Archive for the ‘Preparation’ Category

1. Cape Town (South Africa) to  Johannesburg (South Africa) Shosholoza Meyl & Premier Class train

Johannesburg to Cape Town R630 (£36 or $62)

Depart: 10.00am Sunday 24th January

Arrive: 12.15pm Monday 25th January

2. Johannesburg (South Africa) to Maputo (Mozambique) – Shosholoza Meyl & Premier Class train

Johannesburg depart 18:10 Wednesday 27th January
Komatipoort arrive 06:40 Thursday 28th January
Walk across the border from Komatipoort to Ressano Garcia

 Take a CFM train from Ressano Garcia to Maputo

      This train is run by CFM, the Caminhos de Ferro do Moçambique.

      It runs daily, and has 3rd class seats.

Ressano Garcia (Mozambique) depart 12:10 on Mon-Fri, 12:30 on Sat & Sun
Maputo (Mozambique) arrive 16:40 on Mon-Fri, 17:20 on Sat & Sun
  • Johannesburg to Komatipoort costs around RS170  (about £14 or $21) in a seat, R250 in a sleeper berth in a 3 or 6 berth compartment.
  • Ressano Garcia to Maputo costs 15 MT (about 30p or less than $1)

3. Maputo (Mozambique) to Bulawayo (Zimbabwe)

Maputo Depart 13:00 Wednesday 3rd February

(change trains)

Arrive 03:42 Thursdays
Bulawayo Arrive 03:52  Friday 5th February

4. Bulawayo (Zimbabwe) to Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe)

Daily Departure: Bulawayo 1930 Friday 5th February
Arrival: Victoria Falls 08.00 Saturday 6th February

Train – Fares are very cheap, even judged at the very poor official exchange rate.  The one-way 1st class sleeper fare from Bulawayo to Victoria Falls is $15 (£10), bedding now $4 extra.  A 2nd class sleeper is $12 (£8) without bedding.

5. Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) to Livingstone (Zambia)- taxi/bus


6. Livingstone (Zambia) to Kapiri Mposhi (Zambia)

Livingstone – Kapiri Mposhi 85

Depart: 20:00 Sunday 7th February

Arrive: 21:45 Monday 8th February

7. Kapiri Mposhi (Zambia) to Dar es Salaam (Tanzania)

Kapiri Mposhi to Dar es Salaam:

1st class sleeper, express = 333 Zambian kwacha (£37 or $59)

2nd class sleeper = 272 kwacha (£30 or $48)

Depart: 16:00 Tuesday 9th February

Arrive: 12:00 Thursday 11th February

Call the Kapiri (Zambia) booking office on +260 211 220 646

Total travel price: £100


South Africa –

Mozambique $85

Zimbabwe $55

Zambia $50

Tanzania $50

Total visa price: £150/$240




This summer I am planning to cycle around London, following the rough course of the M25, to raise money for UNSEEN.

They are a charity who work with girls and young woman who are tricked or forced into the sex industry in London – often experiencing blackmail, abuse and rape along the way. One girl in her early 20’s was raped by 37 men in the first 2 weeks of arriving in the England to ‘destroy her soul and self worth’ and to make her ‘compliant with her traffickers demands.’ She was then put to work have sex with up to 15 men a night.

Please give a few quid to help the people who rescue, accommodate, protect an defend these woman and help the reintegrate into society and receive healing.

So, I have finally set up my couch surfing account which all being well will save me masses on accommodation on my cycle ride!

I am still taking my trusted 1 man bivi tent with me for when I am out in the wilderness, but now have managed to sort out 12 places to stay spanning the country. This will mean I am able to take a shower and perhaps even wash a pair of pants/socks or two.

I plan to arrange a place to stay every other night if possible as I have ongoing back complaints and sleeping on an inflatable mattress doesn’t really ameliorate the situation. That said, I will need to hope and wait on the legendary hospitality of our relatives over the pond for that to happen.

Week 1.

Miami (Ann M W or Ellen H)  – West Palm Beach (S M Westmoreland) Fort Pierce (Lisa F) – Melborne (Richard P or Thomas W)  – East Orlando (A and A Pope) = 4 days/234 miles

Week 2.

Orlando (Daniel S, Farkash E or Chris O) – Wildwood (1) Terry or  Ocala (2) (Mike M)Gainsville (Derek K or Rick S) – Lakecity – Maddison or Fanning Spring (Patrick C) – Perry (Camping 1) – Tallahassee (Alyssa N, Beth Annn E or Aaron S)
= 256 miles

Week 3.

Tallahasse –  Blountstown – Panama City –  Santa Rosa Beach (Martin o) – Niceville (Gary/Muriel B)Pensacola (Jeb H or Tony S or Jamie R)Mobile (Drew K)

Week 4.

MobileGulfport (Andrea B) or  Biloxi (Ansum U) – Slidell – Hammond (route 1)  – New Orleans (route 2) – Gramercy (Chad W) /Paulina (Adam and Sarah R) – Baton Rouge (Lucio N or Scott M) = 441 miles

Week 5.

Baton Rouge – Lafayette – Sulphur (Rachael B)Beaumont (Jeffrey E) – Houston (F D or Melinda B or Rebecca B) = 271 miles

Week 6.

Houston – Carmine (Carol M) – Red Rock (Hermes C) –  San Marcos (William and Jacqueline C or June S) or New Braunfels (Kathy G)  – Canyon Lake (KEVIN J) – San Antonio (Janice Z or John R)  = 200 miles

Week 7.

San Antonio – Kerrville – Junction – Fort Stockton (Shayna S) = 320 miles

Week 8.

Fort StocktonBalmorhea (camp site 2)  – Van Horn (camp site 3) – Ciudad Juarez/El Paso = 241 miles

Week 9.

Week 10/11

Ciudad Juarez/El Paso – La Cruces – Deming – Lordsburg – Willcox – Benson – Tuscan – Marana – Casa Grande – Pheonix (Cole S or Michael Z) = 429 miles

Week 12/13.

Pheonix – Blythe – sleep rough x 1 – Palm Springs (Jordan) – Moreno Valley/San Bernadino (Christine L) – San Diego = 420 miles

Los Angeles – Ventura – Santa Barbara – Los Olivos – Santa Maria – San Luis Obispo – Paso Robles – King City – Salinas – San Jose – San Francisco

Getting quite excited now 🙂







Miami, FL to Orlando, FL 234 miles (week 1)

Miami – Fort Lauderdale – West Palm Beach – Port St. Lucie – Port Malabar – Orlando

Orlando, FL to Tallahassee, FL 256 miles (week 2)

Orlando – Wildwood – Gainsville – Lakecity – Maddison – Tallahasse

Tallahassee, FL to Mobile, AL 243 miles (week 3)

Tallahasse – Marianna – DeFuniak Springs – Cretview – Pensicola – Mobile

Mobile, AL to Baton Rouge, AL 199 miles (week 4)

Mobile – Biloxi – Slidell – Hammond – Baton Rouge

Baton Rouge, AL to Houston, TX 270 miles (week 5)

Baton Rouge – Lafayette – Lake Charles – Beaumont – Houston

Houston, TX to San Antonio, TX 199 miles (week 6)

Houston – Sealy – Schulenberg – Luling – San Antonio

San Antonio, TX to Fort Stockton, TX 329 mile (week 7)

San Antonio – Kerrville – Sleep rough x 3 – Fort Stockton

Fort Stockton, TX to Ciudad Juarez, Mexico 241 miles (week 8)

Fort Stockton – Sleep rough x 4 – Ciudad Juarez

Ciudad Juarez, Mexico to Tuscan, AZ 318 miles (week 9)

Ciudad Juarez – La Cruces – Deming – Lordsburg – Willcox – Benson – Tuscan

Tuscan, AZ to Phenoix, AZ 116 miles (week 10)

Tuscan – Marana – Casa Grande – Pheonix

Phenoix, AZ to Los Angeles, CA 372 miles (week 11)

Pheonix – sleep rough x 2 – Blythe – sleep rough x 1 – Palm Springs – Moreno Valley/San Bernadino – Los Angeles

Los Angeles, CA to San Francisco, CA 380 miles (week 12)

Los Angeles –  Ventura – Santa Barbara – Los Olivos – Santa Maria – San Luis Obispo – Paso Robles – King City – Salinas – San Jose – San Francisco


Kayaking: The River Danube

…is one of the most amazing kayak or canoe trips in the world. It goes from Ingolstadt all the way to the Black Sea, but you can join for short stages if you don’t have the three months it takes for the whole trip. Lovely warm water, fantastic people (fellow paddlers and locals), interesting culture, nice beaches and a fascinating history of the event itself are all part of the attraction. The difficulty level is not high, although you need a fair amount of endurance. And you have to get up pretty early in the morning to make a start on your journey..

The route:

Germany: Ingolstadt-Regensburg-Straubing-Erlau (242 km in 7 days)
Austria: Inzell-Linz-Vienna-Hainburg (331km in 9 days)
Slovakia: Bratislava Komarno Gabcikovo (119km in 3 days)
Hungary: Esztergom-Lep. Visegrad-Budapest, Mohacs (327km in 9 days)
Serbia: Apatin (46km in 1 day)
Croatia: Aljmaš Vukovar (69km in 2 days)
Serbia: Backa Palanka-Belgrade-Brza Palanka (495km in 10 days)
Bulgaria: Novo Selo, Vidin Russian-Silistra (509km in 15 days)
Romania: Calarasi-Tulcea-Sf. Gheorghe-Black Sea (424km in 10 days)

8 weeks give or take a bit…

Vietnam/Laos planning…

Posted: February 29, 2012 in Hong Kong, Preparation, Vietnam

04/06/12 London – Hong Kong

3 x nights at mates house and city explore and border area

07/02/12 Hong Kong to Hanoi (Vietnam)

24 hours, Overnight sleeper bus to Hanoi £30-35

2 x nights in Hanoi @ £4/5 a night

10/02/12 Hanoi to Halong Bay – via Haiphong

Train from Hanoi to Haiphong £2/3 then bus to Ha long Bay £2/3

4 x nights in Ha long @ 5 a night

Kayaking, hiking, camping, sun bathing!?

14/02/12 Halong Bay to Cat Ba Island

Ha long Bay to Cat Ba Ferry £4/6 one-way

3 x nights @ £5 a night

17/02/12 Cat Ba Island to Ha Long Bay to Hanoi

Ha long Bay to Cat Ba Ferry £4/6 one-way

Bus from Ha long Bay to Haiphong £2/3, Train from Haiphong to Hanoi £2/3 then

17/02/12 Hanoi to Vientiane (Laos)

Overnight sleeper bus £20/25 24 hours

3 x nights in Vientiane @ £7 a night

Shooting range, elephants, Luang Prabang (32 temples) and boat trip?

21/02/12 Vientiane to Vang Vieng

Local bus £3/5, North for 100 miles in 3 hours

3 x nights in Vang Vieng @ £2/3 a night

Tubing, trekking and kayaking: LV Natural Tours, Xplore Asia, Paddling Adventures

24/02/12 Vang Vieng to Luang Prabang

Early morning local bus £3/5

2 x nights in Luang Prabang @ £2/3 a night

26/02/12 Luang Prabang to Vientiane to Hanoi

Local bus 3 hours, followed by 24-hour overnight bus £20/25

1 x night in Hanoi @ £4/5 a night

27/02/12 Hanoi to Sapa – via Lao Cai

Train from Hanoi to Lao Cai £2/3 followed by bus for 38 miles

3 x night in Sapa @ £3 a night

RED DRAGON PUB (AN EGLISH COUNTRY PUB), mountain climbing, trekking

01/07/12 Sapa to Hanoi – via Lao Cai

Local bus for 38 miles from Sapa to Lao Cai, followed by train to Hanoi £2/3

02/07/12 Hanoi to Da Lat via Nha Trang

Local bus to Nha Trang followed by train from Hanoi £50

3 x night in Da lat @ £6 per night

Mountain town, views, trekking, etc

05/07/12 Da lat to Hanoi via Nha Trang

Local bus to Nha Trang followed by train to Hanoi £50

1 x night in Hanoi @ £4/5 a night

06/07/12 to Hanoi to Hong Kong

24 hours, Overnight sleeper bus to Hong Kong £30-35

09/07/12 Hong Kong to London

1am in the morning (so really evening of the 08th July!)

Flight booked to New Dehli

Posted: October 13, 2011 in India, Preparation

£407 booked and paid for… now trains/hostels and orphanages 🙂

  • Fly to Delhi
  • Delhi 1-3 days.
  • Take the Shiv Ganga Express leaving New Delhi at 18:45 arriving Varanasi Junction at 07:30 next morning. AC1, AC2, AC3, Sleeper class.
  • Varanasi 2-3 days.  The unmissable Hindu holy city on the Ganges. Make sure you stay in a local Indian riverside hotel such as the Hotel Alka. Western chain hotels are all in the new town, away from the action.
  • Darjeeling?
  • Take the Marudhar Express from Varanasi Junction at 17:20 (18:15 on some days) arriving Agra Fort at 05:55 next morning. AC2, AC3, Sleeper class.
  • Agra – also visit the fantastic royal city of Fatephur Sikhri, some 30km away by bus or car. 2 days.  Agra may be the most touristy place in India, but the Taj is well worth the tourist tout hassle. The fort and ‘baby Taj’ are also worth a visit.
  • Take the Marudhar Express from Agra at 06:15 arriving Jaipur at 11:30 the same day. AC2, AC3, Sleeper class.
  • Jaipur 2-3 days.  The ‘Pink City’ is one of the most wonderful princely cities in Rajasthan, and indeed in India.
  • Take the Delhi-Jaisalmer Express leaving Jaipur at 23:57 arriving Jaisalmer at 11:45 next morning. AC1, AC2, AC3, Sleeper class.  On the day of departure from Jaipur, negotiate a rate to keep your hotel room until you leave for the station.
  • Jaisalmer 2-3 days.  This is Rajasthan’s fairytale city, in the desert close to the Pakistan border. It has no airport, so only those who make the effort get to see it!
  • Take the Jaisalmer-Delhi Express leaving Jaisalmer at 16:30 and arriving at Delhi (old Delhi station) at 11:05. AC1, AC2, AC3, sleeper class.  Spend the day & night in Delhi.
  • An early start! Take the Himalayan Queen leaving Delhi Sarai Rohilla at 05:40 arriving Kalka at 11:10. AC Chair class & 2nd class seats. Change onto the toy train leaving Kalka at 12:10 arriving Simla at 17:20. The journey to Simla by narrow gauge ‘Toy Train’ is a delight.
  • Simla 2-3 days.  Cool relaxation and colonial charm in this Himalayan hill station from the days of the Raj. The ideal final destination for your trip!
    Take the Shivalik Deluxe (AC Chair class, meal included) leaving Simla at 17:40 arriving Kalka at 22:20. Change onto the mainline Kalka Mail leaving Kalka at 23:55 and arriving Delhi (this time old Delhi station) at 06:15. AC1, AC2, AC3, Sleeper class.
  • Delhi
  • New Delhi – Bombay Central, depart 16.30 arrive 08:35 next day.
  • Bombay (Mumbia) 2- 3 days. ‘London on acid’ – a wonderful sub-tropical parody of 1950’s London, with colonial banks, offices and red double decker buses!

Looking at volunteering in an orphanage in India in February time with a three week train adventure around the country!

Hmmm this may change my trip somewhat…

  • Rescue workers in southern Chile have evacuated a further 54 tourists and staff after the eruption of a volcano.

    Hundreds of residents and tourists have fled the area since Tuesday, when the Llaima volcano began producing a huge column of smoke and spewing lava.

    Airport officials in neighbouring Argentina have suspended flights due to poor visibility caused by the ash

    There are fears of further eruptions.

    “At this moment I would recommend against tourism in the area,” said Carmen Fernandez, the emergency agency’s director.