Day 130: Lubango

Soutpiel Safari
John & Jenny
Tue 15 Mar 2011 07:28
Day 130: Monday 14 March 2011. Hotel Amigo, Lubango, Angola  S14 54.899 E013 30.311  Distance driven 592 km (new record!)
I had an excellent breakfast at the hotel and the enjoyable company of a group of South Africans consultants working on an agricultural development scheme.
I filled up with diesel and pressed on south, anxious to maintain the excellent lead i had built up over two days.  The road from Sumbe to Lobito was good fast tar and from the outskirts of Lobito to Benguela was a similarly good road.  I called at a bank ATM on the outskirts of Lobito to draw cash and then re-programmed the GPS for Benguela.  It immediately took me on a circuitous by-pass of Lobito which was quite frightening as it was a pure 4x4 track through a poor housing district, unused to vehicular traffic.  The residents were hostile and, at one stage I thought I was about to be lynched. Lobito seems to be built on a series of quarries and this route took me across an escarpment between two quarries.  It was so rough that sections required low range gearbox!  I was glad to get out of there in one piece.
I detoured in Benguela to Nancy's Guest House to see if I could rest there and get some lunch, found that i couldn't and pressed on, finally having lunch way outside Benguela.  My intention was to have an easy day and finish early, but that was not to be!  I called at a small hotel in Chongoroi, found the owner too drunk to converse with and assessed it to be a trucker's brothel, so drove on.  The road as far as Chongoroi had been excellent new tar and very fast, easy driving with very little traffic but soon broke up after Chongoroi, the tar finally disappearing altogether at Quilengues, some 415 km from Sumbe.
From Quilengues for 55 km to Cacula, the "road" was a very difficult 4x4 track, very rough, very potholed and with extensive mud sections.  Average speed dropped to 20 kph.  This section could not be accomplished in anything other than a very capable 4WD or a truck, of which there was a constant stream coming northwards.  By this time it had started to rain very heavily and, not being able to have the windows open, I had to use AC which made the driving even more difficult as the power loss at low speed is very noticeable.  With the rain, the bush camping option wasn't attractive but the next accommodation was in Lubango - 100 km away, and it was getting dark.
Fortunately, after Cacula we were back on new tar but with surprising "missing" sections which caught me unawares in the dark.  However, with white lines and cat's eyes the rest of the drive into Lubango was fairly straightforward.
With a day's run of 592 km, I have done 1535 km in 3 days and have only about 450 km to do to reach Namibia, with 2 days in hand.  From now on I'll take it easy.  The hotel Amigo is a funny sort of place but my room does have a Bath and hot water so I am looking forward to the first hot bath in 19 weeks!