the place where the brace broke the previous day. We initially wanted to go via the coast but unfortunately there was a river with no ferry or bridge to cross it, so we went on the tarmac road. It was a smooth road most of the way with a few detours and a bit of traffic. Eventually we arrived in Dar es Salam that evening. We struggled to get to the scout head quarters due to traffic and the new road system that is being installed. By 2200 we were safely in the grounds of the scout Head Quarters.


25th December Merry Christmas, Zanzibar
We woke up late and then went down to the port where we caught our fast ferry across to Zanzibar. We got into the Kilimanjaro 4 ferry and cruised across in 1.5 hrs. In Zanzibar we walked about searching the streets for a hotel, eventually we found a guest house where we slept that night. Before dinner all but Norman went shopping. There were large amounts of souvenirs and spices. We went to dinner at the market in the plaza in front of the house of Wonder. We had seafood, pancakes and vegetables. We had ice-cream for dessert and then went off to the guest house for bed.

26th December Zanzibar Island
Woke up quite late and then ate breakfast in the dining room. We soon left to explore Stone Town again, and went down to the dock for a rest. We went to the market without Norman, but when we got back he went off with Chris. It was exciting exploring and experiencing the sights and smells of a sea port town. We had a huge lunch and then left for the dock to get back to the mainland. The ferry was awesome with a rough sea resulting in us getting sprayed on the open upper deck. We got back to the mainland and then made our way to the scout head quarters.

Zanzibar fort
Zanzibar fort

We met the 3 patrols representing Tanzania at the regional scout jamboree/competition to be held in Rwanda in 2 days time. We were also fortunate in meeting chief scout commissioner of Tanzania, Abdulkarim Esmail Hassan Shah (MP) along with other commissioners. The Chief Commissioner is also a member of the Tanzanian parliament for Mafia island or district. Having had our photographs taken with him and his fellow commissioners he invited us for lunch the following day. For dinner we had 3 pizzas and then left for bed on our stretchers under mosquito nets. Once again we discovered our fruit bats with their metre width wing spans (refer to Kasanka national park, Zambia)

27th December rest day Dar es Salaam
We slept in for a while whilst breakfast was made by Chris. We had breakfast and then unpacked the car in preparation for the roof rack to be welded up at scout headquarters. The chief Commissioner came and took to lunch at an exclusive club. Then we got back into the vehicle and we were shown around town. We arrived back at the head quarters quite late and decided to spend the night there again. We had a bit of a rest before getting ready for bed.

Norm and the chief scout commissioner
Norm and the chief scout commissioner

28th of December- distance covered- 457 kms
We woke up early and left almost instantly to get out of town before the morning traffic. We weren’t entirely successful as we were caught up in several traffic jams. We had brunch in the car whilst we were moving. We wanted to get to Riverside campsite, Iringa which we got to with some confusion. The sign read Rivervalley campsite, so we continued down the road towards Iringa. Having asked a lady at a fuel station where it was, she told us we had past it. We turned around and went back to the Rivervalley campsite where we stayed that night. Dinner was supplied by the campsite staff was absolutely superb with a great variety of meat and vegetables. We fell into bed very content and soon fast asleep.

29th of December distance covered- 384
After eating Breakfast that morning we left Rivervalley lodge on our way to Mbeya, a large town in Southern Tanzania. We travelled almost non-stop for around 9 hours in total that day, only stopping to restart the engine which cut out every now and again due to fuel starvation. Heading from Mbeya towards the Malawian border we found Bongo campsite with very little difficulty. Here we spent the night.

At the river valley campsite
At the river valley campsite


A few more pics:-
Good Morning, this logs pics names:-
1 the Amani forest road
2 Christmas cake
4 dinner in Zanzibar (?)
5 Zanzibar fort
6 norm and the chief scout commissioner
7 at the river valley campsite

Ephesians chapter 2 verse 14. This is the message that the missionaries at Livingstonia during the early 1960’s in Nyasaland which was in the throes of gaining its independence (Malawi) gave the Federal government when asked if they would like to be evacuated to a safer place. The white missionaries with their African companions decided to give a concise answer to the Federal government who would be sending an aircraft the next day for a response to the offer of evacuation. They wrote ‘Ephesians Chapter 2, verse 14’ in stones which were then white washed on the grassy area behind stone house. The aircraft over flew Stone house twice and on the second run took a photograph of their concise message. The picture appeared in the Rhodesia Herald and the Glasgow Times in Scotland. To understand the message you will need to read your bible. Such was the resolve of the missionaries and their converts to remain at the mission during these turbulent political times. This message is still in place to this day.

30th December- distance covered- 161 km.

Malawsaurus lived between 140 million & 100 million years ago
Malawsaurus lived between 140 million
& 100 million years ago

We left the campsite early to get to the Malawian border post. We were able to get through the border quickly and without any problems. We continued down the road to a small town where we bought soft drinks and eggs, and then turned off onto a dirt track leading up an escarpment to the top of a mountain (this track had 22 hair pin bends and literally climbed up a sheer face of the escarpment for 15 kms), to Livingstonia. We stopped at a waterfall which fell from a height of 120m. After the waterfall we went to the Livingstonia campsite where we camped that night.

31st December- distance covered- 235 km.
Once again we had another early start to the day looking around Livingstonia, the museum in Stone House and the church. We left for Kande beach, on the banks of Lake Malawi. We travelled via a back road, downhill to get to the main road some 50 kms further south, which we would take. Eventually we got onto the tarmac allowing us to go at a greater speed which meant the wait for our swim in the lake would be a lot shorter. We arrived at Kande beach at around 1600. We set up camp quickly and then with no hesitation got into the clear lake. We swam for a while then we went to the bar to get some drinks. Following the drinks we went to the restaurant for our New Years Eve dinner. The dinner was small so we went to have some ice-cream at the bar. The ice-cream was pathetic so we went to our tents and mixed some milo/coffee with it. We went to bed after some delicious Christmas cake which we had brought with us from Zimbabwe. Dead on midnight the camp came alive as fireworks were let off. Nicholas, Dylan and Brendon joined in with the fun until the early hours of the morning.

1st January- distance covered- 353 km.

the road up to Livingstonia with 22 hair pin bends
the road up to Livingstonia with 22 hair pin bends

We had a last swim in the lake before leaving for Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. We arrived in Lilongwe at lunch time but had some trouble finding the golf club as the city had expanded considerably since Norman had last been there. We eventually found the golf club at around 1600. We put up the tents as fast as we could before the rain started. All the tents were up just in time, before the rain which came down in buckets. We went to have dinner at the restaurant. It was much better than the previous night’s dinner. After our dinner we went for a hot shower and then went to bed.

2nd January- distance covered- 487 km.
We left Lilongwe hoping to cross the border into Zambia that day. We were able to get to the border just after lunch. It was quick to get through the border and into Zambia; this allowed us to continue further down the road, to the Luangwa River Bridge about 200kms before Lusaka. We stayed at a campsite which had hot showers and a swimming pool. We set up camp then went for a swim before dinner. Soon we were lying in bed. A bit later that night it rained, so our mattresses and sleeping bags got a bit wet.

3rd January- distance covered- 345 km.

landy out side The Stone House built in 1903
landy out side The Stone House built in 1903

We left the campsite and resumed our journey to get back home. We got to Lusaka at 1100, and then to the border post between Zambia and Zimbabwe. We did not go through Kariba since it was a long detour so we went through the main border post Chirundu. We crossed the border easily and swiftly then travelled to Makuti where we stayed that night. We camped behind a bar, using their toilets. We had dinner at 2200 then went straight to bed. Unfortunately, Zambia’s storms were embarrassed as there was a massive storm that night. The rain was so heavy and the wind so strong that Norman and Chris pulled down their shelter so that it would not be torn to shreds and spent the remainder of the night in the Landy.

4th January- distance covered- 383 km.
On that dizzily overcast morning we packed up extremely early and decided to skip breakfast and go and visit Chinoyi caves. We ate an apple and some biscuits before arriving at Chinoyi. All of us, except Norman went to visit the mammoth caves and the dark blue pool.

crossing one of the many Bailey bridges
crossing one of the many Bailey bridges

We went inside the dark hole and discovered that it really was dark. After our short visit we left for Chigutu, where we had lunch. When we got close to Kwekwe, Chris discovered some steam issuing forth from under the bonnet. Instantly we knew that the radiator had popped again. We travelled very slowly for the next twenty kilometres, filling up the radiator every now again until finally arriving at a petrol station just a kilometre from Kwe Kwe. Then we phoned Mr. Trivella to let him know of our breakdown. He and Mr. Irwin arrived fairly late bringing with them a radiator which Mr. Irwin had removed from his own Landy. We installed the radiator and then made arrangements to spend the night in Kwe Kwe at a friend of Mr. Rob McKenzie’s house. We found accommodation at the Smits’ house in Kwekwe where we slept the night. We had dinner and then had a long chat, at around 0000 we had set up our stretchers and were asleep by 0030.

5th January- distance covered- 312 km.
Leaving the Smits house after some tea, we skipped breakfast and decided to get to Bulawayo as soon as possible. We took the shortcut to the main road leading to Gweru; we went straight through the city and continued on our way arriving in Bulawayo about lunch time. Our parents were waiting for us at Mr. Trivella’s house. Here we said good bye, the expedition was over.

Written by...
Nicholas Trivella - Expedition Scribe

cooking dinner on charcoal stoves Chris bought
cooking dinner on charcoal stoves Chris bought


This, the latest East African Expedition, this time undertaken by Scouts of the 1st Bulawayo and 8th Bulawayo, was of 37 days duration, during which we travelled 9393 kilometres. (Our GPS put our distance at 10000 kilometres).The route chosen was different from the previous four expeditions, in that we included along our tour places of historical interest of the 1800’s when Africa was the destination of missionaries who were evangelizing and of hunters and botanists who were sending specimens of African flora and fauna to the major museums of the world. Our route took us though remote areas, where some of the roads were rough and ready tracks with areas of civilization far apart. This meant we had to be self- sufficient and ever ready to ‘make a plan’, which we were put too on more than one occasion. The Scouts coped with all our adventures in a philosophical manner and most importantly no arguments developed, most probably because I had warned them that they would be left on the side of the road with their kit and told to catch the next “chicken bus” home.
I would like to record my thanks to Christopher for handling all our monetary matters and my congratulations on getting to the top of Kilimanjaro; to Nicholas for being our recorder to get our story to you as the expedition progressed, to Dylan and Brendon for their input in various areas that are important for the success of the journey and to the parents for allowing their boys to take part in an “Adventure of a Life time.”



A Few more pictures:-
1 Malawsaurus lived between 140 million and 100 million years ago
2 the road up to Livingstonia with 22 hair pin bends
3 landy out side The Stone House built in 1903
4 crossing one of the many Bailey bridges
5 cooking dinner on charcoal stoves Chris bought

This past week...

Thanks guys for the update of your travels and adventures. Much appreciated.
Happy Travelling.
Martin Sanderson

Now this sounds like a lot of fun...
Sean Scott

Hi Norm!
I apologize for not staying in touch for the last few years! I love reading your Gordon Park Updates, and after receiving your last one I thought I’d better send you a wee update from the Cold North! Where to begin? Well I'm in my last year of my 4 year geology honours degree here in Ottawa with a few exams looming in the next few weeks...
...Please keep sending those great Gordon Park updates Norm, helps with the winter gloom!
Take care of yourself and have a very merry Christmas my friend!
Yours truly,

Great daily notes Nic, thanks ! The pictures of your adventures have come through fine. What fun! Thanks for the surprise call. Hope your medication for malaria works. Best of wishes to you all.

1st Jan
Just been reading the GPNews about the Kilimanjaro climb. What a feat!
Wishing you all a festive season!

7th Jan
I think on behalf of all the readers, I’d like to thank Nicholas and all the expedition members for sharing their fantastic experience with us - as it all happened. Nicholas seemed to spend his holiday writing up the log; and they went out of their way to find internet connections and send us both photos and hilarious comments, in what must have been very trying times – Im not referring to map-reading, but things like catching Malaria and having vehicle break-downs quite literally in the middle of no-where… Whew!
Well done to you all, I’m sure the memories and experiences will enrich your perception of the world and decisions you make throughout your lives!

This Past Week…

Mrs Carlisle has very kindly put their personal copy of “Gordon Park’s photo Album” on the internet, to share with everyone. Mr Carlisle was appointed Assistant Camp Commissioner of Gordon Park in 1973, and both Mr and Mrs Carlisle, and their dog Rex, spent every Sunday out at Gordon Park – Mrs Carlisle looking after Headquarters, while Mr Carlisle worked tirelessly on maintaining the Park with Norman, and during the morning, training scouts in new building skills. They would kindly take any scouts out to Gordon Park in their blue van, leaving the 8th Scout Hall every Sunday morning at 9am, reliably returning before sunset. It gave many little scouts an unbelievable chance to experience the outdoors of the Matopos for a day, during the country’s most trying of times including petrol rationing. The Photograph album has wonderful memories and covers the endless weekends developing Gordon Park through the 1970’s and can be found at:-


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"Thoughts for The Weeks"
Dont interrupt your enemy… when he’s making a mistake!

Enjoy the journey, because the destination may not be all it is cracked up to be!

Studies have shown that people who have more birthdays live longer.

Don’t be pushed by your problems, be led by your dreams.
(With thanks to Gwynn Erasmus on Facebook)


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Bulawayo, 27th Dec 2013
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