A real treat for the traveller – a train ride with the Tazara, all the way from Kapiri Mposhi near the Copperbelt in central Zambia to Dar es-Salaam on the Indian Ocean. All the way, meaning every single one of the 1,860 kilometres, at an average speed of ca 30 km/h – I’m not kidding you. The time table and hearsay suggest it can be faster, but not in my experience. It’s a two-and-a-half day journey, in a four-berth first-class compartment (2nd class has six, 3rd class is seats only, and it gets really crammed once you’ve reached Mbeya near the Malawian border).
After some hiccups at Chirundu border, where two Zimbabwean officers were having themselves a time threatening Chimz because (unbeknownst to us) she had overstayed her visa, we made it to Siavonga, and to Herman the German’s Sandy Beach Lodge. You may have read about it before, and this time Thomas’ house was almost completely finished, and we could stay there for a few days.
Almost perfectly in synch, my parents and I thought they should come here on a visit, and although it came at rather short notice, we went ahead with the plan. Roughly four weeks later they were here, for ten days over Easter. Their first time in Africa. Their first meeting with Chimwemwe. I had planned to show them around and take them on a trip to Zambia to see the Victoria Falls and stay in a bush camp, to see wildlife on a game drive in Chobe National Park in Botswana, and to see Jo’burg and Soweto. And so we did! And they loved every bit of it! I let pictures speak 😉
Here’s the ground I’ve covered over the past four months (straight lines = flights) – and so much space left untouched! Roughly: 1 month Uganda, around 2 weeks each in Rwanda, Tanzania & Zanzibar, and Malawi, 1 month in Zambia … and already 2 weeks in South Africa 😉
Everywhere I have travelled in Sub-Saharan Africa, the picture is the same: women busy themselves, day in, day out, to do most of the work, chores and otherwise. I may exaggerate, though honestly, I don’t think I do when I say that Africa is run by women, especially in those fields that are run efficiently. This, obviously, excludes politics and a lot of admin. There you have it, I’m happy to stand accused of exaggeration and over-generalization, because I want to make a point. I do not care much for explanations that include the word “culturally”, I just share observations. Cultural practice, in my view, is a choice, and no explanation or excuse for anything.
Zambia has got to be my favourite country (beaten by Zimbabwe only in the field of music, sorry guys). It is twice the size of Germany, with only around 17 or so million people. In other words, there’s a lot of space here. And more than once, when driving through the country, I found myself thinking I’d love to have one of those huge farms with some hectars of largely untouched bushland.
Click the pictures for galleries!