We checked in Wilderness on 9thOctober 2018 and the plan was to spend Wamuyu’s birthday there. We had no information on what do while there other than have sea food for dinner as a birthday treat. The town is known for some really good sea food restaurants.

The Birthday girl.

As usual, when you land at a backpackers, you meet other travelers and its always an optune time to exchange travel information. Almost everyone is eager to learn more about where they are heading to as there is always someone coming from that direction.  Backpackers have been our best social places and information hubs.

We all gathered around the fire place next to the pub and overlooking the ocean. It was a chilly night. Rain was in the forecast and it had been rather cold in the past few days. Lentil soup with home baked bread was the meal for dinner on this day. Some of us got their hot bowls of soup and bread while others a cold beer was their best company. We in turns talked about our travels and where each one was coming from and heading to.  This is the point where everyone takes out their phones or notebooks to note down their next possible adventures. A few young girls and guys were interning at this backpackers and would be traveling after their internship.  Some as young as 19 years away from home and adulting. It was nice listening to their stories of backpacking, volunteering and traveling. We would love to see more young Kenyans travel this way.  It’s a combination of travel, education and hands on experience that equips them on many areas of life.

A couple of things to do were recommended to all of us who had just arrived on the same day by those who were leaving.

  1. Paragliding
  2. Surfing
  3. Hiking to the secret hippie’s cave.

We settled for hiking to the hippie’s cave.  We had no idea what to expect of this hike other than we would have to walk along an old railway line which would lead us to the cave. If we wanted to get past the cave, we would have to cross a high rail line bridge by walking over it or get down under to the ocean and swim or waddle through the waters if not rough. This path would lead us to the beautiful Victoria Bay beach. A distance of about 10 kms or more.

This sounded good. After seating on motorbikes for hundreds of kilometers we are always looking forward to some exercise. Woke up early the following day and teamed up with Adrianne (a girl we met in Malawi and have been blessed to meet a couple of times since).

Walking along the railway to find the cave

The walk on the rail way line was quite good as there was no climbing.  We first got to this sign post and almost turned back.  It would have been tough if we got attacked but thanks God, that did not happen.  We were informed that it used to happen a couple of years back, but has not happened for the past two years. However, they retained the sign post to just have people take extra caution which is understandable.

Getting to this sign we almost turned back

We got to this beautiful tunnel that looked so dark that for a second time, we thought of turning back. We even started climbing up the hill to see if we can walk over the tunnel to the other side.  There was no path and after a brief negotiation, we agreed to walk through the dark tunnel.  Adrianne and I picked some huge rocks for self-defense while Dos chose to walk behind us for more protection.  The walk was short and before we knew it, there was light at the end of the tunnel (like literally) and Dos only ended up taking some nice videos and pictures as we only got to exercise our arms with carrying the rocks.

On arrival, we were met by Andre who also lives in the cave.  He welcomed us and asked that we wait as he called “The Master”.  A good-looking gentleman walks out of the cave, greets us and introduces himself as Cliff Brandon the owner of the cave.

Clifford – The owner of the Cave

Cliff gave us a tour of the cave before sitting down to tell us of how he got to live there and why. There is a small contribution for the cave tour of R25 per person and this money goes towards feeding those who stay at the cave as they are homeless and most have no jobs although they get out there to find a way of earning a living. You can contribute more if you wish.

Kaaimans Grotto – The Cave

We listen carefully to Cliff story of the cave and realize how spiritual he is.  The entire story of the cave is based on a message from God. Cliff is a graduate of Theological school who asked God for a house.  God sent him to Wilderness and told him that the house he has asked for was there.  He took his bible and a few things and went to wilderness.  He waited for a couple of days for God to show him the house he has for him but instead, God led him to the Cave.

He says the cave was by then an abandoned pub that used to belong to a family and was used for the Railway passenger’s and workers.  After a massive landslide in 2006 that destroyed the railway and  rendered it unusable, the family abandoned the pub. The pub counter is still there till today. When he arrived here, he knew this is the home God had promised him.

He got into a legal tarsal with the railway company as they at some point claimed that they owned the property. He even got eviction notices a couple of times.  Through his prayers and God’s intervention, he got some of the best lawyers in South Africa on Pro Bono.  The legal process took him about 7 years and it was established that the Railway company or no one else owned the property and he was allowed to have it.  He says – “always follow God’s voice” and “God will never give you what belongs to someone else” and he believes that is the reason he won this matter and that confirmed to him once again that the cave was the house God had promised him.

In this cave, he only takes in the homeless.  He charges nothing for their stay. He has over the 8 years he has lived here decorated the cave with hanging chandeliers of painted shells from the ocean, masks that have been decorated with glitters and furnished the cave with about 15 beds, a kitchen and living area on the outside. They however have a tough time during the rainy and winter season as the cave leaks and gets wet and cold. Inside the cave there is his prayer room where he speaks with God.  He says, God promised that the cave will not collapse or get damaged for as long as he (Cliff) is alive.  He has no idea what God will do with the cave after he is gone but know that God is always faithful to his people

This turned to be the best birthday gift for Wamuyu and a spiritual nourishment for all of us.

With Cliff

We left the cave well spiritually nourished and headed for the Victoria Bay. This turned out to be the toughest part of the hike.

Off to Victoria Bay

We got to this bridge and Adrianne and Wamuyu could not walk over it due to their extreme height phobia. Dos however did it while the girls chose to go under and climb the rocks to get down to the ocean and find a shallow place to cross through to the other side.

A couple of hours later we arrived at this beautiful beach.  We sat for a beer and sandwich as we waited for our taxi back to the backpackers.

Victoria Bay Beach

After finishing the hike at the Victoria Bay beach, we all had a sandwich and a drink  and called it a day. It was a day well spent. A birthday well deserved. Great lessons of the day.

With Andre our guide from the Cave

 

 

 

 

 

We are almost at the end of the first leg of our world tour, which is southern of Africa. From here we head to Southern America.  If you are traveling for a long time, what do you do with your mobile line? Do you disconnect it, throw it away and plan to get another line when you return home? We have no idea how much life can depend on your mobile line in other countries but we can tell you how important that line is for a Kenyan, even when you are miles away from home.

This is because a mobile line is basically our money management tool and information center. We receive bills, text from banks, and other important information on this small piece of card. We pay for everything using our mobile lines.

M-PESA is KING in Kenya.

You know or must have heard of M-PESA? If this is your first encounter with the word M-PESA click here for moreM-PESA is KING in Kenya. Besides us, many other people will tell you as much.  Articles have been published by many regarding M-PESA. One Alexander Oswald said this on his TEDx talk in Vienna.

As Kenyans traveling the world and with two teenagers back in Kenya, we have to pay bills and send money every month.  You must wonder how we do this from the road, or you may have some experience with it. From Kenya we have now traveled through nine (9) countries with different telephone service providers, good and poor connectivity depending on which part of the country we are in. We also have limited access to internet as in most countries we haven’t had local SIM cards which could help with data on the road. So, we basically wait till evening and look for accommodation with WiFi.

Signal —- pleeeaase 🙇‍♂️

                        https://www.instagram.com/throttleadventures.ke/

Our options for sending money and paying bills are: –

  1. Bank transfer – everyone must have a bank account or a mobile number.
  2. M-PESA transfer – our lines must remain active throughout our travel.

THE INTRICATE WEB OF MONEY MANAGEMENT.

We had no idea how complicated this is going to be when we left home. This is what we are talking about.

It can feel like this sometime.

1.Our daughter must have a national identity card, MPESA or bank account!

Our daughter who is 18 going 19 had just cleared her year 12 two weeks before we left.  She was going to be applying for her national identity card, get an MPESA account, PIN and get a bank account after we had left. Three months later, she has only managed to get the national identity card and no success with MPESA and bank account.  She lives on her own and has to basically manage her own life and money.  Before she got her national identity card, we had to always send money to other people to withdraw it on her behalf and get it to her. They too, have to look for her as they can not M-PESA her. That means time and money to meet for this handover. Then she got her ID and could receive cash on her line and withdraw but not send to anyone or pay bills.  Payment of bills still remains our responsibility. That takes us to the next complication.

The face of an MPESA finally coming through

2. Our lines must be active to be able to use MPESA services!

If we want to use M-PESA, whether using the SIM toolkit or the App, our lines must remain active.

We have to pay bills such as water, electricity etc. We receive these bills through texts on our mobile phones that we had earlier registered with the utility service providers.  All these bills can only be paid through M-PESA or bank transfer. For the bank transfer, you pay directly to the Pay Bill number, which again, is M-PESA integrated into the bank App. For either of the two (MPESA and Bank payment), our lines have to remain active. You might wonder why?

3. Why our lines MUST remain active!

If we are setting up beneficiaries on the online banking platform, we require an OTP (One Time Password) which is only sent to your registered mobile number.

When we use our Visa cards, we receive a text on our lines which is a form of security. Incase our cards are lost and used by someone else, we will get a text and can quickly get them blocked. We hate to imagine what would happen if we lost our cards and cannot receive texts on usage as this is the first level of notification.

If we need to receive the bills, we must have our lines active.

If we want to transfer money from the bank to a mobile number, our lines must be active.

To keep a line active, if it is on pre-paid plan, you have to keep loading airtime to ensure it remains active.  You will need the line active to be able to buy airtime from your M-PESA.

For a line that is on post paid plan, the line will remain active but if you don’t pay your monthly bills (which payment is through M-PESA), some services will not be accessible.  Services such as mobile banking on USSD.

Loosing your line can lock you out of many things MONEY.

WHAT HAS BEEN OUR EXPERIENCE SO FAR!

Using M-PESA worked perfectly well in Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania and Zanzibar on both the App and the SIM toolkit. From Malawi down south we mostly used the bank App to get money directly from the bank and send it to an MPESA account. We had no signal in Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and Namibia .

It is until we reached South Africa that we had challenges using both the App and the SIM tool kit. We could receive the Vodacom signal. We could also receive text but could not use the M-PESA services.  We sort help from a friend back home and were informed that for us to be able to use the services, we have to activate roaming.  😱 our faces when we think roaming charges. We activated roaming and are now happily using M-PESA  🤩

Cheers to M-PESA

IS AFRICA THE END OF M-PESA JOURNEY WITH US?

There is only one way to to find out, follow us to our next destination ANTARCTICA