Morning came early, 6am to be precise.. Mandy, Charles and I were doing the microlight flight. We had heard Rob and Dad rave so much about it and we were lucky enough to be able to do it - we were very excited! We arrived at Batoka Skies air field and the micro lights were all ready to go. I went first and my pilot was German - I cannot remember his name! I was strapped in, headphones and helmet on, and before I knew it we were on the runway. My pilot was chatting away, he had done the same trip as us but been in Zambia for 15 years now, as we got to the end on the runway we were off. Into the skies so quickly without a second thought! The view was awesom, I don't know enough describing words to illustrate the sight below - the view, the skies and the warm breeze rushing last. We flew towards the falls, as they got nearer and nearer you could see the geography of the land, the zigzagging of the river and the huge gorges. We flew over, and around the falls. To see the falls from ground level and then the sky was just breath taking - the rainbows and the shadow of the microlight on the spray! My pilot dipped down so we were in the spray - I just couldn't stop laughing. We came back out the falls and over the Zambezi national park in the Zimbabwean side - I saw hippos, buffalo and a fish eagle nest. Being above them gives you a completely different perspective! Landing, I waited for Charles and Mandy - they too had an awesome time, they had also seen elephants and other animals. I think different pilots like to show their 'student pilots' different things.. For them more focus on the animals, mine the falls in more detail! Everyone had such a good time, Rob (in his slightly fragile state) had been taking photos and video. Sadly we had rather a long wait for our videos.. Short staffed and very busy, but we were back at the Lodge by 11am. What a morning! We spent the afternoon in the Livingstone museum, an informative place but could have done with a bit of love and care. There was a lot of information to read, however their animal section was fascinating. Worth a visit! Coming back I think we were all rather shattered, it was fire and bed!
We moved back to Jolly Boys on the Monday - it was slightly cheaper to stay there, and now we had no work to do we didn't need the space. We arrived and next to us was another overland Toyota.. Coming out of the reception there was a bit of mutual love between Charles and the owners, Rob and David (I will call him Rob2 to prevent confusion). Rob and Mandy arrived, and soon the boys were talking cars and mechanics.. Charles and I snuck off to the bar to talk about our plans, only surfacing when we had come to a decision (see other blog for decision!). That evening we spent time chatting to David, Rob2 and Bastian (a guy who had been back packing and had got a lift with Rob2 and David). We also met the founder of Bhubesi Pride (www.rugbyinafrica.org), a charity who travel round Africa with volunteers training local children how to play rugby - a really interesting guy and he said on the Wednesday we could go and join in. The boys were extatic and the decision was made we stay in Livingstone till Thursday! Tuesday was spent dopping about - the boys helped Rob2 and David fix their car and change their roof tent around. We bought some more car parts, mainly things that Rob already had and we needed due to separating.
Wednesday came around quickly.. Rugby day and also our last night with Rob and Mandy.. We had decided on a braai so a trip to shoprite was in order for alcohol and food. Surprisingly nothing was touched till after the rugby. We turned up at the field at 4pm and instantly their coaches got the boys involved in touch with about 30 children.. It was great to see them smiling, joining in, and also the talent of some of them! I think some of the children could run circles around the boys! Training session over and it was time for 7s with their 1st team.. Rob, Charles, Rob2, David and three of their volunteers walked out onto the pitch to 7 of the Livingstone team.. They all had kit on and looked far more healthy and fit (7 months of travelling doesn't lend itself so well to exercise!). However they all did well, it ended up with them winning, but by only 2 points, and no injuries or passing out.. Result!! We arrived back at Jolly Boys at 7, and after a quick dip in the pool the alcohol came out.. By 8pm 2 bottles of vodka had gone .. Shots for us and who ever was unfortunate enough to walk past us.. By 9pm the brandy came out.. Mandy and myself started the braais but for the boys it was a little too late.. Somehow Mandy and mself were fine.. (Possibly less vodka.. I had been showering and chatting to our neighbours), we slowly watched the boys crash and burn.. David was the first in bed.. Then Bastian, Then Rob, then Rob2.. Charles was no where to be found for about 3 hours and he turned up behind the trailer asleep.. This left Mandy and myself to cook and eat three chickens and a boerworse.. We struck gold! By 11pm all the boys were tucked up around the campsite and we were drinking Amerula under the stars on their platform.. Romantic! It was a sad moment, the last time we would be doing that in a while.. A happy one because we had out lasted the boys!
We woke up the next morning to hangovers a-plenty, the flower beds suffered as well.. I won't divulge in too much detail what from! 6 out of 7 of us managed breakfast.. Rob2 couldn't get out of bed..! For Charles and I, it was goodbyes all around.. We hit the road heading for Sinazongue at the south of Kariba Lake. We arrived at Lake View Lodge to stunning views across the lake.. We set up camp and were given the use of the luxury lodge for showers etc! All the perks of high living at camping costs... Included was the use of the balcony over looking the lake! There wasn't much wildlife as we sat down to spaghetti bolonaise but we had heard there was crocodiles! Fingers crossed! The next day we went for a hike, we managed about 5 miles around the dam, stopping off at a campsite/school for a drink next to the lake. We saw lots of birds but still no crocs! In the afternoon we spent time in their pool overlooking the lake and relaxing.. Hard life! Despite the lack of wildlife the scenery was stunning and we were looking forward to seeing the north of the dam in a couple of days.
To get to the Siavonga (North Kariba) we had to do a loop back through Lusaka. We stayed back at Eureka camp where just going up the drive we saw zebra, giraffe, Impala and roan..! Just amazing! We arrived back and settled in, chatting to Anna and Gerard who we had met the first time there! We sat down to G&Ts, a braai and some cake brought over by someone we had been chatting to on an overlanding bus! It was a lovely evening, chatting and swapping stories! Back in the tent Charles got out to find something from the car.. Literally behind him were two huge giraffes! Amazing what you see in Africa!
It took us 4 hours of hills and winding roads to get to Eagles Rest Campsite. The view was spectacular over the Kariba, and the animals fantastic! Across the lake were hippos, crocs and so many birds! We spent the afternoon being thoroughly amused by their antics. As it got dark and we were eating dinner we watched the hippos come out to graze below us. 'I bet they will be in the camp site', Charles joked.. Sure enough, 20 minutes later there were two hippos snorting at us about 10m away.. They were very placid, but we did go and sit in the car. They got bored of us and moved on, a definite highlight of my day! The second day we drove to Kariba Dam.. Wow!!!!! I will put the photos of the statistics of it.. I just cannot describe how huge it was, and the amount of water! Just wow!
Leaving Kariba we wanted to head towards south Luangwa national park. To do this again we had to linchpin around Lusaka, this time we had to go through it! Back we went, the police were out in full force today.. We were driving through a town going probably about 43km (I know this because I often look at the satnav speed as we go through villages). We were waved down by a police officer who told us we had been speeding - 56km. Both Charles and I could quite believe we had been going that fast but got out the car and went to look at their monitor.. An ancient speed camera! We said to them basically if your machine says we were speeding then we were, however all they wanted to do was chat.. 'Oh your tourists? Where are you from? Where have you been? You should make a flag tshirt'.. They let us off without a fine.. Phew! The problem after that was going out of villages they don't mark in increase in speed limit so you are often left wondering what the speed is! Oh well! We got to Lusaka with more police checks (just insurance checks) and stopped off for food. As we pulled away from shoprite Charles groaned.. White smoke.. Same smell as Rob's in Congo. My heart sank.. Great! One week away from our resident mechanic and the car is already playing up. We stopped off at the side of the road and Charles spent some time looking at the engine, topping up the fluids, the decision was made to get to Pioneer Camp and make a judgement from there - getting there Charles though it might be the fuel pump! It was back into Lusaka for him to find some sealant to try and fix tomorrow! Fingers crossed!
#africa #overlanding #travelling #thisisafrica #zambia #Livingstone #victoriafalls