Burocracy and dry Falls

Tuesday morning we unfortunately had to leave Kasane quite early, to cross over to Zambia at one of the most infamous border posts. On our way to the ferry (because the bridge is still almost finished) to leave Botswana, it all went smoothly and at 07:00 we stood on Zambian soil. And that’s where the trouble started… Our passports were stamped quickly, but there was confusion about the vehicle papers. Because of the chaos with many different little offices, tens of large cargo trucks and hundreds of people, we decided to get the assistance -at a fee- of an agent. One of those guys who knows everyone and quickly finds his way around the queues. It turned out to be easy to solve and driver Hessel had to fill out ‘’only’’ fourteen forms with all (yes all!) our details.

At the border post to get into Botswana last week, no one even saw the dogs, but because we had been waiting here much longer, we wouldn’t be so lucky again. Our agent read their papers and said it all looked fine, but he just wanted to double check with his supervisor. He doesn’t often see traveling dogs. And in true African style, the supervisor came with a big frown to give us the bad news that we were missing an import permit. We explained again and again that we weren’t importing anything and that we had all the health checks and other papers as advised by the Zambian embassy in Pretoria. Oh, but a transit permit is the same as an import permit, so we needed one anyway. Now we started frowning, because this was obviously going to take a while.

Everyone kept walking up and down to ask the same questions over and over again and they even asked a so-called vet from the village for assistance. This interestingly dressed and even more interestingly smelling lady barely dared to look at the dogs through the car window and left after a few seconds.
Only after hours we finally found out what they were trying to achieve, which was collecting all the paperwork so we could pay import tax on the dogs. And we really didn’t have to! They just kept on talking just to seem more important, without saying anything valuable. Indeed, they had helped us nicely with the vehicle, but this was a waste of time and money. They even wrote Dilo’s name as MRDILOVANFOMAMENEE on the forms, so we refused to pay more and after some shouting and empty threats, we finally sat down in the shade at our accommodation by 18:00. More than 12 hours after we left the previous place. We decided that the four of us could use some more comfort and we booked a simple but cute chalet in the middle of Livingstone. It had a large fenced off garden, so JayJay and Mocha could run around a bit and we stayed an extra night, because we completely lost our Tuesday.

The Victoria Falls in Zambia during dry season

The Victoria Falls in Zambia during dry season

Livingstone is the town on the Zambia side of the world-famous Victoria Falls, locally known as Mosi oa Tunya. This place that mainly exists because of tourism, is named after Dr. David Livingstone who explored Africa in the 1800’s. We also visited the Vic Falls in March 2015 when we saw them in full flow and were curious to see what they looked like now in the dry season. A little sad, is the answer… At the Zimbabwe side you can still see the Zambezi River flowing down the steep cliffs, but unfortunately the view from Zambia is limited this time of the year.

Hessel and Dilo the Victoria Falls in Zambia

Hessel and Dilo the Victoria Falls in Zambia

We still enjoyed a nice walk around and after we relaxed a bit, we drove from Livingstone towards Zambia’s capital city Lusaka this morning. On the way we passed through many check points and you can’t help but wonder if those guys at the border were right about the dogs’ papers, but there were no issues. For a moment we worried about having to unpack everything for a check, but the lovely lady realized quickly that that would be a lot of work and we were allowed to just pass if we gave her a bit of small change.

Tonight we’re staying at The Moorings Campsite a little before Lusaka and again we can camp under a beautiful large tree. Early tomorrow morning we are off for one of our final steps in Zambia!


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