With road deviations and road works between Bridge Camp and Chipata the trip took us almost two hours longer than anticipated, but we arrived safely at Mama Rula’s, our stopover for the night.
By now we were feeling tired and run down from setting up camp every day. We were still getting used to the heat and humidity and we were nursing some serious mosquito bites. Africa never disappoints with its variety of bug bites – putting I mildly.
Before checking in at Mama Rula’s we went up to the St Johns Clinic in Chipata to visit and hand over a gift as a token of appreciation to the doctor that treated Pieter’s leg in 2015 when it got badly injured in Malawi. The doctor was on night duty, but the sister in charge did not hesitate to phone him and let him know that we were there. Within ten minutes he arrived and immediately recognised us. He asked Pieter about he’s leg, also wanting to know where we were off to now. We bought him a bottle of Old Brown Sherry and a custom made Old Brown Sherry labelled kettle. He was very surprised and at first did not want to take the gift. When we explained that the treatment that he gave Pieter was of such a high standard that the doctors back in the South Africa commended him on that, he took the present and very shyly said thanks.
We then did some shopping at the local pharmacy Pep Stores and Spar … because who does not want to shop when it is about 42degrees outside? “Sigh”.
We also purchased some Steers takeaways for supper … which of course Pieter later on was convinced it was horse meat. I never ate my burger. Enough said.
There is a change of ownership at Mama Rula’s and the campsite and bar is now on its own and the Bed and Breakfast a separate business. A part of the former campground has also been fenced off as that now belongs to the Bed and Breakfast business.
Sadly the deterioration of facilities as Mama Rula’s is clearly visible. We also heard unconfirmed stories of robberies from tents and vehicles at Mama Rula’s. Last time round we did mention that something needs to be done to the ablutions. Dripping pipes, broken toilet seats etc. With all the Overlander trucks that stop at Mama Rula’s, wasting of water is a major concern. When we met up with Riaan and family at Makuzi later on, they also complained about the Overlanders keeping them awake until 2:00am partying at the bar. On our way back, we did anticipate not staying over at this site again.
In the past, we also advised people on this route to make their last minute grocery purchases at the local Spar, managed by an ex South African. Sadly again, the Spar has deteriorated and caters for a very specific local group. With the new Shoprite that opened at the exit of Chipata, we now recommend you buy your groceries there as it is fresher and there is a wider variety of goods to choose from.