We loaded up at the same time we usually do, because we were planning to get to Ndola, which is a fairly large town in the Copperbelt, and do some exploring. We have never been to the Copperbelt, and have always wanted to, this was the perfect opportunity.
Back to the story, we loaded up and left before daylight (I still can't get used to seeing lights in the early morning hours in Kaputa) and started the trek. We made poor time the first 160kms, it was 4 1/2 hours. I knew we would make it up in the afternoon cutting through Congo. We made it to Mansa at 12 noon and stopped for a breather. The man at the gas station made it sound like cutting through was an absolute breeze. As we gassed up and headed down a new (to us) road, we were nervous but excited about this shorter route!
We made it to the border an hour later! Wow! This was going to be great! We get to the immigration office of the Zambia side and saw all smiles and pleasantries upon hearing our Bemba. We thought, this is going to be awesome! When we asked the immigration officer about the Congo side, he said "Balishupa." Meaning, they are difficult. Especially to "mzungus." Foreigners.
We had already made it this far so we had to keep going, we drove through the gates and over the beautiful Luapula River, into DRC. James pulled up to the offices and told us to stay in the car while he went to get all the paper work done.
Sidebar: you know those cartoons, like Scooby Doo, where someone is chasing Scooby and Shaggy and there is a wall with three doors and they go into one door, then out another, and you watch as the doors, open and close as they go in and out. I was watching this, but it was real life and it was James. He had to do so many things, and it was hilarious to watch him in and out, into another room, out to the next, and so on.
Ok so after 1 hour of that, we were on our way. I wouldn't describe the experience as a "breeze." Unfortunately only about 40% of the road is complete, the road that IS complete is so nice, with thick tar and smooth surfaces, it was like driving on a dream! I can't wait to see it finished!
We were very happy to see the Zambian border again. It was smooth sailing from then on, until we got to a small back road into Ndola that had been chewed up and spit out by some very large trucks over the years, and unfortunately it isn't at the top of any list to be replaced.
Once we reached Ndola, we found a Spur! Spur is this wonderful chain of South African restaurants that has a Native American theme and incredible playgrounds for kids. Incredible. We pulled straight in looking very worn down, and the kids had such a great time, the entire day was erased from their memory.
We will stay in Zambia, our home, our country, next time and the next and the next. The adventure has been had, and I'm ready for normal again.
This was our hotel, it had peacocks! How fun!?!