Wouter and Elmari's Y2K Land-Rover tour, leg 4

2000-06-23 to 2000-06-30

Lusaka - Kariba - Choma - Livingstone - Nata - Maun

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Friday, 2001-06-23, Fringilla : Pim still has trouble starting his Land-Rover. New battery time.

[WPT 021 -15.422675 28.283508 23-JUN-00 09:35 GMT 11:35 SAST Centre of Lusaka]

I'm sitting in the Rand-Lover, keeping an eye on the other Land-Rovers, while Rene is at the bank (again), Thandie is (of course :-) shopping, Pim and Manfred have disappeared. Writing these notes, and trying to find a camp site for tonight in the Lonely Planet. People in the street selling watches, jewellery, deodorant, dice, Kwatcha (dunno if it legal, and it's foolish to buy currency on the street anyway), ice suckers, much like Adderley Street in Cape Town. My notes read

People who say that Lusaka is not the same as / more dangerous than Cape Town haven't been to Cape Town for a while.

My cell phone gets a strong signal, but "Emergency Calls Only" -- I think they use a different network that's not compatible with Vodacom.

Clothes Market Clothes Market Clothes Market

We found this clothes market on the road between Lusaka and Kafue. I bought four T-shirts (K15000, R25). The clothes for sale here are donated by Europe for the needy people in Africa, but ends up being sold instead of given away.

[WPT 022 -15.851989 28.251305 23-JUN-00 12:25 GMT 14:25 SAST "Farm Stall"]

We stopped at some stalls next to the road where Elmari bought tomatoes.

Fossil Forest [WPT 025 -16.027653 28.699803 23-JUN-00 13:43 GMT 15:43 SAST Fossil Forest]

We decided to go past the turn-off to Kariba to visit the fossil forest. Been there, seen that, and it's back to the turn-off.

[WPT 024 -16.028141 28.694921 23-JUN-00 13:35 GMT 15:35 SAST Turn off to Kariba]

By now, of course, it was getting late again (too much shopping along the way) and we were pushing for Kariba.

Sign seen along the way: "Problem does not choose grocery"

The engine is idling higher than before, we are at +- 450m above sea level, Lusaka is at 1100m. The rear engine seal is still leaking oil, lots of it.

Kariba Dam Kariba Dam Guards Elmari River
Made it to Kariba Dam shortly before 17:00, they allowed us in to go see the dam.

[WPT 027 -16.537294 28.727982 23-JUN-00 16:15 GMT 18:15 SAST Eagles Rest]

Eagles Rest Campsite We camped at the Eagles Rest camp site, on the lake, the tent was probably 30cm above water level. Very peaceful. The location is great, but the facilities aren't. Cold showers (Apparently there are warm showers, 150m further on) and, erm, interesting, toilets. We found hippo tracks next to the ablution block the next morning... not something I want to run into in the middle of the night on my way to the loo. Kariba

Saturday, 2000-06-24, Eagles Rest :

Manfred wants to take the ferry from Kariba to Livingstone -- I remembered that we had investigated the option and that it would not work, but Manfred decides to investigate himself. Looks like Rene is going with him.

Last Chance Garage [WPT 028 -16.503579 28.748007 24-JUN-00 08:27 GMT 10:27 SAST Last Chance Garage]

We buy some fuel at the Last Chance Garage, Elmari buys coke. Pim and I decide to try the back road, via Changa, to the T1 and Choma.

The first stop would be Sandy Beach, a holiday place on the Kariba Lake. We got the brochure at Eagles Rest, and it looked like an interesting place. So, off we go.

[WPT 029 -16.404771 28.729527 24-JUN-00 08:55 GMT 10:55 SAST Turn-off to Sandy Beach]

[WPT 030 -16.485543 28.664988 24-JUN-00 10:00 GMT 12:00 SAST Sandy Beach]

Sandy Beach 1
Sandy Beach 2
Sandy Beach 3
We met Hermann Striedl, the owner of Sandy Beach, chatted with him, got a load of lemons from his tree.

Sandy Beach looks like a really nice place to park off for a holiday, one could have one big party there, pity it's so far away...


So, we set off into the bush, looking for a town called Changa.

Off the beaten track

Pim and Thandie buy a gi-normous pestle and mortar, I boggle at this because I know that their short-wheelbase Land-Rover is already pretty full. But Pim finds a place to store it, I assume it's in his house in Holland now, and probably unique in Europe too :-)

I hear a (new) strange noise, and investigate. Hmmm, the bolt holding the spring shackle to the chassis is broken. And this was a new bolt, well, new in Land-Rover terms, less than three years old. We decide it must have been the Sesheke road, I bum a long bolt off Pim and fix the thing.

The next strange noise is the exhaust rear hanger breaking off. Well, that's why I have a few pieces of baling wire wrapped around the front bumper, no?

Did you know that you can join the GPS antenna coax by twisting the wires together and wrapping it with masking tape? Well, I didn't think it would work either, but it does. Ama-zing! Will have to be more careful of low branches in future...

*Nice* road At about 16:00, we get to a washed out section of the road. Pim takes one look at this and decides to camp right there, he's in no mood for driving any further.

[WPT 034 -16.371882 28.385072 24-JUN-00 14:30 GMT 16:30 SAST Bush Camp]

Lots of miggies. But the beer is cold. Thandie tries to make ice for her whisky. We figure we might just as well have a drunken night. Pim wistfully finishes the last of the cigars he had brought along from Holland.

Bush camp Bush camp In hindsight I must say that the night in the bush was one of the nicer camps we had. Poor Pim & Thandie slept in the front of their 90, so they did not have as good a night as we did in the back of the Rand-Lover.

So, we set off again, trying to find this town called Changa.

Handbrake, she no work so well Of course, we had to fix the road first, but this was a lot easier than we thought... guess we were just gatvol last night :-)

0805: We get to a little settlement, Thandie asks for directions. Not that anyone speaks English. Or Zulu. Didn't even try Afrikaans or Dutch... *grin* We end up slowly driving behind someone -- who of course does not realise that motor vehicles need slightly wider roads than people. We give them the lemons we got from Hermann Striedl. Wonder what they did with them...


Tree Did you know that cattle wander through the Zambian bush side-by-side? Making two tracks about the same distance apart as the wheelbase of a 4x4? Did you know that you can follow these tracks for quite a distance before it suddenly becomes one track? Well, we found out the hard, erm, interesting way.

Changa (yes, really)

[WPT 036 -16.277479 28.415585 25-JUN-00 06:55 GMT 08:55 SAST Changa!!!]

Found the place! At last! We ask the people there how to get to Mazabuka, they mention a place called Chikankata which is not on our map, but they indicate the relevant road (back the way we came) and we're off again.

Changa (yes, really)


Where the streets have no name

The road to Mazabuka

The road from Changa to Mazabuka, or Chikankata, or whatever, is quite good as these roads go. We had to dodge a fallen tree in one spot, and the downslopes were fun, but nothing to worry about.

The road goes up, and down, and up, and down, always up a little more than down, but only a little. At 10 to 10 I decided that we should turn around, my fuel was not going to last all the way up the side of the mountain. Elevation, 750m.

[WPT 037 -16.273107 28.342173 25-JUN-00 07:47 GMT 09:47 SAST Turn around]

By 10:15 we were back down at 630m

Bridge out!

Pim was driving ahead of me when we got to a bridge. I slowed down, Pim continued over the bridge but quickly realised his mistake. The real road was down the side of the bridge and through the river bed, the bridge had washed away long ago.

Nice loose sand, Pim's fat tyres coped well, so did the SAGs, no problem. We stopped on the other side for a coffee break.

Coffee break

[WPT 040 -16.098189 28.706573 25-JUN-00 11:20 GMT 13:20 SAST Back on tar]

OK, so we made it back to the tar road, and made it to Mazabuka with probably 5 litres of petrol left in the tank (the filling station at the Kafue junction didn't have fuel, of course...). I put in K60 000's worth, 24.1 litres.

[WPT 041 -15.856050 27.757768 25-JUN-00 13:35 GMT 15:35 SAST Mazabuka]

Body break

The road from Mazabuka to Brook's farm outside Choma is tarred, relatively straight, and pretty good.

Brook's Farm
Brook's Farm

Mr Brooks is a nice guy (or maybe just a sucker for cute young girls :-), he allows Elmari to send email from his PC. We get Mozi and tonic for G&Ts, also buy some wood. For $2 you get a "cord" (sure, one wheelbarrow is a cord) of very light wood, with one or two pieces of hardwood thrown in. Not good.

Pim chats up some other visitors for beer, they supply 3 cold Amstels and a sixpack of warm Castle. We don't want to take all their beer, but they say "complements" -- turns out they work for SAB.

Elmari is up to three cigarettes before supper, that Changa road nust have been very stressful :-) Supper is meat, wors, mielies, pumpkin, lots of food and not enough coals...

I fix the rear exhaust hanger properly, it's not going to come loose again, at least not soon...

Coffee, but... no cigar

Monday, 2001-06-26, Brook's Farm :

We make coffee, Pim is really missing his cigars. He promised Thandie that he'll stop smoking when he runs out, but now he's having second thoughts.

[WPT 044 -16.810107 26.983731 26-JUN-00 08:53 GMT 10:53 SAST Choma Tourist Centre]

I get 50l of fuel at K2598/l, more expensive than further north, strange. Choma is at 1355m, whereas Lusaka is at 1100. Kariba is waaay down at 460m.

I'm waiting for Elmari, Pim and Thandie who are shopping. A kid wants to sell me some peanuts. "No thanks", I say. "Books? Pens? Want to go to school" "Nope, sorry..." "Mother is dead, Father is dead, no food for 3 days" Eish, anything to convince a tourist to give you money. My notes read "E, P&T probably trying to buy the whole place again" :-)

The road from Choma to Livingstone is better and straighter than any other road we've had in Zambia. We stop for lunch at 14:20, we had rolls with cheese in the car but the road still has enough potholes to make cuppa soup a risky affair.

The engine is leaking lots of oil from the rear seal. I decide that I can put it in faster than it's leaking out, so we're still OK.

[WPT 046 -17.850933 25.856731 26-JUN-00 13:09 GMT 15:09 SAST Jolly Boys, Livingstone]

We had previously arranged to meet up with Manfred & co at Jolly Boys backpackers, so of course we go there, where we get the message that they had gone to the Waterfront, where we managed to catch up with them. The Waterfront is (surprise) on the river, with some really nice (but of course expensive) lodges. The campsites are not so nice, though, laid out for big overland trucks, with the toilets way over on the other side.

We head off to the falls, which are very nice from the Zambian side, recommended. We decide to go again the next day.

Vic Falls Vic Falls Vic Falls Vic Falls Vic Falls Vic Falls Vic Falls Vic Falls

Tuesday, 2001-06-27, Livingstone :

Waterfront Camp Site Waterfront Camp Site, Elmari, Thandie, Pim Elmari made bacon and eggs for breakfast. Some Capetonians in an Isuzu check out Pim's landy, I tell them about www.retro.co.za, Pim's website, and the Overland list.

We all had lots of shopping to do, so we headed off into town. First stop was the internet cafe next to Faulty Towers, where we each spent 1/4 of an hour checking email. Next stop was to try and get some money, I managed to draw US$ 434 on my credit card at the Barclays Bank. Very friendly people, I think I should get an FNB account before touring Africa again.

Thandie shopping OK, so now I'm a millionare, with K1 300 000 in my pocket. Which I promptly change for pula (P2 090) at the bureau.

Lunch was at the "48 Hours pub". Chicken Curry Nshima, hamburgers and chips, Mosi. Got overcharged. Twice. Eventually got the bill settled.

I went over to the Land Rover dealership and bought a new shackle bolt, for K10 000 (R25, probably what I'd pay in Cape Town as well).

Rite Shop, 24 Hours pub

So back in camp we move into Manfred's spot (they had had enough of Livingstone, since they got there a day before us). Went for sundowners at the lodge, ended up having supper. Ostrich steak, Tandoori chicken, Mosi. All of this for K56 000 (R140) + K25 000 (R62,50) for the drinks. Courtesy of my credit card.

Back in camp we find that the overland scourge have moved in. They ran out of space, so they pitched a tent right next to ours. And I mean right next to us. Blargh.

So I move our tent away, not in a good mood.

Of course, the next morning I had to fit the shackle bolt, and I made sure of using the biggest #1 tool, otherwise known as the BFH, at 07:00 in the morning. We depart wearing evil grins.

Wednesday, 2001-06-28, still Livingstone : We decide to visit the falls for a second time.

Vic Falls again Vic Falls again Vic Falls again Vic Falls again
Vic Falls again Vic Falls again Vic Falls again

Vic Falls again After that, we went shopping at Mukuni craft village. Hint: take old T-shirts and tinned food, you should be able to buy the whole village...

Around 12:00 I started getting hungry, and Pim was getting in a hurry. Elmari still shopping...

Reached town at 13:30. Elmari still shopping... :-)

So we eventually got everyone loaded up, reached Kazangula ferry at 14:50, boarded the ferry at 15:40 (busy day at the ferry, truck parked in the middle of the road, only one ferry running). Kazangula is closer to Livingstone than I thought, and I still had some fuel left (with the price of fuel in Zambia I obviously did not want to put in more than absolutely necessary).

16:05: Warthog feeding on the lawn in front of the customs post. No worries until...

... we reach the foot & mouth checkpoint. "What's that?" asks the man, pointing at Elmari's carefully wrapped, purchased in Livingstone, Zambian drum. "A drum", sez Elmari. "Not allowed, animal product", sez man. Much arguing ensues, until Elmari loses her cool, pumps herself up to her full 5'4", and shouts at the fellow : "Jou MOER!". He backs down, we give him beer, and off we go.

Thursday, 2002-06-29, 08:50, Kubu Lodge :

Kubu lodge Kubu lodge is quite a nice campsite, next to the river. We bought some meat and had a braai, not too impressed by the wood. Very hard hardwood, needs a blowtorch to get it started.

This is where my camera reached 38 shots, and I clicked that I didn't install the film properly on the night drive. (kick self).

Pim has his fridge out again, still something wrong.

Kubu lodge

So, we head of to Kasane for fuel. And encounter a road block along the way. And they want to see my international driving permit, first time I had to produce that on this trip.

Policeman asks where we're headed, we say "Kasane for fuel, then Maun", he says we can go to Maun via Kasane, "a vehicle like this can do it"... Fortunately the people at Nata lodge owe Pim money, so we can chicken out gracefully.

We fill up at Shell, P2.01/l, 64.4l, P129.44, odo reads 20082.

I manage to stall the engine, turn off the fan, restart the engine, and forget to turn the fan back on again. While I'm putting air into the tyres (2.3 bar rear, 2.1 front) one of the attendants asks why there's water coming out the front... foook! Engine is sitting at 110 degrees C, radiator is bulging, ready to explode. I turn the fan on in a real hurry. Try that with your aliminium head rice burner!

[WPT 056 -18.549289 25.626662 29-JUN-00 10:48 GMT 12:48 SAST Padamatenga]

15:00. Lunch break. Starter falls off (again) restarting the engine. Fixed by 10 past.

16:15. Stopped for Pim to fuel up from his jerrycans. He's still going on Zambian fuel from Livingstone. Economical little diesel, that. I'm down to 1/4 tank since filling up in Kasane, and it sounds as if I'm running on three cylinders. I make a note to check the ignition.

Wild Beasts Butchery [WPT 057 -20.210627 26.180398 29-JUN-00 14:34 GMT 16:34 SAST Turnoff to Maun]

We buy meat at the "Wild Beasts Butchery". I'm worried about the heavy fuel consumption -- I used about 3/4 of a tank (55l) for the 300km from Kazangula to Nata.

[WPT 058 -20.225616 26.265430 29-JUN-00 15:13 GMT 17:13 SAST Nata Lodge]

Nata lodge Elmari buys a sticker for the Land-Rover, Pim manages to get his money back (they overcharged him the previous time).

The school holidays have obviously started, since the place is crammed. Pim finds a flat spot next to the ablution block where he can pitch a tent, we encroach on a rooftop tented shortie. When the people arrive we apologise for camping on top of them, they're not stressed. In the course of talking to them we learn that they're the Kriges, and that their son works with me in Cape Town. Blow me! Since they're on their way home (Pretoria) we promptly abuse them by giving them a lot of the stuff that we bought in Zambia, asking them to take it down to Cape Town in December.

Friday, 2002-06-30, 09:15, Nata Lodge :

I clean the spark plugs, dizzy cap, etc, and set the timing statically. Next time, definitely bring the timing lamp. The plugs were way dirty, they probably add paraffin to the fuel in Zambia.

Pim is struggling to recalibrate his Botswana map to his GPS.

223 liters of fuel We get fuel, I put in 223.081 liters, at a cost of P435.01, figuring that the fuel can only get more expensive further inland. Odo reads 20290.

Lunch stop 12:50. We stop along the road to Maun for lunch. While we are looking at the hartebeeste in the distance, a bakkie comes past, two tannoy speakers on the roof, loud music. Strange people.

[WPT 063 -19.977388 23.431558 30-JUN-00 13:38 GMT 15:38 SAST Maun, shopping centre]

We didn't get to see Baines baobabs, Elmari and Thandie did not feel like driving off-road. Manfred, Gisela and Joke is here. Everyone's shopping.

16:15. Thandie returns, Pim and Thandi goes off to snag a good camping spot if possible. Elmari is still shopping...

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