A Travellerspoint blog

Hot springs at Kapisyia

We have a leisurely day at Kapisyia Hot Springs. We sit by the river to read. E boldly sticks his toe in the water and finds out it's freezing! (Later Dave tells us there are crocs about, so best not to jump in anyway). C is bitten by little ants crawling around. So we move, and sunbake by the pool. Not until later we are close to getting the lobster-look we find out that we are at an altitude of 1000m. So this is why we sunburn! We take a dip in the hot springs and lunch in the garden. The afternoon is spent reading and writing and then we cook dinner in the kitchen, along with the staff. Quite a funny experience to be standing next to cooks, in a well-stocked, huge kitchen, preparing our own spaghetti! Just for that reason it tasted even better. We sit down for some drinks after dinner with owner Mark and Dave at the charcoal fireplace as they tell great stories of the area, Mark's family and the early explorers Stanley and Livingstone.

Next morning we first get a small lecture from Dave on the rock paintings he himself has recently discovered in the area. We head off with two South African couples and follow Dave to 'Dave's caves'. The paintings are about 10.000 years old, although that is a very vague estimate. It's a fabulous walk and exhibit and we learn how the inhabitants used to make tools from splitting stone and rock; Dave gives a demo.

We return to the lodge, pay our bill and jump into Mark's open top landcruiser, for he gives us a ride to the turnoff. We pass Shiwa House, a former British mansion owned by his family and now major tourist attraction in the area, and great a baby Eland and young wildebeest called 'E'! Mark drops us at the main road where we jump in the back of an open truck full of sacks and locals heading for Mpika, about 1,5 South. It's a cold journey, but we make it one piece to Mpika.

Here we walk, as per Mark's instructions, to the Continental bus station to find a ride. First we feast on meat and chicken pies! C then negotiates the ride to Mutinondo in a car. This car has 'abnormal' written across the back, painted on a piece of sheet. We are part of a convoy! Our ride is a safety car for oversized vehicles carrying large mining trucks! We reach the junction for the lodge just before 5 pm, and before long Mike appears in a 4WD to take us to our next destination.

Posted by bumble_bee 07:03 Archived in Zambia Comments (0)

"On Lake Malawi"

written on the Malungo ferry to Chizumulu island

My love for you is like the deep pure blue
Bobbing atop are we,
The glistening body of Lake Malawi

A sometimes rainbow appears like a wink
From the watery eye of the deep blue deep
Strings of light strum in the shallows
And vanish beneath our jolly boat´s shadow.

We crunch the azure biscuit
A tiny blip, so insignificant,
Our cargo: people, a refrigerator, dreams,
As African beats waft in the breeze.

The gentle roll and purr of the engine,
You nod off and rest your head in
the crook of my back
Shielded from the sun under a roof of cloth sack.

My eyes begin to gently close,
My mind wanders an uncharted course,
Later we´ll make footprints in the sand
Between the hammocks on Chizumulu Island.

Posted by bumble_bee 04:08 Comments (0)

"Travelling Thoughts"

written at Mutinondo Wilderness, Zambia

The dusty wheels of the bus come to rest,
And the assault of street hawkers beckons,
Then engine´s roar is heard no more,
We´ve reached our destination.

Questioning limbs,
Our muscles want answers,
They´ve been rocked and rolled on the rutted road
All day since leaving Mwanza.

To arrive in a place where you´ve never been,
There´s a nervous excitement of uncertainty,
It strips back the layers, it can be hard to breathe,
Intoxicating vapours, a rich tapestry.

When you wake from the slumber of things that you know,
Back home they say "leaving your comfort zone",
Stretch out your arms, your mind and your soul
Embracing a humanity that´s ancient and old.

We feel doubt, but then continue to walk
Up the black cracked slope of Catapillar Rock,
Silence of eons screams up from below
There, the slumbering giants of Mutinondo.

Picnicing atop the timeless canyon,
I turn to you my beloved companion
For though this place touches my very core,
It´s because of you that I could not want for more.

Step by step, mile by mile,
On open top trucks, discomfort in style,
For what´s normal here, is abnormal back home
Differences so delicious they zing on your tongue.

Filling ourselves with experiences new
Like learning while teaching in Mto Wa Mbu,
Or lying back in hot springs under skies hot with stars
Where moon beams filter through overhead palms.

It´s Our Earth and it´s where we are meant to be,
In the mixer of discord and harmony,
When plans go awry, or there are problems to fathom,
Flow like the river that´s finding its rhythm.

Travelling this path is a luxury,
As time blissfully loses its urgency,
We have a reprieve from the need to surrender
To the chaotic rat race and its manic agenda.

Posted by bumble_bee 04:06 Comments (0)

Country No. 2: Zambia

As the MV Liemba arrives, there is no room dock side as some 6 or 7 boats and tankers are there. They begin an incredible re-shuffle, which sees them ´graze´ eachother! The Liemba makes a turn and heads straight into a gap that doesn´t look big enough at all. Somehow we nudge our way forwards and come broad side to the dock, as the other boats that are all lasked together move away freely as one pontoon, and then lask themselves to the portside of the Liemba. We disembark, squeeze passed the unloading crane that is blocking the quay side and wander up to Immigration. Here we buy our visas no problems, for USD 50. Then there is customs who casually check the small backpack. All the staff speak English and we get directions to the guesthouse called Nkupi lodge. We are told no further buses today to Kasama. It´s about 5pm, and as Zambia is 1 hour ahead (time difference), it will be dark soon.
We check about changing money. A man in a red hat tells us the rate of 4700 & that the US dollar has gone down. We decide against changing any USD and walk out to the guesthouse. We pass pedestrians on their way to the Liemba, which will head straight back to Kigoma. The women we note look more feminine here, taking care of how they look in clothing and hairstyle. We find the guesthouse and take a small Hanzl and Gretl-hut for 35000 ZK each. It looks like something out of a Brothers Grimm tale! We are shown round by Charity, a very amiable lady who tells us to eat at Medeco restaurant, where the ATM is, how to get to town with a shortcut.
The sun sets as we walk down the hill to town. A single main street with well built shops and restaurants on either side. We find the ATM is not working. We go to a booking office and enquire about buses to Kasama and to Kapishya. Departure is at 10am, 17000 ZK pp, arrival at the turnoff to the hot springs at 4.30pm approx. Sounds good, so we make a reservation with Daniel. Later we decide to change money with Grant - 100 USD on a better rate gets us 480.000 ZK. We have dinner at Medeco, of chicken and nshima (like ugali) for 15000 ZK pp. A beer costs 5000 ZK. Back at the guesthouse we sip cold Castle beer, take a hot bucket shower and het under our course mosquito nets for a cool sleep.
We wake early, pay and leave before 7.45 am. (It gets light early here!) We go straight to pay for our tickets and leave our bags on board. We change more USD with the man in the red hat (better rate than the bank!). Breakfast at Medeco´s is egg roll for C (3500 ZK) and a meat pie (pasty) for E (7000 ZK) + coffee (5000 ZK each). We buy provisions: coffee, jam, fresh bread, water (which is very difficult to find!), loo paper, and then board to the bus. C uses the most basic toilet yet - a small hole in a concrete floor, half a door. E checks the bags with Daniel and agrees to store them on the back shelf of the bus. The stacker then asks for 10000 ZK, to which E responds with ´Why?´, so the guy gives up and gets off. We set off.
The road and bus are excellent. We steam along. E sleeps, having a lariam day; C listens to music. We buy chips and vegetarian samosa at a stop, from the window, as the locals do it. We reach Kasama where we stop for an hour or so. We buy fruit & veggies; there is a huge supermarket! Something we haven´t seen for a while. Inside we get the local maize drink Mageu (passion fruit flavour), more bread and water. C uses the ATM. At 3pm we are off again and at 4.30pm we reach the turn off. We jump out, passing the backpacks through the window. The bus zooms off and leaves us at an empty cross road, save for a few huts and folk.
We are approached by an old lady, then a drunk man. We then meet Moses, who makes a call to someone with a car. As we stand there in the fading light with no mobile signal, a pickup truck arrives from the direction of Kapisyia, our destination, at 35km from the junction. A man gets out, drinking a beer, and chats with us. He works 10 kms from the hot springs and it looks like we have a lift for the first part of the journey. It will be dark soon, so this is far from ideal. Then a truck rounds the corner from the main road. This is going to the hot springs and will give us a free ride! Our bags in the back, we jump in the cab with Brite and driver Henry. It´s a long ride so we arrive at dusk. Brite enlightens us on many things about customs, language, the English family here, and how to travel onwards to our next destination at Mutinondo Wilderness. We wave bye to our lucky and friendly ride.
At reception of the Kapisyia Hot Springs Lodge we chat and drink Mosi beer (E, 10000 ZK) and Savanah Dry (cider from SA for C, 12000 ZK). We meet Mark, the English owner, Mel -his wife- and Dave, his Aussie friend who is here helping as a mechanic for a month. We sit by a charcoal burner in the front room, surrounded by several of Mark´s 9 dogs: Bubbles, Paddles, Princess, and sink a couple more beers. We then go to our chalet (we had booked a hired tent but for the same price we can get a basic chalet) and make sandwiches of exploded avocado and salt. Then we change and locate the hot springs.
And there is the bubbling thermal waters, we lie back with submerged head, beneath a leafy roof of palms and a bright half moon and stars. This is somewhere very natural and special. We sleep ok; broken dreams of Dave´s baboon spider story.

Posted by bumble_bee 04:02 Archived in Zambia Comments (0)

Arrival in Mozambique and Mozambique Island photos

Crossing the border from Malawi to Mozambique, we then take this train for 10 hours
2nd class cabins
Mozambique Island, quite a paradise
An old cinema
a decent coffee at last
The old Fort
Big Guns
Ahhh, the menu improves drastically with a whole squid, and lobsters

Posted by bumble_bee 03:36 Archived in Mozambique Comments (0)

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