The terrible T-2

Zambia has a huge road that crosses the country from South-West to North-East. This road is called the T-2 and is known as the 'Great North Road'. Many travelers note this road as 'not as great'. It is said to be filled with potholes to slalom and a lot of crazy truck drivers going over 100km/h on this giant slalom. We had been trying to avoid this road, but after leaving Kapishya, it was our time to enjoy the great north road. We would have at least 3 or 4 days on the T-2, depending on traffic. Just like with the roads in West-Tanzania, we were prepared for the worst. 

The first day of the T-2 was actually a wonderful drive. The condition of the road was not that bad at all and the traffic was almost non-existent. We are used to traffic in Kenya, with the road between Nairobi and Naivasha being infamous for having crazy drivers (both trucks and private cars). We expected something like that, but it was way better on the T-2. We could go much faster than expected. 

Before we left Kapishya we had decided to find 3 different options for camping, each a bit further down the T-2. Based on traffic on the road, we could then decide on the spot how bad traffic was, and how tired we were on the road. Before we knew it, we arrived at our first stop. It was by the road, so we could easily check it out. It was raining and the campsite did not seem that wonderful, and as the road was actually very good and mostly empty, we decided to continue and quickly found that our second option probably also could be skipped. We were on our way to our furthest option (435km, the biggest distance of the whole trip), which was much further than we expected to reach in a day.

The furthest option we had, was Tembusha Forest Camp. A lovely camp, of which we unfortunately did not see a lot. We arrived in the dark. It was the first time cooking and setting up the tent in the dark. Not ideal, but we were already very happy that we had made it all this way. A quick stop, a hot shower in the morning and we were off to the T-2 again. 

The next day, the T-2 was a lot busier, but still not nearly as bad as the Nairobi-Naivasha road. There were plenty of moments to safely pass trucks and there were no oncoming cars or trucks dangerously overtaking on our side of the road. When we were close to a town called Kabwe, we saw a sign of a Toyota Service Center. We jokingly said 'How odd would it be if our car would malfunction here as well'. We should not have jinxed it. 

A few kilometers before Kabwe our engine temperature gauge suddenly started to malfunction. It went all the way down, as if there were no contact. We immediately thought: Not again! We checked a few things for ourselves, but we were not able to fix anything, so off we were to the Toyota Service Center again. Very strange (and fortunate?) that it happened both times just before a Toyota Service Center. When we are back in Nairobi, we will have Rodgers check for a secret Toyota service center detector in our car. 

Our mistrust in mechanics in general was immediately confirmed when we reached the bay. Upon opening the hood of the car, the 'service manager' only proclaimed: 'This is not good, this is not good'. There was absolutely nothing he could have seen in those 2 seconds looking at the car, so we were immediately on edge. Within 2 minutes, he told us we had to have some major parts cleaned and replaced, but we have learned from previous experiences. 

When Jeroen returned to the car, on the phone calling Rodgers, they realized we were not that easy to fool (anymore). Rodgers told us that we should have the wiring checked, so that is what we asked the mechanics to do. There is only one person we actually trust with our car, and that is Rodgers. This time again, he proved to be right. After having the wiring checked, the gauge worked again. This time, it took us 'only' just over an hour and a lot less money. Fortunately, we were close to our destination, Elyada farm. A lovely farm by two great Dutch people, where we could camp. 

We set up our camp and since we had a very late lunch, we decided to make a campfire, eat chips, drink hot choco and gaze at the stars. The campfire took a while, but Emma managed to make a lovely fire that we enjoyed for quite some time, before going to bed. The next day started a little less beautiful.

When were woken up by the rooster at 4.30AM, the weather was nice. We decided to stay in bed for some time and wanted to have breakfast at a chill cafe with very good food nearby. Wd had already checked it out the previous day after our time at the Toyota workshop, when they served us the best burgers of the road trip thus far. Here, they also had electricity, which we definitely needed for our phones and laptop. Unfortunately, our decision to be lazy bit us in the back. When we wanted to break up camp, the rain started to pour. The downside of traveling in the rainy seasons. Every country we have entered, we were met with rainy season. Timing is not our best quality. We sat there for about an hour (fortunately dry) and contemplated why we had to go in rainy seasons. Fortunately we could see the fun side of it and were able to joke around a lot. 

When the rain became a drizzle, we quickly stored away our wet tent and went to the cafe. When we arrived at the cafe, the rain stopped and the sun came out. We decided to open the tent on the parking lot, to let it dry. Storing a wet tent for too long, will result in mold, which we definitely do not want (there might or might not be already a little of that forming). We spent our time at the cafe editing, doing admin and enjoying the nice food and coffee. Another great day spent in preparation of our, probably, last day at the T-2. That last part T-2 was only a short part and went by easy. We turned west and were on to our next adventure. We turned west and quickly turned sad that we had left the T-2. The road we went to was dirt road and had many, many big puddles of water. We arrived our next destination, but these puddles of water were the first indication that we might not have made the best of our decisions coming here...

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