Dr Livingstone, we presume

Posted: October 21, 2010 in Africa
Tags: , , , ,

Our story picks up in Maun, Botswana, and the long day journey to the Zambian border via Kazungula. We were advised that the bus left at 6am (new timetable, lucky us!) so we got up early.com and got took a crzy taxi to the bus station. No bus. At 06.30 a tiny minibus pulled over and the docile queue went mental. There was a winner takes all texas scramble for the limited seats and we were left standing. So the bus left and we were sar there scatching our heads. We asked otple when the real bus was coming – answers included 07.00, 07.30 and 09.30. Guess what? Yep we left at 09.30 having been stood in the sun for 3.5 hrs. Nevermind, this is Africa time.

The bus down to Nata was ok. It took 3 hours and went as smoothly as bus travel in Africa can. We got dropped off at a T-junction where the roads from Kasane (for the border) and Gabs meet. The drop-off consists of 3 petrol stations and a few of mama’s shacks selling bum-wee potions. Nobody seemed to know how we could get a bus to the border. So we hitched. I stood by one petrol station with a quickly crafted sign. We lucked in – after only 30mins a kind man agreed to take us in the back of the pick-up for p500 (5gbp) each. Little did we know that we would have to share with 3 other people. It was crammed and hot. The others had no interest in conversation. Nevertheless, we arrived only 2 hrs later at the border point having seen more elephants in the national park that we drove through, bonus.

We waved goodbye to our mute friends and hit the Zambian border via the Kazungula ferry. The ferry crosses the confluence of several rivers, including the mightly Zambesi. From the ferry you can see 4 countries; Namibia, Botswana, Zambia & Zimbabwe. It’s quite something to be stood at an international crossroads.

We met a friendly Portuguese/Italian couple the other side and booked a taxi to Livingstone and checked into the Jollyboys bakpackers. The rooms were fine and we passed out early after a long day.

The next day we woke early, sorted supplies for lunch and then headed off to Victoria Falls. As it is dry season, there is little water flowing down the Zambesi so the Zambian side of the falls is relatively dry. That meant no tumultuous, cascading falls to be mesmerised by. However, it did mean we could walk over the dry bed of the river and to the edge of the falls. Muneeza was braver than me and got right to the edge, my vertigo persuaded me to hang back a few feet further. Victoria Falls are beautiful, regardless of how much water you can see/hear. They are 1.7km long and the scenery is stunning. It was really enjoyable to sit down, admire the view and wonder at how impressive the place must have appeared to Livingstone when he cast his eyes on it for the first time, canoeing down the river, no tourists in sight.

We had planned to go on to Siavonga and check out Lake Kariba for some kayak action but we made the executive decision to fast forward Zambia. The place is very expensive and we found it a bit too much of hustle and bustle. We opted to take the bus the next day up to Lusaka and stay overnight before heading to the border. The journey to Lusaka was tortuous. 8hrs in a sweat box. Although we made a few new friends and helped a man look after his son who was on projectile vommit watch due to the crazy driving, the bus was too hot and the driver insisted on piping blaringly loud religious music at us the entire way. The only respite was 1hr of love ballards that included Celine Dion and Westlife. I wanted to cut myself to feel alive. Muneeza had bus grump because of it and her head was ready to explode.

We reached Lusaka on Sunday, later afternoon, and after some Internet faffing realised we couldn’t fly into Malawi the next day to save time as the we would have to wait until Wedneday. We spent one night in a run down over priced crappackers where we were kept up later by some noisy americans (it’s always the Americans!). We legged it to the bus station for a 5am bus that only left at 6am, leaving us cursing. Still, we were on the bus to Chipata and the Malwian border. 2 long days of bus journeys and we had cracked the back of the beast.

So the next blog will pick up the tales from Malawi where we currently are but are running out of Internet time. Hope you are all well and having fun back home.

Take care

love james & muneeza x

  1. Gavin says:

    ‘Bum-wee potion’ = genius!

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