The Visa is HOW MUCH?
After failing miserably to organise my reduced
price visa for Zambia I eventually bit the bullet and paid my $60. It was a
relief to finally cross the Zambezi, gliding upstream of the new bridge
which the locals hope will open up a new trade route to Walvis Bay.
First, though, they need
to finish the road which is in that familiar African state of construction
where things are happening, but no end seems to be in site. The road was
difficult in places, especially as a strict right of way according to weight
is applied (at least by the lorries coming the other way). After 50km,
however, it was good tarmac all the way to Livingstone.
It seemed that the
weather was not going to play along with my plans for a relaxing week, but
after a couple of days or intermittent heavy showers I used a break in the
weather to take a trip down the river by inflatable raft. It’s a great way
to spend a day – you certainly get to see the other side of things, or at
the very least, the other side of your boat as you are thrown into a
An added bonus was lunch
in Zimbabwe with an option of a symbolic defecation in Mr Mugabe’s back yard
without paying the extortionate visa fee, and without providing his
collapsing economy with much in the way of tourist money (though remember
that toilet paper is more expensive than using Zim Dollars. It’s a shame
about the political situation there because I’ve always wanted to visit
Zimbabwe, but I’m pretty sure that Mugabe’s days are numbered and hopefully
the next president will be somebody who doesn’t list megalomania and
genocide as his hobbies.
Livingstone is a laid
back town with a sprawl of dilapidated buildings and no mall anywhere –
welcome back to Africa. One bonus is that there are a couple of great
restaurants, including a good Indian, and they cost next to nothing.
For a quite a lot more
than nothing I was able to hire a microlight for a flight over the falls –
I’d made a point of not visiting them up to this point, and it was a great
way of getting a first view, as well as taking a hundred or so photos – it
was also a great little adventure, especially when John decided to test my
claims that I’m not bothered by aeronautics. Hope you managed to get the
seats clean, mate.
Before leaving I just had
to visit Angel’s pool, which people in Jollyboys, the backpackers, were
raving about – it’s quite something to sit in the flow of the river and
watch the water disappearing over the edge of the precipice just over your
shoulder – and probably not one for the faint hearted as to get there you
have to cross a fair amount of river.
On The Road Again
My route to the east
depends upon beating the rains on the coast – the pressures of time were
beginning to weigh on my mind, and I knew that there was still a lot to see,
so it was back on the road again with Laura and Penny who had been working
with Raleigh in Namibia.
We found a great
campsite, Gwembe Safaris, for our first night on the road – some sort of
crocodile farm complete with putrefying croc feed near Choma. That night it
pissed down – I was snug in my tent, but the girls were drenched in theirs,
and it was a pretty damp couple of girls who arrived in Kampala where we
were to pick up Tanzania visas. By coincidence this was also the weekend of
the Samoa – England game which was a good excuse for a trip to the Holiday
Inn to watch as lightly worrying England victory. Kampala is a pretty droll
town – no culture to speak of, but we did manage to find a superb Chinese,
and of course all the backpackers around here seem to have pools, so things
weren’t too hard.
We’d planned to visit
South Luangwa National Park – but as it turned out nobody was particularly
keen on yet another game park, so we drove on to an almost but not quite
existent campsite by a beautiful lake for with a final bush camp before
reaching the delightfully named Chipata (an portent of the chip-country that
we were about to enter) for a night at a great little campsite run by
Zambian Wildlife (though not literally) before our crossing into Malawi.