It’s Monday 18th December 2006 and the road trip

It’s Monday 18th December 2006 and the road trip

Simon was setting off early on Wednesday morning to take our boat to Lusaka for repairs. The drive is beautiful, although long, and I decided to hop on board and do the drive one last time. We departed at 0430 and were due to arrive in town at around 1530 – in time for me to do some Christmas shopping before flying back to the valley early on Thursday – well that was the plan!

Simon, dejected Keyala came along too, so that Simon had a co-pilot for the trip back and we all squashed into the cab. All went well until around1400 when we had a flat tyre. Not to worry – we put on the spare and were confident that we would reach Lusaka without another mishap – how wrong we were. After another couple of hours we had flat number two.. Oops out of spare tyres. Simon was not a happy bunny and we were miles from anywhere. However, just as we were deciding on our plan of action, Markus, our supplier in Lusaka, called to see how we were doing – we were luckily in a rare spot where mobile phones worked. Marcus (henceforth to be known as our Hero/Saviour) said that he would dispatch someone with a couple of spares and we just had to settle in for the long wait (5 hrs in the end). We jollied Simon along and were soon having fun. I set up the CD player with speakers in the boat and had Bob Marley blasting thorough the escarpment, made cups of tea and told bad jokes!

Waiting in the laybyBird watching

Kiki made the most of the time to do a little bird watching and spotted a black cuckoo and later both a pennant winged nightjar and a bat hawk. The sunset was pretty amazing and we were only missing the Mosi’s. However, we had eaten most of the sandwiches earlier in the day and hunger was setting in. Out of nowhere four ladies came to our rescue carrying large baskets of mangos on their heads – yummy.  We dispatched Kiki to do the negotiating and found that they had good business heads and persuaded him that he had to buy the whole basket. Peeling mangos kept the boys busy for some time. We eventually arrived in Lusaka some19 hrs after leaving Mfuwe, but it was a fun day.

Kiki buying mangosMango peeling

Lakeside Meanwhile, Robin and Jo had a week off and drove to Malawi. They were heading for Nyika Plateau after a night in Lilongwe with Simon and Shanie. However, they too had vehicle problems as Jo’s Rav4 did not like the Chipata Road and they ended up having to leave it in Lilongwe and hire a car.  This all took time and they set off late.  A night stop on the way ended up being the plan and it was Makuzi Beach, on the lake, that ended up providing the beds.  Once there Jo would not leave for another 4 nights! Nyika was delayed. Wonderful stormy clouds and rain of course meant lots of sleeping and reading. The camp was on a private beach but Robin wandered along the shoreline one day and camp across a temporary fishing village in the next bay – fascinating to watch the fishermen mending nets, smoking fish and coming in off the lake through the surf.

fishermen mending netscoming in off the lake

Nyika View
After a few days here they set off on the drive to Nyika which is pretty spectacular. Again the rains had arrived so there was lots of sitting in front of roaring open fires, drinking hot marmite and sleeping.

However, Robin and Jo did get out to see the wonderful views and some lovely wildlife including roan antelope and reed buck.

roan antelope

David and Robyn Foot, who run Chelinda Lodge, have 36 horses for guests to ride but energy levels meant that RoJo were not tempted to gallop over the open hills preferring to gamedrive!

Horse for hireRobin and Jo

Both have returned relaxed and ready for Christmas and we are happy to have them home.

Stay well and good luck with the carol singing!

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