Since we arrived at Kenya’s coast, we’ve been enjoying the warm Indian Ocean at Diani Beach, close to a town called Ukunda in the Southeast of the country. In 2001, Domi already spent a summer vacation here for three weeks.
Tomorrow we’ll pass Mombasa and drive to Kajire Village to visit our good old friend, Micah Mbogho Kitatu. After that we’re going to head further inland to Nairobi.
A couple days ago we stopped by in Kitonga, Tanzania. We asked at the “Starcom Kitonga Comfort Hotel” if it is possible to park there for the night. They answer was “yes” and its director, Abel H. Vegula, even invited us for coffee and internet.
We spent with him the whole evening chatting about all different kinds of things. It was a real pleasure to get to know Abel. Next year he’ll hopefully come to Europe – to Switzerland for his studies and to Austria to follow our invitation.
On our way heading through Tanzania, we got the chance to visit the Mikumi National Park. Although we had very bad weather with heavy showers while traveling this country, we were satisfied to spot again so many animals.
Last week a South African newspaper called “Rekord East” published a story on our trip. The article was written by Ané Roux, who we met while staying in Pretoria.
Correction on this: India was not the most impressive country we’ve visited, but it definitely had one of the most horrible traffic we’ve ever faced. And Herbie’s World Tour started out in September 2009 – so we are on the road since more than three years.
After we left Malawi and its homonymous lake, we entered the United Republic of Tanzania. There we stayed at a campsite in Tukuyu, managed by a local charity organization that provides free education to young people.
Back on the road we spotted two Volkswagen Beetles, sitting next to the street. Today we reached Kitonga and tomorrow we’ll be heading further east towards the coast in order to eventually cross the border to Kenya besides the Indian Ocean.
Herbie is almost driving alone on Malawi’s lakeside roads – maybe as gas prices are pretty outrageous compared to what people are able to earn for their living. Today we stopped by Nkhata Bay, staying for a little while at “Big Blue Star Backpackers”.
Another country where we had to freshen our poor Portuguese, that we learned while staying in Angola, was Mozambique. We entered that beautiful country coming from the Kruger National Park passing Maputo, its capital, and heading north to Malawi.
Mozambique offers gorgeous beaches, friendly people as well as a clean environment. As long as you stay on the main route, the street conditions are pretty okay, except those countless potholes on some highway stretches, especially towards Malawi.
Before we crossed the border to Mozambique, we visited the Kruger National Park in South Africa. After spending an entire day driving through the park and spotting all kinds of animals, we stayed for the night at the campsite of “Crocodile Bridge”.
South Africa was a welcome break from touring the rest of this continent. We really enjoyed traveling through here. And the Kruger National Park was just another piece of nature we love so much. We were very excited to discover all these exotic animals.
Today we left Pretoria for good, after spending precious time there, and headed to Sabie, a town quite close to the Kruger National Park, we want to visit tomorrow. After that we’ll cross the border to Mozambique, traveling north again.
For the next several weeks we’ll be touring across Africa all the way towards Egypt, from where we want to take a ferry to Turkey in order to drive back to Europe as well as Austria, which we call home. Follow Herbie tripping back north!
Domi spent Saint Patrick’s Day with our friend Wernher and his father Ludwig Hartzenberg at the former Formula One track of Kyalami, close by Johannesburg, watching a classic car race. They got there by driving two of their Porsches.
At Kyalami you can even walk into the pit stops, meeting the race cars as well as its drivers, just as Hermann Kluge with his Porsche (see below). Honoring the number “53”, also two Volkswagen Beetles were taking their chance on the track.
The other day we gathered at Menlyn’s drive-in again, watching a movie, having dinner at one of those picnic tables, where others even had a so-called “braai” (barbecue). We also enjoyed that incredible view over the city and Herbie felt pretty awesome, meeting all the air-cooled friends from Pretoria’s Jacaranda Beetle Club.
As the Ethiopian embassy in Pretoria was not willing to issue visas to Austrians, we had to send our passports all the way to Geneva, Switzerland, where we finally got our visas from the Ethiopian embassy there. It just took six days all in all!
Last week we could get the visas for Malawi at its consulate in Johannesburg and for Sudan in Pretoria. Now, as we got also the Ethiopian one done, we are eventually ready to continue Herbie’s World Tour heading further north.
At this point we want to thank the Ethiopian embassy and its team in Geneva, Switzerland, to assist us by issuing our visas without any red tape! And we want to thank the Hartzenberg family for their kind South African hospitality!
On Monday we’ll take off again! Our next destination is the Kruger National Park, before we’ll cross the border to Mozambique in order to travel north, driving across the African continent on its eastern side – about 10,000 kilometers all the way to Egypt.
Thanks to our Pretorian friend Wernher Hartzenberg, Domi got the chance to get to know real motorsport legends as well as very rare Porsches and engines.
From left to right: Our host Wernher Hartzenberg, collector Clive Winterstein, engine genius Andrew Thompson as well as former Formula One team chief mechanic Alastair and his father and South African motorsports mechanic legend Al Gibson.
A pretty valuable Porsche 356 A Carrera from 1963 powered by an air-cooled four-cam engine, owned by Clive Winterstein, a famous collector from Johannesburg.
Many moons ago, Sir Al Gibson used to work on these cars, while he was in motorsports. Therefore, Clive Winterstein was so kind to take the 92 years old man for a ride.
Further down you can see a Porsche Elva from 1965, on which Mr. Al Gibson worked back in the days, when he was working for the South African motorsports.
Al’s son, Alastair Gibson, was team chief mechanic of the Austrian Formula One driver, Gerhard Berger. Domi really enjoyed to listen to Alastair’s stories about that.
Nowadays, Alastair Gibson is an internationally distinguished artist and forerunner in carbon fiber sculpture “made of” Formula One. Find out more at “Carbon Art 45”!
Andrew Thompson and his idol, Al Gibson, are true experts regarding motorsport cars. Both have been working on these cars, like the Porsche Elva, ever since.
We just received an English written article by Heilie Combrinck from Uitenhage, where we visited the South African Volkswagen factory and its museum, the “AutoPavilion”.
The Austrian newspaper “Heute” published a story on Herbie touring Africa in today’s issue. You can also find the article online by following this link!
Today we went to a car show called “Cars On The Plot” in Montana, Pretoria.
This perfectly arranged event was organized by the Datsun Club of Pretoria. Domi went there together with our friend and host Wernher Hartzenberg (left), his father Ludwig (right) as well as the “air-cooled legend”, Werner Alker.
Domi also met Michele and Hennie Coetzee, who are very devoted followers of Herbie’s World Tour. They even gave us these amazing presents including a lovely personal letter. Many thanks, Michele and Hennie, for all of that!
Yesterday, our South African host Wernher Hartzenberg and his girlfriend Chantelle invited us to the drive-in theater on the top of this huge Menlyn Park Mall in Pretoria.
Overlooking the city there we were: Wernher’s friend, Tyrone Morris and his wife with their two kids in a Volkswagen Kombi from 1969, Wernher and Chantelle in a VW Cabriolet and of course Herbie, the Love Bug, who came all the way from Austria.
We definitely spent a fantastic evening, sitting in our beloved Herbie, watching one of those romantic movies and listening to that through our vintage Blaupunkt radio.
Last year we visited Venezuela, the country of its so-called president and “el comandante” Hugo Chávez, who passed away yesterday, after a long fight against cancer.
We have real good memories traveling through Venezuela, where we (for example) never had to worry about gas prices while filling up Herbie at the pump, because they wouldn’t charge us the three cents per gallon.
Unfortunately we weren’t able to meet Hugo Chávez, although we met Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia and probably one of his closest allied friends within South America. We had the chance personally “meeting Mr. President” of Bolivia.
As posted here before, we got to know Werner Alker, the air-cooled Volkswagen genius of South Africa, we’d like to call him. Anyway he invited Domi to his legendary place.
In 1964, Werner came to South Africa, working for the Volkswagen company back then. He has a true passion about the uniqueness of air-cooled VWs, even though he’s always been trying to improve things, Volkswagen obviously made wrong.
Werner Alker is a very, very special character, although he calls himself “simply Werner”. We also met Werner’s wife, Louise. Both are sharing their love for these cars.
We were already almost running out of gas, when we entered South Africa. Therefore we tried to get our bottle refilled, when we stayed with “Arnize” in Mossel Bay, Western Cape. But as our stove including its bottle is related to the European system, it has a completely different fitting than the Southern African ones.
Nobody could help us back then, though the shops had all different kinds of fittings. But Arno and Elize were so kind to borrow us their little gas bottle stove.
Domi visited the “VW genius”, Werner Alker, the other day. A friend of him named Bernd was there too and he came up with the perfect tool – a suitable conversion fitting.
And it worked out! Domi and our host Wernher Hartzenberg went to “the Gas Boys” (a local gas refilling station) together, where they finally got our European bottle refilled.
Since we arrived in Pretoria, South Africa’s capital, last week, we’re spending time with Wernher Hartzenberg and his lovely family, who invited us to stay at their home.
Yesterday, Wernher inaugurated his brand new workshop “Karosseriewerke Wernher” by “Aircooled Wonders”. Below you can see us with the entire family of Hartzenberg.
Wernher (below, left) introduced us to Werner Alker (below, right), the most experienced air-cooled VW mechanic of South Africa or most likely the whole continent.
And we got to know all the members of the so-called “Jacaranda Beetle Club” in Pretoria, who even invited us to their monthly club meeting to talk about Herbie’s World Tour.