Sunday, May 19, 2013

So the new tank is fixed and we shall know in a couple of days if it requires any adjustment. Seems fine at the moment!

In the meantime we decided to go and have a look at the Zambezi Gorge. Several people had told us how spectacular it was. Firstly we had a look at a couple of the “adrenalin trips”, a zip wire across a 200 meter deep gorge and the “gorge swing”, which appeared to be a cross between a bungee jump and a zip wire. Neither of these appealed to us [which I’m sure will not surprise you]. Whilst we were there we saw no other takers either.

In the afternoon we found ourselves at the Base Camp of an American Missionary group who had the most amazing site overlooking rapid 14 on the gorge.

Should they ever decide to give up saving souls in Africa, I am quite certain that all of the big hotel chains will beat a path to their door to buy the site for their No.1 hotel. Apart from the view they ran a fleet of ex-NATO DAF trucks, some of which they had driven down from Holland about 5 or 6 years ago. Unfortunately they were all a little older than our DAF and had different engines otherwise we might have been involved in some practical mechanics rather than just “telling war stories” about our trucks.

Back into the civilisation of Livingstone for the weekend before reporting to Ferdy for a final check on the tank. We gave it a fair hammering yesterday. The roads to the mission were not as bad as the roads we were on last week-end but not far off!

I have updated the map but have not brought us back from Choma to Livingstone as this could get very confusing with the little blue bubbles!

After the magnificence of Victoria Falls we decided to go and see some animals!

We set off for a National Park, driving 200ks on tar then 80 on rough road which
took us much longer than the tar! There were rough patches on the rough patches,
concrete bridges with no sides, small communities all along the road with excited
children rushing out to wave at us,and several broken down vehicles, one of which
was desperate for a drink of water as they had been there for 20 hours!
We alsoparted with 4 apples too!!!
We arrived at the entrance to the park just at closing time, so they kindly let us
stay the night, and we were ready to set off early the next morning. We drove for
about 40ks, the road got worse till we got to a stage where we were afraid the truck
might turn over in a 4 ft hole, so we turned around and sadly left the park, but
with our home still intact. To add insult to injury we hit a large bump and 2
cupboard doors flew open! 2 bottles of wine broke and spread themselves all over the
floor,a large jar of Nescafe also broke and mixed its contents with the wine,French
dressing was also added to the mix....disgusting. We now have locks on our doors,so
providing we remember to fasten them,things should be better!
We spent the week-end on a farm,with camping! We slept next to a flock of sheep and
goats,who woke us early each morning...they went out to graze each day...we watched
the endeavors of the villagers as they came and went,often carrying large buckets of
water on their is amazing how they do that...and we admired their best
clothes as they went of to church on Sunday..the school children also looked smart
as they went off to school on Monday morning.
Next we went to stay on a working farm. 1000 beef cattle, 600 sheep and significant
numbers of game. Also it is home to a small bird which is on the 1 kwetcha coin,
called a Zambian (or Chaplin's ) barbet. It is an endangered species and we enjoyed
going with one of the farm workers to seek it out. It was always in the top of the
trees so no really close look, but it was lovely to see.( we shall become twitchers
We camped in the garden with bushbuck coming to drink each morning and
12 peacocks woke us each morning, and 5 horses mooched around all day. The
campsite was full of a school trip,about 25 youngsters from Lusaka out for an
adventure. We went to join them for lunch, and had long chats with their teachers
and the owner of the farm. Very interesting.

Now we are back in Livingstone, having a new diesel tank fitted. Our old one had
been leaking diesel from its seams for a while,and the cap didn't fit properly.
Zambian diesel is quite expensive,and we were fed up with the leaking, so Ferdy is
fitting a new one,with the help of his 3 guys. We are sitting waiting in a garden
cafe called Zig-zag, with pop music playing,and lots of shade. We have been
told it will be about an hour more (we have been here for 3 already) so we shall
see. We are learning that time is something different in Africa!!!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Having made the decision to head for Zambia, we dashed up the Caprivi Strip stopping only briefly at Divindu to visit the National Park at Mahango. This is another Park that we visited last year. In contrast to Etosha, which was so dry, this park had far more water than last year. A country of contrasts!

We spent a couple of nights in a campsite close to the border at Katima Mulillo to brace ourselves for the crossing. This turned out to be un-necessary as all and sundry seemed determined to help us through the formalities. When we first arrived we were sent into the commercial vehicle area, a plush, new and very modern area but not the place for us we discovered. We had to go to the area for private vehicles which comprised several shacks, caravans and a converted container. It was a trail from passport to carnet to road tax to insurance and then onto local tax! But everyone was friendly and very jolly so we had a good time.

By crossing the Zambezi we were then in Zambia, the first 100 kilometers of which has a road to test the patience of a Saint! Potholes that reminded us of Brazil! The last 100km which took us into Livingstone were really quite good, ALTHOUGH, Livingstone High Street had ridges running along it which made it almost impossible to turn either left or right, even with 4 wheel drive.

Vic Falls turned out to be even better than we had expected. Our campsite was 11km up river from the falls but it was possible to hear the roar of water descending into the gorge and to see the plumes of spray for the Hotel Bar at sunset. Visiting the Falls is a noisy, wet but unforgettable experience.