We were up and out of our campsite before dawn on our last morning in Ihaha, Chobe. We had one heck of a day ahead of us. One last drive along the river front to get to the park gate and on to the boarder yielded no final hurrah in terms of animal sightings. In fact, we saw barely anything moving for the first 30 minutes until a heard of giraffe and kudu came to bid us adieu.
Once we hit the tar road we were all business. Through the park gate and the nearby Ngoma boarder post we were cruising at 120kph back toward Katima Mulilo with high hopes that the spare parts we had ordered had arrived on time and that the mechanic remembered we were arriving to get them installed. With all fingers and toes crossed we nervously pulled into the local Midas. Sure enough our leaf springs and bush kits had arrived and were out and ready for us to have them loaded into our car. As we pulled around the corner to the mechanic he too was ready with extra guys on hand to install them as quickly as possible (still to take ~3 – 4 hours.)
All going according to plan.
Cheryl and I headed to a coffee shop / restaurant to do some final things on the internet, eat some breakfast. (Actually we had already had breakfast in the car so at 10am I ordered a chicken burger. A bit odd given the hour but definitely delicious.) We had meant to finish up with enough time to do our food shopping (only buying non-perishables because we weren’t sure what could be taken across the border into Zambia.) but to our surprise Fiona was out of surgery with beautiful new leaf springs installed before we left the restaurant.
We are on schedule.
We split up (Cheryl to start shopping, Josh to go to the bank and pick up the pick-up) before coming back together for a couple of more errands (fill up with diesel, buy some stools so everyone has a place to sit when my parents join us) and headed out.
The crossing into Zambia took much longer than necessary thanks to an American couple in front of us in line who were in anything but a hurry. 6 lines and 5 payments later we entered into Zambia having spent significantly more on border fees then we had expected. Time to hit the road again.
It is 3pm. We are a bit behind schedule but still ok.
As we pulled out of the border something happened that we hadn’t anticipated. The road was horrible. We expected them to be bad but this was a whole new level. How can you even consider this a road?
It is 4:00pm. We had over 600km to drive. We are way behind schedule
Our average speed for the past hour was 20kph. How do you even call this a ‘tar’ road? We had been warned that a part of the road some 400kms away from us was “very bad.” If that means this wasn’t “very bad” we would be driving all night.
Luckily the roads cleared up considerably once we got passed Livingstone and were on our way. We drove well into the night despite the many warnings against doing so and only had to slow down at the “very bad” section we had been warned about. Though it still felt like a highway as we could easily avoid the potholes at 90kph.
We finally made it to Lusaka just before 1AM and then embarked on the mission of finding the Air BnB that we had booked. Mom and Dad had been picked up by the local driver who knew the place so they made it without issue. (Good thing too because we were still a few hundred kms away when their plan landed.) Unfortunately for the owner we didn’t know the place and they were woken up with a phone call from two lost customers in the middle of the night.
We pulled into the driveway around 1:30 and Fiona’s purring engine woke my parents so they came outside and greeted us with lots of hugs and kisses.
Finally made it.