After viewing Victoria Falls from the Zimbabwe side, I figured it would be a good idea to cover all bases and see it from the Zambia side too. So, I packed up my stuff and walked across the border, as you do, right? Zambia was also where I was meeting up with Jemma, a lovely Welsh girl I met camping in Australia last year. It was love at first sight, so we desperately needed a camping reunion! We also were joined by seven other travellers on our tour – four English, one Welsh, one Kiwi, and one Luxembourgish, as well as our two South African guides.
Zambia is one of the poorer nations in Africa, but one of the more stable nations. Since the turn of the century, government reforms and diversification have helped the economy grow year after year. My two days in Zambia were spent in the town of Livingstone – the tourism hub for the Zambian side of Victoria Falls. Unlike its Zimbabwean counterpart, the town of Livingstone was not built specifically for tourism. Historically, most tourists viewed the falls from the Zimbabwe side because of the better infrastructure there. As Zimbabwe spiralled into a complete shit show, more and more tourists opted to stay away from the uncertain situation and head to the Zambian side instead. Zimbabwe’s woes benefitted this town greatly. Infrastructure around the tourist areas was quite good, but unlike in Zimbabwe, I did get to see a bit of the real Zambia while in Livingstone.
A few highlights of my time in Zambia:
Victoria Falls: I read that viewing the falls from the Zimbabwe side was better, but I enjoyed the Zambian side more. The infrastructure around the park was on par with Zimbabwe, but I think Zambia actually had a better diversity of viewpoints. It may have also been because of the time of day: I viewed the falls from Zimbabwe in the morning and from Zambia in the afternoon when the lighting was better. Rainbows are a common occurrence on the Zambian side, and we got there at the right time to add some colour to our selfies.
Bicycle tour: While the rest of our group went rafting on the Zambezi River, Jemma and I signed up for a bicycle tour. We thought we’d be going around town seeing all of the tourist sites and the souvenir market. We have never been more wrong. Our tour was a charitable tour sponsoring the Local Cowboy Pre-School and our guides took us and two Dutch travellers on a four hour journey into a bit of real Zambia. We went off the paved roads to see several villages that dot the outskirts of the town. We started with the poorest of the villages and worked our way up to some reasonably nice looking houses in town. Once in town, we visited the local market. This was not the souvenir market, but the market where locals go to shop for food and other goods. We sampled some dried mopane worms (caterpillars) while we were there. They weren’t entirely gross – almost nutty in a way. We also visited the pre-school, but as it was a Sunday, there weren’t any children about. That was ok though, because earlier on the tour we had encountered plenty of local children, and they even commandeered my bicycle for a few minutes. We even saw some wildlife: a lone crocodile in front of a gas station. Overall, this was a fantastic experience and one of the best things I did in Africa.
Sunset cruise: At our guide’s recommendation, our entire group signed up for a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River. There was a buffet dinner and open bar, but the best parts of the tour were the beautiful sunset and all of the hippos! This was the first large animal we saw in Africa and we saw lots of them!
Onward to Botswana! But first, let me take a selfie.
To see more photos of my time in Zambia, follow this link: