‘Ben! Today we have an easy day. It’s only 250 km’s to Lukulu, mainly on tar road’ was Claudio’s famous words this morning. To a degree, he was right. What he didn’t consider were the road conditions of the tarmac. Once I got on to the D557 road, the usual dust, gravel and potholes conditions caused another slow motion.
Crossing the ‘Kabompo River’ by ferry, I was the last of the 5 vehicles. It was only 70 km from here to Lukulu. The road was actually fun to drive, although I needed to pay a lot of attention to potholes. This is a very remote and hardly visited region. Friendly locals seemed almost ecstatic as Zimba and I passed by.
The sun was relatively low already, time wasn’t on my side.
Passing a typical ox wagon carrying a whole family, I just had to stop for a few photos. Everyone greeted in a friendly way as they passed by with few gestures.
A palaver started before they stopped about 20 meters in front of me. A young boy jumped off and told me that his pregnant aunt needs to go to Lukulu hospital and asked if I could give her a lift.
I can take only one person I explained but was happy to do so for her.
However, this turned in to a discussion with family members. Haha, typical Africa.
As the lift never happened, I stopped to take a photo with the setting sun on a house in red. The bundled grass added spectrum.
It didn’t take long for a few girls to arrive, happily posing in front of my lens.
The word got out, that a zebra is parked on the road. Kids and adults came to investigate the situation.
Granny had a word or two to say as well.
A mother with a cute daughter arrived as well. The boys were friendly shouting ‘bola, bola’, one of the few English words they know. As I had a ball with me, I thought this would be a great photo opportunity taking action shots in the dust against the sun. After a group photo, I handed out the plastic ball.
The glaring exciting eyes on everyone’s face was priceless. The ball got chucked around in happy laughter, too quick for me to follow.
It didn’t take long for the excitement to last though. The ball somehow landed in a thorny scrub, that was the end of that. Shame, but it was worth a try. At least they had 10 minutes of joy and laughter.
Low setting sun over a community near Lukulu, Zambia
It was way dark before I arrived in Lukulu. The streets were extremely busy, being a public holiday tomorrow. It took a while to find the Italian mob but I was happy to have stopped driving.
Everyone was noticeably tired and edgy about another ‘slow day’. Vittoria fell asleep peacefully in a camping chair, looking rather cute and comfortable.
Another easy day was announced by Claudio, I had my doubts. We didn’t have far to go, but crossing the Zambezi via ferry in uncertain territory towards ‘Liuwa Plains National Park’ didn’t sound like an easy day to me. We lost hours driving back and forth through Lukulu, buying water, meat and exchanging money. I got somewhat annoyed as this could have been done in the towns we passed yesterday like I did.
We eventually got to the pontoon ferry point to see the ferry just leaving. This is a long boat journey against the current of the Zambezi, this will take a while.
Mothers used the ferry landing spot to do their washing, others were having a bath.
Banana boat fishermen passed by the shores.
5 off-road vehicles stirred up attention with local kids.
A big crowd arrived and interacted with the Italians.
I stood behind and took photos.
We had plenty of time, as we needed at least 3 trips.
The youngsters handed out sweets, which caused a few issues. There weren’t enough for the incoming army of kids.
The ones who got some wanted more. And the fact that no one uses dental hygiene is a health risk for their teeth. A few of the kids gotten quite cheeky, possibly fuelled by the sugar intake.
One young girl in particular. Fashioned like a modern pirate, she played up like one.
Imitating Jasmine’s smoking habit,
she picked up a stick to have a blow competition.
Her little friend thought that was quite fashionable. There were just too many photo opportunities here and there.
Kids everywhere, watching the ferries load and unload, the fishermen pass by or interacting Mzungu and locals with each other was just too much for my camera to handle.
Particular cute was this little one, who didn’t quite know what was going on.
A boy was posing with his younger sibling, just too cute.
It was a good opportunity to take a few photos of my Italian friends in unexpected moments too.
Giancarlo is a hobby photographer as well and a good object for my lens too.
The Zambezi is the lifeline of this region, water the source of life and transport.