March 28, 2008 GMT

Markets in Livingstone


The BOI (Body Odour Index) had been raised considerably since crossing the border... surpisingly it was not us and was to plague our olfactory sences for our entire stay.

Our desination in Zambia (formery Northern Rhodesia) was Livingstone and the Victoria Falls.

Building in Livingstone

We holled up in 'Jolly Boyz Backpakers'. Not as comfortable as our beloved Chameleons, but satisfactory. It was filled to the brim with self important, surley young backpackers who spend thier days sleeping off the previous nights session and sneer at you because only they are 'really' travelling in Africa. This made us feel somewhat uncomfortable and appreciate the seclusion and privacy of our wee tent.

That was until we met Carol, who travels extensively, especially in Nepal, where she volunteers with a Cranio-facial surgery unit, Claudio who volunteers in Tanzania with a dental group and Fabio, a motorcycle nut, who volunteers in an orphange dedicated to assisting children who are born to mothers with genital mutilation (female circumcision). These mothers often die from the labour and the orphaned/abandoned children need operations to have ther damaged legs mended so they can learn to walk.

Carol, Jules, Grant, Fabio, Claudio
Another great dinner and conversation

Livingstone, named after the great explorer (you guessed it "Doctor Livingstone I presume?") is a hotch potch of tourist-centric activity and ordinary people going about thier daily village life.

Cecil John Rhodes Bridge
Cecil envisaged a railway from Cape to Cairo.... he got a bit bogged in Congo

We were there, not, to bungee jump off the Cecil John Rhodes Bridge or sky-dive over the Zambezi River. We were there to see what Doctor Livingstone famously described in his journal '...on sights such as beautiful as this, angels in thier flight must have gazed.' The Mosi-oa-Tunya, The Smoke that Thunders.

Smoke that Thunders

Approaching the park entrance we pulled up along the Zambezi River where we caugh our first glimps of the Smoke that Thunders. The mist rising high from the surface and the roar of the water falling in the distance.

Parking Piggy in amoungst the shady trees and ververt monkeys we marched off into the rainforrest following the neat paths past an inevitable array of souvenier shops, monuments to Rhodesians and of course Doctor David.

Vic Falls

Heavy wet season rains in the north have been filling and flooding the rivers that converge and feed Vic Falls (notably the Chobe and Zambezi) pouring ten million litres of wate,r over the ledge into the great gorge, per second before the water continues to wind its way down the Zambezi and finally out to sea along the Mozambique Coast. The volume of water was immense and the spray from the falling water was like a heavy rainstorm soaking you in seconds.

A picnic to dry out was in order. Jules pulls out a loaf of bread. Grant opens the tin of tuna. Tomatoes and cucumbers were sliced and a Park Ranger walks past.

'Are you ready to cry?' he asks, laughing wih his collegues.

'Baboons and monkeys?' we quesion.

'Just keep everyinging close to you, they are very curious and LOVE plasic bags' he warned. We heeded.

Half a sandwich later and the baboons appeared.

Enjoying our lunch matey??

'Jules, behind you' Grant yells standing suddenly. She turns to see the creature scurry away.

'Geerrr orrf' screams Grant tossing his sambo at another baboon, who in turn grabs the bread and makes off with it. Our peacful picnic spot was inundated with a troupe of ugly sharp toothed baboons.

Hurridly we began packing up when suddenly, and for no apparent reason, the picnic crashers start to run away.

Another Ranger appeared carrying a sling shot. The baboons had recognised him and his weapon.

'Keep this close by, aim it at them when they approach. You won't even need a stone' he said 'Enjoy your lunch' smiling.

Shoot it! Shoot it!

We were grateful for the catapault, as soon as you lifted it the animals ran off, and eventually leaving us in peace.



Leaving Zambia
* Have passport stamped to exit Zambia
* Return Temporary Import Papers
* Pay US$4.00 (in foreign currency) for a ferry ticket for the bike, foot traffic is free
* Embark the ferry
* Ride the ferry across the Zambezi River to Botswana

And dont you forget it!

Enter Botswana
* Disembark ferry
* Customs and Immigration are approximately 2 kilometres down the road from the dock
* Immigration for Entrance stamp
* Have vehicle carnet stamped for temporary importation
* Pay Pula 50.00 (US$8.00) road tax


Trucks lined up for the Border/Ferry Crossing

Crossing the Zambezi into Botswana was a bit of an adventure. 150 - 200 semi-trailors were lined up, all waiting to bord the rickety ferry. Patient drivers cook a meal, take a nap under the trailor, play cards, generally keeping themselves amused to while away the hours of waiting.

'Just go around them' Jules insructs Grant 'Get up the front'. Just as well as the ferry takes only one truck a a time!

Embarking the Ferry

The ferry pulls up a few feet before the river banks and drops he hydraulic ramp with a thud and a splash. OK! Ineresting manouver we muse. Hoards of people file off the boat disorderly, next come the few cars and a semi. Grant is instucted to move the bike out of the way o allow the truck to manouver over the muddy river bank.

Cruising the Zambezi

The Chobi River Safari Lodge is high class accommodation at a high price, however their camp ground on the river bank had a pricetage more suited to our budget and we get to use the resort facilities.


It was from here that we organised a boat journey down the river to see hippos, and we were not dissapointed.


The late afternoon river cruise lasted for three and a half hours and we were treated to scenes reminiscent of the classic film 'The African Queen'.

Snake Bird

Skirting the surprisingly lush Kalahari Desert we were off to Francis Town. Gateway to Zimbabwe. For weeks now Grant had been calculating, counting, plotting and planning a route through Zimbabwe, knowing the current fuel crisis (crisis? what crisis... there is just NO fuel) gripping the country and here in Francis Town we had to do the final numbers crunch, fuel cartage/re-packing plan and decide if we could actually manage a trip through Zim or would it all just be easier to go back to South Africa and skirt around the country.

Dead Elephant on the side of the road

Live Elephants on the side of the road

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