South Zambia: rivers, lakes and waterfalls

After we have entered Zambia in record time and without any problems, we first head north-west along the Zambesis to the Sioma waterfalls. Here the Zambesi falls along a narrowing between many granite stones, in quiet places numerous snow-white sandbanks have formed in the current dry season. A great scenery. The biggest “problem” of the Sioma Falls is that a good 250 km further south-east are the much better-known Victoria Falls and they therefore live a shadowy existence.

On the way there we drive over 150 km of the worst dirt road with hardly any asphalt residues and potholes so deep that even Shujaa’s huge 14×20 tires threaten to sink into them. Hardly explainable with the otherwise quite good overland roads in Zambia, especially since it is the main connection road to the Namibian border and the alternative route via Botswana is still closed due to Corona.

Somewhat stressed, we arrive in Livingstone at the Victoria Falls and park ourselves in the shady parking lot of the Waterfront Lodge, right on the Zambesi; the campground, however, is in a desolate state due to numerous elephant visits and lack of maintenance due to the lack of visitors.

The temperatures are over 40 degrees and hardly cool down even at night. The month of October is therefore also known as “Suicide Month” in Zambia, before the rainy season that usually starts in November cools off. Again, we are happy to have our air conditioning in our living cabin. We have already visited the Victoria Falls on the larger Zimbabwe side three times, but we tend to like the Zambia side even better. On the one hand, because in the morning light you have a wonderful view of the entire 1.8 km long edge. On the other hand, because this time we are completely alone during our almost two hours of sightseeing. Thanks to Corona! We spend the rest of the day trying to have our compressor freezer box repaired again (it loses gas and therefore temperature and nobody can find the leak) and our electric staircase. There is always something to do.

We are also the only guests at the beautiful Eagle’s Nest Lodge on Lake Kariba, where the world’s largest dam was built in the 1950s. It is still the main power source for Zambia and Zimbabwe today. During the flooding of the Zambesi, which lasted for several years, many tribes had to be relocated against their will and many animals were saved from drowning (Operation “Noah’s Ark”).

In the not far away Lower Zambesi N.P. we find another dream pitch at the Mukuyu Lodge: right on the Zambesi on a green meadow. At night we are woken up by hippos who are smacking loudly and grazing directly around Shujaa, during the day elephants announce their march through the camp to the refreshing Zambezi bank to drink with loud trumpeting. We look directly at the Mana Pools on the other side of the Zambesi, in Zimbabwe, with their rich fauna. That’s how we like it! The animal observations on a half-day guided canoe safari are unfortunately less productive, but the contemplative atmosphere of drifting on the river with its good current makes up for it. Even if Karin sees it completely differently, because we have to shuffle around hippos in the small canoe several times. In the afternoon we do a game drive. Unfortunately, we can no longer find the lions that another ranger spotted in the mornings. They also hide during my own game drive with our Quad Shujoo the next day, maybe that’s a good thing.

In Lusaka we have an appointment with another German Overlander couple, Tanja and Armin. This turns into a bigger meeting, because there are also two Swiss Overlander couples on site. The next day we meet the overlander couple Francine and Dave, that are waiting for months now to receive some spare parts for their MAN expedition truck “Big Berta”. In Corona times, when the wheat is separated from the chaff, one is somehow more interested in the experiences of other like-minded people and stands closer together.

After a bulk purchase in the well-stocked Shoprite in Lusaka and the purchase of a new freezer box – also the third attempt at repair with the thoroughly competent “Mr. Fridge” wasn’t really crowned with success – we head off for the impassable north of the country. Since we already have our e-Visa for Malawi in our mailbox, nothing should stand in the way of the scheduled onward journey from there to our next country.


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