"The valley has been a nightmare for me .It's been a hell of a challenge," says David Lemon.
After walking some 1,800 kilometres following the Zambezi River from its source, the 67-year-old British-Zimbabwean has suspended his epic journey until 2014.
Reasons; he is going back to United Kingdom (UK) to recoup.
He arrived at the decision, two Sundays ago when he reached Siavonga, a resort Zambian town on Lake Kariba North Bank.
It was a hard decision to make considering that his Cowbell Zambezi trek has generated lots of interest in Zambia, the Southern African region and beyond Africa's shores.
"I think I was going to die if I had carried on from Siavonga. My body couldn't take the heat anymore," he said in his usual thick tone.
True, the heat has not been kind to David in the Zambezi escarpment.
It is summer time, and this time of the year this side of Zambia is cruel for any visiting stranger.
The locals in the valley are used but even them, the heat gets unbearable sometime.
There is no where to hide from the roasting heat.
Whether you are in the house or outside, still the heat would get the worst of you.
Somehow, one has to pray that summer passes away a lot faster than usual to give way to a new season.
In the Gwembe Valley way up to Chirundu, and even beyond, temperatures sometimes shoot to as high as 44 Degrees Celsius for room temperature and 47 Degrees Celsius for outdoor temperature.
As the Tonga of the valley, that place is hot and for the modern day David Livingstone, it is something he never foresaw, the moment he took his first step at Ikeleng'i to mark the historical adventure, which has seen him pass through three of some of Zambia's provinces namely North- Western, Western and Southern.
So far, the Zambezi Escarpment has been his worst nightmare.
Of course, the people have been wonderful and helpful.
It is just that the weather has been unfriendly to a man who is used to rather cool or ice cold temperatures.
Unlike other parts of Zambia where the river cuts across a flat land, on this side of the river the terrain is harsh.
The gorges, valleys and mountains were a nightmare for the 67-year-old adventurer, who began his epic journey dubbed the "Zambezi Cowbell Trek" in April.
With challenges in the valley, it is justifiable that he has suspended his ambitious trek, to walk the entire length of the Zambezi River.
Well, Southern Africa's weather conditions are no stranger to him.
They are among the best in the world.
It just depends what time of the year suits you best.
In summer, you might wish to go cruising on the lake or hangout by the riverside, just to cool off your body.
Anyhow, it has been more than 20 years since David left southern Africa for the United Kingdom (UK).
Thus, coming down in April early this year to embark on the Zambezi exploration, he had been planning for months, was something he knew was going to be hard, yet meaningful and historical.
Suspense is what makes the journey interesting.
"We think, he has made the right decision, because he needs to go and regain his energy and comeback fresh like when he started," says Andy Taylor, managing director of Promasidor Zambia, a multi-local food manufacturer that has its roots firmly established in Africa.
Promasidor, is the sponsor of David's Zambezi Cowbell Trek.
Mr Taylor, who went to pick-up David from Siavonga over the weekend, is proud that the ambitious explorer made such significant progress.
True, it is no joke to walk over 1,800 km.
In Siavonga, he was staying at Eagle's Rest located on Lake Kariba's water front.
His mountain boots are worn out, and have several holes in them.
From, the resort town, he visited an Elephant Orphanage under the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation at Lilayi, where he 'interacted' with baby elephants.
The elephant orphanage, the first of its kind in Zambia, founded by David Shepherd is an internationally well known artist and ambassador for wildlife.
At the orphanage, David had the opportunity, to feed some baby elephants with Cowbell milk.
The main purpose of his journey has been to highlight the plight of elephants in southern Africa.
He also linked up with Sport Beattie, who is head of Game Rangers International.
It goes without saying, that his expedition has been eventful every step of the way.
He had to punch seven holes on his leather belt.
At the start of his ambitious trek, he was weighing 93 kilogrammes (kg) but now he lost 26kg of that weight.
Due to the unfriendly terrain of the Zambezi Escarpment, he used to walk 3km per day on average.
The longest he covered was in Western Province where he walked 10km in one day.
Further, he had to throw off some baggage to travel light.
At one point, when he began walking north from Livingstone; he curled himself on a 1.5 metres slight flat rock in one of the gorges.
Nightfall caught up with him and he would not find a flat surface to sleep apart from that rock.
From Zambia's tourist capital, he crossed 10 small rivers before he reached Lake Kariba.
Anyhow, these challenges were expected.
The obvious dangers of the terrain have really taken a toll on him.
The terrain has been extremely rough and has necessitated steep, enervating climbs and precipitate descents, when falling could well prove fatal.
The main dangers facing anyone who walks the Zambezi must always be crocodiles and mosquitoes.
Crocodiles are numerous in all sections of the river and there are a number of different malarial mosquitoes throughout the region.
Prophylactics will have to be taken and a wary eye kept for crocs when anywhere near the river itself.
True, snakes abound in the Zambezi Valley and some of these, such as the mamba or the cobra are deadly, so once again, a wary eye will have to be kept on paths and the surrounding terrain.
David saw a number of them not just in the valley but in Barotseland where he was some six months back.
It is in inevitable to follow the Zambezi without going through all the challenges that come with it.
The Zambezi is the Africa's fourth-longest river empties into the Indian Ocean at a settlement called Chinde in Mozambique.
The 3,540-km long river has its source at Mwinilunga in the North-Western corner of Zambia and flows through Angola, along the borders of Namibia, Botswana, into Zambia again, where it borders Zimbabwe then on to Mozambique, where it empties into the Indian Ocean at a tiny settlement called Chinde.
When, he comes back in April of 2014 to start off where he has left off, he would have locals accompany him for some few kilometers.
"They have expressed a lot of interest. They told me, they would join me for a few kilometres," he said.
In short, his trek now has two chapters. The first chapter has been done.
The second chapter would be another epic adventure.
Now, he has one promise for the Zambezi; he will be back.
Facts about Cowbell
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