17 Aug 2008
Petauke - Monze (The Moorings Campsite S16 11.624 E27 32.600)
SARAH: Today was one of our biggest drives of the trip and we were on the road at 6am. It's a pity we don't have the time or money to go to Lower Zambezi NP, but with diesel being so expensive we've decided to do the parks in Bots instead. It's just one more thing to come back to. I was very impressed with Lusaka as we passed through. I could have been in JHB for all I knew with massive shopping complexes, well maintained roads, big walled houses etc. It looks like a lovely city and has lots of big expensive cars driving around so I'm sure there is lots of money here too. We stopped at spar to buy beers and then drove the last 160km on an ok potholed road to a disappointingly plain campsite, but at least we are closer to Vic Falls now. I was shattered so cooked a simple one bean curry beans bunny for dinner and was asleep by 9pm.
CAMPING ON THE ZAMBEZI
18 Aug 2008
Monze - Livingstone (Overland Missions Camp S17 58.626 E25 53.298)
BRUCE: The road from Monze to Livingstone was one of the worst (probably the worst) tar road we have been on. The first 200km is great, smooth, wide tar and the last 100km are a nightmare of potholes across the whole road. You actually drive next to the road on a corrugated track for most of it! There are a few enterprising locals though who, when they see you coming, run into the road and drop a load of sand in a pothole and then claim that they are repairing the road.Livingstone itself is a really scruffy place and not at all what we were expecting. Both campsites that we tried were full and it was only a beer stop at spar that stopped us from sleeping on the side of the road! I was packing away the shopping when this American guy, Dan, comes up to me and we started chatting about our trip. It turned out that he was part of a missionary group and they have a campsite right on the Zambezi at Rapid 14! We got directions from him and headed out there!This place is awesome. Really rough as the campsite is just a clearing in the bush but there is water and light and even hot showers!! Another bizarre thing is that we bumped into Boggers' brother, Kieran, who is also doing some missionary work out here. He was part of a team that drove some big 4x4 trucks out to Zambia from Europe and he had written us a great email before we left about what to expect from our trip. The guys here are all really great and after a chicken braai Keiran and Jamie came around to our Landy and we had a great evening catching up around the fire.
19 Aug 2008
Livingstone (Overland Missions Camp)
SARAH: We had been hoping to find a campsite like this where we could catch up on admin things and here we have one…for free! Zambia is hot by day so I did another heap of washing which dried in no time. We also did some blog typing which we are very behind on, but once the generator went off we were forced to chill and do nothing around camp in the hot sun. So I made a batch of crumpets for our picnic at Vic Falls tomorrow whilst Bruce entertained himself by chopping wood for the Kelly Kettle. Our priorities have really changed on this trip.
Once the day had cooled down a bit we hiked down the gorge to the mighty Zambezi River where Bruce did some fishing. This river is fierce with whirlpools forming and disappearing in the currents. Rafting this river with the water so low looks suicidal. As it was there was a dead croc and remains of an elephant near us which had died coming over the falls and got pushed into an eddy pool. It's a reminder of just how powerful this water really is. Although Zimbabwe was just 100m from us there is no way I'd try to swim there! Bruce had challenging time fishing into the strong current from the rocks, so I'm not surprised he never caught anything. Hiking back up the steep gorge was tough and a race against darkness. I'm so unfit and it was great to feel physically exhausted for a change. We made gourmet beans on toast on the braai and tomorrow it's off to Vic Falls!!
THE SMOKE THAT THUNDERS
20 Aug 2008
Livingstone - Kasane, Botswana (Ngina Safaris Camp S17 47.786 E25 13.322)
BRUCE: Seeing Victoria Falls today was awesome. We had packed out traditional flask and had tea and crumpets right on the falls. The only problem with this perfect picture was the crumpets. It all starts back in Egypt where we bought 2 packets of industrial strength washing powder that Se had decided should live in our food box. Well so did the flour and after 20,000km together the washing powder had completely infested the flour and we had washing powder flavour crumpets at Vic falls!
After the falls it was time to head for Botswana and say a sad goodbye to this awesome country. The border formalities were very simple and we had to pay a steep $20 for the pontoon ride across the Zambezi. The border into Botswana was another story altogether and it is the first time on the trip that we have encountered sheer incompetence in the officials. I wont go into detail but effectively they insisted on stamping my carnet for the Landy and not issuing an import permit even though my canet says, in bold letters on ever page 'Not Valid for Botswana!' So I am now in Bots with an illegal vehicle…. Oh ja, there's more. I didn't have any Bots currency for the road tax so had to drive the 20km into town to draw some and come all the way back. Only when we get back the lady on shift is finishing and I had to wait 20minutes for her to log out of the PC and pack her things. Then the guy who was taking over could not log in and there was another 20minute wait. Then once he has logged in he picks up a book and writes out the road tax! Why all the logging in and logging out when they don't even use a PC!?!AAAARG!
The campsite that we have found for tonight is ok, sandy and shady. There are also 2 nice Dutch families here. We had a nice braai for dinner although we failed miserably to make popcorn for the game drive tomorrow!
SUMMARY OF ZAMBIA
Exchange rate: 1$ = 3800ZKw
Beer: 4,500 ZKw in shops, 8,000 ZKw in bars
Border crossing:10mins out of Malawi and 20mins into Zambia although $50 or 150,000ZKw for carbon tax.
HIGHLIGHTS OF ZAMBIA
- South Luangwa
- Staying in style with Rich & Susie at Mchenja, South Luangwa
- Croc Valley, South Luangwa
- Vic Falls
LOWLIGHTS OF ZAMBIA
- None - even the diesel is worth it!