Isanga Bay

Trip Start Apr 24, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Zambia  , Northern,
Monday, September 10, 2012

Isanga Bay

Having travelled all day the last thing we needed at the end of it, was a really bad road! OMYHAT! 4x4/off road stuff at dusk. What is more, one drives right through villages (literally pass people's front doors), on the way to Isanga. Our moral plummeted when we arrived at a locked gate with no one in sight to open it.  Was this another "nonexistent" campsite?  We had nowhere else to go… …….in desperation we hooted and waited with bated breath.  Not much later, Nicki, an Afrikaans speaking South African, arrived at the gate to welcome us to Isanga.  WHAT A RELIEF!

So, Dirk and Nicki showed us to our camping spot and gave us a quick rundown of what there is to do and how things work at Isanga.  We could not see much at this stage as it was dark, but just knowing that we were in their friendly hands, was good enough.

Waking up at Isanga was a further surprise! As neat as they come, with a patch of green lush grass for each camper. A Boma with a table where we could braai with wood and charcoal supplied.  A tropical beach, complete with coconut palms and turquoise water, just for us as there was no other campers. A real oasis.

Turns out Dirk and Nicki Otto have been managing Isanga for the last couple of years. They are completely self-sufficient, other than for fuel. Dirk is a “Namibian boy” and a chef to boot.  They do all kinds of smoked meats, sausage, spit braai’s etc.  Not forgetting the lovely fresh fish from Lake Tanganyika. 

They don’t use the awful road over the mountain at all.  They go to Mpulungu by boat , get their bakkie there and then go to Kasama for the necessary shopping. The road would not be so bad if one travels at day time. 

Nicki gave us vital info w.r.t crossing the border just the other side of Mbala.  Seeing that there is no one manning this quiet border post on the Zambian side, one first has to go to Mpulungu to customs and then to Mbala to immigration.  This basically adds a day to ones trip.  It saved us much frustration later though. 

We loved Isanga Bay and enjoyed Dirk and Nicki’s company.  Was good to “praat die taal” in the bundu. Dirk kindly gave us some frozen fish to take with on the trip. Turns out that Dirk went to school in Keetmanshoop and was taught by my uncle, Koos Marais, back in the day.  Small world.

We left Isanga at about 8am and the road seemed a whole lot better than the evening we got to Isanga. Kalombo Water Falls is another spot to visit on the way back to Mbala.  A spectacularly high fall, (300 m) – it did not have much water at this time but I can imagine how great it must be in the rainy season. The water actually turns into mist before it reaches the bottom of the fall.

We filled up with fuel in Mbala and went in search of food supplies in town.  We found a delightful little store with an very helpful and friendly lady and staff. We managed to get most everything we needed. Then to the local market for fresh veg and fabric.  A great experience!

Lunzue Water Falls, just before Mpulungu is definitely a let down! Would not waste my time on it if I knew.  Mpulungu is essentially a fishing town. We stayed at Nkupi – not great, but the only one.  Be prepared for lots of Mosquitoes!

Next morning it took Carlos no time to get the paperwork done at customs. The same goes for immigration at Mbala.  We could hardly believe our luck.  Getting to the border post we had to wait for someone to open the gate on the Zambian side and then we were officially in Tanzania.  The border post apparently handles about one vehicle per week, so it was a breeze. 

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