A very sociable Belgium couple arrived at Biques (Beira) in a big old Reno overlander truck. Before they had even parked they had introduced themselves and got talking. Like many overseas tourists they had a vehicle which they would leave somewhere in Africa return home for a few months and then continue from wherever they had left off. Their old Renault had a few mod adaptations one was a wind mill mounted on the roof for generating power, weirdly congruent with their antiquated vehicle!
Biques was a nice enough spot but the heat was unbearable as the humidity continued to rise. There was only one spot in the restaurant-bar where we could take refuge from the sun and enjoy a good strong sea breeze! The blackest clouds gathered and stormed heavily towards Biques one evening, we all scurried about preparing for the impending deluge but amazingly within minutes it had blown over onto the sea. The sea was black, vicious looking and the sunset that night was spectacular!
The Beast came back, the trouble was caused by the blocked tappet breather pipe most likely from our red powder events coming into Mozambique from the Unity Bridge! The pressure build up in the engine had been so great that the new gasket fitted in Nampula had already been bent out of shape! MotorCare Beira were great, they refitted the old gasket back on to be on the safe side and unblocked the breather pipe which all the other garages had missed and didn’t charge a cent. The next day we did a long test drive, things looked good and we began to pack happy at last that the oil problem was resolved.
The road from Beira towards Mutare was full of pot holes and vehicles weaving in and out. It was helpful to have traffic ahead.... at least then we had fair warning! Towards Inchope the heavens opened and visibility was poor making driving even more stressful for George. By 2.30pm we decided to look for a camp since we had no idea what was ahead on the Zimbabwean side and we were too exhausted for a long day.
Casa Miska was a lovely break, a beautiful green wooded area on the Chicumba dam. We spent 2 nights there catching up on our sleep and socializing with the other couple camping there. The road to the border was quite busy with trucks queuing up on both sides but passage through went smoothly. From Mutare we headed towards the Bvumba and camped at the Botanical Gardens. This was a beautiful stop, out came the woolies since the temperatures dropped dramatically especially in the evenings. We enjoyed scenic walks around the gardens and the Bvumba hillsides; it was just us, the birds and a few shy monkeys. The gardens and campsite were run down but still it was a wonderful stop.
Tuesday the 20th we made our way through to Harare relieved that the journey through from Beira had gone smoothly but 20kms from our destination everything changed. The Beast kept losing power like it had dirty fuel so we jerked and crawled the rest of the way into Harare, it was a nail biting time....so close and yet so far! How despondent we felt and a bit puzzled since from the very next day the car behaved normally again. Ed arrived from Kenya and he and George did the rounds to every Landrover place in Harare but all were closing for Christmas. We wait and see now what will happen, of course it would be a little worrisome to just keep going but the Beast is behaving normally now and we will have to wait till the 3th of January if we want to get it seen to.
It has been decades since I have had two siblings around the same Christmas table, something to celebrate especially after a long road with no family or friends. To those who have followed our journey and especially those who have encouraged us and blessed us with your input Happy Christmas and thanks be to God for the gift of His Son.