Days 70 to 75: Katete to Chipata

Date: 23 to 28.12.16
Blog entry date: 26.12.16
Distance: 89km
Odometer: 4 288km
Avg speed: 21.8km/hr
Time on bike: 4h05min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 2 (Days 5&46)
Max speed of tour (Day 14): 65.8km/hr

Transfered from Chipata to Marula Lodge close to Mfuwe with taxi. Staying in a chalet at the lodge which is located immediately outside the South Luangwa National Park.

We were on the bikes at 05:30, motivated by the expectation to get to the lodge at the South Luangwa Park. It was one of a few days in Zambia without a cloud in the sky. Accordingly the sun made its presence felt and at 09:00 it was hot. We made good time and arrived in Chipata around 10:00. We planned to take the bus to the lodge at 14:00 so we had enough time for some admin. 

Marula lodge very generously offer free accommodation for touring cyclists. They also brought us in contact with Dean’s View Lodge in Chipata where we could leave our bicycles. After shopping we cycled to Dean’s View. It is run by a young Italian couple. We had a delicous lunch there. The wife of the owner makes all food herself.  To be expected from Italians, this may well have been our best food in Zambia. We enjoyed this in a relaxed atmosphere with a great view of Chipata and the hills on the opposite side of town. A perfect start for our Christmas break. 

A taxi was arranged to take us to the bus stop for the commute to the lodge. Upon arrival at the terminus we were told that the bus has been cancelled. Quickly we had an offer of taking a taxi to the lodge, at a higher price of course. After enquiry we were informed that the Toyota-hatch will transport another 4 persons besides us. We objected and said this is not an acceptable. The taxi driver said the only option is for us to buy-out the other seats. We finally did this as we were desperate to get to the lodge for Christmas. It was a ride we will not forget, for all the wrong reasons. At one point he picked up another passenger along route. As if the most normal thing in the world he climbed in at the front, sharing a seat with the driver! It was not the whole way, and after he alighted I told the driver he shall not perform this stunt again. I also observed that he will drive fast then switch off the ignition and free the car. In an attempt to voice our disapproval I told him he drives very irresponsible, to which his response was “thank you”! I very firmly made him understand that that was the wrong response. Better to stay on the bicycles and out of the cars 😁. 

The lodge is on the south bank of the Luangwa river, the same river we camped next to at the Luangwa bridge camp (day 66). The Luangwa flows into the Zambesi a few kilometers further south of the bridge camp. 

Late afternoon at the lodge a hippo was grazing lazily on the grass at the lodge. I have never seen such a site and found it amazing! We were very tired though and went to bed  shortly after dinner.

On the 24th we attended Christmas carols on a beautiful green open field. A local choir did the singing and all the lodges in the area attended. We enjoyed this although the atmosphere was not really Christmas like. It was also the most white people we have seen together since Namibia 😱. 

Most of the singing was in the local language. I guess the majority of whites could not understand the words but enjoyed the occasion. Unfortunately this is what happened to the real meaning of Christmas. People enjoy the occasion but are disconnected from the real meaning of Christmas: celebrating God’s greatest gift to humanity, to be reconciled with Him through Jesus. 

On the 25th we enjoyed 2 game drives. The park is very green and the scenery stunning. During the evening drive we saw hyena, lion and giraffe. 

We will stay until the 28th before returning to Chipata and then continue into Malawi. 

Thanks for following. 

Willem & Eva

Fields which were being worked by he locals.

A view of the road. Still in very good condition.

A hippo on the grass at the lodge.

Luangwa river as seen from the lodge with two locals on Mokoros.

Scene from the area.

Christmas carrols in the Zambian bush.

Elephant very close to our vehicle during the game drive.

The environment varies between very dense lush green bush and large open fields such as where we had a break.

Scene during our evening drive.

We saw many zebra.


Day 69: Petauke to Katete

Date: 22.12.16
Blog entry date: 22.12.16
Distance: 89km
Odometer: 4 199km
Avg speed: 23.3km/hr
Time on bike: 3h50min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 2 (Days 5&46)
Max speed of tour (Day 14): 65.8km/hr

Staying at Golden View lodge, basic accommodation but will do for the night.

We started a bit later today after 09:00 after a breakfast at the lodge. Nice to have some variation in food. Considered to take transport to Chipata as I was not feeling good. However ended up riding and all went well. I’m fine and did not feel too bad in the end. 

Today for the first time cycled all the way in my normal pants. Felt good. A sign that my bottom is now properly used to the saddle. 

The road condition was very good today. Smooth wide shoulder. There was a part under construction with a gravel detour. We could however cycle on the constructed road wich was not too bad. Today while taking a break a group of older kids came and stared at us the whole time. They must have found us pretty entertaining. One with a phone took some pictures of us. 

We stopped along route at Sinda for cold drinks which was very refreshing. Arrived at Katete just before the rains started. 

We are a day’s cycling away from Chipata and very excited to go from there to the South-Luangwa National Park for Christmas. 

Willem & Eva

Very good road condition.

Sinda, where we could buy some cold drinks.

We often see farmland between the natural vegetation.

Day 68: Nyimba to Petauke

Note: Photos of days 65 & 66 uploaded as of 21.12.16

Date: 21.12.16
Blog entry date: 21.12.16
Distance: A rainy 67km
Odometer: 4 110km
Avg speed: 21.5km/hr
Time on bike: 3h07min
Problems: Rain
Flat tyre counter: 2 (Days 5&46)
Max speed of tour (Day 14): 65.8km/hr

Staying in a chalet at Chimwemwe lodge in Petauke. Very nice, considering previous accommodation we have had in Zambia (although we have discovered the aircon is not working!). Up to now our impression of Zambia is that their hospitality industry is not good. Ok, we are in middle Africa but we find it very hard to find good accommodation. We do not mind roughing it out, but to consistently have this can get to you. Every once in a while we do want to have proper accommodation. Especially on the bicycles we are at the mercy of what is within a certain distance of our route. No hot water, no toilet seat, shower and toilet in same cubicle, worn out mattresses, questionable bedding hygiene, funny smells, we’ve had it all. Oh, but most have DSTV, or at least some version of it. Camping is also not always possible. Point is, when we find comparitively good accommodation it’s worth a mention.

Just as we got ready to cycle, the rain started again. We waited until 10:30 and ventured onto the road. Above us clear skies, but on the eastern horison dark skies. With the wind from the front (this never changes) it started raining again after 10km. We continued and cycled through it up to about kilometer 28. Soaking wett, but once the rain is done, the heat quickly dried us out again. The bikes got a good wash 😁.

The kids from the local villages along route consistently shout, “how are you?” repeatedly ad infinitum. Some of them sound like they go into an hysteria and change into wild screams. We still try and wave every so often, but just ignore many of them, it becomes just too much. It is after all not possible to wave to every kid along route in Zambia😁. Once in a while some ask for money or sweets. From other cyclists we understand that Ethiopian children takes this to the next level. They become outright aggressive with sticks and stones. Fortunately the Zambian kids are not there yet.

Should have been an easy day, but I was feeling tired. We both are in need of a longer break from cycling and our plan is to take up to a week off at the South-Luangwa National Park (spending Christmas there). If all goes to plan, another 2 days to Chipata and from there a shuttle transfer to the park which is more than 100km off our route. At the moment the anticipation off this break keeps us going

Willem & Eva

Day 66: Nyamphande to Luangwa bridge camp

Date: 19.12.16
Blog entry date: 19.12.16
Distance: A difficult 111km
Odometer: 4 040km
Avg speed: 21.6km/hr
Time on bike: 5h07min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 2 (Days 5&46)
Max speed of tour (Day 14): 65.8km/hr

Camping tonight at the Luangwa bridge camp, overlooking the Luangwa river with Mozambique accross the water. 

It rained a lot last night but cleared up by the morning. We expected a lot of climbing today. We got exactly that and more. It was hill after hill the whole day. Today ranks as one of the hardest days so far and I’m very proud of Eva who did great. I think we did beteeen 1 000m and 1 100m climbing. 

The kids along route always shout “how are you” again and again. I have never heard thtis phrase so much. They do not allow an answer, they just keep repeating this. This however is evident that they are being taught english at an early age. We could get along with english in Zambia everywhere, even in rural areas. This might change in other countries. 

The scenery was stunning, cycling through all the green forested hills. The road was not very busy and that is always a good thing. 

It is now mango season in Zambia and we have had mangoes everyday for the past few days. 

Willem & Eva

Early morning snapshot.

Beautiful scenery as the road cut through the hills.

This was a very tough pass and Eva did great.

Curious what’s around that bend?

Another massive uphill!

Most of the day was spent between the hills. Beautiful but tough.

Beautiful colours.

Looking back to some of the hills we cycled through.

From the camp, looking accross the Luangwa river to Mozambique.

Day 65: Chongwe to Nyamphande

Date: 18.12.16
Blog entry date: 18.12.16
Distance: A hilly 82km
Odometer: 3 929km
Avg speed: 21.2km/hr
Time on bike: 3h50min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 2 (Days 5&46)
Max speed of tour (Day 14): 65.8km/hr

Staying at a orphanage/school/church in Nyamphande. We pitched the tent without the flysheet in a classroom. Convenient as it started raining again.

The route today was very hilly. For a long time we cycled in a light drizzle. It was enough to keep cool, but not too much to get soaked. The scenery was beautiful, very green between the hills. We did a lot of climbing and are glad to have this accommodation tonight as there are no larger village/town close by. We asked for permission and the head of school was very friendly and accommodating. 

At the school it was not long before the local kids discovered us. At first there are a few shy ones around, but their number grows and they become more comfortable as time goes by. Now they are staring at us with wide eyes through the windows following our every move. After a while a bit of a nuisance, but they are just curious and we do not mind them too much. 

Thanks for following. 

Willem & Eva

Snapshot of the route.

Lush green vegetation.

Back to school.

The cattle came grazing in front of our home for the night.

No sleeping in the classroom, yeah right 😁

The kids were intrigued while we plan the route ahead.

A reminder of where we are. This map was painted on the side of the school.

Dinner: pasta, sausage, onion, sauce.

Days 62 to 64: Kafue to Lusaka

Date: 15 to 17.12.16
Blog entry date: 17.12.16
Distance: 55km
Odometer: 3 848km
Avg speed: 22.1km/hr
Time on bike: 2h30min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 2 (Days 5&46)
Max speed of tour (Day 14): 65.8km/hr

Staying in Makeni, a few km to the south-west of Lusaka. Through the “Warm Showers” platform ( we made contact with Charlie who is hosting us for a few days. 

We had a short distance to cover to Lusaka. Our day on 15.12 started slow with a breakfast. Afterwards we met Roz & Jeff Tonner, a retired Canadian couple also on a bicycle trip through southern Africa. We were introduced through our friend Peter McNulty and the meeting was pre-arranged. They arrived at Chita as we were about to prepare for our ride. Had a coffee and great time with them exchanging stories and tips. Great to meet fellow touring cyclists, feeding off each others energy. 

The road to Lusaka carried high traffic volumes, but we had a wide shoulder (unlike the road beyond Mazabuka). It was hilly, but all went well and we arrived in Makeni around 12:30. After shopping we continued to Charlie’s place. We had a hearty welcome with cold juice and snacks and were introduced to his wife and their 2 year old son. 

Charlie is no stranger to bicycle touring. In fact, he is a legend of the trade. Charlie (a Korean) did a 7-year circumnavigation of the world between 2007-2014. He enjoyed a fair amount of media coverage in Korea and a book was published about the first part of his tour in China. He met his wife some time during his travels and they got married in 2013. For their honeymoon she accompanied him on bicycle through South-America. For interest the link to his website is, unfortunately it is in Korean only. They are now missionaries affiliated with the Korean Mission in Zambia. We are really blessed to have met them. 

They have been awesome hosts. The day after our arrival they drove us into Lusaka to assist in finding some necessities, i.a. spare tubes, which are not easy to find in Zambia. We got a tour of the city, including the local market. My first time to such a market, it was a bit overwhelming, but very interesting and happy to have seen it. The trip was concluded with a lunch. We had many questions about his tour and it was very interesting to hear some of his experiences. 

Having met them has been both encouraging and humbling. We admire their courage to live here and the work they are doing. The difference they make is tangible, some of it evident through the church and school (Ramah-Naioth Community Christian School) which they serve. The name of the school is from 1 Sam. 19:18-19. 

Charlie very generously offered to drop us at the next town 40km east of Lusaka, Chongwe. We accepted as this helps to avoid the city traffic. The next few days we also expect plenty vertical climbing and we will try to reach South-Luangwa Park (close to Malawian border) by Christmas. Through his help we think this will be possible. We were sad to say goodbeye to Charlie and his family. We were inspired by them and will always remember our time with them. 

Thanks for following. 

Willem & Eva

Meeting Roz & Jeff was great and gave us new energy.

A smoke bomb appears behind Eva. 😱

The route was hilly and the country-side very green.

On our day of arrival we did a short walk with Charlie, his wife and some local kids, some who are in their school.

Diring our walk, some fun together.

The following day, with Charlie’s local knowledge went shopping for bicycle tubes.

Local trader close to the taxi rank.

Having a siesta 😁

We visited a sale of 2nd hand clothes. This is what happens to the old clothes that generous Europeans donate. In Germany known as “altkleidersammlung”. Eva was trying to find some of her old clothes 😁.

We then visited the local market. It was organised chaos. The hawkers get very angry when pictures are taken as they want tou to pay for it. I still managed to get a few.

Vegetables and fruit, beautiful colours.

In between the stalls.

A different part of the market.

Last market picture.

Charlie’s book. Unfortunately only available in Korean. We still enjoyed looking at the pictures.

The route of his 7-year world tour.

Us with Charlie and his wife, Barbie.

Day 61: Mazabuka to Kafue

Date: 14.12.16
Blog entry date: 14.12.16
Distance: 76km
Odometer: 3 792km
Avg speed: 21.4km/hr
Time on bike: 3h32min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 2 (Days 5&46)
Max speed of tour (Day 14): 65.8km/hr

Staying tonight in Chita Lodge shortly before Kafue and 50km before Lusaka. One of the better accommodations we had in Zambia so far, but the service is terrible and personnel unfriendly and incompetent.

We started early, thinking to go all the way to Lusaka. Route was difficult with lot of climbing, bad road conditions, high traffic volume and the ever present head-wind. Around half-way Eva was tending more towards a shorter day ending in Kafue. I would have liked to reach Lusaka today, but “happy wife = happy life” πŸ˜‚. A few kilometers before Kafue we saw Chita Lodge, decided to eat something. As we finished our meal the rains started again, so the decision was easy in the end. 

Scenery beautiful. It is very green here and it is only the start of the rainy season. 

So far in Zambia, we have experienced power cuts (so called load shedding) for a few hours daily. Wonder if Eskom is involved πŸ˜‚ (for the South-Africans). 

Thanks very much for all the recent donations received for Josiah Trust! Your generosity is very encouraging and will make a big difference in the Klipheuwel community. 

For the first time we have not taken any pictures during the ride. So herewith a few older ones which might be interesting. 

Willem & Eva

Picture of us between Wewelsburg and Otjiwarongo, Day 36.

Taken in Livingstone, I found the name hilarious “Patience Pays Institute”. No clue what training they provide, probably how to be patient. Maybe I should have attended some classes πŸ˜‚.

We do not often hand out sweets to the kids. On this ocassion they were keeping their distance staring at us. I counted it out to them. They were paying attention when I counted more to their one friend than the others πŸ˜‚

We visited the school in Gochas. The kids loved to pose for a picture.

Day 60: Moorings camp to Mazabuka

Note: Pictures of previous post now uploaded. 

Date: 13.12.16
Blog entry date: 13.12.16
Distance: 56km
Odometer: 3 717km
Avg speed: 22.2km/hr
Time on bike: 2h32min
Problems: Rain
Flat tyre counter: 2 (Days 5&46)
Max speed of tour (Day 14): 65.8km/hr

Staying tonight at “Golden pillow guest house”. Not much golden about it, but comfortable enough.

Late yesterday afternoon another camper arrived at Moorings. Mark is driving down from Dar es Salaam to Cape Town. Great to meet a fellow traveller again. Stories and tips were exchanged.

Short day to Mazabuka and we slept “late” until about 06:00. Half-way the skies darkened and it was clear rain is on the way. Surely, 10min later buckets of water came out of the heavens. Fortunately we were at a village, Magove, and people were waving us to take shelter. We stopped under cover at a small market where many others were also hiding from the rain. Here we met Fred Chulu and his 2 year old son. We immediately took a liking in Fred, friendly and intelligent. Told me about all the biographies he’s read, including Madiba’s Long Walk to Freedom. We could buy small “vetkoek” balls, deep fried dough. We could also get some tomatoes. Fred was selling mangoes from his farm. We got 6 for 4 kwacha, a bargain! We again experienced the Zambian people as geniune, friendly and helpful. Not once have we felt intimidated or in danger. Really great!

We are about 120km from Lusaka and might try and push through tomorrow.

Willem & Eva

Shortly before the rain started.

We were taking shelter under this basic structure, serving as a small market.

It was raining cats and dogs. The entrance turned into a small river.

Fred and his son. Glad to have met him.

Fred’s bicycle with mangoes from his farm. They are delicious!πŸ‘Œ

Often locals are seen transporting massive bags of charcoal wich are sold almost anywhere.

An example of how they transport their goods. Some locals start tailing us for a while when we overtake them. I’m surprised how fast some of them can go, considering the load and the old fixed gear bicycles they use.

Days 58 & 59: Choma to Moorings camp site

Date: 11 & 12.12.16
Blog entry date: 12.12.16
Distance: 114km
Odometer: 3 660km
Avg speed: 24.9km/hr
Time on bike: 4h35min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 2 (Days 5&46)
Max speed of tour (Day 14): 65.8km/hr

Camping tonight at Moorings camp site, 11km north of Monze. Our first camping opportunity in Zambia and our first camp since Kongola (Namibia). 

It was raining during the night and into the morning. I got worried that we might get trapped for the day at Choma, not a nice town with basic accommodation. After 04:00, our planned wake-up time it was pouring down and we slept in until about 07:30. Our room did not have an air-conditioner and we slept with open windows. The combination of rain and the outside-light directly above our window caused a massive termite invasion into our room. Occassionally Eva would jump up and look for a termite which ended up in bed. Poor termite had no chance of survival 😁. The rain abated after 08:00 and we got going soon after. We normally start early to avoid the heat. Fortunately clouds were around and the rain cooled things down. We had a good ride and still arrived after 14:00. It was nice to sleep a bit longer and we are happy how the day turned out. We stopped at Pemba to buy cold drinks at a shop. Good refreshment with some 55km to go. 

Camp at Morings is very nice, although might do with a bit of maintenance. We are the only guests and enjoy to be camping again. Great bird-life and beautiful setting.  Rain started here during the night and it has been raining ever since into our rest day, well-suited for a lazy day of reading.

Thanks for following and for the continued support. 

Willem & Eva

Snapshot of our route.

The route through Monze. Our camp was 12km after the town.

The camp site at Moorings is on grass under beautiful trees. We had a great rest day here while the rain poured down.

Day 57: Kalomo to Choma

Date: 10.12.16
Blog entry date: 10.12.16
Distance: 74km
Odometer: 3 546km
Avg speed: 20.1km/hr
Time on bike: 3h41min
Problems: None
Flat tyre counter: 2 (Days 5&46)
Max speed of tour (Day 14): 65.8km/hr

Staying in a local guest house, which in Zambia they like to call “Lodges”. Basic, but will do.

Planned for a shorter day, but the wind made life difficult. Not too much to tell for the day. Choma is a larger town with a general feeling of chaos around it. The fact that the Choma Green Eagles football club is playing a soccer game might have add more of a Saturday-buzz than normal. It certainly meant we had a bit of trouble to find accommodation, but all worked out.

Thanks for following.
Willem & Eva

Snapshot of the route.

Locals use bicycles to transport many things. I was a bit late with this picture. Will get a better ome next time.

Scene from the town.

Scene from town.