Official Deviation


Words and pictures by Tim and Kath Forssman.

When travelling the African continent, you can witness firsthand some of the most amazing scenes in the world, meet some of the greatest people, and find some of our continent’s greatest gems; yet, even then, something seemingly small can send your mind into a complete spin.

We had been on the road for 15 days – travelling from Cape Town, through Zimbabwe and Zambia, to northern Malawi, before heading home through Mozambique – when we encountered our ‘something small’: a little-known road in northern Zambia between the Nakonde and Chitipa border posts, between Zambia and Tanzania and Zambia and Malawi, respectively.

It all began at a road block, where we had stopped to ask advice from a local policeman. The friendly cop approached the lead vehicle – we were three couples, each in a Defender – whose driver asked for directions to our next destination. Our target was Nyika National Park in northern Malawi, and our initial plan was to reach it via the Zambian town of Isoka, on Zambia’s Great North Road, along the D790. We knew the road would be rough and we had heard mixed reviews on the various blogs and forums; our concern was that this untarred road descends into the depths of the Luangwa Valley, before climbing out towards the Katumbi border post.

This was the most direct route – but the policeman told us that, unless our vehicles had amphibian capabilities, the road would be impassable. Heavy rains had left large parts of the road under water, and he advised us to head north for the Chitipa border instead. For the first time on our trip, on the advice of a local policeman, we deviated from our plan and onto a route none of us had considered, let alone researched! That night, needing a good rest before tackling the road to Chitipa, we came upon a neat rest camp called King’s Highway, approximately 60 kilometres north of Isoka.

The King’s Highway is part of an organisation called the Foundation for Cross Cultural Education, a nonprofit organisation involved in training and community upliftment in Africa. Established in Somerset West, South Africa, the King’s Highway runs camps (like the one we had found) in Zambia, Malawi and Namibia. All the funds generated by the overnight accommodation at these facilities are used to fund various projects across the sub-continent…

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