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In September 2006 I spent 3 weeks travelling through Zambia and a few days visiting Mana Pools and Vic. Falls in Zimbabwe. The main attractions for me for visiting this relatively unknown country were the Natura Parks and the possibility of making walking safari's, getting close to the wild animals without the protection of a car.

Lioness From Amsterdam we flew to Nairobi to catch the next flight to Lusaka and eventually Lilongwe in Malawi, the starting point of the trip. Well the second flight did have its problems, boarding went fine, but when finding my seat things went wrong. I had seat 36D, looking at the numbers on the overhead compartments I counted down to my seat ... 33, 34, 35 ... and suddenly I was at the back of the plane, no row 36. I turned out I wasn't the only one without a seat, there were even people with seats on row 40. In the end you could sit where ever there was place, and fortunately there was a place for everyone.

We did not see much of Lilongwe or Malawi. We arrived in the afternoon and after a good nights rest we headed for the border with Zambia. The first destination was South Luangwa National Park. It was a long day travelling the dirt road from Chipata, the border town, to the park. A very good test for the suspension and tyres of the overland truck. One of the tyres did not pass the test. This was the first of six flat tyres during this three week trip. We arrived at the campsite, The Wildlife Camp, just before sunset. So the first time putting up the tent would be done in the dark, but the tents were big and easy to set up.

At 6 o'clock the next morning the first walking safari was on the agenda. We got close to group of giraffes, but listening to the explanations of the ranger was also very interesting. The main focus was on small animals and explaining what dung or tracks belonged to what animal. There was a lion in the distance, so we left the walking early to get into the car and try to find the lion. We could not find him. In the afternoon we made a game drive and we did see lions. Also the next day was not without lions. It was great getting so close to the lions. Besides lions we also saw Elephants, Hippo's, Giraffes, Wharthogs, Zebra, Puku and several other animals. In short this park has a lot to offer.

From South Luangwa we headed for the Zambezi river. This would take us one and a half day and two flat tyres. After the first day we stopped to set up camp at Bridge Camp. A campsite near the bridge over the Luangwa river, about Village Lower Zambezi halfway between Chipata and Lusaka. Next morning and a few hours driving we arrived at Luangwa Boma, at the confluence of the Luangwa and Zambezi rivers near the upper reaches of Lake Cahora Bassa. From here we were taken in speedboats to Redcliff Lodge. This was the base for a few nights to visit the Lower Zambezi National Park and a village just outside the park. We visited the local school and were entertained by the children who put on a show with song and dance.

Next was our first stop in Lusaka on our way to Kafue National Park. Kafue is one of the largest parks in the world. It is about half the size of the Netherlands. The first night is spent at Mukambi Campsite, from here we cross the river by boat and get into the cars for a game drive. After no more then 10 minutes we spot a female Leopard with two pups. A great way to start the day. At lunchtime we pack up camp to move furter north into the park to Lufupa. But packing up camp is somewhat delayed as a big Elephant is getting to close for comfort. We were able to get close to the back of the Elephant when he was eating, about 3 metres, but when he turnes you better get out of the way.

On the night drive in Lufupa we again spotted a Leopard, another highlight of the holiday. The next day we went on a 11 hour game drive to the Busanga Flood Plain. This was a very long day, and it is no picknick sitting in the burning sun being attacked by Tsetse flies, large biting flies. I even but on my rain jacket to keep from being bitten.

After another night at the Eureka Camping Park in Lusaka we go to Zimbabwe. We cross the border at Chirundu and from there it is still several hours before reaching our campsite in Mana Pools National Park, a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site. The campsite, Nyamepi Camp, is situated at the Zambezi river. Another great site for camping. In the evening when we are eating and sitting around the campfire we can see the Hyena walking between the tents. Also at night when you are lying in your tent you can hear them close by. Also other animals are very close, Hippo's, Elephants and other animals come to have a drink near the campsite. In the distance I heard lions roaring. Apart from game drives and walks canoeing on the Zambezi is great, just beware of Hippo's in the water and do not play with your feet or hands in the water ... crocodiles love an easy meal.

Flying a Micro-Light above Victoria Falls After a great stay in Mana Pools it is back to Zambia again. This time we cross the border at the Kariba dam and spend a night in a lodge situated on the shores of Kariba Lake. Then it is time to travel to our final destination, Livingstone. We are staying at Maramba Lodge, halfway between Livingstone and the Victoria Falls. The first full day we go rafting on the Zambezi, more on this here. The second day a few of us go to Zimbabwe to see the Vic. Falls from that side. It is now the dry season and much of the falls are dried up, only on the Zimbabwen side are you able to see the effects of gravity on water. In the afternoon I fly with a Micro-Light above the falls, a great experience to view the falls from above. As impressive as it is now, I would love to see the falls in the rainy season when the water falls down over the full 1688 metres.

All good thing must come to an end. I can only come to one conclusion, Zambia is a great country to visit.

I made this trip with Sawadee.
© 2002-2021 Jacques Herman, All rights reserved.