06 – 07 September: South Luangwa to Lusaka
06th September – South Luangwa to The Bridge
I still haven’t gotten any better so the planned game walk has to be postponed for good now. Now there are suspicions by the people at Zikomo that I might have malaria so before we leave I have to promise to get a malaria check. The rough road to Chipata feels much worse in my condition.
When we finally arrive in Chipata we immediately try to locate a decent clinic. We might have had better luck finding El Dorado – we are constantly pointed to a tiny, dark clinic proudly displaying the sign “We Care, God Cures” which not only fails to convince me but fills me with dread. But having no alternative option I walk in and ask for the malaria test. To my horror the test is done using a blade which at least seems to have been sealed. Fortunately I test negative, which is great as I wasn’t betting on god answering my prayers to cure me like the clinic was suggesting.
Somewhat relieved we retrace our steps back to the Bridge Camp – and the Great East Road is as lively as ever. It is quite fascinating that there are people everywhere, sometimes seemingly in the middle of nowhere. We wonder where they are coming from and where they are going and how long they need to walk.
This time The Bridge Camp is packed – there is barely space to set up our table and chairs. But mercifully it is slightly cooler than the week before. And we finally also get some good news from the embassy – the passport is ready to be picked up the next day! The path is cleared for our next step of the journey – Zimbabwe!
7th September – Lusaka (Chita Lodge)
At first light, we drive from the Bridge to Lusaka, keeping an eagle eye out for police after the last bribe. Thankfully there are none this time around.
When we arrive in Lusaka we head straight to the embassy where we collect my boyfriends brand new passport. So now for the next 10 years he is stuck with a passport with a photo immortalizing how one looks like when self-driving and camping in Africa. I am glad it wasn’t me!
Considering we would be in Mana Pools in Zimbabwe for a week I am worried that I still don’t know what ails me so the embassy recommends me a hospital. I am feeling much better now but would not like a relapse in Zimbabwe. Mercifully the hospital looks like it should look and it doesn’t seem to rely on God for a cure which is great news. I wait in the queue for a while to get seen by a doctor, who based on the symptoms diagnoses possible Malaria as well so I get tested again – properly with a syringe this time. It is still negative. So they decide that I probably have parasites – I am given some prescriptions for some medicines I should take if my condition worsens. The course of antibiotics I had self administered while in South Luangwa seems to have dealt well with my ailment.
With images of nasty parasites lurking in my insides, I declare myself as being “we” instead of “I” and that “we” need to be fed. So we set off towards Manda Hill for food and all the shopping for the Mana Pools part of our journey. Tonight we decide forego camping and stay at the Chita Lodge instead which is just behind Manda Hill.
Chita Lodge has secure parking and the place essentially a big villa, very tastefully decorated. The rooms are clean and spacious, though quite basic. The main draw of the lodge is the sprawling garden with a lovely swimming pool – complete with bar and restaurant. I would not recommend the restaurant though… and especially not its curry which is very greasy and too salty (and I love lots of salt in my food!). We use the TV and wifi to catch up with what is going on around the world – and then go to sleep.