We had 1200 km over the next 2 days to travel. I’ve already mentioned my affection for our vintage Toyota van. We did decide to upgrade to something slightly larger with air-conditioning and new shock absorbers. We even each had a seat to ourselves!
But the next two days were grueling. It is such a good thing we all got along so well.
We also got to live the expression “This is Africa“, often spoken in exasperation as simply, “TIA”.
The first leg of our journey was to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, a mere 580 km. By all calculations, this should’ve taken eight or nine hours. Unless your van only does 30 km an hour in which case it’ll take 15 hours.No matter how much you like your travel mates, 15 hours on the road threatened the bonds of our fledgling friendships. We were tired; we were thirsty; we were hungry. In short, we were “hangry”.
And the best part of all, we knew we had to get up and do it all again the next day. Thankfully, Vicki made a few phone calls and got us a replacement van that could go the speed limit. So the next morning we set out optimistic and singing songs from The Lion King.
But TIA. We ran out of fuel in the middle of nowhere. Today we came prepared with water and snacks and even some wine which would come in handy.
One of the drivers got out and started huffing it into the nearest town God only knows how far that would be. So deciding that it was 5 o’clock somewhere and facing another 15 hour day, we uncorked a couple of bottles of wine. We actually had to drink up our water in order to create some “wine glasses”. We poured warm Sauvignon Blanc into our water bottles and settled down for a cocktail hour.
Somewhere into the second bottle, a large truck pulled over to see if he could be of assistance. His thought was to siphon some fuel out of his tank to put into our tank. So we began to look around for some sort of a container to use to transfer the fuel Well, bottoms up — we would have to use our wine glasses for fuel cans!
One person sucked on a hose in the gas tank to get the fuel to flow into the water bottles. It was slow going—one water bottle at a time. So slow, in fact, that our first driver, returned with an actual gas can.
Here is a picture of our pit crew!
Our next destination was South Luangwa National Park in Zambia
When we arrived at our lodge the first thing we were told is not to walk around the campus without a guide.
This kind seemed extreme. But sure enough each morning we awoke to new friends: the first morning there were two hippos right outside our front door and the second morning a family of elephants traipsed right across the yard.