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Old 05-31-2010, 01:05 PM   #31
metaljockey OP
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Siyavonga to Ihmman's Camp



The next morning we do breakfast and leave to refuel and have a look at the Kariba dam wall. Filled to capacity.





All nine sluice gates are open.





From Siyavonga we intend to pass through Chirundu in order to get to the lower Zambezi. We opt not to take the tar road but to rather take a shortcut and stick close to the river.

Good choice, nice riding and very entertaining as there are a variety of footpaths criss-crossing the area.





Crossing rivers here are different to what I am used to because of the sandy bottoms. I am used to rocky bottoms and where one normally want to cross at a fast walking pace, pushing a nice bow wave, here you have to carry as much speed as possible to prevent bogging.









I am hoping for my first day with dry feet since the trip began, but Hennie, with shorty boots, are in for another wet one.













That there is the Chirundu border post bridge, one of only three bridges to span the Zambezi in it’s 2700km length.







At Chirundu we stop to buy petrol out of drums again. On the Zambian side of the border there are no fuel stations, because fuel in Zambia is so much more expensive than it’s neighbouring countries.

Again here in front of the bar I have to strip the headlight out to tighten the bars. As I pull away the bike cuts out, no electrics, dash, everything. It doesn’t take long to find a fuse had blown because of some exposed wiring making a dead short behind the headlight.





We are on our way to the lower Zambezi and the Lower Zambezi National Park. The ferry over the Kafue river.





And here we learn that the ferry is free, except if you drive a foreign registered vehicle. Then it’s US$5. And no, you cannot pay in Kwatsha.





My concept of the Lower Zambezi Valley is that it is an unspoilt wilderness area with a dense game population living by the river. It turns out it is Dollar Valley. From the ferry onward everything is charged in US currency.

The river has a large variety of high end lodges, and all of them are in the range of $400 to $1200 per person per night. The ferry is the only way in and out.

We pull into what should be the most budget lodge and enquire as to camping. They want $19 per person, the going rate in the rest of the country is $5 - $7.50. So regardless of the excellent view we head out again.





We look for, and finally, after dark, find a camp that we had heard about from a connection that we stopped at earlier the day to say hi. It is a private camp on the river and the owners are not there but the keeper lets us bed down for the night.

metaljockey screwed with this post 06-02-2010 at 02:56 PM
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Old 05-31-2010, 01:12 PM   #32
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Ihmman's Camp to bush camp





It turns out to be a lovely spot. Hennie has the unique experience of a vervet monkey urinating on his head while he sleeps.





A spider making himself at home in my bedding.





It takes us a while to get going as I am kept busy trying to get the airshock to do what I want.

As we continue in the direction of the Lower Zambezi National Park the animals increase, we also see elephant but cannot get a good picture. The parks in Zambia aren’t fenced, they are surrounded by Game Management Areas which are populated by man and wildlife alike.









When we get to the park and pull in at Nature Conservation the message is unambiguous – no pedestrians, bicycles or motorcycles allowed. But they turn out to be the nicest people and on seeing our disappointment, they organize us breakfast and a beer. How decent, especially as they do not cater for visitors. I have to juxtapose this against the treatment we got at Kariba Bush Club, who showed us away without as much as an offer of a drink of water.

We go to the Chongwe river, which is the border of the park, to have a look at what we are missing. The park is also only accessible to vehicles for part of the year when the river is low enough to cross. This is not that time of year. This is the crossing.




Looking at the frowning locals it may have been a blessing in disguise that we were not allowed in.





In this riverine forest the visibility is not so good and the bush is full of elephant. So what we do is ride very slowly to give them the opportunity to move away. Except that the track then turns and you are on the other side of the same lot that just tried to get out your way.









While we are riding on tenterhooks like this, swiveling heads checking for elephant, I suddenly see two lion slap bang in front of us, lying under a small tree. A full mane male and a female. They are close, maybe 30 metres and the track passes right next to them.

I jam the brakes and Hennie cruises on another ten metres before he stops, he hasn’t seen them, he is looking for elephant. He turns around to check why I’m stopping, by this time I’m already making turn around maneuvers, I motion with my head to look in front of him. When he sees the two lion not 20m away looking him in the eyes he goes into a stupor. For a further two seconds we look at them and they look at us, then, suddenly the lions jump up and race away. We also assist by putting some more distance between us and them. When it looks like we are clear I stop and take a pic, understandably a little blurry.





Bikes cannot be common here, and the fact that we were two might have been the little bit extra needed for the lion to be caught off guard. Where we were, if they came for us, we would have had no chance at all.

The Nature Conservation people had given us directions to a road that leads out of the valley to the north, so that we did not have to backtrack to the ferry again. It’s called the Leopards Hill road and we find it quite easily. Again a road that has not yet been put in use since the start of the wet season.









In places it is thoroughly overgrown. Not the most pleasant stuff to ride in. The seeds are sharp and your forearms gets cut. The seeds also penetrate your clothing and then gets to prick you many times over. Lastly you get a colourful collection of insects joining your forearms for a short ride, some of them repaying you by stinging, biting and whatever the word is for what the the hairy worms do to you.

In this grass it is easy to lose the track. We stop here and as soon as the motors is shut off, the friendly chap behind me calls out to come and show us the correct way. Zambians are really just the most helpful lot.









Then the track turns into a river. A blind one, you cannot see the other end, so you do not know if it gets deeper or gets overgrown or just turns into a big river.





Luckily it has a quality rocky bottom, so Hennie is off.





Some to and fro shouting and I know it’s safe, he’s on the other side.





A nice 90 degree lip.









As the afternoon shadows gets longer the track keeps moving upward and things start opening up.









It turns into the most beautiful scenery. This area is not populated and we are the only ones around to enjoy it.









The pass going up turns out to be very steep and twisty as well as technical and we ride it in one go. So unfortunately no pictures. But really worth it and I can recommend this road to any 4x4 junkie.





When we get to a river we are ready to stop for the night.





Cool clear running water feels like heaven after a hot day of getting slapped by grasses. A bath is in order.





There are beautiful pools upstream.





Little fish come and groom you from top to toe. Really pleasant, like little fingers all over your body.





It is impossible to find any open piece that is not overgrown, so we camp in the road.


metaljockey screwed with this post 06-02-2010 at 02:57 PM
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Old 05-31-2010, 01:21 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gadget Boy



Any crocs in those rivers?
I've been wondering about that, when I was up there a few years ago I saw a few crocs! Big ones. Plenty hippos as well.
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Old 05-31-2010, 01:27 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by capeklr
I've been wondering about that, when I was up there a few years ago I saw a few crocs! Big ones. Plenty hippos as well.
Croc rivers are coming up.
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Old 05-31-2010, 01:47 PM   #35
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Outstanding, more please!
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Old 05-31-2010, 03:01 PM   #36
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Great ride!!!!
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Old 05-31-2010, 03:02 PM   #37
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excellent
more please
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Old 05-31-2010, 06:32 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by metaljockey
Croc rivers are coming up.
Just when we think it couldn't get any better you write something like that. You guys have big balls. You have the best reports on ADV, MJ.
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Old 05-31-2010, 07:51 PM   #39
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Maybe you need to install a prop on your bike with as much wtaer that you went through!
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Old 05-31-2010, 08:37 PM   #40
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Another classic metaljockey
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Old 05-31-2010, 10:49 PM   #41
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You guys are crazy
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Old 06-01-2010, 12:09 AM   #42
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wow!

i feel like my trips are a little girls picnic compared to you guys.

whatever bit of the brain tells you guys to be scared and don't do something...you obviously removed and ate with a nice Chianti and some heinz baked beans!!

Out the door hardcore!!!!!!
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Old 06-01-2010, 12:39 AM   #43
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amazing now I`ll go on a little morning trip to work feeling insp ired. No lions here though, thank god ! Would have given me a sleepless night in a tent
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Old 06-01-2010, 01:58 AM   #44
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Great RR MJ
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Old 06-01-2010, 03:10 AM   #45
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Outstanding report.
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