From the border it was only 64 km to Livingstone and we could see the big cloud of water vapour of the Mosi o tunyo from kilometres away.
Why do we still call it Victoria Falls if the original name is so much nicer? Mosi o tunyo, the smoke that thunder or the water that makes a noise, is so much more descriptive and also the original name. Much better than some pale face queen’s name from a different continent.
Livingstone is probably the most touristy place we been to so far. Everything is scattered over the small town, which means that you have to drive around to find what you need. Since our last visit in 2009, the town have expanded significantly with new malls and shops. We found excellent camping on the way to the Mosi o tunyo National Park at Maramba Lodge, but no disabled facilities, big thumbs down again. We spend a day visiting the markets, buying a mask for myself, and lots of material for Kareen and friends.
The local people are still very poor and it seemed that some of the traders at the stalls would not make a single sale per day in the low season. The next morning we visited the Mosi o tunyo Falls, aka Victoria Falls. What a sight to see and thunder to hear, it dwarfs Augrabies Waterfalls and the two can not be compared. Although I must say Augrabies is much more accessible for someone on four wheels and ZAWA should really improve the access to the view point, and add disabled toilets, as there were three visitors in wheelchairs while we were at the Falls. Please look at the pictures, words fail to describe this natural wonder, even the photographs does not capture the full beauty and force of the natural power.
Lochinvar National Park (nor for sissies)
We decided to make our next stop the Lochinvar National Park en route to Lusaka, as we were informed that the park roads from Livingstone north into Kafue is only 4×4 accessible, except for driving to some campsites inside the parks.
So we headed north east towards Lusaka the next morning, and then turn north on a horrendous gravel road to Lochinver National Park. The road was not signposted at all and if it was not for a sign reading Lochinvar Safari Lodge, we would not have found it. We took the next turn as signposted and kept going. A very helpful gentleman stopped us after a few kilometres, enquiring about our destination, and helped us back on the right route. The last turnoff was also not signposted. We reached the park and found it to be empty, except for ourselves and the staff.
The park is totally undeveloped with no facilities, except some basic gravel roads and infrastructure for the staff. We camped close to the Chunga lagoon that is part of the Kafue flood plains. The abundance of bird life was astounding. Unfortunately our Birds by Colour book is one of the items that will appear on our “items not to be forgotten on our next road trip – list” we can not give exact names. We saw an enormous amount of fish eagles, cormorants, pelicans, storks and waders.
The next morning we went on a game drive through some beautiful areas of the park. Long grass interspaced by thickets of trees and a big flood plain of short grass. We saw thousands of Kafue Lechwe antelope, zebra and crocodiles. We got lost in the maze of small tracks, but again, the helpful Zambia people took the time to show us the way back. Please watch the time lapse of the game drive to get an idea of the park. The way back was much rockier and full of potholes. Kareen was only comforted by the fact that she could see fresh car tracks on the “road”, only to find later that it was a donkey pulling his cart. From then on we joking referred to fresh wheel tracks as a confidence builder.
On return from the game drive, we checked our VW Caddy and found that the radiator had shaken loose from its mounting. We got to work and quickly jacked up the car and fixed it with some cable ties. But this still meant that we would need to stop in Lusaka to fix the car before moving on to Kafue, as our repair was definitely of a temporary nature.
We got up very early the next morning to experience the astounding sunrise in this wild and wonderful setting. It was such an amazing experience waking up to the welcoming sound of thousands of different birds. Sitting quietly soaking up the slow sunrise, we packed the car to get on the road. Suddenly there was a swarm of bees around us, as if they we trying to stop us from leaving. It was a crazy experience. Two bees stung Kareen, it was a first (and immediate second) for her. At the same time she also found out that she was not allergic (thankfully). I was forced to spray her with insecticide as they refused to leave her alone, no matter what. We finished packing and as soon as the roof rack was packed and covered the bees left us alone, very weird.