2020AfricaAnimalsLandscapesZambia

Northern Zambia: 100,000 km on our world trip and more great waterfalls and animal viewing

After we did some big shopping in the capital Lusaka and met various very nice overlanders, we headed for the lonely and infrastructurally poorly developed north of Zambia. We stop on a lonely route because we have reached our first, big, round milestone on our world tour: 100,000 km, of which almost 60,000 km in South America and a good 40,000 km in southern Africa (we have not counted our two preparatory test drives to Morocco here). We are proud of ourselves that we have mastered all challenges well so far, very grateful to our Shujaa expedition vehicle, which has been very robust and reliable, and that we have the opportunity to do such a trip at all. The fact that we are achieving this goal especially in these difficult times of Corona, when we receive new horror reports of the second wave from Europe every day, makes us even more happy and satisfied. In the evening with a good bottle of Champagne we think about where and when we will celebrate the 200,000 km milestone.

North Zambia is known for its numerous, completely lonely waterfalls, lakes and extensive swamps. We visit the most important ones: Kundalila Falls, Lake Bangweulu, Ntumbachushi Falls, Lumangwe Falls, Kabweluma Falls and Chishimba Falls.

And right at the first, we park with the last rear axle on a small bridge in order to straighten us out. It was already dark. We are only two minutes inside, suddenly it makes a huge jolt, we sag and Karin screams: Drive, drive, drive! I don’t really know what she means and I want to look at it first. Indeed: we broke in. Well then, I’ll just drive out again. Fortunately, the bridge was small, the height wasn’t great, and it was easy to get out.

In total, this waterfall circuit is almost 1,000 km long, so the falls are not right next to each other and the slopes to these highlights are sometimes challenging even in the dry season. The landscape is fantastic and like never before on our world tour we had such easy, intensive and warm contact with the local population. We feel safe and welcome everywhere in this country, which rightly calls itself “the real Africa”. In the Mutinondo Wilderness Reserve, where we first have to fight our way along a 30 km long, narrow and above all overgrown slope, we do a great hike on huge granite rocks. A kind of “Ayers Rock landscape”, only embedded in lush green vegetation … and of course we are completely alone again.

We don’t want to drive the long way back to Lusaka again. But the steep escarpment separates the highlands from the deep Luangwa Valley and Shujaa weighs a little too much with its 18 tons for the few, small pontoon ferries across the Luangwa River. Thus, our onward travel options to the well-known South Luangwa N.P. are somewhat limited. We opt for the initially perfectly paved road from Matumbo to Chama and then further south to Lundazi and Chipata. This 400 km long route offers all the ups and downs that one can experience in terms of road status in Africa. In the true sense of the word, as well as w/r to the mood of the driver and co-pilot. Tar passages that appear completely unexpectedly out of nowhere alternate with slopes that have not been maintained at all after the last rainy seasons and where the deepest rain gutters and eruptions sometimes make walking pace appear too fast, even with Shujaa’s huge ground clearance. Fortunately, the rainy season has not yet started. If you get stuck here, it only helps to wait the next few months until the end of the rainy season; heavy recovery vehicles will never get there. But after a good two days we have survived this strain without any (visible) loss of material and reached the well-known South-Luangwa N.P. Here we will stay for the next few days in the beautiful “Wildlife Camp” located directly on the river … of course again as the only guests.

The South Lunagwa N.P., in addition to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, is considered to be the most animal-rich national park in southern Africa, paired with hardly any infrastructure and a lot of bush feeling. The perfect set-up for us. We have great animal experiences on extensive, guided game drives. But also the daily elephant visits, directly at our camp and only a few meters away, make this place so attractive for us.

Zambia: a great, very varied country with warm people and just as much infrastructure as we need. Certainly, a hot contender for the position of one of our top favorite countries. We are excited about our next country – Malawi.

One comment

  1. Thanks for the update! Beautiful pics!

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