Bridge Camp

Day 294, Wednesday 24 October 2012 – Bridge camp, Zambia

Trip two officially started two days ago, the new people had the booze cruise and the Victoria Falls visit to do while we mooched around the campsite. For us oldies today was the day the trip kicked off as we down tents, jump in the truck and head off. I loved having a couple of days off, but for me it was one day too many in Livingstone.

The second leg of the trip has a lot more long driving days than the first half, which means a lot of very early starts and this morning was the first one. We were up at 5:30, dropping tents – and helping the new guys, before piling into the truck and leaving Livingstone at 6:00 am. Leonie and I took the opportunity to swap seats before the newbies arrived. We have moved further back in the truck where there is a lot more leg room and have also swapped sides to avoid late afternoon sun. Though experience says when I do the third and final leg – the gorillas trip, I will move back to the front as I will be on my own then and can spread over two seats. It is very windy in the back.

The road we are travelling is the main East Africa north/south highway so there are a lot of trucks on the road. There are also far more bicycles than I have seen elsewhere on the trip and a lot less donkeys – one less road hazard I guess. There is also a lot more small towns and villages close to the highway, which probably explains the proliferation of bicycles here.

It is Independence Day in Zambia so it is a public holiday and there are a lot of people on the road which made the drive slow and an already long drive longer. We stopped at a road side shop and I bought a very nice scone, again I was surprised at how well the local people speak English, it does make travelling and communicating so much easier. I many parts of Africa English is either the only or one of two official languages that are taught at school. Of course everyone also learns to speak at least their tribal language or dialect as well.

We passed through Lusaka around lunch time and stopped at the mall for a lunch and shopping stop. Downtown Lusaka looked quite nice, reasonably modern, tidy and spacious – a city I could live in I think – if I had to live in an African city of course.

Due to the public holiday, downtown Lusaka was a breeze to get through and the mall was just like any NZ mall, full of teenagers and children hanging about. It was kinda cool.

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As we got further north the countryside started getting a little bit more lush, with a few more trees and some colour in the hills. I took a few photos out of the window of the truck – hard to do when moving, and of course steering clear of overtly photographing the local people.

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We arrived at Bridge Camp just before 6:00pm, a twelve hour day on the road, they are tough days for driver Will, needing constant vigilance for all the animals and people that mill about. Bridge Camp is in the middle of nowhere and just a rest stop on the way to South Luangwa national park, our destination tomorrow. We have another pre-dawn start so I took a couple of photos of the Luangwa river and Mozambique on the other side. I loved the sign on the gate.

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After pitching tents a few of us went and jumped into the swimming pool for a refreshing dip and after a dusty day in the back of the truck. After dinner Brett gave his first photography lesson to the new group, there was only the young couple in attendance, none of the others are particularly interested in photography per se. I think it was the only lesson given on the whole second leg and we had fewer photography adventures. At least with this group I wasn’t constantly wandering into other peoples shots as I looked for a different angle on the shots.

Like the Livingstone posts I am writing this on the second to last day of the trip, sitting alone in the Snake Park campsite in northern Tanzania. The second leg has not been such a photographic leg for me and I have far less photos than the first, we just had less opportunity and there were less things to see.

I am lucky I wrote things in my notebook as we went. fortunately a lot of the following days were blogged as we went, or I would never finish!