My last week in Africa was arguably the most beautiful week I had in Zimbabwe. We headed off to Lake Kariba to spend some time with the family on a houseboat. The drive was long and in typical Hassim road trip fashion it was not without a hitch. We had so many attendees that we had to take two cars and a trailer! Dad drove the girls in the new Volvo XC60 and towed the trailer. I chose the Mercedes E36 AMG wagon to cart around the guys (even through I knew the a/c compressor wasn't working). It's classically handsome, fast and just damn cool, plus four windows and a sunroof so who needs a/c right? Wrong! When we arrived at the petrol station Dad said he noticed the muffler was hanging a bit low. I looked under it and noticed one of the rubber rings that secured the muffler was missing.
No worries, I've survived with this problem before. Apparently not on Zimbabwean roads! It wasn't long after we head off before the other ring snapped and I could hear the muffler bouncing and scraping the floor. I had to continue on until I could catch Dad, all of a sudden the car just cut out. Literally nothing, not lights or anything. I popped it in neutral and coasted until it was safe to pull over. We couldn't call Dad because there was no cell service, I popped open the bonnet and found that one of the terminals was not connected. Phew!
We needed to catch up to Dad to figure out what we were going to do about this muffler. It wasn't long before we did either. My Dad usually cruises between 140-150kph...but remember I was driving an AMG. When we caught the Volvo I signaled Dad to pull over and we had a look and assessed the situation. The muffler needed to be secured otherwise it would snap and fall off, then it occurred to me that being a backyard mechanic I might have some cable ties in my bag from cable tying some other various car parts in my extensive car history. Turns out I did!
Not long after that we were off again! I drove a few hours and by this stage it was 40+ degrees and the heat was ridiculous. All of us were stuck to the leather and were disgustingly sweaty. All of a sudden a massive bang and scraping followed. Pulling over immediately I knew what had happened, the cable ties had snapped. Luckily the muffler was still in tact. We were now way behind schedule, only had two cable ties left and we had to come up with another solution.
Dad and Riq (my younger brother) helped prop the muffler back in place while I used the remaining two cable ties to secure it in place. Then my baby brother Mikaeel supplied a leatherman which he had been given for his birthday which helped me cut up my camera strap. Once the camera straps were secured in place, that muffler wasn't going anywhere and the material was definitely not melting either. Off we were, back on the road with only about two hours to go.
The last 70klms was breathtaking. Literally the most fun you could have on public roads, the GTI would have eaten up the 70klms of tight, twisted, speed-limitless mountain roads. The views were spectacular as well! I wish I had stopped for some photos! Stay tuned, in part 2 we depart on our houseboat!
...to be continued