Day 370 Zambia : Lusaka - Chimfunshi

Day 370 Zambia

Trip Distance 576km (358m) Total Distance 4021km(2499m)
Road Condition 95% tar 5% dirt  
Time to travel 7 hrs 1.5 hr  
Cost of diesel ZKw6297 (£0.88)    
Chimfunshi Education Centre S12 21.931 E27 28.904 ZKw100000 (£14.34) - Rundown, dirty, cold showers, not to be repeated

After Mau's early morning coffee and rusks, packing up and a quick shower we were back on the road for a marathon session again.  Mau and I really wanted to see the chimp sanctuary so here we were on our way.

The drive up was uneventful bar passing some amazing looking market stalls or rather sets of rickety wooden tables piled high with delicious fresh produce, tomatoes of decidedly un-EU shape but with fantastic sun ripened flavour and piles of rape leaves and green "mountain" leaves that are the ultimate replacement (and I would chose them OVER) spinach.

Lessons learnt from previous day trips meant that we had prepared some lunch - leftovers from the previous night's supper - and stopped halfway alongside the road for a bite to eat and something cool to drink. 

About 2/3s of the way to Chimfunshi, just after Kabwata and some 70kms before Kitwe (S13 14.648 E28 40.536), the T3 main road splits off.  If you are following T4A the left hand turn to cut off the trip through Ndola is indeed the shortest route.  But do take care as its twice the length of time because of the atrocious potholes and road conditions.  We'd suggest taking the "long" route via Ndola as the road remains mostly as a dual carriageway in great condition and takes half the time.

Approaching Chimfunshi we again followed the directions on T4A and turned into the sanctuary at S12 28.477 E27 29.149.  This is a little used road (we found out later!) but does take you to the campsite.  We approached with a little trepidation and were really disappointed when we arrived at the site.  The grass which the previous couple of days had overrun the campsite had been cut down but hadn't been cleared so, I was convinced, was harbouring all manner of wildlife in the lumps of warm, rotting grass.  The water levels are extremely high at the moment with it being the wet season and the Kafue River is no exception, as a result the part of the campsite that was accessible was extremely steep and couldn't have been camped on comfortably and the flat concrete spots inaccessible beyond the water and a concrete filled drum.  Nonetheless we dithered about for a bit thinking we'd camp there until we checked out the "toilets" which in fact were dens of inquity for millions (I exaggerated not!) of well-fed and humungous spiders.  yeeugggh!! What were they eating to be so big????????  So we turned around and pressed on for the Orphanage Offices in the hope that we would find somewhere comfortable to rest for the night.

What we found at the office was not very pleasant and my heart sank as we stood and looked around.  The main open area in front of dingey, rundown, dirt-streaked, unpainted, depressing cages, was inhabited by geese and the smell of goose shit was everywhere, loose feathers were blowing about and the smell of dirt and dung hung in the air.  Not nice.  Hopefully, we thought, this would be an area that we shouldn't have seen as tourists but if so, it didn't bode well for the rest of the sanctuary.

Our misgivings grew as we were greeted by Sheila, the founder of the sanctuary, to be told in a brusk and no uncertain terms that there was place to stay in the Education Centre but unless we hurried there would be no-one there to greet us.  Now, folks, if you're a charity, you are short of money and need tourist dollars in to help look after the chimps, would it be a good thing to try and be friendly and helpful and even it means waiting for an extra 20 minutes passed closing time for the tourist who are going to part with US$80?  Seemingly not....  So we set off in a hurry and made it to the Education Centre in record time.  Sheila's daughter Sylvia had waited and greeted us, showing us around.  The Education Centre is run down as well and in desperate need of some upgrading if they ever hope to entice more visitors.  So we decided that our vehicles were more comfortable and cleaner and set up camp (not an official one, mind, just somewhere to park up for the night but at a cost of US$10 each, a bit steep we thought, but the money was going to a good cause wasn't it?????).