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.
This time it was a cheap Zupco bus that took us from Harare into Zambia (ca. 5 hrs), and from the Siavonga turn-off we squeezed ourselves and our luggage into a minibus taxi, payed for three seats (one for the luggage), and hoped for the best as the taxi was more than crammed. An hour or so later, Herman picked us up for the remaining 10 km dust track from Siavonga, where I was happy to draw money from an ATM for the first time since entering Zimbabwe.
Siavonga and Lake Kariba
What a treat! The opportunity to stay in a friend’s house at beautiful Lake Kariba, now with high water levels after the rainy season … We thoroughly enjoyed it, with food and drinks at the lodge (including Herman’s unique Vienna schnitzel with crocodile meat), or else at the nearby village. And a great location for photoshoots.
“Problems does not choose – Grocery” on the way to Lusaka
Four hours on a minibus to Lusaka, and then they drop us at this crazy place, the sheep market. Gosh! Yet we managed to get a taxi quickly, I firmly brought down the price , and off we went to try our luck at Natwange Backpackers, my favourite hostel on this whole journey. Sandy Beach had no internet, and somehow my Zambian sim-card didn’t connect, so we went without booking. And it worked! David and Anita had expanded Natwange in the meantime, and done some nice decoration, and we got a great en-suite double room immediately. Cool! And again, Natwange proved to be a good choice, despite a few significant changes in the staff. I was surprised that some of the security guys remembered me, even by name! Anyway, nice people to meet (Derrick and Lisbet, Andrew de Ripper and others), some of whom I met again on my Tazara journey.
By now, Lusaka – a city with quite some contrasts – feels very familiar. Just as Zambia is my favourite country, Lusaka is one of my favourite cities in Africa.
We stayed away from Comesa market, as there had been a luting incident on the day of our arrival, apparently another xenophobic attack ahead of the elections for mayor of Lusaka. But Kamwala market afforded me one of my most memorable encounters: As I was taking a picture of a dark alley way, an old woman approached me, accusing me of being a tourist who wants to take pics only to show poverty in Africa. I took up the challenge, and humourously accused her of working for the police, since she knew me so well, right? Where else did she have all this information from? It became a loud mock debate, around a serious topic though (and no, I don’t do “poverty porn”). Eventually I handed over my camera to one of the girls in her company, and we hugged and joked and were best friends. That girl ran off to shoot pics like crazy of everyone nearby (unfortunately, she failed to press the button properly). Good fun!
We did two trips with Derrick and his wife, one to Kabwata Cultural Village in Lusaka, where I joined the local drum and dance group (Zilile Ngoma).
Since the Lilayi elephant sanctuary was temporarily closed, we went to the Munda Wanga Botanical Gardens. They also have a small zoo, of the rather old type, and zoos, well, not really something I want to support. On the way there we came across a stray ostrich in a field – at least some form of wild life, or so I thought.
And for Chimz and me, it would be our last day together in a long while. Hope to see you soon!