We experience and see so much that it’s hard to keep track of all the things we do. After leaving North Luangwa we decided to continue North towards the Tanzanian border. In kilometers, it wasn’t that far but due to the condition of the road we arrived way too late, the sun had set, at a campsite.
We were welcomed by the manager and after we had completed all the paperwork we pitched our tent and went to bed. We were so exhausted after a day of avoiding potholes and shaking over bad dirt roads. The next morning we were as fresh as one could be and the manager invited us for a short tour around the property. After driving for three days in a row it was a welcome change. A bit later we followed him towards the nearby building.
It soon became apparent that the camping was just a tiny part of the activities. The whole purpose of the camping was to fund a Christian education centre for people in the community. Everything they did, from a hospitality course to farming to learning how to raise children was all about God.
Could we please leave Zambia?
After sponsoring this local church like thing we drove on towards Tanzania. While we’re getting used to African border crossings you’ll never know what you’ll find at the next one. Yet again there were dozens of ‘fixers’ trying to ‘help’ you across the border (while usually it’s merely going from one counter to the other). These fixers were so happy to see a foreigner that I literally had to smash my door on their bodies since I couldn’t get out of my car.
After we briefly declined there services, which doesn’t change the fact they still walk along with you, our Carnet was stamped and we were on our way to the Zambian immigration service. There we found out that we hadn’t received a receipt when we got our visas back in Kazungula. This was such a big deal to the officer that we had to go back to the Zambian side of the border and were directed to the ‘interview room’. The manager over there took a photo of our passports and visas and Whatsapped (!) this to the border post where we entered Zambia. After an hour and a half he knew that we were telling the truth and we could leave Zambia. In the meantime the manager was trying on his new football jersey that a friend brought him. I doubt you’ll see things like this happening in any Western country.
Once you cross the border with Tanzania everything changes. Tuktuks everywhere, better roads and a loooooot of people next to the road. Luckily for us we only had to drive a short distance to our destination, the Utengule Coffee Lodge. You don’t expect anything from it when you consider the state of the road leading towards it but once you’re there it’s just like paradise especially if you’re a coffee addict. Camping is not their main thing since we could camp between a helipad and a tennis court but hey, the Tanzanian coffee is amazing!
The Tanzanian coffee coming from the Rift Valley turns out to be one of the top 1% most expensive coffee in the world. We didn’t fact-check it but the Tanzanian coffee was great. Add to that that they had these lovely lounge chairs with a mattress that was thicker than our own one in the tent and you can imagine that we loved this place. After dinner I watched Spain against Portugal on a big screen with some staff members and after the caffeine left my blood I was able to sleep again on our thin mattress! What a wonderful time.