Elephants are the most majestic creatures in the world in my humble opinion but they can be a hazard to farmers as they indiscriminately access farmed land to feed or merely to get to another place and that’s an issue.
Farmers in Zambia have found a unique solution: Chilli fences. They simply put up rope and cover it in Chilli Oil, which deters the Elephant.
That said, Elephants are not stupid. They have worked out that if they go through the fences backwards, they don't smell the Chilli.
Who would have thought ay?
Anyway, as you may have worked out we were in Zambia. A great place to chill out and meet other Overland travellers which is rare for us.
One such traveller is Henrietta. A single girl travelling Africa alone on a Motorbike!
Henrietta chills on her bike.
We met Henrietta in Morocco 18 months ago and have kept in touch since but never met again until Zambia.
She is a brave lady and we admire her greatly. Her social media is For the love of wheels of Youtube if you want to look.
Whilst in Zambia we also saw some delightful puppies being homed at a Tourist lodge. These were puppies collected from the street and then they were starting their training as anti-poaching dogs, helping to sniff out poachers, but at the time of writing, they were more interested in play fighting than finding poachers but oh, so cute.
The butterfly collectors and their assistants.
Another anomaly was bumping into some fellow brits from the ANHRT. The African Natural history research trust. This was a bunch of guys and girls camping in the bush with some of the biggest butterfly nets you have ever seen.
They go out at night and collect data on the moths in the area. I have to say it was great comedy value watching them with their nets but there. The actual function was a little beyond me. Great folks though and good on them getting a gig in Zambia at such tender ages.
On a more serious note, we did some research into the Aids situation in Africa and what it means.
When we broke down and decided to stay in a local village, we gave this lady several colouring books for the kids as payment for hosting us.
The governments initially blamed the west and told everyone it was a western disease; Even worse they advised people that if they wash after a sexual encounter, you would be fine.
Many countries went into denial and refused help.
In Africa currently, there are around 8,000,000 Aids orphans and many are orphaned as their mums have died and the fathers abandon them and seek another wife.
Africa certainly has its problems and each country has its unique problems as well as generic problems throughout. Zambia has such issues and more than anywhere else we have seen at least the proliferation of Charcoal production. Vast areas of forest are being stripped to make Charcoal. This is from softwood and hardwood.
It appears that everyone in Zambia makes and sells Charcoal with bags and bags of the stuff up for sale on the roadside and are visible for miles and miles everywhere in the country and supply is far outweighing demand with a bag full of charcoal taller than me selling for around £1.00.
That's a lot of work to get £1.00 return!
Charlotte sat with the ladies from a village when we broke down. See the obligatory Charcoal in the background.
From Zambia we headed for Malawi and as we entered we met a Swiss couple in a Landrover heading the opposite way. As we see so few white faces we always stop for a chat and they congratulated us on our bravery in entering Malawi whilst there was such an acute fuel shortage.
What fuel shortage we replied.
There is no fuel in the country as the government had run out of American dollars to buy the fuel they need.
At this stage, we had committed to going and had passed out of Zambia and into no man's land between the two borders. We had to continue and out came the map to make a quick calculation ion we could get through the country without needing fuel. We have around 1100km with a further 100km in Jerry cans on the roof.
This roadside vendor adds a whole new dimension to Takeaway Chicken.
After a quick calculation it appeared we were short by around 100 litres but we had to continue.
A few days on Lake Malawi eased the nerves and what a lake it is. It has a land mass of almost 30,000 km2. That's a lot of lakes and many smart entrepreneurs have set up tourist lodges on the sandy banks and made them a delightful place to hang out.
Whilst on one such lodge/campsite, we chanced upon the camp owner and South African guy and his wife who set up business some years earlier and had the place just right.
Two budding entrepreneurs sell their goods on the roadside.
This is how we do 99% of our shopping and the best bit. You stop and the guys and girls hand the goods up into the cab.
He was interested in our truck so the conversation drifted along nicely and then I mentioned the fuel situation.
The guy then tells me he owns a Fuel station, how much Diesel did I need? Job did and problem solved until we reached the Bailey bridge we had to cross.
As you watch the video, just think of my surprise when I got halfway across and looked down into the ravine below and saw a perfectly acceptable drive-through we could have/should have taken.
Malawi and Zambia are so African but each has its personality.
But I said earlier that Elephnmats are the most majestic creatures in the world..... But that was before we went to Uganda Gorilla trekking...... Next time.
And lastly, a few random shots.
Thank you for reading this blog.
Two boys with their only toys. A wheel and a stick.
What a smile.
It's not all glamour you know.
Mops for sale!
Matting for sale.
A boy displays his toy car.
And I said to her ........
Fish from Lake Malawi drying before being packed and sold. Good job this isn't smellavision!
Vendors moving their Charcoal.
More charcoal for sale.
The sun over Lake Malawi