Zambia

Zambia

The border crossing was a breeze just like every other African crossing bar Egypt. It took an hour or so to undertake the formalities before I was free in a new country. The people here are fantastically friendly and very interested in where I was coming from and where I was going. They really can’t believe that someone could ride a motorcycle all the way from Europe. As I crossed the border the heavens opened up and the rains came heavy. The rainy season that was well over a month late had finally arrived. I sheltered from the storm while having lunch with a petrol station owner and his friends in the little border town.

When it finally stopped I headed off in the direction of the capital, Lusaka. I had no route worked out or no destination for the night as I left town. The roads are quiet here, very quiet. There’s not much traffic or people around. The houses are all made of sticks and mud, weatherproofed by thatched roofs. Every now and then I came across a little settlement but mostly there was nothing along the way. I rode until it was almost dark and then tried to find a place to stay for the night. I was about to pull into a little huddle of huts and ask if I could camp in there yard when I saw a sign for a guest house down some dirt track.

I headed off road to see what could be down there and to my surprise there was a few brick buildings nestled next to a river. As I parked the bike I noticed a few mazungas (white people) peeping out the door at me. They were as shocked to see me as I was to see them. This really was in the middle of nowhere hundreds of miles from any city. It turns out there was five of these girls in total, four Dutch and one Swedish girl all working on various projects from helping orphans to help setting up clinics and vaccinating the children. It’s just as well they were there as the guest house had no running water or food of any sort. The caretaker had to get water from the river in buckets for me to wash with. The girls had been there for eight weeks and fortunately they were well set up. They were able to give me water to drink and even shared their dinner and a few beers with me. They filled me in on the local way of life which I must say is fascinating.

They had recently caught their security guard stealing money from them. When they went to the police the cops offered to let them decide the guy’s punishment. They would have given the guy twenty years for stealing a few hundred dollars if the girls requested but after the girls found out the guy had the crap beaten out of him they decided to let him go free. He still waves at them each morning while cycling his brand new bicycle in his new clothes. They never did get the money back. There was also a story about the local electrician who was given $350 (a year’s wages here) to get supplies; he hasn’t been seen since.

The next morning I left at 6am thinking it was 7(there was a time difference) and headed for Lusaka which was almost 850km away. The weather stayed dry except for the odd shower so the ride was very enjoyable. As I reached Lusaka traffic started to form. There was a queue a few hundred meters long that was at a standstill so I just shot up the outside. When I got to the end I found out its cause. There was a police checkpoint which I shot through at around 80kph. One cop ran after me while another ran for his car. I saw the flashing lights come on but that was all. I was gone into the city running red lights and stop signs. I saw no more of them.

I spent the night in Lusaka backpackers in the city. The bar here is frequented by the cities expats and locals, the beer is cheap and the craic is good. I overindulged into the early morning before returning to my dorm room for a few hours’ sleep. After breakfast and fairly hung-over I headed out into the lashing rain for Livingston and Victoria Falls. It rained the whole way there but finally cleared up as I got to town. I have been very fortunate with the rain so far as this was only my forth full day of rain since Europe. I reached town early enough and went straight to see the falls. I must say they are pretty impressive but they lack flow at the moment. The rains have just started so there is little water cascading to the Zambezi below. I reckon it would be spectacular in a few weeks. I went to the top to have a swim in devils pool but it wasn’t very safe. The water is beginning to surge down river and it could wash you over the edge very easily if too much comes at once. I had planned to go white water rafting here but for the same reason I declined. I didn’t fancy getting hit by a giant tree coming down towards me at speed.

After a night spent in Jolly Boys backpackers I headed to Namibia. The rain finally stopped and the sun came back out as I crossed the border.

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