After we left Cape Maclear we had some days on the road ahead of us. We drove from the capital Lilongwe towards the border of Zambia and ended up in Chipata. It was strange to be back again after four months. Back then everything was new. Times goes by really fast.
Who has got some dollars left?
After a good night’s sleep we woke up and drove to Lusaka. The day after that we did spend some time in the city and had a proper breakfast and did some grocery shopping since you never know when you can shop again. Our next mission was to change some Kwacha into US Dollars which we needed for Zimbabwe. Unfortunately that was not that easy. Some money exchange places were out of dollars, a bank changed their exchange rate while we were waiting at the counter and at another bank the system was offline. After three hours we finally managed to get the US dollars we needed and drove off to Zimbabwe.
It took us just over two hours to reach the border. It was a smooth border crossing until we reached the point where they had to stamp our carnet. We always mention it’s a rental car (since it’s on Bushlore’s name) and that worked pretty good so far. Our Zimbabwean ‘friends’ at the border saw this as an opportunity to earn some extra dollars. They claimed it was a ‘commercial car’ and therefore we had to pay all kinds of taxes and insurance. After a big discussion with them we were stuck since no one wanted to stamp the carnet. We then negotiated a fee to get the ‘proper’ paperwork and managed to get to the campsite which was only three kilometers from the border.
Paradise on the Zambezi
Once we got to the Jecha Point campsite all the border issues were quickly forgotten. A nice grassy spot with lots of shade from the huge trees and a marvellous view on the Zambezi river. A huge elephant passed by together with two little ones. The owner advised us to pitch our tent near the ablutions since the hippos are grazing at the campsite during the night. What a spot! Unfortunately we also found out that our fridge stopped working. Bad timing since we just stocked up in Lusaka. Another challenge was the fact that due to the insecurity in the political and financial situation in Zimbabwe the inflation was huge and that it is hard to get petrol or diesel and that some shops were closed altogether. This is going to be an interesting time in Zimbabwe.
Richard the fridge guy
That night we could store all of our food in the owners’ fridge and we tried to fix our fridge the next day, without any result. Luckily the owners knew ‘a guy’ being Richard. He had to cross the border but then Richard identified the problem within minutes. A leak caused the gas to escape. After fixing the leak and ‘regas’ it worked perfectly. We were quite happy since it is over 30 degrees Celsius in Zimbabwe this time of year.
Living in the bush
After the fridge was fixed we enjoyed the amazing campsite including an infinity pool next to the Zambezi. In the morning and in the afternoon the elephants just pass by, a beautiful thing to experience. At night the hippos come out of the Zambezi river to graze. One night an elephant decided to trash the camp and tried to reach the bin inside the ablutions. Guess he liked the remains of the strawberries we ate. When he was chased away he got really really close to our tent which was an interesting event. The last night we were invited for a good old braai with chicken and boerewors and got to know the most adventurous stories of living near the bush in Zimbabwe. An amazing place with lovely owners running it.