Well the fuel tank repair didn’t hold! By the time we had covered the few km’s from Gwabi back into Chirundu, the tank was leaking again. It seems that fiber glass doesn’t bond too well with polyprop or polyethylene or whatever the plastic is. The leak was worse under pressure so we headed for Lusaka without the petrol cap fitted. We had been told to avoid Lusaka between 12 and 14H00. We arrived just after 12 on Friday afternoon. Lusaka traffic is BAD but well mannered and quite civilised.
The Internet provided us with a starting point in search of the next solution. None of the Nissan branches will even look a a vehicle they have not sold. They are very friendly and helpful in making suggestions but will not touch the vehicle. After 4 or 5 different stops we were directed to Henry at Hensons Car Hire (and any thing else to do with cars). He was confident that he would be able to solve the problem. We checked into the City Lodge which was just round the corner from Henry and got the car to him at 8H30 on Saturday. By 14H00 it was done. The tank is non-standard (the Sani is a South African variant of the old Nissan Patrol) so the second hand tank he had sourced would not fit. He found a company that manufactures tanks from the same material. They stripped the fiber glass and used the right goo to re-apply the patch. However….by the time we got back to the Hotel is was seeping again. Small spot but too much to ignore. Not wanting to endure another night is the City Lodge we moved to Pioneer Camp some 20km’s out of town,
We contacted Henry and arranged to get the vehicle back on Monday. It is now 17H12 on Monday. We are back at Pioneer and… so far so good! We will leave for South Luangwa NP tomorrow, stopping over at Luangwa Bridge for the night. We have been warned that the roads are not great so we need to take it slow. I am a lot more confident in the repair now (although the fuel level sensor seems to have become a casualty of the main times the tank has been remove. We therefore now have now fuel gauge.
So far, we have been very impressed with Zambia in general and the Zambian’s in particular – very friendly, very helpful, very cheerful. Lovely experience. At the City Lodge they reserved a parking for us outside our room and removed the screws from the mosquito netting on the windows so that we could plug our vehicle in to the the power mains. Each time we drove in the security guard would rush forward and remove the no parking sign for us. One sad thing (to our minds anyway) is that shopping malls are springing up everywhere built by the Chinese (who are all of this place like a bad rash) and manned by South African brands – Shoprite, OK, Foschini, M&B, Mica……). Prices are horrendous. The Mugg and Bean menu shows prices that are identical to SA but in Kwatcha – 0.6 to R1.
Having had two mornings to ‘waste’ without transport we have walked Lusaka out of our system and are ready to move on.