Zambia Part VI – Chasing Waterfalls

As usual, we left Kasama way too late to go to Lumangwe Falls. Our first stop, though, was only 30 km down the road at Chishimba Falls. It was truly breathtaking.

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From Chishimba, the road to Lumangwe Falls was at first passable tar, then bad gravel, and then complete nightmare gravel, sand and rocks. The road from Kasama to Lumangwe Falls were only 277 km, but we arrived after dark. The attendant showed us the camping spots and we set up camp with the roaring sound of the falls as backtrack. Hugo and the children went to have a look at the waterfall and came back saying it was spectacular. Even in the dark. We could not hear each other and Hugo and I had to yell while we were trying to set up camp. After we finished, I also went to have a look. Apparently we were only about 30 meters away from the top of the falls.

When we were at Victoria Falls in Livingstone, I saw a notice at the gate that for three nights, at inflated prices, you could get access to the falls to take photos of the lunar rainbow at night, during the full moon. I’ve never heard of it, but we sadly missed it by a day.

When I reached Lumangwe Falls, late at night, with the full moon hanging in the sky, the rainbow took my breath away. I ran back immediately to get Hugo and the kids and my camera. I’d only heard of it four weeks ago and here we had our own one! [Ed: For free!]

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The fact that I was tired didn’t stop me. I blundered around in the dark with my tripod and my flashlight trying to get the perfect photo. We were at the top, and towards the one side of the falls the ravine dropped down, with no railings or warnings. A 100-metre drop to your death if you take a wrong step. Eventually I decided that it was better to go to bed rather than risk falling off due to being half drunk of tiredness.

That night in bed, with the sound of the water thundering down, Gustav said it was like trying to sleep on the plane.

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When we woke up, the sight was even better and much scarier than the night before. We could now see exactly how close we were to the falls and how high it was to the bottom. Standing in front of the falls was almost like standing in front of a smaller version of Victoria Falls. The spray don’t reach the tent, but in front of the falls you needed protection against the water. There was a railing of some sort, but the walkway was so slippery with water, moss and algae that you would only walk there if you had a death wish. That evening we tried to take photos from the front and we laid our one ground net on the walkway to get a bit of grip but it didn’t work as planned.

We took a day-trip to Kabweluma Falls. They were smaller, but as spectacular and definitely worth the trouble. We had to walk a few hundred metres to the falls ̶ all the way on boardwalks!

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Due to the less than lovely bathrooms and lack of hot water, we started up our gas geyser and hosed everyone down in lieu of a shower. The children thought that was great fun! At least all of us were clean.

On our second and last, night, three other South African vehicles arrived. The three couples came from the north and told us about Ndole Bay on Lake Tanganyika. We were on our way to another place at the lake, but after hearing about Ndole, we changed our minds and the next morning we were on our way to Ndole Bay.

And then

That brought us to Wednesday, 1 July 2015, Day 128. At that stage, we’d done 20 075 kilometres! We’d also had a bent axle, a puncture in one of Petronella’s tyres, a broken air inlet and a flooded car and problems with our charging system. The electric cable between the car and trailer had broken twice, tent poles inside the tent had come undone, and had bent on another occasion. There had been a torn tent door which I had to fix, two broken seals on the rear axle, a broken bolt on the auxiliary fuel tank, a loose exhaust, loose batteries in the trailer, and a noisy front coil spring on the car. But that didn’t break us.

We crossed rivers by driving through them or using pontoons. We had driven a horrible mountain pass at night. We’d been chased by elephants. We’d been woken up by hippos, monkeys, baboons, cats and dogs near our tent. We’d been very hot and very cold. I had almost drowned in the Zambezi. Hugo had killed my laptop and PartServe had not really been interested in the serving thing. Still we were not broken; still full of enthusiasm.

The road to Ndole Bay. That was the thing that nearly broke us.

It took us 10 hours to do a mere 260 km.

10 hours.

260 km.

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