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Christmas in the Savanna


For us this time no dressed up 5-course Christmas dinner, but plastic plates on our laps: adventure in the savanna as we wanted our sailing friends Wouter and Saskia ("Schorpioen", now on their second Atlantic tour) to experience how exciting a landlubber's life can be. Our rally-soulmates Karin-Marijke and Coen found it a great idea. Entertaining and also wise, as one better not goes into the savanna with only one car. We packed our recently with the Savanna Rally won barbecue, tent, camp beds and hammocks, towing cables, a spade, driving planks, sounding rod and machete, Coen also brought a saw and Wouter and Saskia brought their satphone for just in case. During the rallies we also collected many charts, so we were not afraid to get lost.

In Suriname you find three types of savanna. The open savanna is mainly a white sandpit dotted with little shrubs, grass and in the lower parts Mauritius palmtrees. Especially in the early afternoon it gets extremely hot there a and in the dry season you often encounter forest fires.
A hybrid is the shrubbery-savanna but we find the savanna forest the most beautiful of the three types. This forest is not too high and has a lot of undergrowth, so compared with the open savanna it is wonderfully cool and you find there creeks with clear brown water where you can freshen up. And many deep pools as the rainwater here doesn't evaporate as quickly as in the open savanna.

During the week preceding Christmas it had rained heavily so driving in the savanna was even more nervewracking: extremely large pools, deep trenches and fallen trees right across the tracks.
Saskia turned out to be an excellent film maker, so you can join in with us on YouTube.

Off the bauxite road we drove into the open savanna and onto the Big Road. Of course this is not a highway but moreover a number of stretches of white sand flanked by shrubs, weaving together into something that reminds of a four lane motorway.

Click the photo to enlarge.

Lunch was in the blazing sun underneath  our travelling overlanders friends' awning.
Then we drove into a savanna forest where we had to make some detours because fallen trees were blocking our way.

Christmas Eve was in the Coesewijne savanna, where we enjoyed JW's Christmas dinner of
satay with peanutbutter sauce, vegetables and rice. And the following morning JW and Coen served "savanna eggs" for breakfast. In the savanna this is THE traditional breakfast, having its roots in the days of the Dutch military men who in the old days  prepared the dish for the rally participants.

We also had some mechanical breakdowns. The first problem was a little red Christmas lamp lightening up on our dashboard: A/T TEMP. Not so good but we safely drove on after a refill of AT-fluid.
Ten km further JW noticed that our fuel tank was coming off underneath the rear of the car. One of the mounting brackets had rusted through completely and Coen detected that the fuel pipes had came off the tank. So we tied everything op and Coen crawled underneath the car to mount the pipes again. A delicate job lying on your back in the mud. We were extremely grateful as standing by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere and unable to solve the problem, is our worst nightmare. But thatís what friends are for, seasonal goodwill in practice!

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