Day 29 –
L: Those warm and cosy mornings when you just don’t want to get up………
While we were having coffee, I realised that there had been a lot of traffic to the ladies bathroom…….and sure enough, by the time I showered after we had packed up, it was cold. Oh well.
I had mentioned to Steve the previous night that I would like to see if there are any birds at the riverside where the overlanders are used to camp (it seems to be disused now, but what a beautiful sight) so we drove there on our way out.
While I was looking for birds and keeping my eyes open for hippos…….I suddenly noticed a huge crocodile on the opposite bank……..I called Steve to see and we left soon after that. We mentioned it to some fellow campers who said “but they won’t come to this side, right……”.
I always feel that there are not enough warnings posted at the campsites or whether the water is drinkable or not.
S: The Colt has been battling to start in the mornings the last few days. Normally this is when the glow plugs have given up the ghost, but I had put in new ones before I left Cape Town, 6000km ago. I had bought some spares the day we left so decided to check them when we stopped for the night.
I was so happy to be able to travel safely on a decent road from Livingstone and at a reasonable speed. There are no signs of any description along the road so one guesses at the speed allowed. I am sure through the town it was supposed to be 40kms/hour not the 80 that the police car was doing though. To keep the fuel consumption reasonable we cruised at about 90km/h as we only had 300 km to do for the day. Our destination today was the Moorings Campsite and from there we were going to go to Siavonga which is where the Kariba Dam wall is. While we were driving along we saw that there was a national park called Lochnivar not far from where we were going to be staying. After I had Googled it I discovered that it is a good birding place with over 400 species of bird so we will be heading that way tomorrow to give it a look.
Moorings campsite is a lovely grassed area with electricity and wide open spaces under huge trees. I was able to replace the glow plugs and the funny thing is that the replacement ones have a different part number to the ones that were in. Now I will have to see how long these last. I will definitely try and get some more spares in Lusaka. I was also able to put hasp and staples on the canopy back door as the catch on the one side was not locking any more.
L: We have lovely clear bore-hole water here that the camp receptionist, Phyllis, assures me is good to drink so we have filled up the water tank and I did a huge load of washing with no sand in the basin. We were saying today that after 4 weeks on the road we have had to do so much more washing as it is cold most nights, usually on holiday it is a case of washing only shorts and T-shirts everyday.
Some of the things we were saying that we are so grateful that we brought with were, a really long extension lead, spares for the car, extra wash-basin and bucket and all the tinned food and dry staples. It is such a pleasure to only have to pick up meat and fresh fruit and veg and bread every few days. Also, although neither of us love powered milk, it is so convenient and takes hardly any space. Though I must say, I am shocked that per liter, it is the same price as fresh or long-life milk.
There are a lot of birds here too at Moorings (no river or body of water so not sure why that name). I have even seen a gorgeous little Blue Waxbill.
I have been very warm today and the air-con was not playing the game, but as soon as the sun dropped so did the temperature. We are sleeping in the ground tent (to give Steve a break from zipping-and-flipping) so we hope it will not be as cold as Cape Town which is expecting snow on Table Mountain. Stay warm, family and friends and careful on the roads with all that traffic……
Day 30 –
S: We woke still warm and toasty and thought of you all back home – supposedly with snow on the mountain……..
Today, we had decided to take a drive up to Lochinvar National Park to see some of the animals and some of the 400 bird species.
L: Steve made us a cooked breakfast and we packed up and showered. We met Kim, the manager of the campsite and chatted for a while. S: What a relief, the car started first time this morning.
The road to Lochinvar Park was long and very tedious and really!! bumpy. We had our first Police Check where they asked for our, what sounded like “Tolfie”. We didn’t have a clue what he was saying and felt like real idiots handing him our whole file of papers for him to look through and ……..oh!!!! find our Toll Fee!! The Road Tax that we had to pay. Laugh out loud is what we both did, once we had driven on.
We have now worked out why, in Zambia, all the local folk walk in the middle of the road. It is because nobody drives on the road, to avoid the huge holes in the tar or gravel, they drive off the road on the left or right. It is bizarre.
At the entrance gate to the park, the entrance price changed a few times until eventually Steve went in to the office to see the fees in printed form. Finally, being one of the SADC countries we were told that we needed to pay 36 Kwachas each and 79 Kwachas for the vehicle. We insisted on a receipt as the amount had changed a few times so it is good for it to be recorded what someone has paid.
When we asked about camping in the park we were told that the camp was being renovated……There is also a camp just outside the park gate.
S: We drove for ages through smoldering trees and brushes, following the signboards towards Lake Manyeke. It was so disappointing not to see any animals and so few birds and Lesley was feeling a little panicky as she felt that any stray spark could ignite the fuel on top of the bakkie.
L: It was a relief to get out of the burnt area and then to reach the lake. It is huge and the water stretches to the horizon. There were a lot of workers camping close to the shore who said that they control poachers and are making picnic sites for the public. They told us that there are crocodiles and hippos, but they don’t see them much.
We made coffee and tuna mayonnaise with cream-crackers as it was lunch time already and were so lucky to spot (and hear) about 4 African Fish Eagles.
We saw many birds on the shore including a lovely Pied Kingfisher and a huge Water Monitor too. Now we felt that it had been worth it, although all told we probably only saw about 20 different species of birds possibly due to the fire-damage to all the flora.
There were, however, huge troops of baboons everywhere with babies too and then we saw the advertised Lechwe buck as well so that was encouraging.
S: We followed some paths here and there and came to the hot-springs which are not very clean at all and hardly visited. We drove past the National Lodge which was a ramshackle old building. You’ve guessed it, the camping site was awful and we did not see what looked like a bathroom at all. The campsite (and lodge) outside the park was also not very inviting so we carried on back to stay another night at The Moorings. (We believe the Moorings camp site will be closing in August 2014. A pity really.) Once again Tracks4Africa is out of date as some of the new road is not featured so got a bit lost but thanks to the locals managed to get on track again. Note to self. Do not rely on Tracks4Africa, some things have not been updated.
While catching up on the admin a late visitor drove into camp and we have been having a nice chat about border crossing tips and costs as Dave owns a few lodges and has travelled a lot through the countries we will be visiting. He also informed us that the Zambian parks people actually burn the brush in the parks every year, supposedly to re-generate the growth. One of the things I found out was that we should have only been charged US$10 instead of US$20 for the road tax at the border. Another tip that we got was that at the Malawian border we must say that we are going to Lilongwe to visit friends otherwise they charge you US$10 for every region that you travel through. L: He refers to “Scambia” when talking about Zambia…….makes you think.
L: And then we felt right at home – the power went out! Yes, they have power outages too.
So it is off to shower and then bed all in the pitch dark. Night all and thanks so much for all the lovely messages. God bless.