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Old 05-19-2012, 02:42 AM   #61
Osadabwa
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Location: Nairobi, Kenya
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Thumb TZ: Kalambo Falls and Kasanga Village

Great plan! The west along the lake should be a blast. If you get tired of riding (unlikely) or have a broken bike (less unlikely) you can put your bikes on one of the motorboats and have them run you up the lake for a day instead.

Definitely on the must-see list if you have the time is Kalambo Falls. Something like 3 times as high as Victoria Falls, it's a cool place on the border of TZ. Here's the coordinates: S8 35.671 E31 14.412. It's on the border of Zambia and TZ...

There's a good village on the Lake Tanganyika called Kasanga which is a good spot to crash for the night. My friends have stayed at a basic Lodge here: S8 26.293 E31 08.832

I look forward to see what you actually do.

p.s. Side stand fell off from rust so I leaned the bike against a pillar, a strong wind blew it over, the shift pedal poked a hole into the side cover. That's how it went.
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I used to have a link to my African rides in my signature line, but every time I check it doesn't work. So, if you want to see Kilimanjaro, the Kilombero Valley, a bunch of short trips around Dar and another long one to Mozambique: go to my profile.
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Old 06-02-2012, 03:21 PM   #62
WHYNOWTHEN
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And.........?
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Old 06-04-2012, 07:28 AM   #63
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The ferry at Kasangula

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Originally Posted by WHYNOWTHEN View Post
And.........?
Apologies readers for the lengthy delay in posting, various reasons made things a little difficult but am now back on track.

We ride out early the next morning to the infamous ferry that crosses the Zambezi. This ferry has a long history of fear and loathing with incidents of overcrowding, impatience and a complete lack of safety. The departure from Botswana is smooth, friendly and painless just as was our arrival down south two days ago. The ferry beats its bad rap being a well organised quick journey without incident.


We are first on and first off the ferry


Brian is the meat between our Honda sandwich...or is it a case of too much beer last night





Eish brother i think it's a big bee wearing a helmet
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:17 AM   #64
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Old 06-04-2012, 08:26 AM   #65
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Zambian border chaos

Our arrival at the far bank is however quite the opposite. A huge contingent of cyclists is milling around waiting for its arrival that signals the chaos that is about to come. This border post is a dump and an embarrassment to Zambia. It’s a complete shambles with an extraordinary degree of inefficiency and stupidity. The only other border post in my many years of travelling Africa that comes close to this in the stakes for all-out worst border crossing is when entering Mozambique from Malawi at Dedza (on the Mozambique side) which is pleasant by comparison. We ride off the ferry and park up outside the disorganised array of buildings.



I notice a nervous looking Dutch couple talking to the security guard at the exit gate. They seem to be in a state of retraction displaying visible fear. I later discover they had turned around at the final point just before entering the country for a two week holiday to go back and spend it in Botswana, cancelling the Zambian part of their itinerary. I can now understand why. You are never told that you will face a bewildering array of bizarre fees. You slowly and painfully discover this each time you approach the exit gate to attempt to enter the country. Oh and lets not forget the endless total onslaught of dodgy wheeler-dealers who take advantage of the chaos and confusion to part you with your money and possessions. Generally speaking for those who don’t know there are two procedures that are always present at border crossings the world over (in my experience anyways): Immigration and Customs. So one by one we go into immigration to get our passports stamped. I then move over to customs to get the Carnets stamped and ask the chap if there is anything else that needs to be done. He smiles and assures me that all is now good and we can proceed to the departure gate. He is skilfully playing his perverse part in the great play these idiots have orchestrated to legally fleece you and turn you into a gibbering wreck.

We kit up and ride up to the gate and present our stamped passports and Carnets. Mama Africa with the machine gun doesn’t even flinch and casually asks for our “carbon tax”. I explain that the gentleman at customs assured us our formalities are over and we can proceed. She assures us that the machine gun in her hands stands between us and Zambia until the stamped carbon-tax receipt is produced. We ride back to the parking area, un-kit and I go in search of the mysterious “carbon-tax” building that I eventually locate behind everything else. People are milling around and I spy a sign that suggests I don’t need to pay it as the bikes are only 450cc:



I eventually get to the front of the queue and ask the “carbon-tax” officer if I need to pay for 450cc motorbikes. A big argument ensues behind the counter with various people shouting their two-cent’s worth. Eventually she says she is not sure but “its better to pay” as I might face difficulties (not least with mama Africa outside with her big gun). I pay grudgingly. We kit up again and I triumphantly hand the receipts over to Ms Machine Gun who casually asks me where my “police-tax” receipt is. You have to be kidding me right I joke – she nudges her big gun and tells me to go away and come back with the right paperwork. I calm down and start getting clever. Is there any other paperwork I need, I politely inquire through a frozen smile? Check with customs she declares and goes back into her little hovel-den. Back to the parking area and we kit-off again.

I start at one end of the complex and work my way through all the buildings asking each person inside in-turn if I need to pay them anything. Needless to say most respond yes. But this is the interesting thing: they all have notices declaring “Zambia Revenue Authority” but some will only take US Dollars and some will only take local currency. This is a well orchestrated scam running between the border officials and the illegal money changers outside. The only legitimate money exchange is closed and when I ask one of the multitudes of loiterers hanging about when it will open they tell me it has been closed “for many months”. In fact one individual tells me it has been closed for years. You are now forced to talk to one of the seriously dodgy touts crawling around like flies on an old turd. Their beady little eyes gleam and they lick the drooling saliva from their inbred infested jowls as YOU are now coming to see THEM. It’s the stuff their wet dreams are made of – the business their wretched lives were bred for. I have encountered these vermin before and so go about the unavoidable transaction with the utmost care. They are expert in manipulating money putting any theatrical magician to shame with their dexterity and sleight of hand. I count out my US dollars in front of the tick I have chosen and clearly hand them over to my chosen intermediary (bemused Brian). I tell him to count his Zambia Kwacha note by note and hand each to Brian. Brian tells us both to step back and counts each pile until he is satisfied. He then hands me the Kwacha and I take our new blood-sucking “friend” along to pay for the various legal thefts that the government of Zambia is bestowing upon our lucky passage. This to make sure he has not palmed off fake notes. Finally after having parted with the annual budget of the country we are trying to enter I walk over to the exit gate and present Ms Happiness with all the documents. She asks me where are the “vehicles”. I seriously want to grab her Chinese-made rifle and beat her about her stupid head with it but in the interests of continuing the journey in the same healthy state I go and fetch Brain and the bikes and we finally pass through with everything in order. The process took around 4 hours to complete. By contrast entering Botswana several days ago took no more than 15 minutes. Shame on you Zambia!
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:21 AM   #66
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We fill up at the first fuel stop a few miles up the road where allegedly you get the best foreign currency rates. Another bloodsucking idiot claims to have the best exchange rate in all of Africa but my XE currency convertor (a must have application of your mobile phone when travelling) quickly tells me he is related to the thieves back at the border post. In fact a tip for those travelling in these parts: there is no better (and safer) rate then that you will get by withdrawing local currency from an ATM with your foreign bank card. The inter-bank rate is the best you will get unless you are changing really large amounts of money.

With fresh fuel we head off to the border town of Livingston. This corner of Africa plays host to 4 different countries with Zambia, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe all almost touching each other. As we cruise due-east on the black-top stretch my mind meanders over our unpleasantness back at the border and our problem of time. Do we really want to be in this rip-off country, do I want to give any of my hard-earned pennies to this land? Can we not just write the place off and pass straight through it? And more importantly what the HELL is that extreme pain in my chest!!!!! It suddenly feels like a hidden beast is pushing a red-hot poker into the middle of my chest. I hit the brakes and jump off the bike, ripping my gear off as hastily as I can. Brian cruises past me looking back at my mad antics and just keeps going – sure that I have finally totally lost the plot. And here I thought he knew that happened long ago…

I am told there are many non-bikers who read these forums. For their benefit a quick explanation of a little known fact that bikers the world over endure – insect carnage. One of the beautiful things about riding a bike is the closeness you experience with your surroundings. Temperature, (and yes rain) smells and noises are part of your interaction, something those who choose four wheels are largely insulated from in their comfortable cocoons. And of course there are the insects. One is mostly aware of the multitude of these little creatures as they regularly splat into your visor, usually exactly where an eye-ball is located. And one quickly learns that any attempt to wipe them off while riding only makes matters worse as they smear their green and yellow innards along with your finger. Indeed I am of the opinion that the worlds insects wake up each day and go out actively looking for bikers to assault. And more so bikers with open-face helmets so that they can exact their revenge for pesticides and the Chinese who eat them as delicacies.

So on this particular day a hereto happy bee was out looking for a biker and it found me. I do vaguely remember a thump as something whacked into my half-open riding jacket. Well that busy little bee impacted and managed to find enough residue energy to crawl inside my shirt and in its dying moments with a final push jabbed its sting into your writer. So I get to feel very close to my environment for the next hour as the pain throbs away in my chest. Brian casually remarks that he is highly allergic to bees and will most certainly die if stung, as he has no magic potion antidote with him. With these comforting words in my mind we arrive in Livingston and put “My Plan” into action.


A bee sting in all its glory
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Old 06-04-2012, 09:44 AM   #67
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“My Plan” is to load the bikes onto the back of a flat-bed transport truck and sit inside the lofty cabin viewing the world from up above. We will just cruise right through Zambia saving our tyres and catching up a few days. While a sharp reader would point out that these big trucks actually drive slower than our bikes can ride, it must be remembered that we stop often to rest (and drink beer) and they can go through the night. Brian is sceptical and rightly so. Bikers just don’t do that sort of thing he declares. It’s just not done. I quickly change tack and point out that we can drastically increase our beer intake as we will not be wearing helmets. He instantly forgets bike morality and is surely convinced so we flag down a truck and negotiate a transport deal…

I bribe a bunch of locals to help get the bikes up onto the flat-bed and naturally one gets a full load of fuel in his eye as the overflow pipe spurts gas:


See how to pretend to pull? look and learn!



Bottled water poured into the eye and a healthy bribe restores vision and order and we are off. We are lucky as this is a new Volvo truck being delivered by its owner so it is smooth and plush. Brian settles into the rest cabin behind as I survey the scenery up front.


Hmm i think he conned me....there was no mention of trucks

I have always viewed trucks with loathing in Africa as they flout the rules and drive dangerously. More specifically they totally ignore the presence of bikes and just do what they want. And now I am inside one and rapidly gaining a degree of respect. This is a dangerous business to be in. These trucks whizz past each other on the most narrow of roads. We are talking about easily over 30 tonnes of mass travelling at 50 mile-an-hour in opposite directions with around one foot between them. They actually fold their rear-view mirror inwards on the common side lest they get broken off by the passing truck on the other side of the road.

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Old 06-04-2012, 01:57 PM   #68
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Lusaka Luxury

We arrive in Lusaka late at night and drive all the way through the outskirts to what appears to be a slum district. Groups of people are huddled over fires on the sides of the road and Brian and I shift a little uncomfortably in our seats, thankful we are high up and somewhat invisible. We are making for an overnight truck stop. Allegedly there are rooms to rent. This is Lusaka so I am not expecting a lot. We leave the bikes strapped high and “safe” on the flat-bed and are shown to our beds. A thin trickle of brown liquid followed by a hissing sound is all that comes out of the tap in my “room”. I coat myself with mosquito repellent and pass out in my sleeping bag. The morning heralds a large yard filled with trucks belching diesel smoke (can someone tell me why these long-haul trucks always leave their stinky engines running?) and from the back of our truck I snap off a pic of the accommodation:


Hotel Lusakia
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Old 06-04-2012, 02:21 PM   #69
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Lusaka blues

Life was lonely for the little Honda on the back of the flat-bed truck



Our truck was heading east and we needed to go west to the border of Malawi at Chipata so I chilled out and left Mistah Blian in charge of finding another truck.



Your humble writer inscribing these very words...
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Old 06-05-2012, 10:53 AM   #70
WHYNOWTHEN
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Really enjoying this. much better than work! Keep it coming - I have to sit at this desk for a while.
Interesting that you don't like Zambia. My sister owns a fishing lodge just downstream from Ngonye Falls. I have really enjoyed Zambia when I have visited (not for a couple of years now). Wish I had a bike there. I would love to find some single track that went fro Vic. Falls to their lodge.

I am jealous of your adventure. Thank you for sharing!
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Old 06-05-2012, 01:32 PM   #71
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A Zambian affair

Quote:
Originally Posted by WHYNOWTHEN View Post
Really enjoying this. much better than work! Keep it coming - I have to sit at this desk for a while.
Interesting that you don't like Zambia. My sister owns a fishing lodge just downstream from Ngonye Falls. I have really enjoyed Zambia when I have visited (not for a couple of years now). Wish I had a bike there. I would love to find some single track that went fro Vic. Falls to their lodge.

I am jealous of your adventure. Thank you for sharing!
Hey WHYNOWTHEN! The truth is I do indeed enjoy Zambia – it’s a wonderful country with some good folk. The terrain can be extraordinary and breathtaking but the people seem to be somewhat bitter – most probably to do with their unique economic past of generosity towards their neighbours while the ordinary Zambian suffers somewhat. At least that’s how our truck driver (and owner) explained it to us. We notice a stark change in attitudes when crossing into, our out of, the country.

And thank YOU for following!
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Old 06-05-2012, 01:49 PM   #72
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Wicked Goodson

Brian eventually returns triumphantly with a Zimbabwean truck driver called Goodson who brings his truck alongside so we can shift the bikes over onto his flatbed.



Goodson is heading up to Chipata at the border of Malawi to pick up a load of something agricultural that will weigh 30 tonnes. His truck is not in the same league as our previous luxury cruiser, its an old bone-shaker that barely does 40 mile an hour. His wife’s sister is on board when i clamber in, apparently there to make sure he does not stray from the marital nest while stopping over in Lusaka. She has just popped in for 5 minutes to say hello and get a lift to the other side of town. She has some serious assets and is willing to share them with you my loyal fellow adventurers…


Goodson's sister-in-law Ms Babylon squeezes me into a corner - it's tough this business...
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:41 PM   #73
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We head east and Goodson quickly proves himself to be a super-careful driver. He takes no chances, always slowing down when a truck approaches from ahead or anything smells vaguely of danger. The road narrows right down to the width of the truck and at times he is forced to move off onto the gravel kerb. Take a look at how narrow the road is in this pic from the cab:



We spend the passing hours swapping stories about our respective lives and I gain an immense respect for this man. His life is tough but he pushes hard and spends days and weeks traversing the African continent to eke out a meagre existence.


Goodson at work


Brian and your writer at work
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Old 06-05-2012, 02:46 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by DesertSweeper View Post


Goodson's sister-in-law Ms Babylon squeezes me into a corner - it's tough this business...
Miss Babylon seems like she's been hitting the Ganja ....was in Livingstone 2 months back. My Wife didn't care much for the local accomodation & we stayed at the Royal Livingstone...it was like a retirement home...Zambia rips the Tourist off with entry Visa's.
Be safe...ride hard....enjoying the lekker ride report.
Cheers
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Old 06-05-2012, 03:53 PM   #75
tmotten
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Lovin this.

Not looking forward to that crossing. Any chance of paying that lady off or were you asked for the receipts down the track?
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