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Published: October 4th 2014
Despite having to ride an extra 200kms, Jaap had arrived in Kabwe before me and his bike was parked up outside the hotel we had agreed to meet at. The reunion was emotional: "Looks like your front fork is leaking Jaap". "Godverdomme".
The next morning Jaap used a £4 piece of plastic I had purchased before the trip called the "Seal Mate" in an attempt to clean out any gunk that might be causing the leak from his front suspension. After he had spent a while on it, and uttered more than a few Godverdommes, I wandered over to check how it was going. He gave me the bad news - it wasn't working - but showed me the resealing process by giving it one last shot. Worked like a charm. No leak for the rest of the trip.
We rode down to Lusaka and found a great little backpackers in the city suburb of Northmead to put up our tents. Seeing as it was my birthday, we headed out for a few beers. As we sat watching the world go by the first thing that became apparent was how seriously the woman in Lusaka took their hair styling.
There were small hairstylist shops everywhere, and the general level of hair maintenance was intense.
Later in the evening we moved on to a bar with zero white people and the loudest music I have ever experienced. As Jaap pointed out "you'd go to jail for this volume in Switzerland". The bouncer was a giant of a man, and wearing a rugby jersey. I got in to a chat with him about rugby, and it turned out that his former coach was from New Zealand, and once he realised I was a Kiwi he couldn't do enough for us. Brilliant night.
We blasted down the next day towards Livingstone on the border with Zimbabwe. Livingstone is a historic British colonial city named after David Livingstone, the first European to explore the area. It's now a tourist hotspot providing easy access to Victoria Falls, Zambezi white water rafting, and wildlife tours. At this stage in the trip it was like being back in Europe for us, so it was hard not smile when a girl on her gap year was telling us how she was freaking out about being in "the real Africa".
The Zambezi river just below
Victoria Falls has some of the biggest commercially rafted rapids in the world, so we booked a day white water rafting. Brilliant. The rapids are huge, but due to the volume of water there is not much to get stuck on or under, so it is pretty safe. We got munched and flipped a couple of times, and saw a raft ahead of us get compressed then shot in to the air with the only guy to hold on being hoisted into the air before dropping spectacularly to the water below. Great to be in the sun, wet, and enjoying the thrills of the angry Zambezi chaos.
Another highlight was sneaking up to Victoria Falls' "Devil's Pool". This is a small pool at the edge of the falls where you can poke your head over the side as a barrage of water rolls over the falls to your right and down to the river 110 metres below. It's only accessible for a couple of months a year, and as the rains had started was only going to be open for another week or so. Normally you pay around US$75-135 for a short dip in the pool with a guide,
With a Mosi beer which has the falls on its label.
but we managed to bribe the night guard for $5 each and enjoyed a couple of beers as the sun set in front of us through the spray of the falls. Not a bad last evening in Zambia.
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