Tag Archive | GPS

The Gate to Kafue – Steve’s 2-cents

For me, the start of the adventure was leaving Livingstone. The amplified start was leaving pavement and turning into the bush. And the hyper-amplified start was going through the Dumdum Gate and into Kafue National Park, one of the largest national parks in the world. We had learned and been briefed that Kafue — especially southern Kafue — was seldom visited and seldom patrolled and we should be prepared to see no one else. This is where ‘attitude’ comes into play: If Rover had broken down we were entirely ready to use the sat phone and the numbers Safari Drive had given us if we needed help and just camp out and wait. Carolyn and I talked about this and agreed in advance of the trip. Once through the gate the road became more primitive and rough and it all became much more remote.

This day, the first real day of high adventure was one of our longest drive days and we experienced many many new mini-challenges. It turned out that the GPS unit was sometimes useful in showing us the way, but it was much more useful at reassuring us we were on the right path.

 

Finding Our Way

Zambia MapWe visited our local Borders book store and bought the Michelin Map of Zambia. It wasn’t that helpful. It gave us a basic idea of our travels: We planned to fly to Livingstone, pick up the car, spend 9 days in Kafue National Park, drive through the capital city of Lusaka and across the country for 3 days, and then spend another 9 days in South Luangwa National Park. Roughly 1000 km on pavement and 1000 km on two-track dirt. Zambia is roughly the size of California and Nevada combined and the lack of detail on the country map gave us…trepidation. So we stepped boldly into the world of GPS navigation. We purchased a Garmin Nuvi 500 GPS (about $200) and used it to go to work, the store, and shopping for about a month. Then we loaded it with the essential Tracks4Africa (aka T4A, http://www.tracks4africa.co.za) and punched in our planned route. The downside: with satellite phone and GPS (and digital cameras of course) we were bringing technology with us. And with the electronics we needed the rechargeable batteries and the ‘stuff’ to charge batteries using local electricity, solar, and the cigarette lighter in the Rover. Bummer. [retrospect: A GPS and T4A are essentials. We could have left the solar option at home].