Sept 28th ; Was up and packed ready to get into the Park at 6 this morning.
Drove ourselves around for the morning and again saw a good variety of wildlife.
The most common beast we came across was the Tsetse fly!! There were everywhere!!!! At one point we had the windows open 1cm and 6 of the little buggers managed to get into the car!!!
So we drove windows closed whilst limitless swarms of them flew along with the car.
Having been locked in a car with the bugs I no longer believe that they are attracked to blue!! I was wearing a dark blue t-shirt and Patrick a white one - who did they eat - Patrick!! I got 2 or 3 bites but Patrick was eaten alive!
When they bite they bite sore so Patrick spent most of the morning shouting "you shit stop it" everytime they bit and then waving his arms around like a mad man trying to kill them!
Trying being the word, they do not die easily! You can slap them and they turn and look at you as if to say "is that all you've got?!" then fly off!!
Eventually the homo-sapien prevailed and car population of Tsetse was eradicated - so on with enjoying the game drive.
Came across a buffalo kill, it looked like it had been there for a couple of days and definately smelt like it had!! The smell though did not put off the vultures!!
Went back to camp as it aproached midday and booked ourselves onto a night drive in the hope we might see leopard.
The drive left at 4 and took us arond the track next to the river. We saw a lot before the sun even went down!!
Stopped for sundowners and then headed off again in search of the elusive leopard.
We say Genet, Civet, hyena and a family of lion, incuding cubs - BUT much to Patrick disappointment, no leopard.
Got back to camp just after 8, had dinner and went to bed
Sept 29th ; Left Flatdogs today and went back into the park. Today we were going to try and get up through the park on the 05 road and stop for the night in Mpika.
Had one final drive around to the dead buffalo to see what was going on and then joined the 05.
The overgrown bush soon turned into Mopani forest harbering unimaginable numbers of Tsetse flies!
Within seconds of entering the forest the car was swarmed inside and out! The whole masacare process started again in earnest!
We had it down to a fine art now so it didn't take too long to eradicate them all.
The road was a good gravel / sand track so we were able to keep at a steady 40km's an hour until we turned a corner and there was a fast flowing river happily churning across the road!!
As we got closer we could see that sand bags had been laid down to raise the track so that it was passable during the dry season. If there had been any rain the crossing would have been impassable!
With me feeling sick, convinced we were about to get stuck, Patrick charged into the water and over the sandbags to the other side!
Not long after the river we went through the exit gate and here started the fun part of the drive!
For the next 15km's we climbed from 600m to 1400m up a windy rocky gravel escarpment!!
With the car in low range 4x4 we crawled up, with rocks tumbling over the edge, all the way to the top! At one point the car slipped on the loose rocks and slid all over the road, not a good thing to do when the road is only 3 metres wide with a steep drop off on one side!!
Once at the top we thought it would be plain sailing from here on in but no, the road had other plans!
The gravel gave way to deep soft red dust!
Within 15 mins of getting onto the red dust "road" the cars temperature started to go up, and quickly! Patrick got out and had a look, nothing was out of the ordinary and the water etc had been checked and refilled that morning, so we carried on.
We finally limped onto the tar and drove off towards Mpika.
On the way I noticed that the Kapishya Hot Spring were close by. It was then that we remembered we had been to lunch with Di on Monday and he had said that we should visit these springs as they are on his grandfathers estate. We had thought nothing more of it until now, so we decided to stop there instead.
The temperature carried on yo-yoing up and down, which in turn caused Patricks blood pressure to yo-yo up and down!
We stopped for diesel in Mpika where Patrick got out to check the engine again and noticed that the oil leak was back! Not good for the blood pressure!!!!
Once back on the road Patrick went very quiet, then suddenly out of the blue it started
"I've had enough of this bloodly car, ever since we left South Africa it has been nothing but trouble.
If the oil seal has gone again then we will have to back to Lusaka and if we go back to Lusaka then
thats it, the trip is over and we go back to South Africa"
After the ourburst he went quiet again.
What was I supposed to say to that?!!? So I sat there quietly praying it was not the oil seal.
In silence we arrived at the turn off for the springs which was also the start of the family estate.
It turns out that Di's grandfather was Lieutenant Colonel Sir Stewart Gore-Browne. He was an English born man who came to Africa in 1911 as part of an Anglo-Belgium boundary commission sent to lay the border between Belgium Congo and Northen Rhodesia.
He bought land from a local chief around Lake Ishiba Ng'andu. From here he started a political career and family.
His political career got him well known by the Zambian government and when he died in 1967 he recieved a State funeral - the only white man to date to recieve one.
The book "Africa House" is written about Sir Gore-Browne and his life in africa.
After a soak in the Hot Springs we went to the bar for a much needed beer after the testing day we had had. Whilst there the we were asked if we would like dinner as 2 people had cancelled and the food had already been prepared for them.
So we had dinner with some of the other guests and Sir Gore-Browne's grandson's wife!
The sandbag crossing!
The hot springs
Sept 30th ; Patrick was up well before the sun today as he had not slept because he was worried about the car!
He had been thinking that if the 1 oil filter is wrong then presure will build up causing the leak, which now he had though about it only started after we had done the service and put in the questionable filter in!
After talking to Paul Marsh at Footloose 4x4 it was decided that it probably was that filter and it needed to be changed.
Off Patrick went to the workshop on the estate to change the filter.
I stayed in the camp to do washing, but fist I needed to loo. I picked up loo roll, it was heavier than it should be, so I looked inside. There sat a rather large brown hairy spider!!!!! It filled the cardboard tube in the loo roll!!!!!!!!!!!
I flicked it out of the tube onto the floor and ran off to the loo before it could come at me.
When I got back to the car it had move into the covers for the chairs! Great now I had to move it and Patrick was busy with the car!! With a very very long stick I flicked the horrid beast off of the covers and put them away.
What a start to the day!!!!
The washing was unevenful as I was pegging it up, Patrick returned from the workshop in a bit of a better mood, hoping that the problem was solved.
I took advantage of the free flowing river next to the camp and wqashed the car. It took some time and we only have a small collapsable bucket which holds 5 litres. It took 10 bucket fulls to get the red dust off of the car!!
Jobs all done we spent the rest of the day reading and relaxing next to the river.
Oct 1st ; The plan for today was to go north, spent the night at Kalambo Falls and enter Tanzania tomorrow.
We got as far as Chambeshi when Patrick says he is worried about the brake again as they seem to be spongy.
After braking twice more we pull over to the side of the road because Patrick now says that it feels like he is pumping brake fluid out of the system rather than braking!!
We both get out, as I come around the back of the car to help look for a problem Patrick is already under the car saying some rather rude words!! As I crawl under the car I can see why - there is fluid running all over the spare fuel tank and dripping on the floor. On closer inspection it was coming from up ontop of the spare tank where the brake lines run!! It didnt take long for us to realise that it was brake fluid pissing out all over the floor and this is why the "brakes feel a bit spongey"!!!!!!!!
Now what? We have a 3.5 tonne car with no brakes aand we are a good 150km'sf from the nearest town!!
It was decided to go to keep going to the nearest big town - Kasama - and find a mechanic there. So off we limped to Kasama, hoping to heaven that we woud not need to brake suddenly!
Finaly got there after much hair pulling and stress and found a BP petrol station. Patrick asked someone if there was a mechanic in town, he turned, looked at Patrick as if he were an alien and walked off!!
Great we have limped all the was here and the town is overrun with idiots!!!
Patrick asked a Police man, who was busy having his car filled, if he knew a mecahnic in town. Again a look of "what are you talking about", then he says "yes, behind the station here".
We drive behind the BP and there it was - the ultimate bush garage! There were 3 hand dug pits under sheet of corrigated iron held up by steel gurders!
Looks can be very decieving because the chap that ran the place was very helpful. He confirmed that it was brake fluid leaking everywhere and that the spare fuel take would need to come out before they could even see the leak let alone try and fix it.
After a look of horror passed between the two of us he carried on to say that he could disconnect the rear brakes and we could drive on the front brakes only without too much of a problem.
So he set about doing that for us whilst we tried to work out what to do next.
We had 2 options;
1 - drive to Dar es Sallam and try and find a Nissan there
2 - drive back to Lusaka to the Nissan there
After umming for a bit we decided that it would be safter to backtrack to Lusaka as it was only 700km's compared to 1600km's to get to Dar. Decission made Patrick rang Ian at Nissan to book her in for tomorrow to get the brake line fixed.
The next call was to Sue and Chris Clubbe to beg for a bed whilst the car was fixed.
Arrangements made, rear brakes disconnected, we started the longhaul back to Chris and Sue's. Gerty the GPS said we would not get there until 9pm, not good as it was only 10am when we left Kasama!
The drive was uneventful until we got to Lusaka. As we approached a T junction Patrick said "its not stopping", I thought he meant the traffic on the road ahead so thought nothing of it until he said "the car is not stopping!".
Luckily there was a turning just before the T junction which Patrick hauled the car into and rolled to a stop!
Great we had got this far and we were nearly t-boned 20km's from Chris and Sue's!
Accompanied by the smell of very hot stressed brakes we crawled to Chris and Sue's and rolled to a stop infront of thier garage.
Oct 2nd ; The car needed to be at Nissan for 7am, so we left Chris and Sue at 6, thinking an hour would be more than enough time to get there. Well we were proved wrong! The traffic was terrible getting into town and we were 30mins late getting to Nissan.
Ian recognised the car and us when we pulled up. We asked him to sort the brake line, look into the intermittant oil leak, check the thermostate and look at the knocking sound that had started in the front right suspension.
We have been travelling for 9 months with next to no problems and now everything had gone wrong in the space of 2 weeks!!!!!
Car booked in we walk back into town. It had been aranged that we would be collected from town and taken to where Sue works.
Once back at the farm we had a lazy afternoon waiting for the phoen to ring with an update on the car.
Ian rang to say that the brake line was out and being repaired and that h the oil leaks looks like it is coming from the oil filters rather than the main seal - at last some good news about the car!!!!!!!!!!!
Chris came home and said that we were going for sun-downers at the dam. So a cooler box was packed with drinks and off we went with all 3 dogs in the back. By the time we wer half way there Amber could not stay on the back any longer, she jumped out and ran next to the car for the rest of the way.
We sat watching the sun go down as the dogs ran around like headless chickens!
Oct 3rd ; Lazy day today waiting for Nissan to ring about the car.
Patrick slowly lost patience as the day went on and ebded up ringing Ian at Nissan ever 2 hours to try and get updates! The first call we were told that the brake line was out and being repaired and then they would look at the oil leak.
The second call we were told that the noise from the suspension was coming from worn bushes and they would need to be replaced.
Finally at 2.30pm Patrick could wait no longer and rang again. This time the car was about to go out on a "high speed test drive" to see if the oil leak had stopped and to see if the temperature would change. We were promised that we would be rung as soon as she was back in the garage so that it could be decided if we collect her today or not as we are a good hours dive away.
Nissan closes at 5pm and Ian had still not phoned back by 3.30pm. So Patrick was back on the phone to see what was happening. The oil leak looks like it is coming from the filter but it may be coming from the head gasket! This means that we will not be bale to collect her today as this nneed to eb looked into.
The news just got better and better - Patrick asked if we could collect her tomorrow, no we couldn't they are closed over the weekend!
OK can we get her back monday? No sorry can't do that either, monday is a staff training day and the garage is closed all day!!!
Great now we can't collect the car until tuesday at the earliest!!!!!!!!!!!
Chris and Sue had things planned ofr the weekend and said that it would be fine if we tagged alone too.
Tonight they were going to an art auction in Lusaka to raise money for the local primary school.
Patrick and I washed and scrubbed up, put on our best clothes and went into Lusaka too.
The auction was held at the Lusaka National Gallery. Once there we had a looka round at the art on display. Patrick and I both agreed that some of it was nice but it was all overpriced for what it was!
When we met up with Sue and Chris they said the same thing!!
Patrick and Chris made the most of the free acohol whilst I tried some of the interesting looking nibbles.
We left around 9pm and went to Rhapsidies for some dinner. OMG I have never seen so many people crammed into a resaurant in my life! All of the tables were full, and there was a scrum of people 5 deep trying to get ot the bar for drinks!
We were very lucky and got a table in a croner out of the way. Had a very nice dinner and left to go home.
Didn't get back to the farm until gone 1am, this has got to be the latest night we have had since we left the UK!!!!
Oct 4th ; Had a lazy morning.
Patrick was a bit tender after last night. However he could not rest on his lourals as we were all off to Mazabuka today to join in with the touch ruby!
Got to the club as the teams were being selected.
Chris had organised "Team Chongwa" to take part, but as the week wore on more and more people pulled out until it was just Chris in the team!!!
With the arrival of Patrick Team Chongwa doubled in size!!
Team Chongwa was combined with another team who were 2 short, and the games began.
Sue and I sat and watched the games, cheering when CHris scored the only 2 trys for the team.
After 7 mins each way the first game was finished and so was PAatrick!! He stumbled back to where I was sitting and collapsed in a heap coughing and puffing, ready to die! After a powerade he was almost human again and ready to play the next game.
After the final were played the prize giving started. Now this was not your average prize giving! There were prizes for;
- worst player (which was nominated by the team captins!)
- best try
and much to Chris's horror - smallest team
Well Team Chongwa came second in the Smallest Team catagory for which Chris was awarded a pair of large pink ladies knickers which he had to wear for the rest of the evening! Chris put them on over his shorts and there they stayed!
It had been arranged that we would be staying with Ros and Wizz for the night so after dinner and a few too many beers we retired to their house for a kip.