• 19 July 2016

Scream of the earth

Scream of the earth

Scream of the earth 300 169 Gürkan Genç

I have told before that I stayed with Evren, Metin and Erman in Zambia. Thanks to them, they hosted me for a long time. The reason I stayed so long was the damaged upper frame of my bicycle. Kron Bicycle company in Istanbul was gathering a new frame and related equipments, the company Bisiklet Gezgini sent the new panniers I bought to Gungorlar Bicycle Company to Ankara to be sent to me. It took so long. But in the end a new bike arrived to Zambia Lusaka. 

There was other things among newcomer equipments but first let me start with the new bike. The biggest change that the first striking switching to mechanical disc brake. The followers now better that I keep away this disc brake issue from the beginning. But the technology and materials have changed since my Asia travel in 2010. Gauter who I start pedaling with in January 2016, said that he didn’t replace the brake pads for a year. Also he said that the system has been working since France and it didn’t make any problem so far. It better say again that I am talking about mechanical disc brake. Not hydraulic!

Besides when the time we pushed our bikes in the red soil both of our wheels had locked because of different reasons in Tanzania. His bike had mud guard. After a while so much mud was deposited between the mud guard and wheel preventing the wheel to move. In my case, mud adhered on the v brake arms. We were in such a place that we couldn’t say lets clean our bikes up and ride on another area. the locked wheels were slipping on the mug and we were pushing our loaded bikes uphill with all our power. I’ll share that route if someone will go Tanzania. It was hard but worth it. After all these experiences we both think that a MTB bicycle with high mud guard and mechanical disc brake would be much better for such tracks (roads) and I arranged the new bike specially for this experiment. Tuning of disc brakes can be frustrating but in time I become faster and learn better on my way. 

I had to reduce my rear load after switching to disc brake. I change my 20 L bags which I had been using for 6 years with 10 lt bags and I gave up the equipments which I use less. Single tent, a smaller mat, small pot and pan, less cloths, return of some electronics. I become lighter rather than before.   

I change The North Face Mountain 25 tent which I had used for years. There was no problem with the tent but I want to reduce my weight. The new tent I bought from USA is The North Face Triarch 1 but it was distressed to deliver. I want to thank Cihangir for helping me about this. This tent stands up to -30 degrees no problem. I needed to supplement my sleeping bag used for heat insulation. I add a new generation of underwear.

I will tell you other equipment on the road.

It was time to go after everything had come. I have been in this house more than a month. I relaxed as I am home. I will never forget the food of Evren also Erman and Metin’s friendships at all. Thank you my friends, see you in Turkey. They will go to Balıkesir : )

After a long time I am on my way again. On the way of Victorian waterfalls when you go to the first 20 kilometers you can see bike roads in the city. Inevitably people are surprised “Woow there is a bike road.”. Even I can say that the road is very comfortable towards to Livingstone. I was pedaling with joy but after for a while road become narrow and safety road ends so pedaling become very boring. Because it is bumpy road so my muscles had rust, it came good.

I entered an agricultural field at night for camping but the night watchman didn’t let me. However near his cabin was seem available but I got that I didn’t want me. I stopped in front of another farm after 1 km. I told that I want to camping, they showed me a place. Also they told me I can camping under a shelter to protect from rain.

All the tents I’ve using so far were free standing. I pay attention to it , especially. This floor is also concrete. I set up my tent and it seemed to tight. First night in the new tent was very unrestful. I was confused about where I am gonna put my staff. It is great that there is 6 pockets in a single tent. In following days I start to enjoy of tent when I organized everything and get used to tight tent.

Wwwwooooooww I can see the sky with 180 degree angle. It looks like my ex tent Husky but angle of view is better and more clear. I could see sky only from the little fly whisk of my old home, TNF Mountain 25 in years. This large angle of view is nice.

I continuo to reading one of the book which I read in my tent after having my dinner. After a meaningful word or an experience sometimes I say “What would I do if I were?” or “If I come across a situation like this, I should handle like this.” I smile if a star shooting. “If there will be real?” 🙂 The question of “What would I do?” help me to understand of other people situations or behaviors and their life in time. It is good to guess few steps before action.   

The next day I recognized that the aluminum water cage on the upper frame where I was carrying my 2 L thermos bottle was broken from attachment.  I already got done the additon in Dubai. I found an aluminum welder in first town that I arrived. There is only one welder who can do it in the town. He broke it from different places. It was better to absorb that using 3 electrode instead of only half was necessary. Another problem pop out from the foot support during the day. People know better who pedaling with loaded bags this foot supports don’t last long. I had used rear foot support during 2010. When it broke I strengthened it.  This time it bent the bicycle’s frame from the pressure point. I placed old fashioned V type aluminum foot support under the bike in 2012. It could not withstand the weight and broke after a while. Everybody has same issue when I look from the internet. Already I have never seen before a tour cyclist using V type foot support if I saw him or her I asked where can I buy. I found a steel V type foot support in Belgium in 2013 by chance. Years past and the V type foot support was broken from weld broke in 2016. Even the best one breaks in time. I found a welder and it become stronger. I also widened the foot support tips, so I avoid sink into solid and mud area.

I have given up “where are you from?” questions in my tour. I start directly conversation. When someone asks me where am I from, even I don’t like to answer, I tell and ask him back because of not understanding as an irrelevant person.  When I reach the south of Zambia I come across with third or fourth generation of European who came to Africa because of colonialism many years ago. The vehicles are equipped jeeps. 

I met with 65 years old Scottish teacher John where I was camping. He lost his wife when he retired in Scotland. He was angry to like for a while, he couldn’t know what he is going to do next. Then he decided to travel to Africa. He started to travel in 61 age even his kids were against him. He started to like living in this area in time. So he settled in a small village between Lusaka and Livingstone in Zambia. He teaches English to children in village and he volunteers to develop water projects in neighbor villages. He leaves with his retire money. Even he spends his money for projects in villages. His kids come to visit their father and work with him then they go back their country.      


–          Gurkan, you are traveling the world and observe/witness the problems (yaşanan sorunlar). If people like you don’t write and share their experiences and people like me don’t come to such place how we could create a better world? Don’t stop to talk and write about what you are seeing, experiencing and to inspire people whatever you are doing. Continue all what you are doing for a better world. I guess there were time when you got tired of things but never quit. Maybe you won’t be able to change thin gas but others taking you as an example will change the world therefore you should keep going.

Well, like in some movies where the past comes back shot by shot, my whole journey was animating in my mind shot by shot. I had a smile on my face while listening to him but that moment I only wanted to cry, cry my eyes out.


–          John generally I was the one making this speech to the others. It was good to listen from you today. I’m moving for the last 6 years like this. I don’t know how long I’ll continue like this. But I won’t quit from writing and sharing before the end of my world tour. : )

We continued to talk about many nice things. It was awesome to listen to his experiences. As he stood up to go to his home he put both of his hands on my shoulder and wished all the best. I followed him with my eyes till he was lost in the darkness, even then I could recognize him from the light he was releasing (FLARE). Thank you John.

The next day I stopped in a village on my route. Recognizing the restaurant I thought to stop for lunch. Since it was in afternoon the only customer in the restaurant was me. The girl taking the orders was very pretty. I ordered chicken with potatoes and water.

–          Three weeks ago a cyclist like you also stopped here.

I guess he is talking about Gautier.

–          Was he a young guy with long blond hair?

–          Yes

–          Then he hadn’t stopped for lunch got some water from you only.

–          Yes. How do you know?

I had already mentioned in my previous articles that Gautier was riding fast. Taking into account the distance of this place from Lusaka I assumed that he had passed through this place in the morning hours riding much faster than me. If he had stopped then for water.

–          He is my friend. Presently, he is riding in Namibia

–          Where are you from?

–          I’m Turk.

–          I wish to go to Turkey one day, even live there.

–          I’m surprised that you know about Turkey.

–          I’m a teacher

–          Aren’t you happy to be here

–          There isn’t justice in this country. The government is not handling equally everybody. The present let a palace built in South Africa for 8 million USD: My school is lacking so many things. To achieve the position you want you either have to know the right person or give bribe. I have no one besides my family, how come I’ll achieve the position I want working?


I miled and continued to eat. Then after I didn’t talk and changed the topic. All nations have expectations from their government. This hasn’t changed in Asia, in Europe and also in Africa. People always expect justice from their government (adaletli yönetim) but I have not seen any country reached this level do far. The teacher Gloria was paying 50 TL for the house with 3+1 rooms in this village 150 km apart from Lusaka. On the other hand, the rent for the house 150 km away was 3000 TL. I paid 3 TL for lunch in this village and 40 TL in Lusaka for the same meal.

After I rode for 300 km on the new bicycle parts I stopped aside and checked the tuning . The Wheel rims are thicker and the jant is stronger, nothing will happen to this wheel. Furthermore, there was a gap between rear shifts. I tried to fix but the shear shift was irregular. After a couple of trials I realized the problem. The shear arms and the casette were for 10 system but back shear was for 9 system. This was really very strange after the control of two bike companies. Let’s go on like this, I’ll receive the new shear after 3000 km in South Africa.

It was very easy to ride from Lusaka to Victorian waterfalls on bike. The road was bad only for a very short distance, that’s all. There is also a shoulder..

I strolled around the city for one hour and checked for a cheap hostel. I went to Jollyboys Backpackers Lodge which was on my GPS system. I must say this was the best hostel I stayed at since a long time. I preferred to stay in my tent in the backyard instead of staying in dorms. Since it was cheap I could stay longer and attended several activities done in the region.

I didn’t see any other hostel where so many people from different countries with astonishing experiences met for a long time. In such environments Elena, Thierry, Nora, Benjamin, Chung, Young and Nathan come in my mind always. Dude, 6 years have been past and I’ve never met a crew like them. And the most interesting point is that we all still in touch. (Each couple has two siblings and I’m still single).

I met Jo and Frank from USA who came to this country for a donation program. They’ll grant the money to one of the villages I crossed on road. The leader of the village takes the money and distribute to the people on need. They collected the money in USA from their friends and neighbors. Then they came to this region to distribute the money to people. This being the situation I asked why they didn’t cooperate with an association or foundation for this purpose. I listened to similar stories which I’ve already witnessed and disapproved. They did the best, congratulations. They have visited Turkey many times and like a lot. They wanted to visit Turkey once again in shortest time. Since they know about Turkey we talked about my country and about the happenings in the World. Different points of view, different opinions, different thoughts and different dreams. That is, just continue to milk knowledge and experiences.

At Jollyboys Backpackers there a lot of activities offered. I thought thoroughly which one to attend. The prices of the activities are pretty high. Let me share about the activities and my opinions.

–          Safari to Chobe National Park. Since this park is in Botswana 100 km of distance has to be covered to enter the park. The price is very high. If you intent to go to Botswana, it is cheaper to visit the park from there which I did.

–          Microlight or helicopter?  Of course and for sure flying over Victorian waterfalls by a Microlight is a wonderful experience. I preferred the first flight in the morning since all the animals are on open field during the cool hours of day. I saw the whole river, the waterfalls, elephants, zebras from top and furthermore the pilot dived deep close to the animals. It awesome to feel the wind on my face on the sky and to enjoy the landscape. World tour.

–          Walking with lions. This activity is very expensive in Zambia but half price in South Africa. If I’ll have the opportunity I want to attend such an activity

–          Canoeing and rafting. I didn’t do any of them.

–          Sun set tours on ferries. I didn’t attend those tours but instead watched sun set on the garden of Royal Livingstone Hotel with my friends. It was quite good.

–          Bicycle rental. You can stroll around on the streets of the city on bike which we did with the ones staying at the hostel. The bicycles are terrible but there are advantages to visit the city on bike. We both ride through the bazaar and along the house at back.

–          Bungee Jumping. Done from a bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe. I went to the jumping platform and watched jumping people. Actually I went there to jump. But there was a TUHAFLIK on the stretching on the rope after jump. Everyone was extremely oscillating. All the jumper were women weighing less than 60 kg or little more. I asked ever one how their belly was feeling. They said that there was little pain but a great fun. Of course the question was asked “Hey! Are you afraid?” : ). Hahahaha. Dude, such things are among the last to scare me. “You’ll be going back to your homes in at least couple of days and get cured. But I haven’t got such an opportunity.” It didn’t want me to put on risk. I’ll risk so many things while on bike but not here. Everybody jumping had belly ache after two days. But it was obvious from sudden the oscillating after the stretching of the rope. Good that I didn’t even intend to try. I cannot handle with back pain on the road.

–          Devil’s bath (swimming bath). You cannot enter this bath anytime you want. Only and only at the periods when the water level is low the bath can be entered. At the time I was there the water was just flowing over. Therefore the bath was not visible buried under water.

There were a couple of more activities which I don’t remember. All the activities were so expensive that it’ll be wise to sort out. Otherwise you’ll pay a hell lot.

One day I returned to the hostel I was staying at after a city visit. Two more tents were pitched next to mine. Kim from South Korea and Nicolas with her husband Tom from UK. While her husband was sleeping on bed in the hostel Nicolas was sleeping outdoor in her one person’s tent. Three different models of one person’s tents produced by The North Face within 10 years were pitched in this place. The model produced 10 years ago is more stuffy, wider and has two poles.  Nicolas is in love with this tent. The four years model which Kim was using is almost the same as mine with small differences. In the end they all weigh 900 grams.: )

Nicolas works for a company which organizes many concerts in UK. She is a woman full of life, funny, brave and crazy woman. I liked her very much. If she hadn’t been working she would accompany me on my travel for sometimes for sure. I even thought about this. I said “Would be glad. Any time you want.” She is a good photographer. Not only in this she makes charcoal drawing of the places she visits on a small notebook she carries along her. Afterwards she draws on canvas. One night we all went to the Victorian waterfalls. It was incredibly amazing.

Victorian Waterfalls

The silence of deserts I traversed on my bike for days is the most unique experience of my travel. Each time I enter a desert I do get smaller, do become a single sand particle and do lose myself in the silence. I was so afraid that I’ll die on my first time in the desert, but then got used to it. The loneliness as a unique emotion. Though unavailable to describe, I feel myself so good in the desert. A scream arises from deep inside. In the past the prophets and eremites used to meditate in the desert; the pilgrims and exiles used to traverse the deserts. The leaders of the great religions had used to go to the desert to find the truth and not to escape from it and to look for the curing and spiritual values of loneliness and silence of the desert.

I witnessed the silence of the World in the deserts and the scream of the World in Victorian waterfalls. It was awesome torise my arms staying in front of the many waterfalls and scream. I’ll never forget the landscape as well as the noise.

I shared most of my Middle East articles both in Turkish and in English on my web page prolonging my stay for a couple of days before I set off.

To go to Kasane in Botswana from Livingstone in Zambia you have cross the river by ferry. A bridge is under construction but t need at least 5 years to be completed. At the border you can Exchange 100 Zambian Kuvacha to 100 Botswanan Pula. The crossing of river on ferry is free. One month entrance is given to every tourist regardless of origin to improve tourist income of Botswana.




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