As always when reaching a new country, I am curious about the roads. I am positively surprised that they are quite good and most important, wide enough. Traffic is fortunately very little but there are plenty of cyclists on the road. No wonder with those petrol prices here. Everybody seems to be genuinely pleased to see me cycling here. I believe that along my route, every single person gave me a smile and a friendly greeting.
They are still little hills, but after Botswana they almost feel like real mountains. Here in Zambia all roads lead to Lusaka, not Rome. The capital is exactly at the crossroads of the road network. No wonder it get a little bit busier on the road as soon as I get close to town.
Lusaka is the first bigger town for me since Cape Town. Still it is surprisingly quiet and rather feels like a small town. For some days I have to stay here to organize the next visas.
Throughout the next 600km to Chipata there are hardly any bigger places. Nevertheless there are constantly people along the road. They live in simple round huts with straw roofs of which there are always some together in a group. At the end of every day when I am tired I always knock on those huts. Every time I am warmly welcomed and can put my tent next to them. The evenings are always very interesting and entertaining with the respective family. In terms of the people, the ride through Zambia is something of the best I have ever done. Everywhere friendly and hearty people.
From Chipata I make a detour without the bicycle to the South Luangwa NP. The diversity and quantity of animals here is simply mind boggling. The river is just packed with hippos and crocs. But the real highlight is the leopard that we encounter one early morning. For about 20 minutes we chase him real close, while he creeps through the bush closing in on a impala. What an unique experience!
Travelling with a Swiss passport is normally a very pleasant way to cross borders. But for Malawi we need to buy a real expensive visa, whereas everyone else doesn't need one. No idea why that is so, but I grudgingly organized the visa in Lusaka and with that I cross from Zambia to Malawi at the end of may.