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Jun 18 2013

Along the lower Zambezi

With a short day ahead of us, we left the shores of Lake Kariba to head further downstream along the Zambezi River.  But first, we joined the border traffic heading for the Chirundu Border Post.  No, we weren’t crossing into Zimbabwe just yet – the gravel road we needed was only a few kilometres before the border.

This stretch of tarred road was even more potholed, and warped from the sun and weight of the trucks.  All along the road were truck stops – with many truckers taking a break before or after the border crossing.

The last few kilometres to the campsite required … another pontoon crossing.  This time, we were crossing the Luangwa River.  Viking Explorer loves these, and so was both excited about the prospect and also saddened by the early signs of construction of a replacement bridge.  For me, the novelty of pontoon crossings wears thinner as the prices rise higher.  I really do think US$30 is slightly cheeky for fifty meters across the river.

Shortly after the river crossing, we reached Kiambi Lodge.  It was pristine!  The proximity to the river has allowed their beautiful lawns to flourish.  The staff were smiling and welcoming – something we are becoming very used to in this corner of Africa.  We were lead to the campsite, and chose out the best campsite – of course – with unencumbered view of the waters.  No matter how many nights we spend camping on the banks of the Zambezi River, it never loses its charm.

We explored the facilities: we settled at the central bar with deck overlooking the river (restaurant guests were served their dinner here).  I made use of a tiny gym with failing equipment but the best view of any gym I’ve been to!  In the evening, after a game of scrabble and warm drink at the bar, we were guided back to the campsite along paths lit with converted storm lanterns:  the paraffin and wicks of old replaced by gentle yellow electric bulbs.  Very thoughtfully done.

We also sought information about an alternate route to Luangwa valley, rather than continuing on tar via Lusaka.  We were eager for any details about Leopard Hills road – a more rugged alternative.

As you can imagine, Viking Explorer’s eyes lit up.


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