29th August – Kafue to Lusaka
29th August – Lusaka – Eureka Campsite. Change of plans
Today we set off towards Mumbwa to get our TIP extended. It is bustling with activity and we are directed to the immigration office near the police station. My boyfriend approaches an immigration official and asks about the TIP extension. Without giving any answer whether this is possible from his particular office he asks to see his passport. He is so rough handed with it that the ID page is torn off, and the official just throws it back at my boyfriend and says “Now how do I know this is you”? Not even an apology feigning surprise! And then he proceeds to tells us they don’t handle TIP extensions anyway – so now you need a passport before you ask a question in Zambia? Having an invalid passport and crossing into Zim a week later, we have to abandon all our plans of staying a couple of nights at Mc Brides and rush to Lusaka to the Finnish embassy. We frantically call them to beg them to wait for us before they close up as we would arrive after their closing time.
The road from Mumbwa to Lusaka is in very good condition, and there are many people on and around the road. There are also various little stalls selling a bit of everything. We meet quite a few police checkpoints on the road but they almost all wave us through. One of the road block asked for “toffee”. We had no idea to make of this request. After a couple of minutes of confusion we realise the police is not after sweets but the road toll receipt – toll fee!
We arrive in Lusaka a few hours later, and the place is teeming with people and it looks like an open air market. There is a surprising amount of traffic too.
With the GPS it is easy to navigate to the embassy, and we start the process of replacing the passport. We are out of Kwachas and are dismayed to hear the passport needs to be paid in cash and in Kwachas. All the ATMs and banks fail to cooperate – we tried 5 ATMs and banks but no one can help us. Fortunately we have some euros and dollars in cash and exchange those. To make matters worse, it turns out the passport pictures we had so diligently taken before our travels just in case of situations like these are not accepted by the passport software program – my fair boyfriend is too dark for a passport in Zambia! It is only later that the irony in that gives us the giggles. So we have to scramble to have some pictures taken at Manda Hill and comfort ourselves with some fast food. The day has all been wasted and we arrive at Eureka camp tired but mostly frustrated. We should have been at Mc Brides with the noises of lions roaring! But this is Zambia, we were prepared for things not going according to plan, so we soon settle down with some beer and Amarula and play with the friendly dogs which decide we are theirs and bark at anyone who merely even looks our way. They even scare away the zebras which prowl the campsite at night.