25th to 30th August

Monday 25 August

We get up at 6, a little before sunrise. It’s very cold this morning. We take our time to organize our panniers. Finally, we leave the camping, around 10h.

lowsize_-09589

In the end, we have spent 8 days here, and it has been very pleasant. The camping was very calm, with wonderful staff and great neighbours. And every day, we have been busy with new activities. We feel lucky to have done and seen so much here (and escaped the money sucking activities for tourists). To go to Lusaka, we follow the N1. It’s the main road, so of good quality, but the traffic is not so bad. Maybe one big truck or bus passes us every minute. The way is slightly up. It feels good to finally turn the legs after one week of idleness.

lowsize_-1170494
lowsize_-09601

The whole way, we have a roadside 1m wide for us. But we need it, because here in Zambia, drivers are reluctant to move from their line to leave space for the cyclists. The landscape is mainly yellow with herbs and trees! quite similar to what we saw in the north of Namibia.

lowsize_-09623
lowsize_-09611

lowsize_-1170507

After 80km, we arrive at Zimba. It’s a small town but we can find a guest house. For dinner, we try the Nshima, the local type of Pap (a sticky tasteless purée of corn).

Tuesday 26 August

We get up at 6. It takes some time to get ready this morning, but less than yesterday. The road is still slightly going up. And today, we have front wind. On each side of the road, there is a fence. In addition, there are no signs of wild animals (like broken branches, footprints or dung!), what a pity! Only cows and goats are to be seen.And birds.

lowsize_-1170536
lowsize_-1170527

We arrive in Kalomo just at lunch time. We enjoy to eat in a restaurant: pizzas, French fries, ice cream, chocolate cake. Well, nothing much typical, but it’s good.

lowsize_-09699
lowsize_-09709

The afternoon is a little harsh. We have head wind the whole day. At 17h, one hour before sunset, we decide to stop. There is a house with some people around, and after talking a bit, they allow us to put the tent here. In fact, the owner of the house (and the surroundings crops) is in the town, and he has several temporary workers for the fields. At night, we see a prairie fire not so far away. The locals don’t care about it, despite that it seems uncontrollable as soon as there is a gust of wind. And the fire is coming in the direction of the houses. Let’s hope we can get up tomorrow.

lowsize_-09716
lowsize_-09721

Wednesday 27 August

We are still here! A big part of the savanna has burnt, but as they all had gone to sleep unworried, I guess it happens a lot.

lowsize_-09727

lowsize_-09777
lowsize_-09801

This morning, we are rather slow on the road. We arrive at Choma, at 11h. We do some shopping, and it’s already time for lunch. Choma is the capital of the Southern province, and it hosts an interesting museum about the local history and traditions of the Tonga people. The afternoon is very different. Dominika falls from her bike (but don’t worry, she manages to take a picture while falling).

lowsize_-09794

Then, she cycles like crazy, faster than what we used to do in the good days. So we reach Pemba, 100km of cycling today, at 17h. We find a guest house there. The room is absolutely huge, with two big beds. In fact, it’s the room of the owner.

lowsize_-1170564

We have a traditional dinner: a little of chicken, some vegetables, and a lot of nshima. The electricity does not seem very stable, the light suddenly changes brightness, and we have several electricity shortages in the night and the next morning.

Thursday 28 August

Given the speed we now have, we decide to take our time. We leave around 9h.

lowsize_-09846

The wind is slightly from behind us, and we globally go down, so the kilometres change very fast. We pass Monze, another big city,it’s not noon yet, so we continue. Between the cities, there are often people on the side of the road selling their products: generally a big basket of charcoal, or some chickens, or a pile of stones! And there are many schools in the proximity of the big roads, each proudly announcing its motto. Mottos are like “Hard working for success”, “Education to improve Zambia”, !

lowsize_-09888

We eat our food in a future restaurant: everything is already build, but there is no connection to electricity. Here, in the remote areas (i.e. outside the cities), the client has to pay for the transformer, which costs about 6000€!

We arrive around 16h30 in Mazabuka, and find a very nice guest house. The good surprise of the day is to find our favourite cereals in the Spar in Mazabuka. We buy 4 more kilos, to be sure to have some breakfast till our departure. We have dinner in a Lebanese snack place, with a delicious chicken Shawarma.

Friday 29 August

The room was infested with mosquitoes. The pest did not stop buzzing and stinging the whole night, waking us up many times. Today, we are going to Kafue, only some 80km, so we take our time. Ju’s back wheel needs some air, and we have lost the adapter of the pump for the Presto valve. Looking all over Mazabuka, we cannot find a shop to inflate the wheel. Here, there are many bikes, but all are simple and robust, with a valve similar to the one of the car (to be able to inflate in gas stations). The salvation comes from a bicycle enthusiast driving by, who went to his house to fetch his pump for us.

The road conditions have dramatically changed since yesterday. There is no more roadside to drive on, and a lot more traffic. It makes the ride horrendous, with trucks horning from far away, and then passing by the bike very close.

lowsize_-00012
lowsize_-09927

Just stay concentrated not to be destabilised by the shockwave of the trucks. And the road is more mountainous than the previous days, so we are desperately slower than expected.

In the afternoon, we stop for a Coke and a chat with locals.

lowsize_-00009
lowsize_-00037

As we pass the Kafue river (an affluent of the Zambezi river), we see a sign for a camping. It’s just by the river, and we hear hippos fighting on the other shore.

lowsize_-00046
lowsize_-1170602

lowsize_-00048

Saturday 30 August

The hippos are still here this morning. We hear them fighting while we prepare our bikes. As some fishermen are going down the river, we ask them to take us on a boat ride to go to see the hippos.

lowsize_-1170615

Unfortunately, we don’t get much closer, though the ride is nice. The road starts nicely, very easy to cycle. But after only 10km, it becomes like hell: a lot of traffic, big trucks, strong air pollution, very dusty, the roadside full of potholes! Cycling in these condition is a hard time, even for a Beijing dweller used to the pollution.

lowsize_-00111
lowsize_-00103

It takes us 3 hours to reach Lusaka. 3 hours of closing the mouth, gritting the teeth, sacrificing the nose, getting pushed by the trucks shockwave, under a depressing landscape, crowned by a 100m high cement tower from Lafarge! We finally arrive in Lusaka, at the Kalulu backpackers, just in time for lunch. That’s it! We did it! No more bike in Africa! We have reached our final destination. We enjoy some much deserved hours of idleness in the afternoon.

lowsize_-00133
lowsize_-00135

In the evening, we go to meet Alex, another friend of Mick from the master. She is from Australia, and has been working here for three months already in water sanitisation projects. We go to have a pizza in an Italian restaurant, the best I have eaten so far.

Here you are for the video of the last part of the adventure: