Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Zambia Recap

It's officially a new year, but before we move on I've got to get our Zambia pictures up online. I already  put a couple of shots up on this blog while we were away but here a little more of a recap, along with some videos.

The train was quite an adventure.

We flew from Mwanza to Dar Es Salaam on Friday, Dec 20 and then took the train from there, through the southern part of Tanzania into Zambia. It was supposed to take about 2-3 days, but as things happen in Africa, it took almost 4 days. We had wrong information about when the train would leave but luckily we got there very early because it left about 5 hours BEFORE we originally expected it to. The ride was fine and the views of the mountains in southern Tanzania were very pretty but toward the end we were pretty ready to stop rocking and be on still ground for a little while.

We met some nice Danish folks on the train and when they found out it was Chris's birthday on the 22nd, they gave him a mango and told the kids at our window, who then started singing happy birthday.

Zambian version of Happy Birthday.

When we finally arrived, we had to take a mini-bus for 3 hours into Lusaka, the capital. I think we are fortunate to have lived in Tanzania for 2 years and so we are already familiar and used to this style of transport (meaning, shoving as many people as possible, along with their luggage, into a 15 passenger van). After all that time on the train it just would've been nice to avoid that part.

Downtown Lusaka, near our hotel.

One of the really good things to us about traveling around Africa is that it puts things into perspective and we can begin to get a larger picture of Africa as a whole, but also of Tanzania. Zambia was definitely more "southern Africa" (as opposed to East Africa, where we live and had thus far traveled) and we were shocked at how different it was. I hope to write a separate blogpost about my thoughts on the development in Zambia, but let's just say for now that we could see some positives as well as negatives to the way the country has developed.

We spent one night in Lusaka, the capital, before taking an 8 hour bus south to Livingstone. But in that time before leaving Lusaka we managed to go to the mall and see a movie! What a treat!

Chris said it looked like King of Prussia Mall in Philadelphia.

We stayed in Livingston for 4 nights at the Fawlty Towers guesthouse. Not the same as this one, thank God but it was quite a nice place and we'd definitely recommend it.

Farty Towels

I took advantage of the pool as much as I could. It was blazing hot in Zambia!

We had a great experience at church on Christma morning. The Mass was in English but the music was all in their local language. I wish I could've gotten a picture of the band because they had a bass player and guitar player, as well as a drummer. They were totally jamming out!

This was the procession for collection, by the women of the church. It went on a full 20 minutes and when it was finished an old lady in the back yelled "Another one!"

We spent all of Christmas afternoon wandering around Victoria Falls National Park.

World Heritage Site!

Picutres will not do this place justice. So beautiful!


We have so many shots, it was hard to narrow it down for the internet. 

The folks you see standing on the other side are in Zimbabwe.

For various reasons we didn't get a multi-entry visa into Zambia, so we could only see the falls from this side. Victoria Falls are a mile long and only about 1/3 of it falls in Zambia; the rest in Zimbabwe. So all of this is only about 1/3 of it! Also, this is the low season for water-levels, so imagine how much more impressive it is when the water levels are at their highest. We hear you can't even see the falls because the spray/mist is so dense. 

Also, Victoria Falls is one of the world's most popular places for extreme sports. Bungee jumping, parasailing, zip-lining, white water rafting. People come from all over the world to take their life in their hands for the sake of "adventure." Okay, I'm being snarky and just joking. But seriously people, what the f-?

We heard bungee jumpers screaming all the way down. Is there something wrong with us that all we want to do is enjoy a leisurely stroll around the falls?

At the end of the day we ran into our Danish train friends so we all went out for a sunset drink. It was really nice to share this experience with some other folks. 

A great end to a great Christmas day.

On the day after Christmas Chris and I got up early and took a river cruise on the Zambizi. It was supposed to be a group tour but I guess everyone slept in because it was just the 2 of us.

And our fearless guides.

We saw this guy just sitting with his mouth open on the bank of the river.

We gave the hippos a wide berth so they didn't, like, knock our boat over or something.

The last thing we did in Livingstone tour/adventure-wise was take a walking tour. It started at 6:30 AM, which is a good thing because it was blazing hot by 7. Still, we managed to see a rhino up-close, a water buck and a lot of birds. 

We spotted this white rhino within the first 15 minutes of the walk.

He gave us a little show by rolling around in the mud.

Sharpening his horn. Look at the little eyes!

So beautiful.

I was hoping to see some elephants and zebras but I guess they were hiding out somewhere cooler, probably a wise thing to do because by the end of the 3 hours I was ready for the pool and a nap!

The weather had other plans though.

On the 28th we took the bus back to Lusaka and had a day to rest and see another movie. Nice! And after all that adventure, we were pretty ready to just slow things down and head home. Still, I feel so fortunate to have been able to make this trip, to see more of the world and to spend a low-key, stress free Christmas with my favorite person in the world. I wasn't sure how I would feel traveling on Christmas and not doing the traditional things but I have to say it was wonderful! I might advocate getting rid of gifts from here on out and traveling every year on Christmas. Seriously, that in itself is really a wonderful privilege and gift. 


Erica said...

I like that Christmas idea. Can Fuzzy and I join?

Those hippos!!!

Anonymous said...

wow!!! amazing adventure! looks rejuvenating and thought provoking at the same time. Happy New Year! -Kaiser