Woo hoo! Something new for my trip up North, we didn’t do this part of the journey down South. It’s hard to fit it in so we bypass and head straight on. I have to say though that I am glad that on the way up we find the time to stop in. Only because its beautiful, a chance to get out of the truck and because the soft grass allows for one of the best nights sleep. Doesn’t seem like a lot but when you spend your time sleeping on mattresses that are bound to slip a disc or two, some nice green soft grass is exactly what any chiropractor would order.
Kafue is one if those places that unless you were a tourist or you lived there and had a boat you wouldn’t necessarily go there or even look at it on a map. Don’t get me wrong I am glad that I went but I am struggling to find a reason why I would go on my own without the truck load of the soap dodgers. Basically it’s a river cruise and a night camping out in the bush. The boat itself is nothing fancy so if you are picturing something similar to what Livingstone and Stanley would have travelled on stop now. It is more like a pontoon than a boat. A double decker pontoon at that with a bar and basic bathroom attached so really who needs much more? The cruise takes about 2 hours, the scenery is beautiful (as you can see for yourself in the photos) but other than sightseeing there is really nothing else to it. Luckily we all had a good book and a comfy mattress to lie on. I think I enjoyed it more that I expected simply because cruising a long a river is a wonderful break from the bumpy roads that Africa becomes so famous for and also for the chance to catch up on some light reading. The peace and tranquility didn’t last too long however, a storm blew in out of nowhere and suddenly we were stuck in the papyrus. Luckily the campsite was right there so we were able to fashion some stepping stones out of nowhere to get on to the bank and pitch the tents before the rain really set in. I don’t often sleep in a tent (one of the perks of being a tour leader) but I have to say that I am getting pretty swift at this tent erecting business. Once the tent was set up it was back in the boat for some ugali and chicken. The best thing about it was that I didn’t have to cook it myself aside from that it was delicious. After dinner was when the real tourist attraction started. 5 guys break out the bongo drums and sing and dance the night away. One even did a little fire breathing action and some other crazy stunts involving his skin and a burning stick. Not something that any health and safety officer would approve of.
Once the entertainment was done it was a wet wipe wash for me (only the second thus far) an early bed time. And the best nights sleep I have had since this whole thing started. It was the first time in a while I woke up without a crick in my spine or an ounce of pain. I was actually starting to feel like a little old lady up until this point. I think a visit to the chiropractor is definitely in order when I find some time and someone qualified enough to straighten me out. This and the un availability of a good mani pedi is definitely my biggest problem with overlanding. It sounds trivial but nice feet and a straight spine doesn’t seem like a lot to ask for and if these are the only problems then I think we are not doing too badly.
The next morning we headed out on the speed boat to a random house in the middle of nowhere. I say random because it really was. It looked as though someone decided to start building a house that would have been so beautiful and well thought out but then ran out of money and abandoned it. There was also a strange collection of children’s toys brushed away in to the corner and a small selection of veggies. What really did it though was the slate that was used to construct some kind of outdoor seating and the dilapidated police boat moored outside. We were left their for a while as they had to do a couple of trips in the boat to bring everyone there, it was long enough for us to start discussing survival scenarios and establishing a plan if we would ever get left behind. Thankfully we were not left behind and heading up the hill towards the village. Incidentally this was my survival tactic after of course having diminished the vegetables and got bored of the toys. After a very scenic walk we arrived at this gentleman’s house. So it wasn’t really a village, just a collection of his family homes. We spent some time listening to him explaining about their life there and watching his grand children play a game of dodgeball with an added element of rock collecting. Nothing overly exciting but a good way to kill some time and to get away from truck life. Once all that was done it was back on to the boat and back to the truck and back on the road in the direction of Lusaka.
I was looking forward to going back in the direction of civilisation and also because we were coming closer and closer to Malawi. Something that I can’t help but get excited about.