I camped that nite at Aussicht camp. A spot about 5 ks off the main road, i was a little worried on going in as the sign at the junction said nothing about BEER. I was to arrive to a friendly greating and my first words where, 'all this way and no beer' i had a joyfull reply from the manager to say 'YES' we have beer.
I spent 2 nites at the camp, having a tour of the old gem stones mines and looking through the benoculas at the wonderfull hills and gouges that make up the area.
Heading north again i came to the town of Opuwo, and what a site it is. All manner of people come to this outback town for their supplys. There where Himbas and Herero people all about mixed with the general tourist, great place to see.
My camp that nite was at the Epupa Falls camp ground. Right on the river bank facing Angola. I had tea with a Spanish couple, and yes niether of us spoke each others language, but the food was great.
I moved on back to Opuwo the next day and on to the Otitotongwe Cheetah park some klm east. I spent 2 nites here, enjoying the nice rains.
The road from the Cheetah park east had very little traffic. I stopped at a roadside stool for a cool drink as i felt it was a little warm, i was told its 43 degees C. Well i thought it was warm.
Had a great stop in Otavi at the local pub. Got into a chat with some local boys and was a little weathered the next day, but great blokes who i met up with a few town latter.
I kept moving east then north to Rundu on the river facing Angola again. It was on this day that i had to take out the rain gear as it came down and down during most of the afternoons ride.
At the camp spot i meet a couple who write for the 'Lonely Planet' book so i took advantage of some local knowledge, while beating them at pool.
From Rundu its a short ride to Ngepi camp on the bank of the Okavango near the border of Botswana. I took the dirt road that sort of follows the border of Angola and goes through all the little villiages. I did this for about 100klm but got sick of all the corrigations and moved on to the bitument that runs parrallel but 2-5ks to the south.
At Ngepi camp i made myself comffy for 2 nites. On the first day i was reading on the deck overlooking the river and a Hippo popped its head up twice, all within 20mtrs of where i was sitting. Great stuff. At nite i could hear the hippos as i drifted in and out of sleep.
It was here at Ngepi camp that i took a walk late in the day, i only walked some 4klm but i got to see the locals moving about doing what ever. At one point i was chatting to myself and behind i got a 'hello', coming up beside me was a young lad carrying many fish. One was a Catfish the others im not sure. We exchanged some words as he started to walk past me. It was so lovely that i asked if i could get a photo. He was so pleased as i was to share that moment. Great stuff, again.
A few days latter saw me with the wet weather gear again, rain and more rain. I must look into better rain gear as i was soaked through when i camped at the border town of Katima Mulilo.
Next the crossing into Zambia and all the money i must pay.
Border crossings, i dont know if its just me but i get a bit nervice. I have no idea what im doing, things seem to happen but not in any order. I had to pay to get me in, plus the bike plus the road tax plus the insurance. All up it cost some R350, to come and visit Zambia. For that u get to ride over a lovely Bridge into the country. Its all an experiance i gess.
From the border at Katima Millio its a gental ride, passing lots of villiages to Livingstone. I did get a little tired of all the waving so ive changed to nodding my head, but i feel that the locals dont understand so i may have to continue waving.
Livingstone is a real tourist town. Lots of banks, tourist vans, tourists and heaps of traders walking the street wanting to sell u something, anything. The trader will usually start with little trinkets then move on to changing money or tell u he can get u diamonds, anything u want.
I booked into the local B/P and meet 3 german m/bike riders and 1 Japanesse Lad who himself had riden from Japan via Mongolia. If we could have comunicated more easily i would have loved to have heard his tails.
I took the tourist bus to the falls, and what a great sight and sound it is. I got very wet (again), took photos, chatted with the stool holders and generally had a nice day. The rising water from the falls can be seen from the main street in town.
I left Livingstone wanting to stop somewhere before Lusaka the capitol but for some reason i just kept riding to find it nearing dark, and myself very close to the city. I read in the Lonley Planet book that there was a camp 10ks south of town, so with headlite showing the pot holes in the dirt track leading to the camp, i was to find myself a home for the nite.
At the camp south of Lasaka i meet a couple(Ernest and Astrid)that where down from the Copperbelt. Its just amazing how things happen. Id been talking to others about the Copperbelt, and felt it as a place id like to visit, and here am i meeting people who not only live there, but would like me to come and visit them.
The next morning i got their address/phone no. in Ndola, one of the main towns in the Copperbelt, and said id see them in the next week or so.
I seatled into Lusaka for a few days. I did the usual ride around town on my first visit to get my bearings. I found some m/bike shops, but being a sunday, i just noted the area and moved on.
The next shoppping day i bought a spare tyre for the rear and moved camp, so as to get my people fix. This actually turned out as not the best idea i could have had as the B/packers that i moved to was very noisy and had lots of people, much more than i realy needed.
I did meet some nice people though, one especially being a Swiss lad who was riding a pushbike, from his home town in Switzerland to Cape Town. He left in Europes winter. I saw some of his photos that where rather amazing, more so as he had a laptop that he carried. Great lad and i wish him all the best.
The day i left Lusaka it rained, i was wet through before i got out of the city limits. I was not interested in stopping so i continued on till i arrived at Ndola. All 300+klm in the rain.
I took time out at a cafe for a bite to eat and a drink. I struck up a conversation with the Owner. We chatted for a while about a variety of things, he felt comfortable with me so he lent me his phone to call the couple id meet at the camp near Lusaka. The wife was at the cafe to collect me in a very short time.
At Astrid and Ernests home i was shown my room and given a tour of the house, then left to clean up and seatle in. Ernest arrived home later that afternoon and we sat down to a home cooked meal and some great conversation.
As Ernest worked during the day, Astrid took me to the local attractions or out with her to visit friends or to the shops.
Well we shall try again, i wrote a lot yesterday when i got to Muzuzu, all was great till the power went off and i lost it all.
The people in Ndola where fantastic to me, i stayed around over a week. They took me to a game park with a lake, went to a lodge and when we got there it was closed and flooded, went out riding, with Ernest on his Quad bike. Did so many things it was great.
Ernest and Astrid do a lot of 4x4 driving so they gave me hints on where to go, and how to deal with the local border posts etc.
I took time out while in Ndola to go up to the Chimpanzee Orphanage nrth of Chingola. The Orphanage is rather run down but it was nice to see, especially the elderly lady owner. She and her late husband started the place like 20 + years ago. They have Chimps from all types of back grounds- movies, circus, private zoos, bar rooms etc. rather interesting. She also was a bit of a motorcyclist, did some social racing in her time.
From Ndola i headed over the Congo to get to the Northern Province of Zambia. Ernest and Astrid gave me all the low down on what to see and what to expect. They spent so long going over the map marking places of interest, giving minute details of the border crossing etc. i was actually a little nervice as i left. I didnt want to let them down after all their effort, but there i am, havant even got to the border and id realised that my medical book had no stamp for COLLERA. Ernest had specifically said for me to check and i didnt.
So on the side of the road near the border of the Congo i played doctor. With a stroke of the pen and a signiture of DR. LOU i was inoculated against Collera. I must have done a great job as when i showed it at the the border all went well. On the subject of the border, i couldnt even make an easy crossing out of Zambia. my visa had expired. I felt a bit of a fool, i never even checked. It ran out several days before hand. I handed over ZK50,000 to the gaurde and got my stamp out. Better than the time in jail he was talking about.
At the Congo border post the officials where sitting in a row at one desk like birds on a branch at feeding time. It went like this 'show me this form, now pay zk5,000' on to the next official 'show me this form, now pay me zk5,000' this kept up till i got to the end of the row and i think there where 6 of them. Some where in all that, lots of locals had gone and went and i also remember handing over $30 U.S. to one offical and actually got a reciet.
Now at the end of the line im told to follow one official and sort out the papers for the bike with another over the road. Finally im allowed through the gate, but no the gate guy wants his bit, i say no, your mates have it all and i ride into the Congo.
At the border post of the Congo is a little township, not that i stopped, but i had people yelling at me, staring, or just motioning for me to come to them. My gess is i would have been hasseled to buy something, well i never stopped.
I rode and rode, not wanting to stop. Nature plays a part in travelling, and it was nature calling me. I pulled over or should i say i just stopped on the road, looking around while i releived myself i felt i was not realy there, i felt i was looking at it from a distance, like a movie. It was only 70klm but my nerves where on high alert. At one point i crossed from one path to another, being all dirt/mud and long patches of water, i chose badly and the bike sunk, my heart went with it. No dont get stuck here i said to myself, i was scared. I took it gental on the throatle, played the clutch and the rear tyre bit some thing hard, of i rode. It must have been all of a few seconds, but my heart was racing as it is now thinking of it.
Getting out of the congo was another round of officials wanting and getting a payment for one thing or another. At the re-entry into Zambia i had to pay to have my visa updated. It was all to hard for the one official, he kept saying, as they all do in Africa that ive come across, 'you cause problem'. He called someone on the mobile phone and i payed and rode out leaving my sandwich for the official to eat at his leasure.
To get to the Zambia side from the Congo u catch a ferry, this is a waiting game if its on the other side as it was while i was there. I put some effort into being friendly to the locals, i shared my bottled water with a young local, but sharing with me was not on his mind. My water bottle and lad disappeared into the crowd. I thought better of yelling or going after him. Must be some local custom 'we take but not return' as i smiled to myself.
Now on the north side of Zambia i headed for my next camp. Headed is the word as it took me till well after dark to find and reach my nites camp. I do not like doing this but my map is not the best and the signs are none existing at best in Africa. Ive found the local people happy to help out when needed, they may sometimes want money in return, but to me that is not a problem. Ive not found the locals to lead me astray and be dishonest.
My main reason for continueing on so late was that the area in the north is just so buisy and crowded that i could not relax, enough to look or even find a place to stop for the nite. As i was riding i was thinking of the nite i may spend propped against the bike sleeping peacefully as the locals walk by.
It was not to be so, this time, i got to the place i seeked, Samfya where there is a small lake. At nite i could not see, but next morning i realised i had a million dollar view. I was under a large grass canopy, looking over the lake and all its local fishermen in their dugout canoes, great stuff.
Samfya is off the main route so back i went to see the road i travelled in the dark. I could have taken some dirt roads but if i havant mentioned, its the rainy season. Most afternoons the rain gods come and visit, making the roads rather interesting.
That ride from Ndola to Samfya was a long one, something i did not want to repeat. I kept heading nth. to reach Ntumachushi Falls well before dark, actually i think it was very realy afternoon. The caretaker of the park was a lovely young local. We sat and chatted quite a lot about tourisum. He picked my brains about ideas to get the camp more visitors and had some great ideas of his own. Sadly or unfortunately he does not see his government going with his ideas. Like lots of things ive seen since being here, it will continue to decline. I feel for them,the locals, but now realise that the worst thing that we, the wealthy, did for the non-wealthy was to give and give.
The town near the Ntumbachushi falls is Kawambwe, i stopped at the local servo to fuel up. No power said the attendant, but we sell from a 20 ltr plastic container. Ill have one, and when i came to pay i realised id used all my money getting across the border. Of to the bank i go with the attendant in tow. No ATMs here, well that was an interesting morning. Me sitting at the very clutered and small office of the Bank manager, changing South African Ran for Zambian Kwacha.
/On my way again, i headed to another falls. These where actually 2 close by each other. I took it from Astrid, from Ndola, that they where very close to town, wrong again Brian. A very rough 69klm later, i came across the sing to the Lumeungwe and Kabwelume falls, i quote 'national monument'. Ten even more interesting klm. later a fork in the road. I go right to the first falls, the road get much more interesting and im thinking, of how ill get back up some of the jumps im going down. At the parking spot for the falls i should have taken the hint, grass taller than the highest mt. water from one side to the other. Not realy but it was very over grown, that bad that i could not get to the falls without, some sort of machettee. I realy did try, taking of my boots, rolling up my pants, but still no hope.
Returning to the fork was not that difficult. Heading to the 2 falls was rather a great track. The boom was down and locked, i gessed closed. So i walk on through as i could hear and see the falls from the boom. I take a look and a few shots with the camera. An official comes along and starts telling me all about the falls and the great veiwing platforms. But its in flood and i can not get to 2 out of the 3 viewing places. I chat to him as i head back to the bike, i ask him about the road i need to take to Kasama. He is very helpfull. He then asks me to pay $3 u.s.
I say no i will not, explaining i carnt even see the falls properly, he says i need to fill in book and pay, i give him $2 u.s and say keep it yourself, your government can go jump.
From the falls i head east, but take a wrong turn at Mporokoso. My problems detiriate with the road. I get to 65klm from Mporokoso and realise ive gone wrong, i actually swear for the first time in over 12 years. I calm down enough to turn around, i could have kept going but the road was a dead end and i was short of money and realy did not want to be where i was. As calm as i tried to be i did push it a bit, the sun was setting fast and i was not looking to riding in the dark again, not on that road.
Then it happened, poof, out went the front tyre, i got stuck in a wash out at the same time and just lost it. Over the bars i went as the bike sat to rest a while. My swearing was over, i just got on with the job of wrighting the bike and taking stock of the situation. Id travelled about 15 klm since i turned around, the front tyre was flat and the sun was setting, but to the left of the road about 4 mtrs was the nicest, flatest space id seen in many days, just there across from where id come down. I could see my tent parked rite there. So it was to be, after repairing the flat, i decieded to fit my new tube and tyre that id been carrying. The front was getting rather worn and the tube could be repaired at a more leaserly pace latter.
I made camp, while locals passed by, 2 stoppped to chat but since i had nothing for them they moved on. The nite was actually realy good, out bymyself in the wilds of Africa. During the nite i heard one Tractor, one Truck, one Car several walkers and a pushbike or two. I had a very good rest, checking on the stars(i dont fit the fly to the tent till realy needed) and listening to all the local noises.
The nite out on the road seemed to revive me. I felt real good in the morning and had a great ride back to Mporokoso. On the road i meet some workmen with a broken down tractor. I stoppped as they waved to me, they asked me to tell their boss at the town of their problems. On getting to Mposokoso i found the boss of the boys id meet to relay the message, i also found the correct road and headed to Kasama, a day out but well and happy with my new tyre.
Just before Kasama is the turn of to Chishimba falls, i would come back that way and spend a nite after refueling, cashing up and having a bit to eat at Kasama.
Back at the Chishimba falls i did some cloths washing and viewed 2 of the 3 falls. As has been the case on most of my trip so far i was the only tourist. It makes the camp very quiet but a little lonely. It seems that im a little to early in the year to catch all the tourists that do travel the area.
After another thunderus and lightening full nite i awoke to a clear morning. I was going to be rather lazy and not visit the last fall, im pleased that i did as the last falls where fantastic. So much water, from all angles. The thing about Africa is that the signs, when they exist are generally quite wrong, as in the distance they display. This is quite evident at the falls when the sign said 300mtr, when it was easily 600+mtrs.
From the falls i rode back through Kasama to travel the all bitument road to Mpika. I had some idea that i should find the turn of to some hot springs on that road. It was not to be as i came into Mpika as the clouds took on a rather mean look. At Mpika i hid the bike undercover and sat in the first real bar id seen in many weeks. A great afternoon was spent with the locals drinking and disussing world issues. The rain had come so i felt rather pleased that i had a dry place to be. The day wore on and it was plane to see that i should stop the nite in the town. Just across the road from the pub was a lodge, with reasonably clean rooms and bedding i set up for the nite.
Leaving Mpika the next day i saw one of the locals i was drinking with the day earlier, i asked him about the Hot Springs and he said there just up the road about 30klm. As with the road signs tyhe locals have no idea of the real ditance either. Some 89klm later i came across the turn of to the Hot Springs.
It turned out the Kapishya Hot Springs is one of the cleanest, most lovelyest places ive come across in all my travels. The people where just fantastic, the showers and toilets where like a 4 star hotel and the Hot Srings where just great.
I spent some time in the Springs kicking up the sandy bottom to disturb the worms, then watch as the little fishes feed on them.
From the Springs i contiued nrth. I had to get fuel from plastic containers again and pay rather a lot, by my estimate it came to $2.20 aus. a litre. Later that same day i arrived at the border town of Nakondi.
Luck realy is with me in my life as i had no idea what i was doing other than i didnt want to pay to go to Tanzania to get to Malawi. Id seen a road on my map that went from Zambia direct to Malawi. I talked to a policeman and he directed me to the imigration office. I spoke to one official about the road and he directed me to another. The 2nd guy knew the road well, gave me directions, then said i will need to get my stampout, here and now as there is no Zambian post on that road. That i had done in double quick time, then sent on my way.
The sky did not look nice again so i took refuge in one of the worst hotel/lodges ive come across. It was that bad that i didnt want to sit on the bed or chair. I took out my tent thinking ill set it up on the floor, then i decieded that i could lay out the Fly over the bed and then id feel a lot happier. The bathroom was a bit of a surprise as the toilet was fairly clean, no shower or hot water but i was safe from the rain outside. Id parked the bike in the passage next to my door, all in all we where quite happy.
The next day my ride took me to Malawi via Chitipa. At the Malawi border i was greeted with open arms. I dont think to many tourists use that route and it was rather a novalty for the lonely official. Being the only one there, i was in and out before i new what was happening and at no cost. I must say that the road that id travelled was the worst as in bumps, slowness, and general condition that id used, great fun though.
Karong was the next town on my map, i camped there 2 nites, meeting some other travellers and lunching at a little bar while watching sport on the TV.
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