Day 306: On The Move Again

Sat. 15th June 2013

Sabie - All packed up and ready to goIt was a relatively easy start to the morning. We slept pretty well – a little cold and definitely grateful for the blanket we bought to go on top of our sleeping bags. This camping is comfortable (e.g. access to showers with something approaching hot water) compared to my Kili trip and so I had better get used to it. I don’t think we’re going to get many lie ins in the tent but, then again, I think we are mostly going to be on for early morning starts as we have some long driving days ahead of us.

Small town on the road to LusakaWe’re ready at 6:45 for our lesson in how to strike the tent. All pretty straightforward and the only hard part is unhooking the clips that hold the tent to the frame with cold, stiff fingers. Breakfast (and making our own pack lunches) is at 7 and then we are off at 8. So much is familiar from our time on Janis but Sabie seems to be a little bit newer and on the whole a bit more convenient and with better lockers – just as well as we have more stuff than when we were on Janis. There are 20 of us plus Leanne and TJ from Acacia who are researching new routes and getting feedback from the punters.

Don't walk the plankThere is a quick stop in Livingstone to stock up on any last minute supplies. We don’t really need anything but we quickly find the other coffee-holics in the group and there are four of us queuing outside of the coffee shop talking the staff into opening a few minutes earlier than the advertised 9am. It is either embarrassing or a sign that we have been here too long when the coffee shop waiter comes up to say goodbye – and is then closely followed by Annex who is waiting with his taxi near where Sabie is parked up.

Our campsiteWe settle in for the day’s drive which is going to take us north and close to Lusaka. As we get chatting, Leanne quickly becomes our new best friend (yes, we are very fickle!). It turns out that in addition to her part-time marketing job, she also runs her own travel business in Arusha and is full of suggestions as to what we might do between Dar and Arusha. Its really helpful to get her views and insights as to what is worth seeing and also she also might just be able to put a package together for us. This could be a big weight off our minds as we haven’t yet found something that feels right.

Looking down the Kafue riverWith just a couple of stops for the bush toilets we keep cracking on. The road is in pretty good condition (tarmac at any rate) but with clusters of speedbumps every few kilometers. We pass through some small towns each one a hive of activity with a row of small shops (usually painted in the colours of one of the two big mobile phone companies) or wooden shacks.

The Kafue QueenOur stop tonight is at the Kafue river, just short of Lusaka. Apparently we are off on a boat trip and will be taking our tents and camping on the banks of the river tonight – it just goes to show how much we knew about the details of this trip before we signed up for it! We have been warned that the further north we go in Africa, the less developed it gets and our boat trip seems to confirm it. The Kafue Queen is the same basic catamaran with viewing decks design of the boat we had in Chobe back in Botswana but a whole lot more amateurish. For example, whilst it is fitted with two outboard motors only one of them seems to be working and the boat is significantly underpowered making manoeuvring tricky and progress slow.

Kafue Queen, like Zambia, only works at half powerThe game seems to be staying away as well and so we just have a quiet couple of hours pottering (very slowly) a little way down the river before pulling in at a campground. If our departure was ponderous, our arrival is bizarre and seems to involve fitting a smaller boat in-between the catamaran hulls so that we can pull up to the bank. Then it is time for our first solo go at pitching our tents – easy enough, but we are the last to be finished. We’ll have to get slicker at this!

Firebreathing - a little too close for comfortAfter dinner, the locals who had accompanied us down the river (drinking the local maize beer out of cardboard cartons) set up a campfire which is great for fending off the evening cool. They then set up their drums – which seems to involve giving the drum skins a real roasting on the fire. The drumming and their accompanying chants are performed with enthusiasm but we wonder if it gets a little too enthusiastic when the parafin(?) and firebrand come out and they start doing the fire-breathing and other tricks. All very well but they are definitely at least a couple of sheets to the wind and the fire-breathing is done a bit too close to us.

This entry was posted in Africa, RTW Trip, Zambia and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *