Chifunda (North Luangwa)

Trip Start Apr 24, 2012
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Zambia  , Northern,
Tuesday, August 28, 2012

South to North Luangwa

And so, we were "All dressed up and nowhere to go"! Quite literally, as we were saying our goodbyes, Louise, the manager informed us that there was no Diesel available in Mfuwe. The tanker was on its way but they could not say for sure when it would arrive. “Poli Poli” as they say in Tanzania, or “manana en la manana” in Mexico.

Fortunate for us in this instance, as we could spend a last day with Mike and Christine in this lovely setting.  Christine even made us a lovely breakfast.

Carlos' planned route was through the  Nsefu Sector (going through part of South Luangwa park (in transit), through the Luambe National Park (also in transit), and then bordering with North Luangwa Park till we reach the camp at “Its wild” or "Chifunda Community Camp", where we would cross the ferry into North Luangwa park.

The other option was to go all the way back to Chipata – the only other option for fuel – and then take the main road to the north and then cutting in to get to the same destination.

We also discovered a broken spring limiter on the trailer so Carlos had time to engaged some locals to weld it.  A relaxed day otherwise, with an elephant crossing the river to come eat mangoes on the other side late afternoon.

First thing next morning we said our goodbyes, sad but grateful for the time we had together. Mike and Christine would stay another day and then go into Malawi.  As we drove into Mfuwe we saw the tanker already at the fill station, waiting for the boss (from Croc Valley) to bring the key for the deposit.  We waited 2 hours and a bit of a queue formed as a result. This filling station was built during the war and as you can see from the photos, they are in the process of upgrading.  That may take a very very long time!

Happy to have a full tank, we set off on the road that we were advised against.  We are happy to report that it is not bad at all.  34 or more river crossings (mostly dry) but otherwise good.  We went through several check points or gates without any problems.

Just short of the Hot Water Spring within the Nsefu Sector, we found some vultures and a number of antelope. The spring is completely unutilized.  I guess a HOT water spring is not such a big thing in such a HOT country.

We went through wonderful forests and villages.  The inhabitants very friendly and happy to see visitors.  We took a wrong turn and ended up in a hunting concession about 20 km from Buffalo camp.   We were asked to turn back. This was a bit of a problem as it was already dusk.  The road from here got worst by the mile.  At the end, in darkness, we did about 10 km on hard black cotton soil with elephant and hippo spoor as big as potholes.  It was a very slow ride. The road became very windy and one had to weave through the trees.  Not great in the dark.

At long last we arrived at “it wild” or Chifunda Camp. We were assisted by the manager even though it was about 9 pm already.  We set up camp, made pasta and went straight to bed.  Too tired to think. Later during the night we woke up to an elephant munching on seedpods under the tree next to us.  @#$^%^^^&! We forgot all about the vegetables in the trailer! This was not good as we were instructed by Croc Valley staff to remove any such items from the tent as the elephants will stop at nothing to get to it.  So this was panic stations!! Carlos lit a cigarette and blew the smoke out the window and put toothpaste all over the kitchen door to camouflage the scent. I got up and unlocked the doors for a quick get-a-way.  After what seemed like eternity, the elephant walked in a different direction.  Shjoe!

Early next morning we were informed that the elephants in North Luangwa are not so forward and would not even enter the Lapa kitchen for food. They are not aggressive like the South Luangwa Elephants.  Thanks for telling us that now. Anyway, we packed up, ready to have a shower and cross over with the ferry.  Ooops, No hot water and No ferry.  It will have to be a river crossing..............

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