South Luangwa; Lazy day; Sheryl's impending doom; South Luangwa to River Camp; Bad truck day; River Camp to Lusaka

There was an optional village visit on our last day in South Luangwa. The visit sounded great, and the village tourism project has a great reputation. Visitors get to involve themselves in the daily life of the village - building houses, cooking, tending the crops, telling stories and whatnot - you can even stay overnight if you wish. I’d have liked to do it, even just for the exercise of overcoming the culture shock. I know I’d have gotten some amazing phtos. The problem was that the village, Kawaza, was 30km away from the campground over bad roads, and to get there would have cost $100 for the vehicle. There were four other people thinking of going, so it would have cost us $16 each to get there and back, plus the $20 for the visit itself. We wavered a lot ,but it ws just too expensive for the three or four hours we’d actually be there. We elected to just stay at camp instead. I used the time to catch up on my writing and brought the website up to date. I wish I could upload photos, but the internet connections everywhere in Africa have been far too slow even to consider it. I hope to find a fast connection in Cape Town and upload them all, but it will be a massive undertaking - there’ll probably be a backlog of 1500 photos by that time.

The only excitement during the day was in fighting off the resident monkey population. Oh, and Sheryl got bitten by a tsetse fly, so we’ll have to watch her for signs of Sleeping Sickness for the next little while.

Up early the next morning for the two-day trip to Lusaka, Zambia’s captial. The first day was brutally awful - hot and bumpy. Everyone was in terrible moods. We stopped for the night at a crappy camping ground at the side of a big bridge over the Luangwa River. The beer was too expensive for me, the place was full of dust and bugs, the owner was a drunk, and every so often gigantic trucks would cross the bridge and make a noise like World War Three. It was so hot that we all felt like dying, and couldn’t do more than sit around moaning weakly and taking shower after shower in a futile attempt to cool down. I couldn’t sleep at all - I was hot and there was no breeze, and ants kept crawling on me, and I could hear thunder and see lightning, but nothing was happening. The storm and the heat finally broke after I’d been lying awake for an hour, praying for rain. A gust of cooler air crept in under the tent flap, and at last I was able to drift off.

We left in the morning for the second, short section of the drive to Lusaka. It was only six hours or so, and we stopped at a mall for food shopping. Lusaka looks quite clean and modern - by far the most so of any African city I’ve seen. Lots of banks, proper sidewalks, no trash everywhere. It’s also much more ethnically mixed, or at least the mall was - maybe 10% non-black people instead of a couple of furtive tourists like in other places. The relative organization and cleanliness held true even as we passed through the outskirts of the city later. At the mall, Sheryl and I had a few hours to kill since we weren’t part of the food-shopping, so we nosed around, checked our email, wrote postcards and that sort of thing. Nothing exciting.

The campsite tonight is huge - a swanky and well-run affair with a pool, grass and flowering trees everywhere - including one vine festooned with what look like giant, speckled, chocolate-brown orchids. Oh, and a small herd of zebras grazing on the grass, which I find quite weird this close to a huge city. The camp dogs chased them around fearlessly, and I got the impression that the scene was repeated daily at least.


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One Comment on this Dispatch:

November 16th, 2008

Wow, Lusaka has changed a lot since I was there - back then you had to travel in groups of no less that 6 people and you had to leave guards on the camp to ward off thieves! We ended up buying bootleg beer in a back alley because there had been an explosion at the beer factory - it was South African spies apparently ??? When we were there you could see bullet holes in many of the buildings, and there was a spy network beyond belief that followed all the tourists around. Sounds like they have come a long way, not the poor cousin to Zimbabwe any more.

¬ heather liberty
Chris Liberty - Dispatches from a Gentleman Adventurer
Being the internal dialog of a vagabond who chased his own tail across five continents for 4 years and 2 days from May 2008 to May 2012, in search of something that never really became clear.
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