This is a quote from "Hillel the Elder" from the first century. (I thought I was so original!)

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Lake Bangweulu - Samfya, Zambia

Leaving the falls near Kasama, we headed to Lake Bangweulu.  We were told this was a warm white sandy vacation spot wholly withing the borders of Zambia.  We had 300 or 400 km to drive and only 100 km was paved.
The part of the trip that was dirt was in great shape.

However, there were a few obstacles that slowed us down.
The fellow below got all bent out of shape as we passed.

Then the Chinese had begun working on the road to improve it.
Initially, they were putting in large culverts for drainage that resulted in many, many detours and reduction of speed.  

We did stop for gas.  There were no familiar gas stations although we could see quite a few cars in the town of Luwingu.  I was told what cinder block room to go to.
There the gas attendant started sucking on the diesel to siphon out twenty liters at a time.  He assured me it was diesel .

As an added measure of customer service he used a sock to filter the petrol before it went into the truck.

Aids and medical issues are always apparent by the reminders in the signage.

The northeast part of Zambia seems to have plenty of water.

Once we reached Mansa and paved roads, things looked more familiar.

However, the sun was setting and I had tried to call the resort several times, and a little girl answered each time but was not able to confirm a reservation for us even though she assured me it was the correct place.

Below is the sign I found just after the sun set and in the dark.  The photo was taken the next morning.
I was very happy that it was a "First Class Accommodation" and there was food available.
Kristi was thinking things looked a little sketchy but it was 50 km back to the really sketchy town of Mansa and it was over 200 km to what I would call "western style" quarters.
 It was PITCH BLACK as there was no electricity.
I drove to the main building and knocked on the door.  Eventually a man came and said he could put us up for the night and feed us.  What more could we want?  I was grateful.

I pressed him about how fresh the fish was and I was thinking this is a real adventure.  We had a romantic place to sleep, candlelight dinner and a HUGE lake all to ourselves.  We were shown our room and given some candles.  About 45 minutes later the dinner arrived from the kitchen to our bungalow.  It was pretty good but Kristi didn't appreciate the furry things running across the floor.

I ate mine and crawled into bed.  They couldn't get an emergency generator running and there wasn't any water.  On awaking the next morning this was our view of the "resort" main building and kitchen and Lake Bangweulu beyond.

Kristi was such a happy camper to see the beautiful sunrise, white sand and warm beach.  The little shed is where the generator and pump for water is located.  They worked on it for two hours the night before until I told them not to worry about it.

This was our honeymoon cottage.

The red face and steam out my bride's ears was a little different than I had seen before.  She wasn't exactly "blushing".  I think the time off was over and she needed to get back to a routine in the mission office.  I, on the other hand, could have stayed and done some more exploring.  You will notice the local natives are enjoying the warm sun and sand while they collect some water for their daily chores and meals.  I had forgotten that July is really in the middle of winter here.

Next door we discovered another resort but they were in worse shape than where we stayed.

It did have the promise of internet and lavish accommodations

The new part had potential but as you can see work has stopped on the new part.

Someday the dream will be a reality with nice bungalows and a view of the lake.

But for now, I think your best bet is to bring a tent and a fishing pole.

We were offered a tour of the islands in that boat but I knew when my escape ticket had been punched and we needed to head home.  Besides, I had one more item on my tour of Zambia list.  I needed to find the spot where David Livingstone had died.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Kalambo and Chishimba Falls, Zambia

Our goal was to see Kalambo Falls and get to the town of Kasama before dark.  Kalambo River divides Zambia from Tanzania at this point.  Joseph our grieving guide showed us the way.  I still enjoyed driving slow and checking out the locals.

When caught with my camera I usually ask if we are on the correct road to find the falls.

The rivers in this part of Zambia are so untamed but used every day.

Finally, we found where the water finds a break in the high plateau and plunges down 772 feet or twice the height of Victoria Falls.  It was 1913 when white folks first saw the falls.

We took a road (sort of) around to get a view from a distance.  It is so far away it is difficult to appreciate the height of the falls.  It is the second highest falls in all of Africa.  In another five kilometers the river empties into Lake Tanganyika.  Everything to the left or on the opposite side of the river is the country of Tanzania.

Back on the high country folks are just carrying on with their normal chores.  The little valley above the falls is one of Africa's well known archaeological sites.  Explorers first discovered it archaeologically in 1953.  It has been determined that there has been human activity there for the last 250,000 years.

I am so thankful I don't have to bend down and wash clothes wherever I can find water.
This lady below had two five gallon buckets on her head, heading uphill to her home.  (That green tint in the photo comes from the truck windshield).

This is what you do when there is no deep well and hand dug shallow wells produce nothing.
They plant with the seasons and wait for the rain and walk for water. 

Cattle can sort of fend for themselves and then they are rounded up for market.

Some areas have terrific paint jobs on their homes.  It tends to run in neighborhoods.  The paints are all natural local colors.

We made it to Kasama by dark but the place we had intended to stay was full so we stayed across the road and had fish and chips for dinner.  Not far out of Kasama the next day we found the Chishimba Falls.  Kristi is sitting in front of a weir which is sort of in the middle of the three falls.  Water is taken out of the river at this point and piped out to this part of Zambia.  The top falls are visible in the background.

The photo below is the top or upper falls.

Then down stream are these beautiful rapids.

Finally the lower main fall that is 90 feet high.  That is Kristi standing on the edge.

Below the falls the water of the Luombe River goes out to bless the lives of those lucky enough to be living below.  There is a power plant nearby and the whole area is a national monument.

There is something peaceful, relaxing and refreshing to be around water.
My mother grew up in the middle of a Utah desert and she often said she would just like a little stream in the backyard to listen to and put her feet in occasionally.

Well, water seems to be a theme so we are headed west on dirt roads to another huge lake, totally inside Zambia.  It is called Lake Bangweulu, and the article we read said it had beautiful white sand all around  and it was a beautiful resort near the town of Samfya.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Lake Tanganyika, Zambia

We made it to the rim of part of the great Rift Valley and dropped in to Lake Tanganyika and the town of Mpulungu.  We found our host, Holly, who was filling in for a Swedish couple who help out the owner of the Isanga Bay Resort.  Holly is a missionary, as is the Swedish couple, and she serves in their office and works at keeping their mission going.  I related to her frustrations but she has been at it a lot longer than me.  She has been here for eight years!  We felt a little guilty of having her interrupt her work to host us for a couple of nights.  That is until we saw the place and decided we were doing her a favor too.

Parked the truck and threw the bags in the boat and we were off.  It was another 45 minutes of speeding across the lake and trying to beat the setting sun.  The fishermen were just beginning to come out to spend the night fishing.

We docked and I didn't see any beach, just lots of rocks and trees.  We took a path past the restaurant and dropped down the other side to our own little private world.

We made it just in time to see the sun disappear over the second largest freshwater lake in the world.
Unbelievably, it holds 18% of all the fresh water on the earth!  It is 420 miles long and 31 miles wide and it is very deep.  The river that leaves the lake eventually runs into the Congo River. 

I was so excited to have this little private beach all to ourselves.

This was our bungalow.

We could see some fishermen.

And this guy thought we should be quieter and and appreciate that people have been visiting here for thousands of years.

Immediately our crew started a fire so the boiler could give us a hot shower before bed.

With this view I knew it was going to be hard to leave.

Now we are in paradise again, right?
We paddle around and explore the clear water and into the tules.
We read, we nap, we eat.

I get a little bored and find some folks sawing lumber out of logs.

Then we realize there is a little path from our private beach over rocks and through the bushes to a much larger beach.

It is here that we found what we were missing from our paradise  -  GRANDKIDS !

Some were shy, some were curious -

All of a sudden the world was more than a paradise - it was fun.

Of course the moms were happy to have them entertained while they kept up with their chores.
This lake is the only source of water for the village.  No little streams running into the lake in this area.

One more sunset and a quiet morning and it is time to head out.

We had provided work for our "staff" and for Holly and it was time to lock up and go.

We passed one of the many "taxis" that get people to market and medical help and schools.

Before we left Mpulungu we had to find the Niamkolo Church.  It is the oldest Christian church in Zambia built in 1895. 

It looks nicely over the lake but they had problems with the tsetse fly so abandoned it to move away from the water after not too many years.

These ladies had bananas for sale and they are really tasty so I bought a few from each.

Our plans were to find Kalamabo Falls.  We could have hiked up to the falls from a beach 15 minutes further by boat,  but it was a difficult four hour hike and when an African says it is difficult, I believe them.  We did find the manager/caretaker of the falls in town.  We heard he was there and we were asked if we would take him with us as he was waiting for a boat and then was going to make the hike.

We found Joseph and were ready to head out but he needed to stop for his bag at this market and then at a store before we left town.  It turns out Joseph had just lost his wife and two children in a car accident down near Kabwe.  He was returning from burying them and headed back to his empty home.
Death is so common and we felt so bad but Joseph was pretty stoic and accepting.  He said it must have been their time, that "God gives and God takes away."

We headed out of the lake valley to the town of Mbala and then on about 35 km of dirt road to the falls.