Last night was a late night for the whole team as the Boyz tried to ensure their bikes were capable of making the 460km ride to Pwetu. Quinton had a leaking radiator which he fixed with tea leaves! Rolfe was helping Quinton, the rest were assisting with refuelling and Mark, Raph and Did were running around trying to rent a pick-up to take Rob’s bike to Pwetu.
But suddenly the track turned onto a well maintained road and we drove on the same maintained dirt road all the way to Pwetu, arriving at 4.30pm - still a 10 hour day but the road wound up over the Magita mountains and at one stage we were driving at just under 6000ft. We stopped regularly for Rolfe and Mike to catch up as they nursed the bikes with fuel pump issues! Eventually Rolfe’s stopped and Mike did a quick change out (as only Puzey can do) on the side of the road and off we went. Quinton’s bike also started to show signs of fuel pump issues. Anyway it was a great day brisk to cold compared to the sweltering heat and humidity of the previous days - in fact in the morning some of the team donned windcheater’s.
The fascinating issue was we drove on this great road and saw only 5 other vehicles and just a few more Moto’s - it was unclear why the road was build but we really appreciated it! In fact, this part of the DRC, I believe, is a “lost treasure” as a tourist destination - last night Lake Tanganyika and tonight the stunning Lake Meru and a great drive in between them.
We arrived at Pwetu and then got ushered to our hotel by a number of taxi men - our guide, Martesson, who has been with us on his Senko the whole way and, as he has become famous for, suddenly pitched up at the end of the day conspicuous in his yellow 2016 NVEP t-shirt.
The Pwetu Lodge, although not quite complete, is a world class address right on the edge of the lake with private white beaches and well-appointed and luxury facilities and most of all, hot water.
Having been concerned we would not make it, everyone was relieved to be showered and the lodge has arranged a classic South Africa braaivleis for the team tonight. On the spares saga, Kerry, Freight Forwards (big thank you to Malcolme and team) and the Randgold logistics team have again risen to the challenge - located pumps and filters as far afield as South Africa and Kenya - they were flown to Lubumbashi today - the SA parts were hand carried by Suzette from Randgold - they were cleared by customs and were on their way to Pwetu within hours so we are all set to get the bikes back into shape during our “rest day” tomorrow. NO THANKS TO HUSQVARNA! Who says it’s impossible to do business in Africa?
Tomorrow is well deserved rest day for all!
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