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Bad luck in Cape Town

So everything was going a little too well! Unfortunately a couple of days ago our room got broken into and my nikon camera (including lenses) Cannon compact and our laptop were taken : ( .After being so careful and keeping valuables so closely guarded, we came back from our day out, and decided to head to the bar upstairs. As we were only going to be a few feet away we thought our things would be ok locked in our room. Bad idea. Little did we know that 2 Zambian guys had just checked into the adjacent room and were carefully watching everybody else’s coming and goings. Twice Rich and i popped down to use the toilet, wierdly we both chose the hostel toilets and didnt go back to our room (if we had, we would have caught them red handed, which in a town where firearms and weapons are common, i’m glad we didn’t) however we both saw the guys near our room at which point my gut instinct was telling we something was wrong!! I actually talked myself out of it, after all, he was a guest here too and the doorway also lead to his room. I stopped and said hi and he talked back, I felt bad for assuming the worst and headed back upstairs.

I now know that our Zambian neighbours were in fact professional thieves wanted in 4 different countries. Using the same formula, they book ahead,arrive smartly dressed with baggage, check in and pay and then spend an afternoon watching the coming and goings of different guests to identify an opportunity. The cost of the room far outweighs the bounty they get later. The key to their success is just that, a master key they’ve fashioned from a screwdriver that opens most doors so they can slip in an out of hotel rooms unnoticed. As there was no break in and the door was still locked when we returned, we assumed they must have come through the loft hatch, but it is only from our research we have discovered who they are. Articles go back to 2008 and they are well known crims!

Despite being well known, these crooks are so undeterred by the failing judiciary system that they still book with their real IDs. When the police arrived despite being able to supply passport details, phone number, cctv evidence and full facebook profile images the police barely took note! We have now wasted nearly 2days filling out police reports, going over everything again and again, fully aware that the police will do something between nothing and bugger all which I frustrating as all hell when we know who they are!

So it was a harsh wake up call and hopefully one that won’t be repeated. Fortunately we weren’t completely wiped out, bank cards, passports and car keys are safe, we weren’t harmed and the items are replaceable, including the contents of our laptop -so we will move on!

The car has also needed quite a bit of TLC, including a new wheel bearing, radiator patch up and a new engine manifold gaskett ( fortunately we were carrying a spare!) . In reality, all these things we’d been aware of for awhile and you have to remind yourself that when covering more distance in a few months than you normally would in a year the fix ups are more frequent! We were recommended a great mechanic, who not only got Kylie back into tip top shape quickly, he also had us round for dinner to share routes and tips for Botswana! So if you need a mechanic in Cape Town, Allan Kessel at ANG service is your man!

Its been a full on few days – our run of bad luck finally peaked at 3 things with our Iridium Sat phone giving up the ghost with $500 credit still on it. We’re debating whether to replace it or just try and sell the sim. Many have said we won’t need one? Life on the road is certainly not always rosy, but rolling with the punches is just part of being an overlander! Aside from the dramas, we were really enjoying Cape Town – hiking up Table Mountain, Robben Island, museums (too cold for beaches?) but our last few days haven’t given us anytime for fun stuff! we’re looking forward to getting out of the city and back into the bush!

Funnily enough there are no pictures with this post, so you’ll have to use your imagination!!

[image. Sun shining over table mountain and Cape Town taken from Robben island ferry]
[image.robben island prison]
[image. Richard and Sophie selfie shot on top of Table mountain. Looking cold, but very happy]
[image. Dinner at Mama Africa’s -safari mixed grill]

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Joanna crowe #

    roll on in there! sympathies for thefts – horrible – but you both safe, main thing! all part of the big adventure!! LOVE xx Jo

  2. Eoin #


    Bummer re the theft but at least all your pics are backed up and the stuff is replaceable. It’s probably best you didn’t get to confront those guys!

    Keep the blog posts coming. I’m loving them.


  3. Bob Kovarskis #

    Sorry to hear about your bad ordeals but in Africa one does have to be more vigilant and also don’t take any shit from anybody otherwise you will be continuosly skrewwed. Keep your head up `so what’ and soldier on and enjoy your ongoing trip.
    Cheryl had her bag with all of her clothes and other Items stolen from a bus that we were travelling on from Kampala to Bwindi ( 8hr trip ). Luckily the village had some clothes that we could buy and an Aussie woman at Bwindi gave up her old runners so that Cheryl could go on the Gorrila trek. The not so good joys of travelling.


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