Thursday, July 21, 2022



As we head further north from Lusaka the road gets worse. It looks as if it has melted and there are grooves to drive in. Not to mention huge rolly ripples and random potholes. Then there are countless trucks making it slow going. Thank goodness they drive on our side of the road and I don’t have to “do” the overtaking for John! Later that day the road splits in two – one road heads to the Copperbelt (a massive mining area) and the other north towards Tanzania. Traffic is finally reduced a bit and the roads improve marginally. We head to Tembusha Forest Camp about 10km off the main road. There are 3 secluded sites near Don’s home. It is cold, so it’s great to use the firepit and some of the firewood provided. The next day we head to Dons house to return the key and have coffee. We admire their magnificent garden and then chat. Again, fabulous people who have retained their optimism despite being evicted from their farm in Zimbabwe.

Back to the main road, and Don has warned us that after 80km it will deteriorate… my goodness and it does. The potholes are deep and stretch right across the road. All the seal is only just wide enough for 2 vehicles and often sections are broken off the sides making it interesting meeting the hundreds of oncoming trucks, and of course passing the slow overloaded ones. There are plenty of rolled trucks and many many more broken-down ones.

We detour 10km out to the Kundalila Falls on a rough track (at least it is a break from the trucks!). We reluctantly pay our hefty foreigner entry fee US$15 each and head to the top and then the bottom of the surprisingly attractive falls. We could camp here, but it’s a bit early, so we return to the main road and tackle a few more miles of potholes before we pullover for the night at the incredibly neglected Escarpment Camping.

Then back to the bad road bright and early as we head further north. At the big town of Mpika we are stunned to see a double lane highway entering and exiting town. What an overkill after miles of terrible road. We stop to fill with fuel and John spies a National Park vehicle so goes to ask the driver about the roads through the North Luangwa National Park. We are hoping to go that way, but discover it won’t be possible as we are too heavy for the pontoon over the river. He shows John an alternative route. By midday we turn onto a back track to Shiwa Ng’anda – our next destination. It is a huge English manor some crazy guy-built in the 1930s with a huge associated estate. Opening hours are long over and its not open tomorrow, so we make do with a good look from the outside before continuing on to Kapishya Hot Springs and the associated camping area beside the lodge. The hot pools are perfect – just the right temperature for a good long soak that evening and the next morning. Amazingly here we meet an Australian couple who are staying in the lodge.

After our morning soak we hit the road. Back along the track and onto the potholed road. Fortunately, it’s not long before we turn off to head east on the minor road we have been told to take. We are overjoyed to see a lovely tarseal road, but it only lasts for about 30km when it shrinks into a goat track! Then it is a crawling pace for miles. Lots of it is through sandy river valleys that are fortunately dry. At the big river there IS a bridge as promised (I had wondered!) and then again, as if by magic, tarseal for the last 10km to Chama. We will need to find somewhere to stay as it will soon be dark and Chama is a scruffy little town. We luck out and find a secure carpark at the Bwesele Lodge where the boss insists that we stay free! Amazing with the “I want more” attitude we come across in this continent.

We head off feeling very relaxed with lovely tarseal. But after 30km the seal ends and we are back to a track. We cannot fathom a reason for a stretch of good road in the middle of nowhere, maybe a Politian wanted votes.  It is incredibly slow going and we meet no other vehicles for over 100km. Watching village life as we pass by is fascinating. The maize and ground nuts/peanuts are being harvested. The maize is cut by hand, husked and stored in big cane stands or bagged for market. Ground nuts are husked and bagged also (that must take hours) and we stop to buy a huge bag for a few kwatcha. Later in the day we head off the main road and into the town of Lundazi and head down the busy market street to find an English castle built here many years ago.  It has been converted into a hotel. The receptionist is more than happy to show us around this quirky place. We could camp here, but decide to press on. It is a long slow drive and dusk comes fast. We want to reach the next camp spot in the town of Chipata. Finally, we crawl down the driveway to Muma Rulas Camping in the dark. Something we try to avoid!

In the morning we head in to South Luangwa National Park. A couple we met last night recommended Croc Valley Camping (they even told us what site number to ask for!), so we head straight there. The site is full so we camp a bit back from the river and tomorrow we can move to the riverfront. The local monkeys give us a huge welcome by climbing all over the truck, so we close all the windows and roof vents before we head off on a night drive in an open sided Ute. Fingers crossed for a leopard sighting. And YAY after spotting baboons, zebras, giraffes we finally spot a leopard snoozing on a branch. Three safari vehicles sit and watch and jostle for position when the leopard leaps out of the tree and prowls away. He is oblivious to the vehicles moving around him. Amazing how these National Pak trucks can drive off the tracks! After dark the assistant gets out the spotlight and the night hunt starts.  We get to spot a few genets and mongoose that we haven’t seen before and by 8pm we are deposited back at the Lodge and our dinner awaits at the restaurant. In the morning we move beside the river and watch the hippos and crocs and chat to Adam & Hope who are camped beside us in a roof tent. Adam helps his father run a huge farm in northern Zambia not far from DRC. They have 300 employees as they need at least 200 to turn up at harvest time.  Later that morning we decide to “do” our own safari and drive into the park, pay our fees and set off on the bigger tracks. The small tracks have too many low overhanging branches. We see lots hippos and quite a few elephants who raise their trunks and roar at us. Finally, we exit the park (we have to be out by 6pm) and head back to our lovely spot beside the river.

In the morning we are wakened by a loud thump as a big baboon jumps out of the tree and lands on our roof. I go out to yell at him and spy an elephant walking across the river. Awesome. But time to pack up and head off as we have a long drive to tackle today and are concerned the potholes will make it slow going. We stop at the busy town of Chipata for food and fuel. The road is surprisingly good with not too many trucks so we reach the bridge over the huge Luangwa River (only one truck at a time can cross) well before dark and head down the side road to the Bridge River Camp.

We had planned to continue on to Lusaka today, but the owner of the camp tells us the road following the river is pretty good, so we decide to explore.  And what a cultural experience we have. There are poor villages most of the way, and we stop at a few. First beside a family who are busy firing bricks for their new home. They are as proud as punch to show us the whole process – digging up the mud, mixing it with straw, shaping it in a mould & them baking them.  Then next at a large village where they are making bamboo mats.  People appear from all directions and we are surrounded. Of course, they enjoy John’s silly antics! We pull ourselves out of the throng and head to the village of Luangwa at the mouth of the river where it pours into the Zambesi River. Over the water we can see Mozambique and Zimbabwe. There is a massive fish market at the end of the road and we stop to explore. Most of the fish is smoked or salted and huge baskets are packed to send to Lusaka. Before we leave town, we also explore the street market and buy a huge bag of meal for our village. John is practically mobbed when he drops it off to them. Finally, back to the Bridge River Camp, but this time it is nearly full of more campers, giving John the chance to chat to lots more people.

Off again bright and early on our way to Lusaka. Again, the road isn’t too bad and we make good time. John has located, on google, a car upholsterer in town so we head there. City traffic is OK until we reach a huge overpass with markets stretched for miles beneath it – all over the train track. It would be hilarious watching them all move if a train roared by! Anyway, once through the traffic we head into the John Laing  area to find the shop, and oh my! It is definitely a slum area with narrow rough tracks and scruffy homes. Freak out Lynda time, especially when the track gets smaller and John is following the GPS! We ask for help…. “Go back”. Thank goodness we do!

We admit defeat and head to the Eureka Campground again.  John’s plan is to move south, but tomorrow is Sunday and the Craft Market is on. With a bit of arm twisting, we head to the markets followed by Church in the nearby suburb of Roma. Sadly, not one filled with African singing as we hoped because it is in an affluent area and is mainly white. Oh well. Time to head south to the massive dam on the mighty Zambezi at Kariba. Hopefully our last potholed road as we will exit Zambia tomorrow. We find Eagles Rest Camp on the huge Lake Kariba for the night.

We use our last kwachas to fill up with diesel and head to the border. A very easy exit. They even waive the fees to cross the dam wall because we have no kwachas left! We stop to look at the huge dam before driving over to the Zimbabwe border post. Goodbye Zambia, we have enjoyed our stay. 


Those groovy roads keep you right on track
So many tomatoes for sale everywhere
The lovely Kundalila Falls
Truck rescue
Watch out for those holes
Oh dear....what has happened to the tarseal
And it gets worse
Getting road info from the National Parks guy
The very lovely Shiwa Ng'andu
The hot pool at Kapishya
Our back track from Mpika to Chama
We stop to say hello to the kids
A local home
The main road from Chama to Chipata
The Castle Hotel at Lundazi
A very friendly welcome to the Croc Valley Camping
Hmmm   can I see in here
On the river beside our campsite
So cute
I think he is tired of being looked at
I'm out of here.... he jumps down and walks around the vehicles
One of the genets we saw
Always love the elephant families
That Baobab tree makes GR2 look tiny
Trying to get GR2 and an elephant into a photo
He is crossing the river in front of our camp spot
Digging mud for bricks
Mixing the straw and mud to shape the bricks
And firing them in a kiln. Very proud of the finished product
So many villages
Selling bamboo mats
And making the bamboo mats
A boy and his toy
Three boys 
The mouth of the Luangwe River where it meets the Zambezi
The Pied Piper - coming back to GR2 to collect the meal
The street markets in Lusaka (or should I say train track markets)
Our very dodgy back road - right in the slum area
The huge Kariba dam on the border between Zambia & Zimbabwe

Saturday, July 9, 2022



We have exited Namibia, so now time to enter Zambia. Covid vaccination check, visas purchased, carnet stamped, insurance paid, carbon tax paid and road tolls paid. Sounds fast like that but the computers are on a go slow, so the vehicle paperwork take ages and of course the road toll guy decides to go to lunch when we get to his counter, so we have to wait. Finally, four hours later we are officially in Zambia.

It is always a bit of a culture shock changing borders especially when we are confronted with shacks and piles of rubbish. But out of town it always improves and we pass village after village enclosed by wooden fences. We follow the Zambesi River north and stop at the Ngonye River Camp for the night. A lovely grassy spot with a huge firepit overlooking the river. Awesome. We meet the owner, Jack, who runs this place and facilitates mission groups who visit villages and drill them water wells completely free of charge.

In the morning we head upstream to try to walk to the Ngonye Falls. The walk involves a lot of rock hopping and then crossing the rapids to the middle of the river. John makes it, I don’t. Some of the leaps are getting so big I fear I will end up washing over Victoria Falls downstream! Then it is back on the road. The western side of Zambia is incredibly poor and people live in thatched huts, grow corn and have a few goats and cows. Oxen carts are the main mode of local transport. We see woman pounding maize and men packing bags of charcoal. We assume it is made at night as we only see one fire mound actually smoking. And of course, the women & children are fetching water all day long. The first biggish town is Senangu where the markets are in full swing. Lots of fish with ladies waving fans to keep the flies away. And lots of different root vegetables. Down by the river front locals are building trailers. It’s a busy place.

The next town is Mongu – a sprawling town on the huge Zambezi delta. Here they celebrate the wet season with the Lozi King travelling from one palace to another via a decorated barge accompanied by drum players, all decked out in amazing costumes. Everyone turns out to watch and party. We drive to the waterfront to look at the boats and the fishing village. Then onto more mundane chores. We need some kwatcha (local currency) and locate an ATM. Nothing spits out at the first, so we head to another. It too refuses to part with cash and it unkindly keeps our card. Bother. The bank is apparently closed, although there is staff inside. I manage to speak on the phone to the only lady with access to the ATM. Result: will have to return tomorrow. So, we head to the Greenview Guesthouse (a rather rundown motel) and overnight in their carpark. We return to the bank at the time we were instructed and wait. Of course! But finally, we get the card back and she takes us to yet another ATM and we now have plenty of kwachas! Let’s get out of this town. We have a long drive (200km) to reach Roys Camp on the far side of Kafue National Park. Shouldn’t be too hard, but there are 80km of broken road where it is hard to dodge the potholes (A good thing John enjoys dodgems)

At dusk we pull into camp and all the other travellers we met are the border are here too. In the morning we spend a few hours chatting with Brenda & David who had a farm in Zimbabwe and were evicted, and then a farm in Zambia. Amazing stories of overcoming hardship. We are blown away by their positive outlook. Later we decide to drive through part of the northern side of Kafue Nat Pk to see if we can spot any wildlife. Unfortunately, we spot way too many tsetse flies (nasty bitey things) and hardly any animals. Plus, it is slow going on the goat track. After 30km we turn around and head back to Roys. More chatting with Brenda & David who suggest we visit Vic Falls now rather than later as the water flow will be about perfect now. So, again a change of plans (if we had planned this properly, we would have got a double entry visa!)

We head off bright and early to enter the South side of Kafue National Park. Apparently the animals are shy and can only be seen early or late!!! Well, they didn’t get up at all this morning.  At least the gravel road is pretty good and there aren’t as many tsetse flies. Much later in the day we reach the waters edge of the Kafue River where it forms a huge lake from the dam, and finally we see our first lot of hippos. Yay. We sneak up to have a good look, keeping a safe distance. They are seriously huge. Driving on we see more hippos and huge herds of elephants. We head out of the park to view the huge dam at Itezhi-Tezhi, then back into the park and further south (we need to exit the park by 6pm or we will be charged another day and at $55US plus camping fees if we stay, we want to exit). We reach the Dundumwezi Gate by 5.30pm and ask if we can camp there. Yes, we can and they stamp us out then too. Perfect. A quiet night despite the village behind us.

The next day we head along the gravel road passing countless small villages: these ones have a central open building surrounded by smaller conical thatched huts. Most have huge baskets ready for collecting maize. Our roads heads through the busy back streets of Kalomo where people and stalls are everywhere. Then we hit the tarseal and the main road to Livingstone. A good sealed road with not too much traffic, perhaps because it is Saturday. We head straight to the camping area at The Victoria Falls Lodge and settle in. The Lodge restaurant is right beside the huge Zambezi River and upstream from the Falls. We enjoy a pizza while watching yet another glorious red sunset.

The Falls today. Bright and early, we get a ride (rather than take GR2) to the border and cross the river to the Zimbabwe border where we purchase a Kaza visa that will give us entry to both Zimbabwe and Zambia. Then straight into Mosi- au-Tunya /Victoria Falls to stop at all the viewpoints. The Falls do not disappoint. They are spectacular, but we do get spectacularly wet. We have jackets but our legs are soaked, our boots full of water and my straw hat is a floppy mess! But so worth it.  A few hours later we head back out of Zimbabwe and back into Zambia. But that is not all for the day. Later we take to the skies (a real indulgence for us) in a helicopter to zoom right along the bottom of the Zambezi Gorge and then up over the Falls……truly stunning.

We haven’t finished with the Falls yet. Monday morning, we drive to the Zambian side, park (we are pleased to see an armed guard on duty) and head out to look at the viewpoints from this side.  We walk right down into the gorge to the boiling pot (Phew!) where rafts are launched. Then walk-through sheets of water, across an amazing bridge that is suspended directly in front of the falls. If anything, it is wetter than the other side, and even more stunning. Finally, back at GR2 we pour water out of our boots and peel off drenched jeans. As we have our coffee a cheeky baboon climbs our steps to look inside. When chased away he climbs up the back tyres and peers in the window before climbing onto the roof and decides to sit comfortably up there on one of the spare tyres. Another one climbs into John’s garage. The upstairs passenger won’t leave until we start to drive away.

We head back to the town of Livingstone to get groceries and visit the little museum. Then it is on the road towards Lusaka. We won’t make it today, so find the Twin Caves Resort at Choma to stop overnight. Then most of the day driving to Lusaka along with hundreds of trucks. We all have to weave around huge potholes. The plan had been to head straight to an Isuzu Workshop, but as it is already nearly 4pm by the time we reach the outskirts of the city and because the workshop is over the other side of the city, we decide to stop at the Eureka Campground on the outskirts and head to the workshop in the morning. In the morning we drive slap bang right through the centre of Lusaka – the crazy traffic and hordes of people are very entertaining. We eventually are sent to a workshop and get a grease and oil change done (John’s comment is that these guys aren’t the complete toolbox!!) Before we head out of town, we track down a friend’s old home. It is completely surrounded by walls that are topped with an electric fence. A picture over the wall doesn’t prove very good, so John sweet talks the guard into letting him pop through the gate for a few more photos.  Then we meander through a few more suburbs on our way to find the usual supermarket and ATM. By now its late afternoon and we crawl with all the other traffic out of the city. We end the day camped at the Fringilla Farm Camp. It is a huge farm complex with chalets, camping, piggery, cattle, butchery etc etc.  Later that evening we chat to the owner – again more interesting stories of such a different life here in Africa.

Hard to believe we have already been in Zambia for 9 nights and there is lots more to see.



Camping beside the Ngonye River - a great fire and sunset

The Ngonye Falls

Making trailers at Senangu

Looking across the floodplains of the Zambezi River at Mongu

Boat making at Mongu River port

People watching at Mongu port

Speed bump vendors

Local village

Busy working making roofing... and ready to sell.

Local transport

Street salesman

On the road

Local shops

Overloaded trucks

Obstacles on the road

Sunset at Roys Camp near Kafue National Park

In the park

Is he bored

We found "heaps" of hippos in the southern end of Kafue Park

A bit of push and shove

And elephants too

They are not happy to see us!!

Local transport. Just keep adding more and more people until they can't move

Taking charcoal to market

Heading in to Kalomo

For sale on the street

Sunset over the Zambezi River at Victoria Falls Lodge

Mosi-au-Tunya (Water that roars)

Look    2 cameras!

Ducking into the Zambezi canyon


Double wow

The Zambian side

The very wet bridge

A few nosey visitors

Heading north to Lusaka

So much charcoal for sale 

At Fringilla Farm