Lake Kariba - end of the journey! Danger...crocs, hippos, and bus journeys!

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Africa » Zambia » Lake Kariba
August 1st 2013
Published: November 12th 2013
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Zimbabwe guard looking to ZambiaZimbabwe guard looking to ZambiaZimbabwe guard looking to Zambia

Looking across the Kariba Dam

Lake Kariba

At the busy Central Market, we hopped on a minibus to Siavonga that the taxi driver herded us into! Someone was yelling “Siavonga” out of the window so we were glad to be on the right bus….and he continued to shout Siavonga the entire way there, picking up new passengers!

We drove down very dusty roads, and with windows open, I felt the layer of road dust build up on my skin. Sunglasses were not only for the sun, but for protection from dusty clouds! We thought the journey would be 2-3 hours, but we were quite wrong! With stops and starts, luggage on and off, it was around 5 hours! We saw the turn off to Siavonga, but the driver wanted us to drive to the border town (Zimbabwe border) to collect some more passengers and their belongings! We had little choice in the matter! Lindsay and I sat in the front as they loaded up the back of the van for the final leg to Siavonga. We had a very charismatic driver named Ben. He kept saying “see the lake, see the lake” We thought…yes but…could you also see the road please!!

He also came to the conclusion that I would get married to a Zambian man within one year and have a wedding in Zambia! Not so sure about that one!

Finally we made it to our destination and we took a taxi to Eagles Rest for some peace and tranquility!

We sat by the lake, which had signs to beware of hippos and crocs! We watched the sunset and sat reading by the lake before having lake bream for dinner. All very relaxing.

Woke up to a windy lake with waves - it was like being by the sea! We had breakfast by the pool and a nice relaxing morning before taking a taxi to the Kariba dam.

We left our passports at the office on the Zambia side. We walked across until we saw a gate that looked like we shouldn't go further and we didn't want to get into trouble in Zimbabwe! We started walking back but then the Zimbabwe soldier told us that we could go further, and read about the dam on the Zim side. So, we went back past that gate and into Zimbabwe - the soldier took our photo by the "welcome to Zimbabwe" sign.

He said there are usually tourists but today it was quiet - it was election day in Zimbabwe. A topic we thought we should avoid discussing further with him, despite wanting to ask! He did show us another viewpoint up the hill, until we said that we would turn back. He told us about what things we could see if we travelled to Zimbabwe and asked us when we would come back. We crossed back over the dam and entered back into Zambian territory. From there the taxi took us to the junction where we were to get a minibus to Lusaka.

We (thankfully, in hindsight) popped to the shop nearby and got some crackers, before boarding another minivan. He pointed to the bus that basically looked full! After some rearranging, we found a spot at the back of the minibus because we were going all the way to Lusaka. Others got on and off along the way. It was an event in itself watching all these people packed into the minibus around us, let alone their bags, children, containers, and more. Unfortunately something very foul smelling also made its way onto the bus. It smelt like meat, but who knows. We had the windows open - inhaling the dust was better than this smell. A few times when we stopped, hands and food would be pushed through the windows, and we bought some bananas from a lady at the window for 2 kwatcha. Others were selling vegetables, apples or oranges. Boys were going by on bicycles laden with charcoal. It was another interesting ride!!

(new para) When the journey ended, we were in the middle of Lusaka city market which is slightly chaotic. Hundreds of minibuses parked of piling through(? – not sure what this should be) and beeping horns, men shouting destinations from the windows, at the same time as people navigating round the buses selling candy or fruit. Around the market, ladies were selling dried fish, vegetables, rice, and others were selling everything else from shoes to belts to tyres. It was a very interesting place to wander. I wished I could have been invisible and taken photos, but unfortunately it is a place they advise you to go to without any valuables, so wielding a large camera would not have been a smart idea.

The market trailed off quite a long way, and we walked to the main Cairo road, before turning off on our route home where we were glad of the walk to use our legs after a 4 and a half hour journey!

Back at Lusaka Backpackers we showered the layers of Zambian roads off our bodies.

Last day in Lusaka!

Our last day in Lusaka, we walked out towards Burma Road and went all the way along to Kabwata Cultural village - lots of pretty thatched huts from which people were selling every kind of Zambian craft from wooden masks and animals to jewelry, quilts, combs, baskets, and more. It was very colorful and pleasant to look at. We went round many of them, lots selling similar things. At each hut we were greeted with "hello sister", "you can touch, touching is free!" They were all keen to show us everything they had made and all very friendly and genuine. It is indeed a great place to go to buy local products.

From Kabwata we walked along the dusty streets further, along the side of the road mostly, due to lack of pavement. We reached the Cenotaph and British High Commission before entering the park that holds the President’s burial ground. The previous presidents are all alive apart from this one, the third president.

By this time we were getting very hungry and conveniently found our way to the Intercontinental Hotel where they had no ‘a la carte’, but a buffet lunch by the pool – so we treated ourselves! A nice end to a fab trip!

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