Overlander Car Issues With ‚Tina Tortuga‘

A bright lamp enlightened all the issues of my newly named landrover Tortuga, #tinatortuga. I was standing under the lifted car with a mechanic to check the state of it. There’s an oil leaking and some unsolved problems with the prop shaft, what brought me to this mechanic. The source of leaking was founded quickly, but as I requested we went trough the entire vehicle, more or less.

Beside the leaking from transfer box there’s also leaking from oil filter housing, Even the tank is leaking and had to be repaired as some bushes and hoses has to be fixed and replaced too. Despite there isn’t much electronics in that vehicle it turned out difficult to find the bug which is blowing my indicators and hazard lights continually. In short, quite an overhaul.

I need a stay for the time of repairs. The estimated period of four to five days was doubled, as the costs of repairs was too, due some difficulties, mainly with the transfer box. All bearings of that part must be replaced. I didn’t care so much about the time, since there was heavy rain predicted. All i needed was a quit and dry spot to be.

Luckily I found a beautiful place outside town of Mbombela/Nelspruit. Friendly hosts welcomed me and showed me around the self catering house where I got a nice room with a glass door towards pool side and amazing view to the valley. That’s the place to stay for a few quit days. Reading, writing journal and sorting photos next to the pool. Having a beer or a glass of red wine in the evenings, after cooking myself a tasty meal, and chatting with the owners, while waiting my car got fixed. That’s all part of traveling too and must try to use the time as good as possible. 

Just the day before I could pick up ‚Tina Tortuga‘, another Landrover Defender arrived at the Lodge. Same model as mine and even the same color. A couple got off the car and settled in the accommodation. It turned out they are from Brazil and already four years on the road. So there was lots to chat about and share travel stories and experiences. And of course, as a Landy driver there’s also about workshop stories. That lovely couple gave me a lift to the landy-workshop and get a oil/filter change for their ‚Pandora‘ too. Who wants to see more of the journey from Eduardo and Rafaela visit their website: www.pandoraontheroad.com.br

Ten lazy days later I checked out of ‚Highland Creeks‘ and got ‚Tina Tortuga‘ back from the workshop. Since it was late of the day and weather forecast predicted another storm with heavy rain, I decided to stay another night at an apartment on my way out of town. Another jewel in the mountains as I found out. After all, the day ended beautifully with a glass of wine and a bath in a tube with a view. 

May I Introduce You: Tortuga, Tina Tortuga! 

Cars, especially travel cars and camper vans, needs to be named by their owners. I always denied this practice for my vehicles. Officially. But since many years I used to think, and tell in secret, if there’s a name for my beloved Land Rover, it must be „Tortuga“, the Spanish word for tortoise. 

„Tortuga“ is not beautiful, but adorable, slow, but strong, nice green, but colored inconspicuous. 

My friend Christa told me from a lady, who makes stickers for cars. After a few gin tonics and nice talks, I decided to give my motorized travel companion finally an official name. Now it was to find a nice turtle pictogram or drawing to put it on Tortuga as a sticker.  It should be simple, rather cute, but not too childish. I found something appealing, I think. Watch the pics and tell me your opinion on the comments, please.

Marloth Park, the place for the official naming ceremony, couldn’t be better. Free roaming wildlife all over the estate. Lots of green, lush trees and a beautiful riverside to walk or having a sundowner with friends. A spot which means freedom, security and lifestyle at same time. 

My friend Christa honored me to be the godmother of Tortuga for this event. After she helped me with the stickers, we got a bottle of sparkling wine to celebrate that event. From now an, my Land Rover discovering the world with me not nameless anymore, but as 

Tortuga, Tina Tortuga! 

#tinatortuga

Tina Tortuga (#tinatortuga) is officially named 🙂

Back In South Africa

Many times I hear or read people saying, it feels like coming home, when they turn back to a favorite holiday destination of them. In my ears, it sounded often pathetic and unreal. But arriving at farm of my beloved friends, meeting all family members and seeing my Land Rover again comes this feeling very close. It’s not exaggerating to call my Land Rover my home, since it’s not only my travel car, but also my house on wheels for many months every year. 

This time was a long waiting to get back, due the pandemic situation. Finally I landed in Johannesburg, had to spend a night in the city, but caught the first bus in the morning to the province of Limpopo. There was a warmly welcome by my friends and family, and much to talk about. Only one person was really missed, the head of family passed away, caught by that spreading disease and leaves a big void. The good memories remains and despite the difficulties, there shouldn’t be untried to collect more. In such a warmhearted family I have no doubt of it.

There it stands. My Land Rover is parked under a roof just next to the farmhouse. One of my friends was so friendly to replace the broken starter battery, and so it starts with the first try. A new journey can begin, actually. But first I want give my travel car a proper service and maintenance. 

And despite my refuse over all these years, i consider again to give my Land Rover finally a name. I carry already a name for it with me since many years actually. 

What are you guys thinking? Does it deserve a name?

Any recommendations?

Please give me your opinions in the comments below 🙂 

Should my Land Rover get a name? Yes or No? Recommendations in the comments please 😉

Sister Therese

A friend wrote me a message, telling me about a German lady, who lives in Africa since decades as a nun and founded several dispensaries. If i’m passing by that area i should visit her, he suggested. And indeed, it seemed i’m pretty close there anyway.

On my way i got stopped by the traffic police. Once more. While the officer check my papers he wanted to know where i’m heading to. I told him the story of the old lady, doing so many good things for local people. I admire to meet her and maybe making some photos of the place she founded, i explained. As the officer has seen my camera he wanted me to do a portrait shot of himself. I did. With a smile on both of us he let me go.

Just ask for ‚Sister Therese‘ when you reach the town, my friend advised me. And indeed, even the people on the street didn’t recognized the name of the dispensary, they reacted promptly on the name of the nun. But Sister Therese doesn’t live here anymore. The new chairman of the small hospital organized a nice chap who’s guiding me to the new founded dispensary of Sister Therese. It was about an hour drive or so. Maurice asked me to stop in a village to introduce me with the chief, who owns a shop. It’s all interesting and so much to learn about, but also time consuming. Finally we reached the dispensary and i met Sister Therese in person. After a brief tour trough the building and nearby garden, she told me her story by a soup and tea. Since she was a young girl she wanted go somewhere far. As a young nun she went to Southern Africa, studied to become a nurse and stayed many years in Zimbabwe. Many stories about trouble and terrible times, in Southern and later in Eastern Africa, but also about never ending hope and times of happiness. Her eyes are always smiling even when she’s telling dark stories. A truly strong woman, which i’d like to spend more time with, but it got late and time to leave for me. Despite the short time with her, it let a deep impression on my way out of the bush.

Rough Road To Kenya

I could take the nice tarred road out of Uganda, but the scenery on the northern slope of Mount Elgon was to tempting. The road became more bumpy and dusty with every mile, but bigger also the people smile. From time to time i had to stop for a photo, or just for the stunning view, or simply to give way to a big truck on narrow roads. Time schedule got lost. Instead of a few hours drive i needed all day to reach the Kenyan border post. The last village before frontier i found a fuel station where the diesel pump worked by hand. Can’t remember when i had such a laughter with tank guys filling up my diesel tank.

The Sipi Falls

From Kampala leads a wide, tarred road to the Kenyan border, but on my way i decided to drive a detour to the Sipi Falls. The camp was settled opposite the falls with stunning view to the scenery. Even a sprinkling rainbow appeared with the setting sun. Unfortunately it’s a typically ran down campsite, as many others in Uganda and in Africa in general. The staff tell me from a owner living far away, not interested to invest in facilities, nor seems the employers really keen on keeping it nice and tidy. they only count on customers coming (and paying) for the scenery up here. Probably i would had stayed longer if the campsite would been better maintained. However, that one beautiful night i enjoyed the place.

Rwanda – Lake Kivu

Rwanda, also called ‚the land of thousand hills‘, is unique for a road trip. I wished to travel by motorbike from hill to hill, taking those many curves and stopping for stunning views. One of the most beautiful route is along Lake Kivu with its shores, the forest and fields at the coastline. Just a few impressions from that trip…

A Glimpse Of Mwanza

On my way to Rwanda i wanted have at least a glimpse of Mwanza, the second largest city of Tanzania, and the huge Lake Victoria. The city itself hasn’t lot to offer but the surroundings with round hills and big boulders are nice. Also along the shore of Lake Victoria are beautiful spots to discover. I feel lucky to find a camping at the yacht club of Mwanza with the view of the city opposite that little bay.

Hike Around Lushoto

The Usambara mountains offers stunning views from their cliffs. Definitely a must for a hike or two. But also the small villages along the edges are worth a visit. Here some photo impressions…

Lushoto – Arriving At Irente Farm

Something different after those weeks at the coast. A nice, cool place with fresh air and green, lush forests. A quite, peaceful spot with great view over landscape. The Irente Farm just out of Lushoto has the perfect reputation for that. After a friendly welcome, i parked my Land Rover at the grassy campsite, took a fresh breath and got already a taste of the famous dishes with garden fresh vegetables. Back to my car, it was surrounded by big group of teenagers, playing and screaming. Oh Lord, why have these school class from Germany to be here on this week? They visited a partner school here for a project. However, it turned out pretty fun when they started with drum lessons and dance schooling. If i needed some breaks, i headed for a walk and chased bugs or chameleons with my Nikon.