At sixty seven, adventurer David Lemon has reached the age where he should be putting his feet up and enjoying a contented old age, but after a lifetime of adventure, he finds it difficult to settle down to what others would regard as a ‘normal’ lifestyle.
So, like his namesake David Livingstone did so many times in the middle of the nineteenth century, Lemon is embarking on a new adventure: walking the entire length of the 3,540-kilometre-long Zambezi, starting at the source near the Zambian settlement of Mwinilunga and ending where the river empties into the Indian Ocean in the tiny village of Chinde in Mozambique. The ‘Zambezi Trek’ starts on 21st April.
Brought up in some of the remoter parts of Southern and Central Africa, Lemon is hugely experienced in bush survival and over the past three decades, has tackled the wilder parts of Central Africa in a variety of ways. In his middle forties, he rowed the length of Lake Kariba in both directions, using a ten foot, open dinghy for the purpose. His book Hobo describes that adventure and in it he writes about being driven ashore on rocky islands, holing his boat in a number of places and facing the enormous storms that Kariba continually throws at its boatmen. He also had adventures with hippopotami, crocodile and elephant, while at one stage he was forced to operate on his big toe with a razor blade, following a bite from a night adder.
In his fifties, Lemon cycled alone from Nairobi to Cape Town, taking four and a half months over the journey and on the way he was arrested twice, beaten up by armed soldiers and suffered a severe attack of amoebic dysentery. He also had a number of accidents, but in his book Two Wheels and a Tokoloshe, Lemon cheerfully tells his readers that he had a wonderful time.
At the age of sixty one, David Lemon decided to walk around the southern shoreline of Lake Kariba, a distance of some 1200 kilometres. Setting out in temperatures exceeding 40 degrees Celsius, he completed the journey in 76 days and on the way, was arrested again, this time for being in the area without a permit, had a number of close encounters with dangerous wild life, lost 20 kilograms in body weight and was forced to stitch up his own leg when the calf was ripped open by a branch. The book resulting from this particular adventure was Blood Sweat and Lions – a truly riveting read.
In 2010, Lemon decided to kayak the perimeter of Lake Kariba but was prevented from doing so by the authorities, who refused to allow him into Zambian waters. Undaunted by this setback, he explored the lake in his 12 foot vessel and yet again, met up with a number of adventures that might well have killed a lesser man.
But David Lemon feels that he has at least one major adventure left before he might – perhaps – be too old.
He will travel alone and survive off what food he can carry, including Cowbell, a high quality milk powder made inZambia and one of the sponsors of David’s Trek. Otherwise he will be living off the countryside and the river whenever possible.
We will keep you posted as to when he arrives in Livingstone, with the mighty Victoria Falls the first milestone of his trip…