It’s already a week later as I’m writing this so a lot of the emotion has subsided a bit. Looking back we could have done a lot of things differently, but the way it evolved it put a lot of strain on us. On Day 51 and 52, I still tried to stay positive and ‘hid’ most of the negative aspects from the blog.
Starting again from yesterday we basically heard a bad sound and stopped to check. At first you just think, let’s just quickly check and be on our way again. We then saw the oil leak and decided to take the wheel off to better see the drumbrake. We messaged Francois from 4xLux and he told us to open the axle. When pieces of metal fell out we were obviously a bit more worried, but still didn’t even think of having to leave the vehicle next to the road.
As per yesterday’s post we then got help from Kapishya and after realising we cannot take the bearing off we decided to leave the vehicle next to the road. At the time it felt like a quick escalation from just stopping for a small problem to having to leave the vehicle next to the road.
We were, however, ‘invited’ for dinner and in our state didn’t even think to ask about prices or to take our tent and food from the vehicle. We thought we would be back on the road before lunch the next day. The dinner and chalet which set us back R3000 for 1 night was shocking. Just thinking about it makes us furious. Even if the insurance ends up paying for it, it still feels criminal that people can charge that much for such appalling quality. As plenty of reviews on different sites mention, the owners are very negative and treats their workers badly, while trying to claim their whole existence being their generous doing. We literally woke up with Mark shouting at one of the workers and 10 minutes later found Mel in reception also shouting at another worker.
At various times when they thought no-one was around we heard them telling workers to basically ‘extort’ more money from guests. “You need to charge more for that”, “We need to make more money”, etc.
Anyway back to the vehicle. So when we heard that we will have to stay another night, we had to yet again recondition ourselves. We obviously couldn’t stay for another night in the chalet and have dinner again, so we had to go get our things from the vehicle. But they charged us $40 again to go there. On top of the 3200 Kwacha that we had to fork out for the side axle.
We accepted that we will need to camp for 2 nights. While waiting for the part our moods improved a bit, but then on they day we were told we would get the part and put it in the vehicle they just decided to rather do it the next day. The next morning we were informed that the axle had the wrong back plate and we won’t have any handbrake or ABS. We had to pay $40 again for the ‘transfer’ to the vehicle, even though they delivered and picked up items along the way. At the vehicle Felix realised that the Axle is too long. Luckily (and unfortunately) they could grind it shorter at the village 1km away. Finally the axle fitted and I could drive, but the back-plate scraped against the drum of the brake, as the axle was slightly bent. It also leaked diff oil as it didn’t have any collars on so the seal meant nothing. So for R5000 we got an axle which was too long, had the wrong back-plate, no collars and it was bent.
Thursday night we sorted out the payment and got charged for 7 hours at $30 per hour and another 3 hours at $15 per hour. As well as the 3 transfers at $40 each, etc. We had to fork out all our emergency money and dollars to cover the mechanical and accommodation invoices. $470 plus 3000 Kwacha. The worst part was they took all the dollar amounts (like $15 for camping and $33 dinner) and multiplied it by 10 for the Kwacha amount, but when we wanted to pay with dollars they said the buying exchange rate is 9.3 so effectively we paid a lot more.
We were happy to just finally have Kapishya out of our lives.
Non-vehicle/money related matters
If we could take away all of the above, our stay would have been quite pleasant. We met the wonderful Swiss couple with their overland truck. They invited us for dinner on the 3rd night and then on the 4th night we made dinner for them. Both times in their mobile home. They made us Risotto and served overland-home baked bread and 1.5 year old self-matured cheese. They have a special fridge just for cheese, where they monitor the temperature and humidity. The truck has everything from an induction stove, oven, fridge and freezer to even a washing machine. Both nights they also took out wine and we had Italian coffee after dinner.
Other South Africans also camped for two nights and two German girls. Everyone was friendly had we had nice conversations. Caro also went rafting with the Swiss on the day they Hugo thought he had to wait to go to the car to it the part.
We also went to the Hot Spring at least twice per day, Carp up to four times a day.
So all in all the camping side was good (albeit way too expensive), but the whole vibe at the lodge area just left such a bad taste in our mouth.
For those who are reading this and thinking we are overly critical, that may well be the case. But if one compares our experience of only one day later, it’s hard not to feel even more negative about Kapishya. We stayed at the Thorn Tree Lodge again with foreigners who has been in Zambia for a long time, who probably have a lot of the same struggles, but who are so friendly and relaxed and welcoming, treating their workers properly (some of the workers are even from Kapishya), makes amazing food for 1/5th of the price, etc. Maybe we were just there during a ‘difficult’ time, but if you are in the hospitality industry you don’t get to take it out on guests.