Victoria falls Zambia side
They say if things go too well, Murphy will end it soon enough. Much did we know that when entering Zambia from Katimo Mulilo border post. Fawlty Towers backpackers in Livingston, a vibrant hip happenin spot. If ever you end up in Livingston across the road from Faulty Towers in the main road on the way to the falls is a restaurant The Spot
The owners are a South African born lady and a Zambian lady, they make the best Piri-Piri chicken in Africa and at very reasonable prices. They will also make you any local dishes if arranged before the time. They really are a friendly bunch of people
The idea was to head for Kariba Lake and take the dirt roads that run along the lake up to Siavonga. We knew they had plenty of rain but thought we would go that way and if stuck just turn around and take the tar road up to Lusaka. None of the Livingston folk could give us any indication what the roads along this stretch were like.
Harold and Linda did not feel up to dirt at that stage and set off for Siavonga via the main road, we would meet up again in a day or two. As we rounded a bend on our way to Kariba Lake near a small town called Sinazeze, Elsebie’s bike suddenly became a low rider. The top shock bolt sheared off and the shock moved out of its bracket and, well ………………… the top part of the shock broke off dropping all the oil on the tarmac.
As we were standing there still trying to make plans how to get the bike to Lusaka or Livingstone an ex South African farmer pulled up next to us offering some help. He farms for Zambeef close to where we got stranded. He immediately phoned his workshop manager, Servaas, to come and collect the bike and take it to their workshops. From there their farm compound was located next to the lake. We could stay there and try figure out how to get the bike going again. The entire compound consisted of ex South Africans working for Zambeef , according to them, Zambia is South Africa 20 years ago with regards to ease of living. Everybody is safe and crime is virtually zero. A beautiful spot with very generous people.
I got hold of Kurt (Adventurer) and he was able to get us a new (2nd hand) shock flown into Lusaka within the next few days. Only thing was we needed to ride to Lusaka with the broken shock. Not much of an issue just bouncing around a bit. We ended up in Lusaka at Chachacha backpackers. As we rode into the grounds Neill aka Jenson Button was sitting on the ground with a motorcycle tube in one hand and a knife in the other contemplating cutting it up as a liner for his front tyre. Nice surprise to see him and the XT made it so far.
There’s not much to be said about Lusaka it’s a big busy African city. The big South African companies like Foshini, Game, Truworths & Shoprite together with China taking over with big gusto.
Thanks to Kurt’ organisation skills we collected the shock from a pilot at his hotel. There was no time to waste after fitting the shock as we wanted to meet up with Metaljockey (Erik) & family and Plottie & family in Malawi at Fat Monkey’s for New Years.
We set out of Lusaka for the nearly 800km trip to Monkey Bay hopeful that the bikes are sorted and we will be able to hit the sandy beaches in two days’ time.
Unfortunately the basted Murphy had other ideas for us. I was still riding with the smell of fresh rain when my bike suddenly over heated and dumped hot radiator water all over my left leg. This is not the kind of engine trouble I was hoping we would have to deal with on this trip. Shocks, tyres, chains, but not overheating engines or similar problems that can potentiality stop a trip.
As a troubleshooting exercise we took the thermostat out, rode it and the red light came on, next swop out the heat sensors, nope, not that, red light comes one after 2km. Then only option that was left was to check the water pump, but for that we had to get to a place to stay. We had no choice but to tow the bike to the nearest town. Just before Nyimbi we came past a motel that looked like a ghost place, hotel Baghdad came to mind.
Hotel Kacholola’ owner George and his grandson Richard were so helpful. We were very great full for the cold beers, in a Paraffin fridge, and the clean rooms even without running water. The place is run down but you will go far to get a more friendlier and helpful host.
It’s good to have good friends around. Erik and Plottie convinced another South African man, Sarel to borrow them his brand new VW Transporter to come and fetch us in Zambia. If not for that we would not be able to get there in time for New Year’s, and both Plottie and Erik made considerable effort meeting us there.
We tried from our side to arrange a truck or van to get the bike to the border and have Erik only drive to the border. As things go in Zambia it’s African time, and as the day pasted all prospects that we tried to arrange turned to nothing. At last after 5pm a local teacher arrived with his borrowed Chinese van we started loading the bike. As luck would have it, as we set off to get to the border which would have taken us till after nine that evening, Erik called and said he has just cleared the border and will see us later the evening. We can then leave the next morning early for Malawi.
Again Kurt came to our rescue getting us the parts in record time and even helped with DHL , he really went out of his way to help us. We really owe this man big time.
Malawi turned out to be the paradise we were told about. Golden beaches with clean water, super friendly people, cheap beer and food, and the best snorkelling we have ever done. I understand why so many people get Bongi fever. The local term when referring to overlanders or travellers that get stuck in Malawi and just never leave.
We have since met up with a few more travellers, and it’s just great listening to their stories and experiences. Most are laid back folk that cherish freedom and loves interacting with new cultures and people.
As soon as the parts arrive we will set off for Tanzania, it’s been great in Malawi and this country will definitely see us again.