We had been warned quite a lot by many people about the roads in Zambia. The toll people have to pay is probably to sustain the potholes, as most of them have obviously been there for quite some time. But before we were able to enjoy the giant slalom that is the Zambian roads, we still had to cross the Tanzanian-Zambian border. 

The road to the border was quite easy and went by as fast as we had hoped. We stopped in a town called Sumbawanga to have something to eat, and Jeroen found a replacement spare oil filter and some extra engine oil, since that is the filter we had replaced during the service at the Lakeshore Lodge. After that, we turned to the Kasesya border. As we neared the border, we already noticed the road slowly turning worse, something to practice the Zambian roads. 

The border was the easiest crossing we had by far. We didn't time it (every time we forget to set a timer), but it can't have been more than 20 minutes. We first arrived at the Tanzanian side. Emma was able to get the stamps at immigration, while Jeroen had our CPD stamped. Then Jeroen had to show his face at immigration just to be sure and we were able to leave. Emma loved to speak Swahili with the official, which made it even a fun crossing. 

After that we crossed a bit of no man's land, until we reached the Zambian post. Here again we spent just a few minutes with immigration and a few minutes for our CPD and we were in Zambia! The roads got a lot worse, to proof that we had actually reached our fourth country this trip. We drove to Mbala, where we bought our SIM cards and where we would stay the night. 

The first morning in Zambia we woke up with excitement, not knowing what would happen that day. We planned to camp at our next site, so we firstly went into Mbala to get some fruits and vegetables along the road. We then continued our way south, avoiding the potholes as best as we could. 

Just before we reached a town called Kasama, we had to stop at a toll point. Here we could pay the people to sustain their potholes. When arriving at the toll point, the steering started to become a bit stiff. After having paid toll, we continued to Kasama, where we wanted to check if they had some extra engine oil. Upon driving into the bay, the steering worsened a lot. Not a bad thing to have it checked.

The place we arrived at, was a Toyota service center. A huge coincidence that the issues happened at a town where there is a genuine Toyota service center, and we felt lucky. That was until we heard the issue. The steering rack was apparently completely worn. Strange, since we just had it fixed in Rwanda. Turns out, the brand new steering rack we were supposed to have in our car, looked very nice on the picture and that is where it stayed. There was no new steering rack in our car and we clearly made a very big mistake. We should have been with our car the entire time it was at the workshop, to make sure the steering rack we paid for, was actually installed. In fact, it might not have even been necessary back then to have it replaced. Olivier, the mechanic, lied straight to our face and either did not replace the rack, or replaced it with an even worse one. The cost to repair: over € 2.500,-. This brought us quite a bit of panic.

There we were, in the middle of northern Zambia, with a car that could not steer and nowhere to go. The people at the workshop were adamant that we had to replace the steering rack, but at this point we had no idea. We knew too little about this part of our car to be absolutely sure that we really had to have the steering rack replaced, and we had to rely on the people at the workshop. Unfortunately, due to the fact that it looked like we got cheated by Olivier, we did not trust anybody anymore. 

Other than saying 'You need to replace the rack with a genuine Toyota rack and it will cost € 2.500,-', the staff did nothing. We felt completely left alone here, as we sat in the 'lounge' not knowing what to do. Fortunately we had some friends who either are Zambian or knew people in Zambia. They tried to help us as best they could, but they were far away and only reachable by phone. The people here did not seem to care or wanting to help to find a solution. Desperation slowly grew. We already foresaw that we were stuck in this town for a few days, since the part they said we needed, was not available. 

After a lot of frantic Google-ing different problems and solutions and alternatives, we were at a point of real desperation. The last idea we had was to ask if they could have the rack replaced with an after-market part, instead of an original Toyota. € 2.500,- was just not something that we were prepared to pay. They said they were going to check. The guy disappeared for a while and we had no idea what he was doing. Luckily, after what seemed like an hour they found another option. Not the best, but still this should be more than enough to finish our trip and make it back to Kenya. It felt like the only option we had, so we took it. It would be shipped the next day, so they would be available to fix it in two days. We had learned our very expensive lesson and we both decided to be there when the car is taken apart and being put back together. 

When we arrived at the lodge, we found that the room we were given did not have a mosquito net, only had 1 towel for the both of us and had no power. We went to get the mosquito net, the towel and to ask if the power could be fixed. At least we got two out of three. They had no idea how to hang up the mosquito net, so we did that ourselves. There was no power and they did not seem to have any intention to fix it any time soon. We really felt like if we wanted something we were on our own. 

The worst feeling of this entire situation was that of being on your own and not being able to trust anybody. This is a situation we have always known we would get into on this trip, so we were prepared, but it still is a terrible feeling of despair and paranoia. Due to our experiences in Kenya, we had already learned not to trust people easily. However, sometimes there is simply no other option than to trust someone and hope that they have your best interest at heart. Unfortunately, our latest experiences during our trip had proved that trusting someone has a high probability to bite us in the butt. We hate to be mistrusting, but these experience make us question everything at such times. Fortunately, these feelings do not stay forever, but they are definitely nasty. The feeling of always having to be near the car, not sure if this mechanic tells you the truth, or if he has just found some lack in knowledge to exploit. We were hoping to slowly lose that mistrust that living in Kenya had given us, and we were both doing well at that, but this feeling has completely been turned around. As soon as we turned our back in Kigali, they stole from us with a smile on their face. 

Add comment


There are no comments yet.