Boulders and Dust

Driving back from the orphanage in Motapas towards Bulawayo in Zimbabwe, we cut left and head into the hills in search of Rhodes’ Grave. The rock formations in this area are beautiful and stark, reminiscent of the Cedarburg in the Western Cape, without the angularity and violence of formation. We are pressed for time so the visit is short. Once at the grave, Mike and Karin scramble for images, fired by the beauty and significance of the place and the limited window of capture. Zimbabwe and Zambia, previously Rhodesia and Northern Rhodesia were named after Cecil John Rhodes, as was the road that I live off in Cape Town. This man had significant impact on the southern continent of Africa, yet I know nothing about him. As we hurry back to the car, rock lizards burst from under out feet, guardians of the bones of the muzungu who went before.


Rapid Fall Fly Adrenaline

The rapids on the Zambezi are world class. We are split into three teams and will compete over the first seven rapids after the falls. Team Miles Ahead charges ahead and makes up the minute stagger on the Barclays Exco Team just before Rapid Four, but flip and swim hard. I take a serious bath and despite my comfort in water I come out shaken. Over the next four rapids we come back as a team and with an awesome ride in Rapid Seven in which we flip nearly twice we come through and win. Climbing out the canyon Mike and I carry one of the guide’s plastics and its only pride that stops us from stopping. On the edge of the Victoria Bridge I am resolved to jump backwards but balk and leap forwards, a 110m drop, awesome freefall. Sam does a star jump and afterwards swears he will never do that style of jump again. Two hours later 2000m meters above the Zambezi River, Sam and I spot Elephant crossing the river upstream from the Victoria Falls, the delta sparkling below us. We land as the sunsets, spent of adrenalin, and enjoy a final meal in One Zambia, One Nation.


R.E.M. Resolve

I drive with Dirk and Karin in Car One. The iTrip on my iPod is behaving sweetly and we charge to Hed Kandi, Green Tea and Thievery Corporation as the bush becomes progressively dryer and less tropical. Troy plays a clip from an R.E.M song over the cons system, and I switch to the same album. Stipe’s soul floods the car, and the three of us dial into memories and emotion and reflection. Just outside Livingstone we are picked up by a cop on a bike who gives us a police escort into town, manically weaving in front of us and waving vehicles off the road. Aboard the African Queen, we sight hippo and elephant and a nuclear sunset. KK sings us a song and plays guitar. At dinner we chat to Sven, a serial river guide who worked in Jinja for years and knows the “Bad Place” well. As I drink a double Johnny Walker with lots of ice and no water, he preps us for the day of white ahead. By nine I am in bed and asleep.


South towards Lusaka

There is a strong cross wind that makes the driving tricky, blowing in hard from the south east. The convoy interplay is solid, the traffic light and after the dirt roads leading away from the Manor we get our moving average up to above 100km’s an hour. Mark drives and we talk physiology. We play no music, just talk. I feel comfortable and dialled in. Later we arrive at the Protea Hotel some 40kms outside Lusaka. As I walk to my room, I large kudu female stands next to the path, so tame that I stroke her muzzle, she is incredibly beautiful.


The Hot Springs at Kaphisa Lodge

The water is warm, the visibility crystal, the surrounding bush thick and tropical. We slip into the water, Troy, Dirk, Sam and I. Where the warm springs bubble up the sand is aerated and vacuous, an astounding phenomenon. The steam hangs above the water like a thin white veil, there is a magic simplicity to this experience that is timeless and archaic. It is a special place, a place loved by Mark and Mel who nurse its existence and will its perpetuation into being. I will bring Debbie back here so she can share in the warmth and the magic of the place.


KK Magic

As Kenneth’s plane banks left and settles in for its final approach, I speed up to the Manor House with Charlie in his Land Cruiser to learn the way. Back at the plane, KK sings to the assembled and we drive him and his entourage up to the Manor House. It’s a place of dense history and effort, of care and concern. We drink tea and cake and talk.

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