Original Touring Africa Diary – Zambia a la Ian

Three and a half hours and USD 280 lighter we managed to enter Zambia and headed off towards Livingstone. Our entry into Zambia was USD 65 more expensive than M & L’s as there was this little road user tax issue, which for some reason appears to be only applicable to rented vehicles crossing at Kasungula – how bizarre.

There’s this little secret that the world doesn’t know about yet. Vic Falls from the Zambian side n’existe pas.

It’s hot so hot… and sticky… One sweats like a pig just blinking one’s eyes. There’s biting bugs everywhere – we’ve been bitten by so many bugs in so many places, we know not anymore which bug bit us where or when. Our host assures us that the sleeplessness of the staff is not an indication that the Tstese fly carries sleeping sickness , but faire attention for the striped bitch (that fearsome mossie that will give us all malaria).

Theory has it that if one wears dark colours ( C & I), one gets ravaged by the Tsetse fly but if one wears light colours ( L & M) one comes out unscathed. L, who foolishly wore a long white dress will testify that theory is wrong ( or was it the dark coloured underwear).

Now that we’re in here do we exit by transiting the National Park (130 kms) or going back the way we came (50 kms of 1st gear driving plus 160 kms of tarseal). No-one seems to be able to tell us the state of the road through the national park and stories vary. One minute its good road thats just been graded and the next it will take us upwards of ten hours. Lonely Planet does not recommend the route and nor does M’s GPS system. We do however have a landi (and a mitsubishi) and the camel trophy beckons … alas we wear clothes emblazoned with the word

Landi alert, shes sliding on the corrugations – miles from nowhere we’ve snapped the track rod end. After an initial hissy fit M ties it all together with good old no. 8 wire and cable ties and we limp on into Lusaka. Next morning we venture forth to find a spare part, and on heading back to our campsite we are stopped by the local constabulary. Lets see now …. its K150 for reckless driving. (I had just overtaken a car doing 40 kms per hour) and K 185 for speeding. (it didn’t seem to register that I was doing 68 kph in a 100kph zone just like it didn’t register that K150 plus K185 does not equal K305 ( USD 75).

M: Can we discuss this?
PO(female): Yes but… I’m not sure what will be coming out of your mouth.
M: The fine’s a little harsh for the offences committed.
PO: I can offer you a discount and reduce the fine to K200.
M: K50 seems more reasonable
PO: Ok if K200 is too much, you can just pay K100.

The deal’s done.

In game viewing terms South Luangwa is billed as the best thing since sliced bread. Beautiful but overrated in terms of critter viewing – (unless you’re into dead hippos)… but wait… it is the start of the rainy season (to which we can attest after a cloudburst that left the inside of our tent sodden) so the critters are moving away from the river. Our night drive (the 4 of us and 2 Italians) had its moments: our driver stalled between an irate elephant and the mango tree it wanted and then we saw it …. “a leopard” but far far away. The Italians morphed, Jekyll became Hyde before our eyes. Suddenly there were cars, spotlights a running leopard and us bringing up the rear – our guide wouldn’t take the direction the Italians instructed to short out the other drivers (there was a river there) and boy was there a big time dummy spit – we were gobsmacked.

At USD2 per litre this is an expensive country – it’s off to cheaper climes.

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