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Cross over into Zambia

Stage 55 (36): Lilongwe to Chipata

Actually, it’s not Chipata itself but another 8 km of tarmac and then badly rutted dirt road to Mama Rula’s Camp.

All the usual associated with an early start; riders meeting to go over again the protocol involved in leaving Malawi and entering Zambia. Triple-check that I’ve got all my documents in neck wallet; I wouldn’t want to be left behind.

A long day but a very nice ride once we’d cleared Lilongwe. And how nice to have full braking capability as we weave through vehicular and pedestrian traffic on a Saturday morning. By the time we were 20+ km out, the traffic thinned from moderate-light to just plain light to almost nil at times. We’re still riding through this interior plain or plateau in central Malawi; intensive agriculture eventually giving way to small and then subsistence plots. Overcast for first hour or two, I don’t think temperature got into the 20s until after the lunch break.

No climbs of note.

Approaching lunch I could see the throngs of hysterical kids surrounding the Lycra-clad Musungu downing food ravenously. Well, this will be the last such stop in Malawi; maybe Zambia will be a little calmer.

The road on which we’ve been riding along parallels a set of train tracks. I don’t see any evidence of moving stock so wander over to investigate; is this another instance of China’s Belt and Road initiative?

I don’t think so; these tracks look like it’s been years since anything passed down them.

I made the border crossing in good time; exit stamp from Malawi and entry stamp for Zambia, all in the same air-conditioned building. Painless.

Back on the bike and headed for Chipata to hit an ATM and get myself a local Sim for the phone. Afternoon definitely now warm: mid-20s? The road surface hugely improved, and includes a wide shoulder. Make Chipata in very good time and find that they’ve got separated bike lanes! Impressive.  The money withdrawal and SIM  proves long and a bit frustrating but an hour plus sees it done. A few more kms and we arrive at Mama Rula’s Camp, a little oasis in the hot afternoon. Showers, flush toilets, grassy areas on which to pitch a tent, and cold beer at the bar. Perfect.

The bush babies in the trees about camp are calling in the early evening.

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Ralph Scobie
Ralph Scobie
Mar 13, 2023

Hey Kit, haven't seen anything new for a few days. Is all well???

Mar 14, 2023
Replying to

Hi Ralph - yes, all ok ; the past three days a combination of being too tired at the end of the day to post anything, and then just inadequate bandwidth. I’ll be in Lusaka tomorrow, so aim to get caught up then.

Cheers, Kit.

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