Zambia – northwards journey

Our border crossing at Katimo Mulilo / Sesheke took a long time even though we used a Carnet. As we exited the border we were stopped to pay a further tax! This time a municipal levy. We are convinced it was just another rip off.

Last time we’d been on the road between Sesheke and Kazangula we decided it was the worst road on our 2014 trip. We’d expected that by now it had been repaired, or at least patched up, but no way. Hard to imagine, but it was far worse!!!  The region had received a lot of rainfall and many of the rural dwellings and villages were partially flooded too. 

Flooding on the Sesheke to Livingstone road

Lakes formed along the roadsides as we had seen near Gweta in Botswana.

Ages later, exhausted, we arrived in Livingstone in urgent need of a drink. 

Colourfully clad women with their shopping

We went to book in at the Waterfront as usual but found the fees had increased substantially. Zambia, a dollar based economy, and the Rand’s depreciation, didn’t help either. 

Scott and Helene Cable, who we’d met in 2014, had recently blogged that they had stayed at Maramba Camp, so we gave it a try. $20 per site was acceptable. The staff at Maramba were wonderful and welcomed us like old friends when we mentioned the Cables. They even directed us to camp H, their site, alongside the river. That evening we were glad to have had the thatched lapa for additional shelter as there was another fierce thunderstorm! Hippos kept us company in the river alongside that night. We stayed there a few nights while visiting all our favourite places in Livingstone. Fortunately it hadn’t changed much and we enjoyed being back in one of our favourite Zambian towns.

On our way to Lusaka it rained most of the way and we stopped for the night at a sodden Moorings campsite. 

Parked beside an ex-Dakar support vehicle at Moorings

We met a German couple with an ex-Dakar support vehicle which they had purchased and fitted out as a motorhome. They had intended to visit Mozambique after Malawi but had to re-route to Zambia because of the heavy flooding in the Zambezi delta region in Mozambique.  

Everywhere we’d been was experiencing much more rainfall than usual, except the Western  Cape! 

We passed through many small villages with roadside vendors and their beautifully displayed vegetables, and the inevitable bags of charcoal too. 

Roadside vegetable vendors
Beautifully displayed
Lots to choose from

Luckily Zambia has very dense forests and the impact hasn’t been too obvious on the trees. Zambia’s large rural population has no other source of power to live by.

These boys where performing in the hope of getting sweets
By contrast, she is not begging but giving us a smile!

We arrived in Lusaka, greatful that the road between Kafue and Lusaka had been completed since our previous visit. We chilled with Ginty and Kate on the weekend and caught up with some communications too. On Monday Ginty assisted me in arranging for a car service with his trusty mechanic, Dan, who happens to specialise in Cruisers. At this point I should mention that Zambia is real Cruiser country. So many vehicles we’d seen on the road are the same as mine. I was very happy on arriving at Dan’s, his yard had a number of Toyotas in varioaus stages of repair. 

The service turned out to be more than a service! Before leaving home we had the car prepared for the journey which included replacing the very noisy rear brakes. The noise had returned. The cause was found to be a leaking oil seal at the rear diff which had saturated the brake linings. Both the linings and oil seal had to be replaced. While performing the repairs two of the wheel bearings were found to be in need of replacement too. One had collapsed and another had nearly seized.  (standard grease had been used instead of high temperature). As a safety measure all four were replaced. Enough said!!

We made arrangement to meet Scott and Helene at Eureka campsite right next door to Ginty and Kate.

Giraffe at Eureka Campsite

We spent a wonderful afternoon with Scott and Helene at Eureka swopping stories since we last met at Jungle Junction in Nairobi. They also gave us valuable information regarding our journey. We look forward to seeing them on our return in South Africa.

We enjoyed our stay with Ginty and Kate. We don’t get to see enough of them these days. Ginty and I, in spite of being family, have been friends since the fifties! We spent wonderful evenings reminiscing about the old days!!  All to soon we said our goodbyes we were off again.

We took Ginty’s advice and stopped at Trotters on the Great North Road for a coffee.

Rain everywhere but it did not spoil our trip

We found a craft shop there; Lime ‘n Thyme, with some really great creations made by the owner,  Debbie. 

Lime ‘n Thyme and Trotters. Great North Road, Zambia

Solveig got on so well with Debbie that we were invited to stay at their farm nearby. We accepted provided we could still stay in Twiga Penthouse and not inconvenience them at all! 

At supper with Debbie and Adam

We cannot believe the generosity and friendliness of people we meet on our travels. Debbie insisted that we join them for supper too! We hope to reciprocate one day. 

The next morning Adam gave us a guided tour of the farm. We were very impressed! Adam farms Virginia Tobacco, Maize, Soy, Cattle, Ground nuts and is experimenting in Passion fruit and Sunflower seed. We visited the tobacco grading, and the curing process which took place in heat and humidity controlled container sheds. What a treat! As a parting gift they gave us a shopping bag full of lovely avos from beneath a tree. We are still enjoying them with our evening meals.

After the late start we stopped at Fringellas for coffee and meat pies. Not nearly as tasty as Peregrines in Grabouw but never the less a lovely stop.

 We got as far as Forest Inn on the Great North Road. There we met two South Africans. They were involved in farming chemicals and working in the area. One of them was investigating the possibility of running the Zambian office.

We had a look at Kasanka Game Reserve, known for its Sitatungas and the massive bat migration in October and November.  But Kasanka was too expensive for just an overnight stay, so we continued to Kundalila Waterfall and stayed at the community campsite.

To get a view of the Waterfall we had to cross the river! After two knee replacements I took no chances
Danny Boy , who runs the community campsite, with me across the river!

We were still experiencing the almost continous rainfall we’d had during our entire stay in Zambia and carried on towards the border instead of staying at Kapishya Hot Springs.

Returning home after a days work in the fields

 Luckily we found a guesthouse at Isoka where we were able to camp near to the border at Nakonde. 

The manageress posing with George at the entrance to the guesthouse

We came across the most important reason not to drive at night, especially on the potholed roads in the rain…

The terrible condition of the road and the consequence

Not too far to the Tanzanian border the next morning. The rain seems to have subsided too…… But too late for this unfortunate truck!

Author: Ian & Solveig's Overland Adventures

Although we never achieved our original goal of reaching Norway overland through Africa, our experience was so unexpectedly rewarding that we've not been able to settled down again! So we added new destinations to our lust for adventure. We hope that you will join us in sharing new exciting places and encounters with the amazing people we meet along the way.

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