We have spent the better part of our trip driving around the Mozambique bush and it has been an amazing experience. Julian has done a great job with getting us where we needed to be!!
As I mentioned early in this journal, I have been sitting on the back of the truck which makes for an amazing perch to see the wildlife and enjoy the beauty around me….
I observed Wildebeest in the road…..
And we have “chased” many herds of plains antelope as we rode along….
In addition, it was fun to look out over the tall grass and see only ears sticking slightly above the terrain, or to see the retreating butts of various animals as we passed.
We had a good laugh at one group of bush hens. Most of them scattered as we approached but one poor soul started running ahead of the truck. It was almost as if he couldn’t find a place to turn off of the road, but he FINALLY took a dive into the brush and out of our way.
At night, the small antelope would become dazed by the headlight and Julian would have to extinguish his lights before the little guys would move off of the road!!
However, there were a few hazards!!
Sitting up that high, you have to stay aware of what is coming towards you….. especially “air roots” and vines that hang from the tree branches……
These look innocuous, but when they slap your face at 20 mph, they feel like a whip has been whirled in your direction!!
Mostly, I would see and successfully duck one of the vines, only to look up again and be hit square in the face by the next one. I felt like Indiana Jones when he was congratulating himself that he had dodged a punch, only to be knocked out by the next one!!
I also had to watch for tree branches along the road. At the end of the second day, I found a splinter in the top of my head, obviously placed there by some branch that I failed to duck!!
After that day, I always wore a hat!! Not only did the brim help to divert the vines but, if something did hit my head, it didn’t get through to skin….only the canvas of the hat.
I also learned that when Julian slowed to change gears or to engage the heavier 4-wheel drive function that it was time to HOLD ON!! The next few seconds were either going to be fast or bumpy or both!!
As we returned to camp one evening, we crossed a HUGE mud puddle and the Land Cruiser started to get stuck!! Julian began rocking the truck to help the tires gain traction, but it wasn’t working. Suddenly, one of the tires started spinning, sending a spray of mud all over myself and Dolish in the back. I think that I said a bad word!!!
A few seconds later I heard a sheepish “Sorry Frances” from the driver’s seat!!!
I didn’t realize the extent of the mud bath until we returned to camp and I removed the sodden shirt that I was wearing and carefully scrapped mud off of my legs and face. I think the state of my hat told the story well…..
Early in the trip, I was trying to hold on and found that doing so was just beating me up. I eventually learned to stay loose and not hold on to anything. That way I could just sway with the movement without having my arms and legs pounding against the metal bars surrounding me.
I know that sitting inside the cab would have been a lot more comfortable, but I wouldn’t have changed places with Michael for anything!!….