Sunrise on the road to Ndola

Escape from Lusaka

On Monday 14 March we finally received the long-awaited news that our vehicle documents were ready. This meant that we could finally escape the clutches of Lusaka. We had slowly started packing in the hopes that it would be happening sometime this week but now the time was upon us. It was 4:30 pm and our plan was to leave at 4:00am the following morning – Eek! There was so much to do before we could escape Lusaka.

We hurriedly packed up the last of our gear and the groceries we so carefully stocked up in Lusaka. We were ready to leave. It had been a very long stay which meant a rather emotional goodbye to our special friends. Our alarm was set for 3:30am.

Eventual Farewells

When the alarm went off, we were buzzing with anxious excitement. We loaded the last of our items and filled our coffee flasks. We bid farewell to a very sleepy Arthur, Chris and little Matthew who had woken up to say goodbye. It was going to be a long journey.

We were grateful we started out so early because we missed the Lusaka traffic on our way out. The roads out of Lusaka and as far as Ndola were tarred but deeply rutted by heavy trucks. Their weight hollowed out deep trenches on each side making it very difficult for low vehicles to drive. Fortunately, our “beast of burden” was a hefty Toyota with a lifted suspension. We had nothing to fear.

Rutted road to Ndola
Rutted road to Ndola

Our first stop was at 6:00am at the Fig Tree Café. Here we filled up our coffee flasks and indulged in a yummy breakfast bun.

Back on the road, we settled in for the long stretch to Solwezi. We planned no further stops before Solwezi except for the occasional toilet break to water the Zambian bush. The rest of the journey to Solwezi was mainly uneventful. We encountered some intermittent rain and occasional traffic but continued to make good time.

Trucks in traffic
Traffic near Pukota

Finally in Solwezi

Finally at around 2pm we arrived in Solwezi where we stopped in at the Hungry Lion for ice cream. We had to fill our gas cylinder and make a few final grocery purchases. Fortunately, we spotted an Afrox gas truck at the fuel station and could follow it to the depot for refilling. With our gas cylinder filled we headed to the Shoprite for our last grocery shop.

We were grateful that we did the bulk of our shopping in Lusaka because Solwezi has significantly less to offer. We bought a couple of things and then headed off 20km out of town to Mutanda Lodge. Here we spent the night quite comfortably.

Tomorrow would be the last leg of the journey to Chavuma.

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