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Sunday, April 8, 2012

Chronicles of Zambia #2 Mokopane to Puta is a long, long trip

Mokopane to Puta
On the 9th of March we set off from Mokopane, South Africa.  Koos and Jeni in their Toyota Land Cruiser, and us in their classy looking Land Rover. We would pick up 5 other team members along the way.

We crossed into Botswana about 2 hours after we started. The border crossing was smooth, and problem free, but still felt a little exciting.

To add to the excitement, Paul announced the Game Game. The Game Game is a cash reward game for any animal game spotted. Leopards are VERY valuable, worth R50, while elephants and giraffes are worth R10 each. Antelope type animals are worth R5, I think. I don't remember what all of them are, but it sure added a thrill to the day. Josh and Tim wracked up some big money, and Evangel is looking at getting glasses soon. She could see the elephants, but not until well after her brothers. I think we saw 6 elephants, some warthogs, and gemsbok, but we got no pictures. We didn't want to hold up Koos and Jeni right on the first day. We were being very well behaved.

(By the way, Koos is an Afrikaans name, and if you just say "Quiz," you're not too far off in pronunciation.)
We spent that first night in Botswana, right at the border of Zambia. We had hoped to cross over, but didn't make it in time, before the border closed. We still had electricity and showers at our campsite, both that night and the following in Zambia near Lusaka at Eureka Campsite.

We set up camp in the dark for the first time. I am the mattress blow-up person, while the rest of them hassle over the tent. When all 5 of us are in the tent, it's almost wall to wall air mattresses so we leave most of our stuff in the car each night. We like the coziness in there, and all 5 chat a little before we start falling asleep. Evangel reads for a while with her headlamp. All 4 of the others have headlamps, while I have a solar lamp which works fine, as long as I remember to get it out into the sun a bit each day.
We got going before dawn on the 10th of March, and were crossing the great Zambezi River on a ferry boat before breakfast. I looked over at Paul as he was driving the Land Rover off the ferry, and there on the dash board was the book King of the Cannibals about missionary John Paton. I had a good laugh about that! Anyone seeing this guy coming with a book by that title, might think Paul was reading up on how to be a cannibal.

Paul had a ball at the border crossing. He got passing out tracts and people were very pleased to get them.

We had to get to Lusaka that day, trying to be in time to pick up Nick Harold at the Lusaka airport. I think we were a little late, but we did finally get Nick, get settled, and Jeni got more meat as that was something we hadn't been able to bring across the border.

A word about Nick, he is the type of guy a mother loves to have her sons fellowshipping with. I heard him first take the time to explain knots to Joshua on the roof of the Land Cruiser, and from then on, he was teaching him little things along the way. He reminds us of James, a Jack-of-all trades kind of guy, wonderful to have around in an emergency.

The next morning marked the end of tame camping. We left Lusaka and headed north with roads and toilet facilities deteriorating as we went. In the afternoon we picked up our 4 Zambian team members. They were Henry and Dessy, and Dessy's friend Doris, and Peter, another translator and member of their church. It was still just our 5 in our car, while the 5 new people had joined Koos and Jeni in the Land Cruiser. We both had stuff on our roof wracks, and Koos and Jeni were towing their new camper trailer behind them.

Koos and Nick had a certain beach in mind as a camping destination. Everything took longer then we planned, and we ended up getting there in the dark. There were no toilets unless we made them ourselves, and no electricity except what was crackling in the sky. That evening was so beautiful! We got glimpses of the immense Lake Bwanguleu during each lightning flash, and glimpses of mammoth cloud piles in the sky.

We managed to get 5 tents set up, with 2 people in 3 tents, 5 people in one tent, and Nick was the lone ranger in his tent. I think we'd been in bed about 3 hours when it started to rain. It wasn't too long after that we discovered our tent leaks. It was a long night. Our air mattresses kept us off the ground, so that was good, but some of the drips were coming down on the kids' blankets. I think Josh woke up cold and wet around 3:30 AM, and I sent him to the car to finish the night. Evangel didn't even know it had rained! We had a puddle about 2 inches deep at the lower end of the tent where Paul and I were.

The next morning 4 of us took a dip in the beautiful lake at dawn. It took hours to get on the road because of a little car trouble, and breakfast and such, then we had stops along the way for food and to buy 3 bikes in Mansa and so forth. (Incidentally, Mansa was where we saw the last White people we were to see for about 20 days.)Therefore, we had to drive really late the next night, over a TERRIBLE road.

Around 9 PM we had a little accident with a pot hole that caused the roof rack on the Land Rover to slide off to the front. We lost over an hour with that one. Paul was exhausted. The boys were sound asleep, and Evangel was a heroine. She took it upon herself to sing to her Dad for the last 2-3 hours. One song after another. He joined in if he knew them, and it did the trick! He stayed awake long enough to get to our destination at Puta way up near the border with the Congo.


  1. Vicki, Vicki...have mercy on me...this blog is so chock full of interesting things that I can hardly hold them in my mind to comment on them!
    First, you crossed almost the whole of Botswana in a day (and my question about the location of Mokopane was answered). Then you played the game game, which sounds so fun and lucrative. Then you picked up Nick. I have a very important he married and how old is he? :)
    Then you had a long night in a leaky tent (ugh...) and more adventurous who is that standing on the car top? Mama or daughter?

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