Saturday, 4 May 2013

Wall-E and Eve in Kafue National Park


That Friday morning I finally checked out of Kalulu again and said goodbye to Mark and Tina and others. Tim would be leaving for Ethiopia and then Vietnam where he is teaching English the same day. Tina is a girl working at the backpackers doing all sorts of cleaning tasks. She is really nice and always wears a smile on her face. I had arranged a taxi to take me to Leopards Hill Road when I arrived in Lusaka two days earlier, but the taxi driver's phone was offline for the last day and I couldn't contact him. He didn't show up either, so I eventually checked outside the doors of the backpackers to see if there was a taxi. As there are always some customers needing a taxi, there is mostly one waiting outside. He said he would drive me to Crossroads for KR 50. I told him it was further and offered to pay him KR 80, as much as I had negotiated with the first taxi driver. It's the first time I actually put a price up and not down.

Loading the car at home
Eve had told me that I would need to ask the taxi driver to go to Crossroads and then further on Leopards Hill Road, past the cemetery and the BMW concession which I supposed were really close together. But they weren't. I then had to look out for the yellow OG Gym. I called her on the way there to make sure I didn't get too far, and finally saw the BMW concession. After that we quickly found OG and the next gate was theirs. As we were let in, Eve came out of Anna's house gate and Daniel, the taxi driver asked me in no uncertain terms, if I had spent time with her privately. Sometimes the people here can be quite outspoken. So there we met again. Inside I met Whiskey and Tequila, the two Labradors; Luna and Luno the two cats; Dorothy, the maid and finally Andrea. Anna was out at work and would pop in later for lunch, Sabina was at school and Sebastian was on another camping trip.

Setting up camp at Mayukuyuku
Eve and Andrea were busy preparing camping gear and packing their bags while Dorothy was making crack muffins and lentils. Eve told me I would be required as a driver to go to the Indian market so Andrea could buy some chitengas. Chitengas are the local fabrics of which every dress, skirt, short, shirt are made. So with the availability of two cars, one automatic Toyota and one manual Nissan that was being loaded by Master, the gardener, only the first remained a valid choice. Both are 4x4 in any case. Here in Africa to buy a 4x4 is a sound choice. Even in the city, the road sometimes turn to bad dirt or half tar, half dirt roads with potholes. But in any case, as soon as you drive out of where there are proper roads, which happens rather quickly, you are much better off with a 4x4.

A snake in the ladie's shower
We jumped into the car with me as driver and drove on the left side of the road towards town. Eve was my navigator with a hand-drawn map which depicted an area not detailed in the printed map of the city. We were all in a jolly mood from meeting again and in anticipation of our camping trip to Kafue. Eve tried to make me turn on a road that wasn't planned. So I told her she should stick to the plan as I had a vague idea of the said plan. The other route would probably lead to us getting lost somewhere. This and other remarks pushed Andrea to say we sounded like an old married couple. That's when I started calling her “Kiddo”, which she conveniently ignored.

Puku on our afternoon game drive
We found our way quite easily and Eve recognized the place as she had been there before. We were directed to a parking space, and asked Christopher in the green shirt to look after the car while we were shopping. When I saw this might be taking some time, I wandered off to have a look at the rest of the place, looking for flip flops that could suit me. I walked around the block and found a big open market place where everybody sold second hand clothes. I bought some doughnuts from a street seller and walked back towards where I had last seen the two girls. They were already waiting for me. Andrea was quite quick in her choice of Chitenga. We walked back towards the car and I found some different kind of worms. They look slightly different than Mopani worms and taste different as well. As I lost my remaining Mopani worms, ya'll will have to try those. Then we went to Pick'n'Pay to shop for our groceries and get some things for Anna as well.

Elephant with baby elephant
When we got back to the house, we put the groceries inside and started separating what was going to be needed for the trip from the rest. At some point 9 year old Sabina arrived and soon the tickle wars started. She started with Andrea as Eve is only ticklish in some particular spots which I won't give away. But then Andrea told little Sabina that I was also very ticklish. Not so good, because then I got attacked fiercely. As I had to prepare stuff for the trip, she had to leave me alone. Lucky me. But she really wanted to get to me. Anna prepared some quick eggs and cereals for her and Sabina and told us we could make something more elaborate for ourselves as she really wasn't in the mood for cooking. After that, Sabina was soon sent to bed. We cut some vegetables in the garden and Eve cooked the nicely with garlic.

After that we all went to the couches and had some massage sessions and cuddle sessions. Anna soon went to bed and we were going on with the massages and cuddling.

The following morning I woke up around five, and I couldn't sleep anymore. I was itching from some mosquito bites. I didn't hear or see any mosquitoes, which was quite annoying, because otherwise I could just have dropped the overhanging mosquito net. The others woke up around five forty-five and we started packing the last minute stuff like the cooler box with ice and the snack bag for the road. Around seven thirty we left and drove out towards Kafue. We passed through Soweto market and after that were out of the city. Anna put on music from Mamma Mia's musical from her iPod, but it died after a few songs. I then put on some of my music. I started with a Swiss band called Hillbilly Moon Explosion but quickly switched to some Texan Country music.

Not too long before getting to Kafue National Park, we stopped in a town called Mumbwa to fill up our tank. The diesel had run out at the petrol station, but some guys were willing to sell us diesel from some plastic containers. If we wanted to have a full tank, we didn't really have a choice as it was the only station in miles. The price seemed very high, but as no negotiation had been performed, and the containers hadn't been checked, we could only give them and leave them the money. We wouldn't have gotten anything back anyway. After that we drove on to Kafue NP and Mayukuyuku Camp.

Sunset in Kafue
Arriving there, we announced ourselves at the office where they told us they expected us the previous day. But as Anna had to work longer on Friday, we couldn't leave around noon as planned, and the whole trip was rescheduled for Saturday early. She had announced it to them by e-mail, and had even received a confirmation to say it was alright. Once we got to the camp site itself, we were welcomed by the attendant whose name I unfortunately have forgotten. He let us go to the river to have a look, and then helped us building up our tent and settling in. We had two camping chairs, a camping cot, a big mattress and so on to make our stay comfortable. After that we had a beer, muffins and biltong. Checking out the bathroom, the ladies found a snake in the shower. We don't know what kind of snake it is and if it is dangerous. We then chatted while resting a while in the tent. Sabina couldn't rest and wanted to tickle us all. We then convinced her to play on her Android pad for a while.

Anna saluting Sunset
After the rest, we drove off on a game drive. We saw quite a lot of pukus and a herd or two of elephants with a tiny little one with them. At some point we decided to go to our chosen spot on the river for our sundowner. Sabina had to pee, and actually poo too and she did it just next to the car. To cover our tracks and to prevent it from smelling up to us too much, Anna asked her to put some elephant poo on top of her own. She wasn't keen on the task, but eventually did it anyway.

We got our drinks out, Ginger beer for Andrea and Eve, and Castle Lager for Anna and me. With that we consumed some biltong, nuts and crack muffins. Anna saluted Lady Sunset and we had a grand time playing top model (especially Sabina) on the hood of the car. When the sun had finally set, we drove back, stopping at the big sausage tree to grab one of the big sausages. It even produced a nice profile picture for me.

Pausing on the hood
When we got back to camp, our fire was already alight and a roast was on the fire. We just had to put on our lentils and water for tea. Once we had finished dinner, we started roasting marshmallows, like any True American. But unlike some, I just had mine fried a little outside, and soft inside. But it's really not a favorite dessert of mine. Sabina was sent to bed for reading and sleeping, and Anna followed an hour later. We then talked about Vervet monkeys, also called Blue Balled monkeys, which caused quite a commotion to my Texas Lady friends. In American English, blue balls means that you couldn't relieve some pressure caused by some stirrings. Well I won't go into further details...

My new profile picture
The night was pretty cold, and I had to pull my sleeping bag over my head and hold it closed with my head lying on the opening so the warmth would stay inside. The coldest part is always around 3 or 4 in the morning. We planned to wake up at five thirty the following morning, but unfortunately slept in until twenty past six (at least for me) and so kind of missed the sunrise. We still saw it rising, but we didn't have time to select a good spot from which to view it, and so just drove on to our morning game drive session. The ladies seemed in a good mood, but I was still trying not to wake up, and even took my sleeping bag into the car. At least I was warm. We didn't see much apart from some nice birds and a lot of pukus.

When we had enough, especially Sabina, we returned to camp and ate some breakfast. Then it was time to go back to Lusaka as we had a long drive ahead of us. So we accepted the camp attendant's help to dismount the tent and packed everything back onto and into the car. The knots I made for the roof packing held until we got back.

Arriving in Lusaka we unloaded the car and left most of the gear in the living room so that Dorothy could pack it away the following morning.

Kingfisher in the morning game drive
This evening, Anna cooked a nice pasta meal and we had some wine. I was even invited to open a bottle of red wine, which I did. I couldn't resist. Some Merlot out of South Africa (Nederburg if I remember well). Later we had our last cuddling session and went off to bed. Not to mention that Sabina and Anna preceded us with that.

At six the following day, I woke up and found Andrea and Eve almost ready to Rock 'n roll. We said goodbye when the taxi arrived, and they went off to some other adventures in London. As they had 13 hours of interval between the flights, they had planned to meet a friend in Paddington, where the Heathrow Express would drop them off. I was allowed to stay at the house as long as I wanted, so when Anna and Sabina took off, I stayed a while, wrote some blog articles and used some internet connection. At noon Dorothy kindly offered me some shima with vegetables and stirred eggs, which I kindly accepted. When I started eating with my fingers, she asked in astonishment “Do you know how to eat with your hands?”. It was really good. After that I called Daniel the taxi driver, and returned to Kalulu backpackers.

Heavily loaded bicycle

Street market in Lusaka