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Week 4

Day 22 - Tanzania/Zambia - Mbeya to Mpika (Zambia)

No internet at Mpika

Text message from Dave:

Dull day today except for border crossing. No internet here in Mpika. In bed and listening to rain and thunder.  Seven days to go, only two more countries.

Our 'Motel' at Mpika and its 'faciities': :

Day 23: Mpika to Lusaka (Zambia)

Today we did 666km, of which just 12 were competitive. We were second fastest (to Joost's Porsche), despite catching a 4WD who was very reluctant to let us pass.

Today's roads were 99% good tar. Only other traffic to speak of is big trucks. We have seen a couple of trucks rolled over but I haven't been quick enough to get a picture. Zambia seems fairly lush and there is often grass about 1.5 meters high growing right up to the edge of the road.

Tomorrow is another touring day. No competitives at all. They have changed the morning control to a passage control, which means we can leave early and have time for a good look at Victoria Falls.

Our Lusaka hotel was a big improvement on the shacks at Mpika

Day 24 Lusaka to Zambesi

Zambia seems to be more advanced than Kenya and Tanzania. Traffic in Lusaka is quite orderly and much more like an Australian city. Traffic on the open road travels quickly, and overtaking trucks now needs a bit more care as oncoming traffic is more likely to be travelling quickly.

I learned more about the road widening in Tanzania which I don't think I've written about.

The demolition of lots of houses and signs etc marked by the red Xs is a project to be done by the Chinese in return for mineral rights. Apparently not popular with the locals.

left: a Tanzanian roadworks team of both Africans and Asians

 

 

 

When we arrived at Lusaka yesterday afternoon, there was an English speaking fellow who took an interest in the car. Mark asked if there was anywhere he could get a wheel alignment. This man made a call and then he and Mark drove off for a wheel alignment while I went and booked in. The first room they took me to had a single double bed so I got that changed.

We had the washing done by the hotel last night on condition they would bring it back as soon as it was finished. I woke up in the morning ready to ring and ask where it was, but while I was sleeping they had returned it. Mark said he woke up when he heard a tap on the door but before he did anything, the door opened quietly and the washing returned.

 

Mark was a bit down yesterday after the 12 Km section. It was a 666km day of which only 12 was competitive, and we were held up by a 4WD (who said he didn't see us behind him) and caught another at the end. We didn't pass him. We now have 4 sizable chips in the windscreen. It's hard to enjoy the drive under these circumstances. Mark cheered up a bit when he discovered we were still 2nd quickest.

Intercontinental at Lusaka was nice. Had red wine with dinner!

Zambian currency is the Kwacha and you need lots of them. Filling the tank takes 700,000.

 At the last few countries, we have rejected the money changers and waited to get to an ATM. The problem is knowing how much to get. The strategy has been to select an amount from the options from roughly where you would pick at an Australian ATM . When you fill the tank, you discover how much extra you need.

left: Mark being welcomed to the resort hotel.

We are staying at the Zambezi Hotel which is a large resort just five minutes walk from Victoria Falls. I have to admit I didn't believe that when I was first told, but it's true. Victoria Falls really are awesome. You walk along the opposite bank to the falls and it's less than 100 metres to the falls. The falls themselves are (I'm told) 1.7 Km long.

While we were having a late lunch, others came back drenched. We changed to light shorts and T shirts and yes, it's like walking in a rainstorm.

Proof we were there!

The amount of spray from the falls is incredible. The camera stopped working after a while. I hope it works again after it dries out.

The hotel is in a national park and we have been warned not to approach animals if we see them and to keep doors closed as monkeys will get in and steal things. I haven't seen any animals yet.

 (later)

 Livingston it  has been pretty good.

The Zambezi Sun Hotel is an expensive hotel. They charged US$15per hour for internet. Meals were not included and they wanted $47 per head for a smorgasbord dinner. We walked down the road and joined the other Aussies at a restaurant which was cheaper but the service was appalling. Other tables seemed to be getting fed while we were forgotten. Greg Newton tried to hurry then up and did get served first with a near raw steak. At the end they offered free coffee to make up. The Newtons and Robertsons declined and stormed off, but Mark and I accepted and stayed for a bit.

Victoria Falls were well worth the visit.

Leaving the room to go to dinner there was a group of zebras of all sizes wandering around the hotel's manicured grounds (left). Sadly my camera hasn't recovered and all pics from now will be from Mark's little camera or our phones.

Next: onto Namibia