04-08-2007, 12:53 PM
Joined: Jun 2005
Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa
We keep going up the lake and stop in Nkhata Bay to check out the beers and the view.
We stop over in Mzuzu for a day or two and then start the return journey early in the morning. And you know how return journeys are. No fannying about.
Our target for the day is Luangwa River Valley in Zambia. It means riding, and for the whole day I have not a single pic to show. Notable is that the roads in Malawi are in good condition, in Zambia, on the other hand, I find that what was potholed in 2002 is now potholederer.
Late in the afternoon we start dropping into the Luangwa valley. I recalled it to be maybe 12 km or so but no, the descent continues for 70 km. It's a series of continuously twisting, dropping and turning tarmac with every sharp turn littered with truck debris. All around is just wilderness, the villages have been left behind.
It turns into a weird experience. It's an exceptionally hot day and we are are riding straight into the setting sun. The sun and landscape are turned into a orange red glow by the the smoke in the air. The smoke covers hundreds of square kms. As far as the eye can see the surrounding bush have been burned, no green stuff anywhere and the smouldering stumps contribute to the heat. It is a wasteland.
It's almost unbearably hot. An hour before we already had to pull off as Mrs Jockey had started feeling lightheaded and nauseous. My jacket is zipped up to keep the searing air of my body. The front of my jacket is so hot it still burns my skin. With smoke in our nostrils this wonderfully twisty road is pulling us down into hell as darkness closes in.
In my head Chris Rea is singing;
"On your journey cross the wilderness
From the desert to the well
You have strayed upon the motorway to hell"
Damn, check it out, it still gives me goose bumps.
We get to the bottom of the valley in darkness. I drink two beers. We pitch tent and shower. I drink two more beers. The next morning as we are packing up I realise I haven't had a pee since Malawi, and I still don't have one. Four beers just plain absorbed. I have to wonder how many times I am going to have to relearn this dehydration lesson.
Another day of hauling awaits. We want to stop at Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe border tonight. Or rather Livingstone. As we crawl through Lusaka I again get caught for speeding. Eighty in a sixty zone. This time it's not cheap. I'm so pissed off that when I see a fly, I ram my head up it's arse.
This time we get to our destination in daylight and we pull into Maramba River Lodge and treat ourselves to tented accomodation. A mattress can be a lovely thing.
We go to town for dinner and get ripped off royally. The waitress is so lovely though it makes it all feel better.
The next day was supposed to be a rest day. Mrs Jockey says no, lets go. : Siriaaas?
Well we are here and we haven't yet seen Vic Falls from the Zambian side so we go early.
To put the scale into perspective, here's the top of the previous pic with people on the edge.
It gets tropical around here.
The backside of the falls.
As we leave camp on our way to the border we are held up for a while.
I was hoping they didn't piss her off too much. There were elephant in the bush on both sides of us.
Once again we do the border post shuffle and wait for the ferry to come.
And a week or so later and a thousand km upstream we cross the Zambezi again at Kazungula.
Botswana here we come. We stop for a quick beer at Chobe Marine Lodge in Kasane and damn, that is a most excellent spot.
Then comes the long straight roads through Mopanie scrub. We come across three herds of elephant on this stretch.
We fuel up for the second time at Mpandamatenga. Now let me tell you, Mpandamatenga cannot be called a town; in fact I doubt a real town can use Mpandamatenga to wipe it's arse with.
Yet, it has a Traffic Force with laser equipment, chase vehicles etc. We just pulled off from the fuel stop and Mrs Jockey gets caught at 137km/h in an 80 zone. &%$#! (that means 'fuck!'). Wev'e now been caught in Swaziland, Zambia and Botswana. Every time it gets more expensive.
Difficult not to speed on these roads.
As we turn towards Maun the bushveld reappears and we stop for a Baobab pic. Unfortunately the sleek lines of the GS excites the tree so that we have to leave hurriedly.
Once again we ride into the sun until it dissapears and pull into Planet Baobab. Sore assed, but it looks to be my kinda place. Check out the chandelier.
I wanted to come here after seeing Krazy Eyes' report on the South African adventure bike website. It's a 180km detour but what the hell, anyone can make a calculation mistake.
Here's our pozzie.
And a freaky one on the road.
A last nuzzle from the local wildlife and wer'e off to the good old RSA.
The last thing worth mentioning is that we left the SA border post with the fat, arrogant, lazy, South African Border Police running after us shouting and whistling. They never caught up with us, I think they were too tired to run back to fetch a vehicle.
And that's the ball game. It's not the ideal trip because there is such a lot of riding, but it opens your eyes to the diversity and unity that makes up this continent. You learn so much in such a short time. I can write volumes about what I learned about people, poverty, happiness, myself, my relationship with Mrs Jockey, life & death, inevitability,transiency etc.
I will travel in these countries again. But seperately and more slowly, so I can taste all the flavour.