Hello again. It seems like ages since we last posted. We do have a watertight excuse though: it’s all that bloody Lake Malawi’s fault. It lured us in a couple of weeks ago and has managed to keep us blissfully sidetracked ever since. But all is not lost. The fact that we’re even writing this post means we’ve escaped that wretchedly perfect lake and its seductive ways.
We’re about 120kms south now, up on the Zomba Plateau, where it is absolutely freezing. I’m struggling to make contact with the right keys while Kerryn struggles to milk a few more flames from our puny fire. Probably shouldn’t have camped tonight. But let’s not dwell on the present. It’s way too cold.
The last time we made an update we were in Lusaka. Zambia’s frenetic capital provided us with cheap(er), fast(er) internet, a movie, which was nice, and some familiar food brands. But not much else. We ended up spending 3 nights there – two at a place called Eureka Camp, on the west side of town, and one at Pioneer Camp, about 10 kms east of the CBD. Both were safe, cheap and cleanish, which is all you can really ask of a campsite on the outskirts of a city like Lusaka. For once, we weren’t too unhappy to hit the road again. This one even had a fancy name.
The Great East Road does head east, all the way to the Malawian border in fact. But it’s hardly great. With all its potholes and Kamikaze bus drivers, perhaps The Okay East Road would have worked a little harder. Nonetheless, if you’re heading for Malawi it’s your only option. So The Great East Road it was. We were a little frustrated with the “highway” system in Zambia, which makes it very difficult to travel the country without always having to come back to Lusaka. This means lots of wasted fuel and lots of wasted time. As a result, Zambia became a bit of a transit stop for us. Before departing, however, we did manage to squeeze in one of the country’s highlights.
We ended up spending three nights at Wildlife Camp, but obviously the main reason we were there was to go into the park itself. You probably need four or five days in South Luangwa. We could only afford one. Fortunately our game-viewing luck was still with us and we managed to see some awesome stuff. The highlight was definitely a beautiful female leopard and her cub on a kill, high up in a big Leadwood. It was tricky to get any decent photos, but we sat watching them for about an hour, all on our own, bar one very frustrated hyena.
The next morning we were back on the bumpy road to Chipata, in the far southeastern corner of the country. Several people had warned us about a massive diesel crisis in Malawi, so we filled up all the jerry cans before heading down the road to the Malawian border. We’ve been driving all over Malawi for about three weeks now and, apart from once or twice when we ran out of firelighters, we haven’t had to touch the jerry cans on the roof. What crisis? It’s been one of many pleasant surprises in what might be the coolest country either of us have ever visited.