Setoff for Zambia early on the morning of the 24th with Cavan right behind me in his 4x4. The wall of the dam is pretty spectacular to see. It’s unbelievable to think that once it was just a valley and they built this massive wall and when it was finished and the water to raise a massive animal rescue operation had to be launch to try and save the thousands of animals that were stranded on the various islands as the water rose. The operation ran for a couple of years and was probably the biggest rescue operation of animals since Noah himself set sail.
Cavan and I parted ways in the middle of the wall with a handshake and some pictures . A big thanks to Cavan will always be in my heart as he was adamant that I would get safely through the wildlife area that contained lions, hyena’s etc .
I climbed the hill from the wall to the Zambia border post and on arrival was met by the multitude of money changers , all aiming for my business . I decide to change $20 into kwacha . A couple of foreigners who were busy leaving Zambia decided to intervene and make sure i get a better deal . They asked what i was doing and then started telling the money swappers that they should give me a better rate or even make a donation. Well , they should have known better , money lenders are sharp people , one of them quickly suggested that the guys assisting me should actually let me keep my $ 20 and pay for it them selves . My helpers, having successfully talked themselves in to a corner , duly paid the $20 to the lenders and I was on my way without having changed a cent but with 90 000 kwacha ( R140) in my pocket .
I descended into the Zambesi valley from the wall and the temperature started soar . The tar on the road was soft to touch and the jelly babies in my bag turned to liquid in their packet . I watched a rain storm ahead of me and wished it would slow down so i could catch up but it outpaced me all the way . I used up most of my 8 litres of water and was relieved when I eventually came to a village where there was a borehole . I was greeted with the common chant of the small children that i have heard in a lot on the rural villages in Zambia so far always accompanied by a lot of waving , laughing and smiling “ Musungu , musungu ,musungu “ .
I topped up my water bottles at the borehole and headed for Chirundu Junction . My total for the dy was 82km . i was picked up by Stephen Vorster a local banana farmer and was off to stay with his family for xmas eve .
Both Vic and Jane told me their tale of how they lost their wealth in Zim and were starting fresh in the Zambesi Valley. Jane told me with a wistful look in her eye of her former life of wealth and opulence in Zim compared to her current ‘starting fresh with nothing’ lifestyle. The only thing that they managed to bring with them from Zim was their cook, who didn’t want to stay behind. I set up tent on their front lawn, left them to Christmas eve, and had an early night.
Early the next morning Vic loaded me with 27 bananas and 2 pineapples and sent me on my way. I’m not quite sure where he expected me to carry this 5kgs of food, so initially I tried to eat as many of the bananas as I could, but ended up donating a couple of bunches to the local community. At about 7am I passed one small secluded hut on the side of the road with a small family outside around the fire, where I donated one of my 2 pineapples. The climb up the escarpment out of the Zambesi Valley was really difficult in the extreme heat. Every Zambian and his uncle seemed to be completely sloshed because of Christmas day. At the top of the escarpment I found a village where I tried to find someone to speak to about pitching my tent for the night. A small crowd of about 30 locals filled with the Christmas spirit, gathered to listen to my request. The leading spokesman, with beer in hand, kindly told me that I could pitch my tent anywhere in the village, but that later in the evening he would probably rob me, so he suggested that I should rather go to the local school and speak to the headmaster, which I duly did. Justin, the headmaster, was very accommodating and rather than letting me pitch my tent on the school grounds, he decided to rather let me spend the night on the floor of his school office.
When I tried to fill up my bottles at the borehole, I very quickly realised that you need more than one person when trying to fill small bottles. Fortunately 5 youngsters appeared out of thin air and assisted me with my ‘bottle filling’ exercise. Before drifting off to sleep that night I marvelled at the thousands and thousands of fire flies in the fields around the school.
I headed for kafue the next morning at about 4:30 am . The plan was to have a nice short 42 km day and the do the remaining 45 km to Lusaka the following day to meet Sam and be in Lusaka on the 27th . All was going t plan and I was enjoying a nice easy day out in overcast and rainy weather when Adrian penny from southern sun in Lusaka called and suggest that I push on a bit further than kafue and his Friend Ricardo would pick me up later in the day and bring me to Lusaka for the dinner at Adrian and a night at the hotel and then they would drop me back at the same point he following morning and I could have a short run in to Lusaka ..
After 60 km Ricardo called and said he was running a bit late, I was a bit chipped off but did not express my opinion .
. A Norwegian couple, Jolly and Cecile , stopped and had a chat as they had seen me the previous day toiling up the escapement . Jolly handed me an energy drink called a “burn” .once that kicked in I decided that I was going to go all the way to Lusaka and would tell Ricardo to leave me if he ever showed up
I eventually got to Lusaka at 18:30 after 87km . Oh , Ricardo did show up when I was 2km from the hotel J so I sent him on his way .