At last we reached Chirundu Border post into Zambia from Zimbabwe. BUT…for a goodbye present from the Zimbabwean Border officials, yet another bribe. Apparently we did not have Interpol clearance for our vehicle. Yet, they allowed us into the country, without advising us we needed Interpol. So another 50 USD into the corrupt officials pockets of Zimbabwe, Without shame…and inside the immigration locale we were told they want 100 USD bribe. And calling it a bribe. At least we managed to only pay 50 USD. By now the German was spitting mad and all we could do was pay the stupid bribe. We could not get quick enough over to the Zambian side.
Crossing the bridge over the Zambezi River into Chirundu, you realise the reason why the Zambezi River is called “The Mighty Zambezi”, as it is maginificently Mighty. Once we crossed this bridge, I felt a sense of calm. If the reason was a feeling of the familiar, or the after effects of the huge disappointment of our few days in Zimbabwe, I cannot say. All I know, we were calm and relaxed as soon as we crossed.
After a quick stop in the village at Chirundu to buy a few supplies from the local market, which I enjoy tremendously, we turned towards the Chiawa Road on our way to our destination Kiambi. To get to Kiambi, we once again had to cross the Zambezi. This time on the local pontoon. Ironically we were some of the last people to cross with the pontoon. As not only was the bridge nearly complete, but the pontoon was sunk by an uneven load with a heavy transport vehicle a few days after we crossed. But I am glad we got the opportunity to do it the “local way”, as it has been done for many many years.
After a few kilometres we were at Kiambi. An oasis after a long dusty day. Kiambi is set on the banks of the Zambezi with a view over to the Zimbabwean side, leading into Mana Pools. Lovely cool green grass and trees. Kiambi consists of chalets, as well as tented accommodation and camping. We decided we would do a bit of luxury and camping on this trip and Kiambi was one of our camping venues. Of course, as we know the German, things get done just slightly differently and he has “modified” our vehicle at the back with a bed and pull out “kitchen area”. So we had a kind of mobile home. Lucky for us we had the camp site for ourselves and we had the best spot. The ablutions were very clean and always had hot water fed by a donkey. What is nice at this camp site, is that there is a lovely bar with deck, which caters for the campers, specially when the camp is full. Although we did not need it at this time. And as we were the only campers, we were invited to use the main eating area and bar.
So in true blood South African style, we had a fire going before you could say “bob is your uncle” . Now, if there is anyone in this world who wants to tell me that to sit on the banks of the Zambezi, with a glass of wine with your loved ones or friends, with the sun setting, elephants drinking and foraging in full view, Fish Eagles calling as only an African Fish Eagle can AND you hear lions calling and roaring at a close distance, is not special…or boring…I will eat one of my hats.
And now I am at my beloved Mighty Zambezi River and I am at peace….. (to be continued)