Lusaka: Getting there and away

From Sinazongwe, we made our way up to Lusaka. We decided not to camp out in between but push through, which was not our best decision. Close to Lusaka, we hit several serious traffic jams. Lines of trucks and busses waiting, roads under construction and detours that were 20-km-per-hour dirtroads… of course, we again broke our rule and drove in the dark. We did not expect that much traffic, and crazy drivers on a Saturday night, but had our fair share of them. When we reached the Eureka campsite, we all had abottle of Mosi (local beer) first, to calm us down. The camp was quite nice, with Impala and Zebra running around (the later accidentally chased by Anne, when she did not find the way to the campground in the dark and roared between the trees). But we learned to hate the Overlander trucks, which at 4am in the morning started to take down tents, pack the truck and roar of, waking everybody around them in the process.

We stayed in Lusaka until Wednesday, to stock up on supplies and sort out some administrative stuff: getting a yellow card insurance for the East African countrie (successful), getting Sudan Visa for August (unsuccessful), and general updating of the website and backup of clips and photos. On Tuesday, we dropped by the German residence to visit Andrea and Bernd Finke, which we had met during our GIZ preparation in Bad Honnef, and on Wednesday morning we had breakfast with the friend of a friend, Opa. And then finally we were on the road again. Three days of hanging around the capital were definitely enough for us, and we got a bit giddy with joy to ride again. The roads were mostly quite good, the landscape hilly and autumn-coloured, and we arrived at our campsite next to the Lwanga river happy and exhausted. The Bridge Camp was a nice place to stay, apart from a little run-in with a group of very loud, very male, very Afrkaans and very Capetonian winemakers. They had come to the right place to get a little pep-talk by a seriously annoyed former Johannesburger who wanted her fucking sleep and NOT DRINK WINE WITH YOU, thank you very much (there were too many stereotypes and prejudices and well-formed opinions coming together here for Anne to bear them graciously).
Next day it was off to Chipata, where we could camp out in the garden of a colleague. We did not know Udo or his partner Ulrike, but it was so easy-going and relaxed to stay with them as if we had known them for years. Chipata is a mere 20km from the border to Malawi, and while we explored the little town (20.000 inhabitants!), we realized that this was our last “Zambian” experience.
Some things we learned about Zambia during our ride through and talks with people: It is a rich country, but only 5 % of the wealth generated here stays in the country, while the rest gets channeled out through some tax loopholes by Canadian, French, Swiss and Australian companies who own most of the mines. Education is shit expensive for the people, and if they get a good education they do not get a job (well, this is not an exclusive Zambian story…). Zambia has great growth rates, and every month there are 2000 new cars registered in the capital alone – mostly old japanese cars that are no longer fit for the market there – but the trickle down of this growth, well, we can go back to the mines and the failed privatisation process here. Same unfortunately with a – formerly – great Zambian product, the Atlas bicycles. Very sturdy bikes one sees everywhere in Zambia, used for transporting everything, but now unfortunately no longer produced in Chipata – the company got sold and moved the production to India, from where now cheaper (and of course, of a lesser quality) bikes are imported back to Zambia. Sometimes you just want to shake your head or throttle someone from the Worldbank. But anyway. We enjoyed Zambia, but were also eager to get onwards. Waiting for us was the famous Lake Malawi, crocodile and Hippo-free and apparently a serene paradise.

 

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