Lusaka to Livingstone, Livingstone to Western Province, Livingstone to Chipata - 30th January 2011 - 11th February 2011
We flew into Lusaka without incident and managed to swing a standby flight to Livingstone later that day. A great result as this flight cost the same as a return taxi ride into Lusaka and back to the airport would have done. It was great fun bouncing through the wet skies in the tiny plane and a mere 50 minutes after take-off we were flying over the falls.
We holed up in Zigzag, one of our favourite spots in Livingstone and waited for the work on the car to be finished. Then we set out to test it over the worst road we could find and bumped and ground our way up to Kabula Lodge on the Mongu Road. This was a very special spot which we had all to ourselves and the fish eagles and we wish we could have stayed longer. Still the trip served it's purpose, shaking a few things loose and after a quick session back at Foley's we were ready for our journey.
We have spent some quality time in Zambia already so we didn't dawdle and headed up the east road to our "most-crossed" border at Mchinji.
After almost a year we were back in Malawi!
Lusaka to Livingstone and back to Lusaka - 5th December 2010 - 10th December 2010
So it was back to Lusaka and then Livingstone for an extremely painful couple of days removing everything from the car and sorting it out - some to come home, some to go into storage and some to be given away. It's a bit like moving house.
We also had a bad experience on the journey back when an articulated truck jack-knifed behind us (we were stationary at the time waiting o go over speed humps on the way out of a small town). Luckily for us (though not for them) it was brought to a halt by traffic traveling the other way.
We then had to try and cram all 100kg plus of luggage onto the coach and travel back up to Lusaka to catch our flight home.
Kapishya Hot Springs, Shiwa Ngandu and Mutinondo Wilderness - 2nd December 2010 - 4th December 2010
If Kasanka was top of my wishlist, then Shiwa N'gandu was top of Jerry's. Shiwa is an English estate bizarrely transposed into an African landscape. It was built by Stuart Gore-Browne in the 1920's, an incredible achievement in the middle of the African bush, and the story of how it came to be is told in the book "The Africa House".
We took a tour of the house, or rather a few rooms as it is the home of Gore Browne's descendents, Jo and Charlie Harvey. They have renovated the house, which fell into disrepair after Gore Browne died, and do take in guests but at prices with four digits (in sterling!) so we camped at the hot springs also on the estate but about 30 km from the house. The springs were quite an experience and we had them all to ourselves.
On the way back from Shiwa we over-nighted at Mutindo Wilderness. A beautiful unspolit area about 30km off the Great North Road. It isn't known for it's wildlife viewing but we were warned when checking in that lions had been in the area recently, probably passing through from South Luangwa. Tracks had been found but their presence was confirmed when they found one of their horses had been eaten.
Kasanka National Park - 29th November 2010 - 1st December 2010
Kasanka is famous for it's bats. That may not sound too exciting but David Attenborough thinks this is one of the wonders of the world and he's usually a fairly good judge.
Every November Kasanka hosts the biggest mammal migration in the world. As many as 8 million fruit bats, with wing spans of up to 1 metre, migrate to Kasanka to feed on berries. Over the next two months the weight of the roosting bats destroys the forest with huge boughs breaking off. Each evening, as the sun sets, all 8 million bats take to the skies for a night of foraging, which is an unbelievable sight. Quite literally the sky fills with bats.
Kasanka is also one of the best places in the world to see the sitatunga, a rare and very shy antelope that lives in water. If scared it will hide underwater with just it's nostrils showing. It also has bizarre splayed feet to allow it to move through marshy areas.
Livingstone to Lusaka - 27th November - 28th November 2010
We crossed the border without problems (unless you count an empty wallet), overnighted in Livingstone and then headed to Lusaka. Our plan - a whistle-stop tour of northern Zambia.