Daily Archives: April 18, 2019

2 April: Lilongwe (Malawi) to Chipata (Zambia)

Today we start another 5 day riding stretch. Today we have 150.2 km of riding, with about an equal amount of climbing: 941 km up and down 976. We also have a border crossing today into Zambia.

Tallis told us at the riders meeting this morning that we aren’t to get new SIM cards before coming to camp, that when we have got to camp we can ride back into town to get them.  Given that it’s about 7 km each way from the camp that’s not a great option. I disagree with his reasoning, as without a SIM card we can’t ring any TDA staff if we run into problems, but also don’t want to go against his directive.

I have gastro again and am still having lots of problems with asthma so have made the decision to ride half days for the next few days and get on top of both conditions.

I rode 80 km to lunch which was pretty easy riding, once out of the chaos of town. Once again lots of smiling and waving children along the way. There were local woman smiling and waving and some holding their small children up to see us better.IMG_7756IMG_7755

There was a huge group of children watching at lunch, getting closer and closer to the lunch truck when you weren’t looking at them. Lulu (TDA lunch truck driver) got fed up with them when the truck was getting packed up and threw a toy snake out, which made them scatter but only for a few seconds. Lulu kept asking them why they weren’t at school but I guess we were more interesting.

The border crossing was at 122km. I got a double entry visa for Zambia so we can to go Zimbabwe for the day from Livingston and visit Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwe side.


Zambia visa border crossing

The camp, as well as being out of town, is 2 km up a dirt track. The campsite is called Mama Rules and is owned and run by a South African woman.

Dinner was Maize (which is made from corn, which I didn’t like), beans and veggie sausages with homemade tomato sauce.

The place had a great looking bar with cold drinks but wasted on me as I am staying with water. However other riders made good use of it and it was very noisy until after 10pm.

No SIM card so I can’t message the family, hopefully I will get one tomorrow.


First Zambian beer


Camp at Chipata


Power nap before tea

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1 April: Rest day in Lilongwe

Today is my granddaughter Lucy’s 6th birthday. The internet here is very poor and not strong enough to make a messenger call, but I have been able to send a message to her.

The gastro seems to have settled, but I still have an annoying asthmatic cough.

The breakfast service is really slow. Not only are there all the TDA riders but there are other tour groups there as well. We can’t even get a cup of tea while we are waiting as there are not enough cups for everyone.

A number of people are complaining that they have been waiting for nearly an hour for their meal. We must have struck it at the right time, or maybe it helped that I just had toast, as mine arrived quickly.

The camp we are staying at takes Visa so I tried to pay using this but the machine wasn’t working, apparently it hasn’t been working all week. The bill is 48,000 (which is about 40 NZ) so I will need to get money in town.

The town is a 15 minute walk, and Shirley and Dan come with us. It is very hot with lots of traffic and people trying to sell us things, and beggars including those missing limbs or blind.

Like in some of the countries in South America the beggars are in the middle of the road trying to get the people in cars to give them money. Plus people are in the road trying to sell a range of products (shoes, belts, clothes , food, drink), it’s chaos with vans darting in and out.

We went to one bank, all the machines had run out of money. We went to another and there was a huge queue so we kept looking. We accidentally ended up in a market and escaped with great difficulty from the vendors who wanted to sell us paintings, carvings, shoes, food etc.

Some of the stuff looked great but I have no space in my bags for anything else. Plus, I am sure if you buy anything at all the other vendors would increase their efforts.

We found a bank over the road that had money, but the daily limit is 80,000.  Next step the supermarket to get supplies (soap, shampoo etc.). There was no sunscreen that was a brand I knew, so I went to a couple of pharmacies until I found one I knew. I also got some tonic to take back to camp as I would like to try a Malawi gin.

We had pizza for lunch with Brett, Shirley and Dan. The place was a combination of 3 shops in one area. There was an ice cream parlor, a fried chicken (had just opened and 45 min wait) and pizza. The eating area had a basin to wash hands which was a nice touch.  We saw at least half of the TDA riders also eating there.

When I got back to camp I got an internet voucher so I could send photos and blogs to Kelly but the voucher would not work on either of our phones or the IPAD, very frustrating something to do with the security setting! I was able to send emails by hot-spotting my iPad to my iPhone but it wasn’t strong enough to send photos.

Around 4pm we decided it was time to try a gin. The place now has no gin but is getting some!

I spent a couple of hours on emails and the blog and packing ready for tomorrow. The washing which I had put in as soon as I arrived yesterday (about mid-day) finally arrived done at about 4:30pm.

Before dinner we went to ask about the gin. So the place now has gin, and we both have tonic, but now they have no glasses! They apparently only have 4 glasses and they are all being used!  We thought “We can solve that!” – we went and washed a couple of TDA cups. Mission accomplished.

The restaurant makes two courses at night, one vegetarian and one meat dish. Tonight is chicken Alaska or vegetable stew. I chose the chicken.

There was once again a long wait for dinner. Contributed to by the fact that even though the restaurant starts serving at 6pm they didn’t start even cooking the pasta until after we got there which was already after 6.

I was in my tent by 7:15pm no gastro today, so fingers crossed it was short lived. Possibly a result of taking doxycycline daily for Malaria. I started probiotics yesterday which should help.


This is Yvonne from Netherlands, this is her second TDA ride. She is currently riding half days as she has feet problems.


This is Lucy, it’s her first TDA ride and she had not done much riding till now. Lucy is a Vet from England and has an 11 year old border terrier. In the photo Lucy is fixing her 2nd flat of the day.


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