To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries
- Aldous Huxley

Friday, 11 October 2013

Zambia - Dr. Livingstone, I presume.

We left Malawi in the early morning and hit the Zambian border around midday. Exiting was easy enough though entering Zambia was a matter of how long they wanted to take more than anything else.
Zambia is noticeably different than Malawi, and really the east of Africa. At times it feels like we “crossed the tracks” so-to-speak. Despite 80% of the Zambian population living in rural areas, the areas are somewhat built up and the housing looks more like what we are used to back home with brick housing and backyards. But it still does retain some of its ruralness and there are still the mud housing but it is less frequent.
1 hour and $50US later we were back on the truck and heading to Chipata, a campsite called Mama Rula’s.
The campsite was nice and the weather was cool. The only issue we had was another tour group deciding they were in desperate need of companionship and placing their tents amongst ours rather than using the wide open spaces available to them.
WiFi was the most popular item at Mama Rula’s, despite it being slower than a stoned snail and dinner was most interesting.  We had delicious French Onion soup and then Chinese Chicken, feet included.
Whilst it was disgusting to see the feet amongst the actual chicken pieces, the chicken meat was nice and the feet led to some interesting dinner shenanigans.

One cold shower later and some post dinner conversations we went to bed and were grateful to see the air mattress had survived inflated throughout the night giving us some hope we may have fixed it.

Another early morning wake up saw us leaving Chipata and heading to the capital of Zambia, Lusaka.
It was another long drive, taking us 8-hours plus an hour stop at a shopping center, before we got to our next camp, Eureka.
Eureka was another large campsite with plenty of space and not many people around. It also has a bunch of wild animals roaming about including Giraffes, Zebras and velvet monkeys.
I took a walk outside the gate where I come across a family of Zebra’s and some others who were quite content on grazing. Judging by the fencing and the food they were eating, I assumed they were not wild, rather “pets” but they were still timid and I got close to a male, within about 2 steps, but when I took another step closer he would look at me, and then when I tried again, he started moving towards me.
I figured I better not test my luck, lest he turns me into a rug for his living room floor.
Continuing my exploration, I saw an Impala who ran as soon as he saw me and a family of Waterbucks who were wary of me and then moved off as I got closer.

The next morning we left early and headed to Livingstone, the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. After a brief stop to get something to eat, we arrived at our campsite sitting on the magnificent Upper Zambezi River. The campsite was huge and full of velvet monkeys who would play amongst the trees above our tents. We sat at the bar and had lunch overlooking the Zambezi before organizing our plans for the next day. Our original plan was to go to Botswana and do a game drive at Chobe National Park before heading to Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side, but the tour also takes us to Botswana and Chobe after Victoria Falls so we decided to head to Victoria Falls the next day and also do Devil’s Pool rather than go to Botswana twice.

We had our final dinner with our chef, Dom, who will be leaving us once we hit Victoria Falls and went to sleep.

The next morning we awoke, had a light breakfast and was picked up and taken to the Royal Livingstone Hotel, a 5-star hotel that would cost more in one night than this whole trip would cost overall. It was one fancy hotel.
We had a briefing and jumped in a boat and took a 5-minute ride to Livingstone Island, where David Livingstone was shown Mosi-O-Tonya (Victoria Falls).
Having been to the Falls before, I am stilled amazed at it. It is such a beautiful, and powerful, place to visit. Even during the low season, it exudes power to make you respect nature.
In saying that, we practically dropped our pants and mooned nature as we waded out to the Devil’s Pool. A rock pool formation sitting right on the edge of the Falls themselves.
It was exhilarating to peer over the edge and see the falls and the Lower Zambezi. We sat on the edge and then leaned over the edge and had our photos taken. It was such an adrenalin rush to do and, after missing out two years ago, I was stoked with doing it now.
Definitely a top-3 highlight on my holiday so far.

After we finished the Pools, we had another breakfast (including Bacon, woohoo!) and headed back to the hotel where we were taken from there to the Zambia/Zimbabwe border to cross over to a new country.

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