Greeted by howling rains and frigid temperatures, our three weeks (and counting) in Cape Town has coincided with a change in seasons. Yesterday, we were treated to glorious +30C temperatures and a real taste of summer. It really is beautiful here.
Although we could not have chosen a better place to bunker down for 3 weeks, Cape Town so far certainly has been both cruel and kind.
Last week we were lucky enough to meet up with Toast Coetzer, editor at Go! magazine, for some incredible tips on overlanding through Namibia and Botswana. It was great catching up on our travels after first meeting at Mushroom Farm way back in Malawi. Toast spends his days writing travel articles on Southern Africa and was an invaluable resource for routes off the beaten track and unique places to stay. Today he left for Namibia for a refresh of Go!’s annual Namibian guide and we are hoping to be hot on his heels in the near future. Along with a ton of recommendations from close friends and family who rave about Namibia, we are itching to get on the road again.
A 2nd chance encounter with Laurence Lindley – overlander extraordinaire – whilst getting the Purple People Eater serviced turned into a real treat. Laurence had just returned from an 8-week trip through Botswana, and we had an amazing time over drinks while he and Jo recounted stories of rogue elephants and deep sand driving (120L to drive 60km??) across the Kalahari. It also turns out that they were looking to replace some of their overlanding equipment and what do you know! Three impoverished 20-somethings were in desperate need for quality gear, and we scored a new roof rack (African Outback), Howling Moon roof tent, Eezi-awn awning, and tables and chair for a very generous price. Many thanks again and we can’t wait to get some photos up once our beloved returns from service.
And.. the bad.
For those of our more conscientious followers, yes, I can hear you joining the dots. If the Purple People Eater was getting serviced last week, how is it possible that we are still awaiting its return? It goes something like this.
Once upon a time, in a far away land (Tanzania), the PPE had some overheating issues. The overheating either caused or was caused by a crack in the engine’s cylinder head (the part that the pistons push against to generate power to move the car). This caused heat and gases to be released into the cooling system, dramatically reducing the engine’s ability to cool down. Instead of addressing the crack (a costly service – believe me!) a Tanzanian fundi realised that by locking the car’s cooling fan to the engine speed, the fan could provide enough cooling to offset the problem to prevent catastrophic failure.
This is obviously not a work around you want to travel with on a 30,000+km journey. It was likely the cause of our original piston problems back in Dar, and we realised this the hard way when we fixed the ‘broken’ fan, only to find that we had a serious over heating problem down the road.
But we are in good hands – we have been working with JB Auto in Cape Town – an outfit with a reputation among Landcruiser owners as the finest 4×4 mechanics in town. It is through their hard work that we have managed to discover these potentially catastrophic issues, and watching Johann, Melvin, Quentin and JB at work relative to the Tanzanian fundis has been an enlightening experience. Once we get the car back from them, hopefully by the end of this week – we should be (touch wood) unstoppable.