The border crossing into Zambia coming from Malawi was again a piece of cake, easy and quick that’s how we like it 😉
From Chipata we went a bit north to visit the South Luangwa National park. There we spent two nights in the croc valley camp, unfortunately a place that we can not recommend. It’s run down quite a bit, but that wasn’t the problem. They have volunteers, some european teenagers, working at the bar… that’s gone help someone in Africa for sure, but it’s good for their c.v. I guess… Anyway most of the time they were playing pool against the stuff. So you couldn’t play pool or order a beer at the bar… but the most fxxxed up thing was the treatment of the vervet monkeys. They don’t have garbage cans with a lid but a sign that says: “please don’t feed the monkeys”. But that’s exactly what you’re doing if you put anything in that garbage can. So they have plenty of monkeys all over the place that want to steal your food if you don’t watch out. Instead of getting some monkey save garbage cans those lovely pals think shooting stones at them with sling shoots would teach them not to raid the garbage… really
We did two game drives at the south Luangwa NP. First a game walk, where you walk with a guide and an armed security guy through the park. It was really cool, they show you the tracks and droppings of different animals and tell you something about the plants and insects you see on the way. The droppings were so interesting that I bought a catalog for that by now, it’s called the scatolog and will be accessible in my restroom shortly. We also saw a lot of animals and even had a glimpse at a leopard 🙂 The second game drive was a night drive, but it didn’t really pay off. It starts like a normal game drive and when it gets dark they come up with a big searchlight and sweep it from one side to the other. It feels like watching a tennis match. Unfortunately we didn’t see much, especially not the rare wild dogs… but we were a bit dizzy when we left the car 😉
We didn’t take the main road back but went for a dirt road that went next to the Luangwa River and through the park. That was the right choice, we were back in the middle of nature and the road was good to drive. Ok there were some sandy parts and we had to cross a dried out river bed or two. Ok we were lucky that it didn’t rain… like it looked like the day before we left, but everything else was perfect 😛
Passing Lusaka the capital of Zambia we went for the Lower Zambezi National park the next day. In Lusaka we visited a reptile park that also had a swimming pool. It was a rather small pool, where 10 children would fit in and 30 did 🙂 Anyway a good combination kids, crocodiles and snakes… what could possibly go wrong. Reptiles are gorgeous animals and it was a nice experience to see some of the most deadly creatures of Africa. They also sell different crocodile articles like leatherwear, jewelry and meat. That was the first time on our journey that we had the chance to taste an animal not common in Europe. Dinner that day was one kilogram crocodile tail for barbeque. The meat had a light but good taste not fishy at all, although the composition of it felt more like fish than mammal.
In the Lower Zambezi Valley we stayed in the Kiambi Safari campground from where we did a canoeing safari. It was really beautiful and one of the best “game drives” we had. The canoes get pulled up river by a motorboat and then you paddle back with the current. You move so quietly and calmly that you’re a much less disturbance for the nature then with any other vehicle we had so far. That way you see a lot of animals and can get quiet close to them. Except for the hippos, we were very clad that our guide stopped us several times from cruising straight into a hippo group or between them and the deep water. Because that’s where they want to hide and if you’re in the way to their save spot they will come for you, luckily we weren’t 🙂
The next and unfortunately already last step on our Zambia tour was Livingstone, the zambian town next to the Victoria Falls. The falls are situated directly at the border to Zimbabwe and it is possible to visit them from both sides. The sight on the falls is much better from the zimbabwean side especially out of the rain season. That’s why we decided to do some fun activities in Zambia before we go dribbdezambezi to have a good look at the falls. They have a huge range of activities that are all going to kick up your adrenalin level e.g. white water rafting, bungee jumping, kayaking, climbing and so on. David and I went for a whole day to the Gorge, Topher joint us but didn’t wanted to do the deeds, because of a lack of height tolerance ;). We started with almost 100 m abseiling (yes, that‘s how they call letting you down on a rope) at first with the face towards the mountain like you would do after a climb. The second time you do it face down, that enables you to enjoy the view down the cliff while you descent.
Next was the zip line superman, where you are attached to a wire that spans from one side of the gorge to the other. Now you run as fast as you can (the faster the wider you will go) towards the cliff and then slide along the wire over the gorge. That one isn’t too thrilling but you get a great view.
The highlight of the day was the gorge swing. Here you jump of the edge of the gorge and fall for 50 m before the safety wire spans and you begin to swing through the gorge. What a big fun that was. While falling you forget to breath and when your swinging your body is flushed by endorphins so that you’re smiling like a sloth on drugs.
For our last breakfast in Zambia Topher and I went to the devils pool. It is a natural pool in the middle of the Victoria Falls, right at the edge where the water drops down over 100 m. It can only be used while the Zambezi has a low water level, otherwise you would just get flushed down. It’s not cheap, they charge you 90 $ for a swim and a 5 star breakfast (you had to watch out not to inhale the whole thing accidentally). But it was really cool and it’s a thing you only do once in your life… well I’ve heard that before 😉
The border crossing to Zimbabwe was a bit annoying, because the zimbabwean officials wouldn’t accept our insurance, the COMESA yellow card. They told us that it was only valid for vehicles that belong to one of the countries that take part in the yellow card, but not for foreign vehicles… After 2 h hours sitting and discussing with the station boss we had no choice but to buy a new insurance for Zimbabwe. Finally we made it dribbdezambezi and reached the town of Victoria Falls. They also have lots of possibilities to make your heart beat faster. The town is much more commercial then Livingstone, in fact it was artificially build just for the tourism of the Vic Falls. Never the less it’s the first place we went since we are in Africa that I’ve already been to 🙂 about 17 years ago. The Falls are amazingly beautiful even now in the dry season when there is not too much water coming down. But just have a look for yourselves.
P.S.: Stay tuned we’re really trying to catch up with the blog but there is just too much happening all the time. And they have lots of really good beer down here, someone’s got to help them with that. Especially as a german you’ve got a high reputation regarding that and therefore it’s the responsibility for our beloved father and/or motherland and every single one of you to keep those extraordinary standards up. Prost!