Put Foot Rally Day 9 and 10: Border dash and bat country

Posted on 2 July 2012

Day 9

The Waterfont Lodge in Livingstone, Zambia to somewhere close to the Kariba Dam Wall, Zimbabwe Border
Distance: 600 kilometres

Day 9 was a non entity for me. I was already feeling a little tender from the previous evening’s Queen’s Jubilee Checkpoint Party (check out the photos here) and we had some serious ground to cover, so we were car-bound for most of it.

We split Livingstone like a horde of Mexicans packing knock-off ponchos with the best intentions of making it to the Zim Border. We didn’t make it and had to check in to some chalets for the evening. It was dark, I have no idea what it was called or even where we were. I remember the bedposts stuck out way further than the mattress. I knocked my shins at least seven times, I swore at least 12. Like I said, it was dark.

Day 10

Somewhere near the Zimbabwe Border to Nau Camp on the banks of Lake Kariba, Charara, Zimbabwe
Distance: approximately 100 kilometres

Lake Kariba

The Zimbabwe Border Post at the Kariba Dam Wall is really more of a character interview than an official process. You can have all your paperwork in order and there’s a chance you still won’t go sailing on through. Your best bet is to treat it like a job interview. One in which you give your potential employer gifts as you’re being interviewed. We hit the sweet spot three t-shirts and a bottle of Old Brown Sherry in. Sorted. I busied myself musing over a little nugget of information courtesy of Dan Nash: The Kariba Dam Wall has dead bodies in it, embedded in the cement. Apparently, as they were filling it up every so often some poor oke would slip and fall into the cast. Nothing could be done to get them out, so they just kept on throwing cement in … what a way to go.

As we made our way to Nau Camp, I realised we were in bat country, and by bats I mean animals that will eat you. What we consider to be strictly the dominion of game parks and reserves simply roam free around the Northern section of Kariba, specifically crocodiles and hippos.

Zebra chilling behind a roadside electrical box

Elephant calf throwing sand into the main road

Despite the bats Mike Sharman and I dropped off our kit at the camp and a made a beeline for the Cutty Sark Hotel, the only place this side of Zim with an inkling of internet. I’m don’t know who’s worse, but I’m pretty sure if the internet was crack both Mike and I would be in rehab, or singing a duet to a sold-out crowd at The Wembley Arena – seems like it could go eith way these days. I ran out of my megabyte stash first. Fearing imminent withdrawal I busied myself with some therapeutic tree photography while Mike usurped the last remaining bytes from the Cutty Sark’s dwindling supply. Here are the trees:

Therapy over, we headed back to Nau Camp. Mike had been tasked with getting a sim card and pumping up a few soccer balls (Spur has given us soccer balls to hand out to kids along the way, check out the album here).  He had managed to do none of those, which means on the way back to the camp we were greeted by this guy, who wasn’t happy that Mike hadn’t done his job. We fashioned a pump out of the inside of a pen, a piece of wire and a hose. I wish I could tell you it worked …

I finally got a generator from Team Wasted Potential, pumped up the ball, ran back and handed it over … smiles all round, me: winning.

Nau Camp

‘At any given moment I could be croc food,’ I thought as I stood (at a safe distance, Mom) on the banks of Kariba trying to perfect yet another sunset shot – they’re very popular on the rally and Dan Nash is currently winning with his Instagram montages. It’s beautifully wild … if you’re alright with a hippo popping through the camp for a midnight roam.

Sunset over Kariba (note the effective croc deterrent)

That night we kicked off our Mexican-themed Checkpoint Party 3 – Kariba Kariba (clever, eh?). There were wide-brimmed hats, dirty moustaches, ponchos and some tequila (I think). I woke up with a whole lot of black marker all over me. I wasn’t that bleak, at least I didn’t wake up on the inside of a croc.

The following day we headed for lake Malawi, where I’m sitting now with a towel over my head to diffuse the screen glare, but more on that later … I’m going for a swim.

yoast-primary -
tcat - Travel news
tcat_slug - travel-news
tcat2 -
tcat2_slug -
tcat_final -