So the roads got worse, much worse

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Africa » Zambia
March 2nd 2020
Published: March 3rd 2020
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We had a leisurely start for once knowing it was only an hour or so to the border with Zambia and then 2 hours to our destination on the shore of Tanganiyka. Unfortunately a combination of Customs officials, thunderstorm and terrible roads meant that took nearer 9 hours.

The road to the border post with Zambia wasn’t great and there was no traffic. We expected a poor mud track but what was startling was that in the 2 hours it took us to get there we saw 2 small trucks, nothing else. We were prepared for a small border. Leaving Tanzania proved very easy and took approximately 10 minutes.

Entering Zambia took a little longer. The visas were surprisingly easy to sort in a hut that didn’t seem to have a working computer but unfortunately the Customs man wasn’t at work yet (at 1130am) and was on his way. To make matters worse it started raining really hard and it became clear the customs man would be a while as the road was bad. Eventually he turned up at 1330 and was very pleasant and apologetic. He described the drive ahead into Zambia as exciting for us.

A road is the wrong description, a track does a dis-service to a crafted path through a place. The “road” we had to drive down looked like a river bed with huge rocks everywhere and no obvious route to drive down. We probably drove at just over walking pace for about an hour and were at times in water about ½ a metre deep. The road was mud and rock and we slipped all over the place but then as if by magic after about 2 hours a tarmac road appeared (and the rain stopped).

We headed into the town of Mbala to do some shopping and re-stock, it wasn’t the best but it was fine. We considered heading back out on bad roads to see a waterfall but we just didn’t think the car would make it. So we headed on to the shores of Lake Tanganiyka.

We headed to a place which ended up in a track that ended up being non-existent but eventually emerged on the shores amongst a small collection of thatched mud huts. We pitched up about 5m from the water and had a great swim (under slightly stormy skies) and even managed to semi swim with 3 otters who came within about 10m of us.

We also decided to remove the front bumper bar. It has now been bent back into position at least 10 times and just hangs redundant. It has certainly done its job but now must be retired.

We enjoyed a peaceful evening by the water and hope, just hope for tarmac roads tomorrow.

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