Mansa to Kapiri Mposhi – driving in the dark and almost accident
Enjoying the beach and working on our computer.
As our Visa and TIP was about to expire we had to go to Mansa about 86 km away from Samfya. We decided to go public because it was easier and you need not leave the car somewhere unattended.
So we walked to Samfya to get a bus. But there were no buses to Mansa, so we had to take a taxi to Msaila (about 20 km) where we could get a bus. Bargaining was not really necessary, as the prices are fixed, 10 ZMK per person. We just arrived there in time to get a bus. The bus was really crowded and amazing. We entered and had to climb over the seats, because it was more than full. About 200 people were in the bus, which officially probably could take 100 passengers. The conductor was nice, organized a seat for me in chasing a young boy away. I was sitting between women, breast feeding there countless children. My wife was sitting somewhere in the aisle on boxes of bananas. So we started. After a while the girl next to me was vomiting, which added to the general smell in the bus. The conductor after a while came to collect the tickets, which we did not have, so he said we should ask another guy in the bus for a ticket. 30 ZMK per person (4.50 US$) and then we had to present it to the conductor, bureaucracy of the finest. Finally we arrived In Mansa and asked our way to Barclays ATM, because – attention – MasterCard in Zambia only works at Barclays and Stanbic which are rather rare. Then we went to the immigration office. The lady officer was polite and after a few minutes we had the stamps in our passports. Next step Revenue authority to extend the TIP for the car. The officer was polite as well, but said that he must send a scan to Mpulungu Customs Office, our point of entry, and then they authorize him to extend. After some phone calls he told us, if we had some things to do, we should and come back one hour later to get the stamp, by then they will have answered the email. Next step Shoprite, buying some food. Next Zambeef the Zambian provider of meat, and to the bus station to ask when the last bus leaves. „This is the last bus and it leaves now“, so we jumped in and the bus left. After a few meters the conductor asked for the tickets, but we did not have and he told us that we had to get out again, because the bus anyway was fully booked. Luckily they brought us to another station, where we could find another bus, got our tickets at the counter and we left for Msaila, this time the bus was not crowded only seats were booked. Finally we were lucky, but missed Revenue authority and our TIP. In Msaila we changed again to a taxi. At Samfya Beach Hotel we discussed what to do. Our TIP expired on 03.07.2014, so we had still time three days. Staying another day at the beach or leaving the next day. We decided to leave the following day, as anyway they did not provide us with hot water as promised and were not really friendly. It was a very wise decision as it turned out later.
In the morning we packed together our things, but the Land Rover did not start. Battery empty. I was wondering but obviously there was too little battery water, so it did not charge properly. So I connected the battery charger to the power and could start our Land Rover to drive to Mansa again. We arrived at Revenue Authority but the officer was not there. Another one cared for us and told us that they could not extend it, we had to go to the 500 km distant Kapiri Mposhi. I was really angry but happy we came this day, because it was not possible to do that 500 km in one day. It was not a big problem, as this was anyway on our route but I would not have left at around noon but stayed another day in Mansa. As it was already noon we had to hurry. Shopping at Shoprite, petrol station, battery water very important and Alexandra meanwhile queued up at Zambeef where they had a pump like at a petrol station where they sold cooking oil. Soon we were on the road again, we had to get as far as Mkushi this day, there should be a campsite. 400 km to go. The tar was good, nevertheless average speed was low, so it was getting dark already, which we hate, driving in the dark in Africa. It was still 20 km when suddenly on the other side of the road there was a break down of a truck and instead of warning triangles they use branches or bushes which they put on the lane to indicate there is a break down. I realized it but the oncoming bus obviously realized it too late and pulled to our lane. I did an emergency brake and the truck behind us was too fast and pulled to the other lane to prevent crashing into our Land Rover. The oncoming bus could stop in time, we as well, so a big accident could be prevented. We were really lucky, because these huge buses and trucks would have squeezed us completely. Through the ditch I passed the bus, because he was not really interested in pushing back, just an idiot more, and so we could proceed. After a few miles the truck was behind us again, was flashing his lights constantly, obviously furious, but they have never heard to keep a certain distance, that why he could not stop the truck in time. Another idiot more. Safely we arrived at Forest Inn Campsite, (40 ZMK per person).