Africa – Week 5 & 6 Back to News List
Our research trip has been so action-packed time got away from us, add this to the fact that we are travelling in a VERY remote part of Africa with limited WIFI and we suddenly found ourselves two weeks since our last post, so here is two weeks roiled into one.
Our last days in Zimbabwe were spent flying above Victoria Falls in a helicopter and cruising the mighty Zambesi at sunset watching elephants drink from the rivers edge while hippos gazed curiously at us as we glided by, and crocs sunned themselves in the last rays of the day
Crossing into Zambia we got to experience our first “crazy African” border crossing where on entry we were descended upon by money changers, fixers, advisors, and officials wanting a plethora of paperwork filled in, although generally hating borders, it was good to back in this crazy world of African border crossings!
Border formalities complete we spent 2 hours visiting the Zambian side of Victoria Falls offering incredible views, we were at the end of the dry season but can only imagine what it would be like when the tour visits early August next year when it’s in full flow. A quick drive down to the superb Royal Livingstone Hotel, spectacularly located on the banks of the Zambesi, where we had lunch before hitting the road
The next few days were spent travelling north through the Zambian countryside getting very close to the Democratic Republic of the Congo at one point. We spent a night in the capital of Lusaka, just enough to get fined for some ludicrous lane infringement, downtown, and a visit to the sombre Antiretroviral Man statue made entirely from the beds of HIV patients who had died in Zambia.
We eventually reached the wonderful remote Kapishya Hot Springs staying for 2 nights in their rustic chalets aside the Mansha River that rushes past amongst towering ferns and fig trees. The following day was spent at the fascinating Shiwa Ng’andu Homestead, a fantastic villa like residence built in 1925 by Stewart Gore Browne, who was, amongst other appointments, was the governor of Tasmania for a time. A tour of the residence was like a step back through the pages of an unknown history, all his furniture, library, collections, and photos still remain in place exactly as it was nearly 100 years ago. A walk around the farm was a fascinating insight into the rugged farm life of the Zambian interior
It was with some coincidence that we visited a memorial on the banks of the Chambeshi River where the last shots were fired in WW1, 3 days after the Armistice was signed on the 11th of November 1918. Known as the “lion of Africa” General Von Liettow Vorbeck laid down his arms on receiving notice of the armistice. It was the 10th of November 2022 when we were there 1 day before (Armistice Day). We overnighted on the shores of Lake Chila where the Germans dumped their weapons at the end of WW1
It was time to leave Zambia and we crossed into Tanzania via another remote, utterly empty border, so empty in fact the customs official had to be called to come to the border to stamp us out but not before we were screened for Covid in a leaking army tent. It was a curios affair as the dishevelled official carefully placed a temperature tester, gloves, (that momentarily worried us), masks and testing kits out on a rickety table, only to then tell us the temperature reader hasn’t had any batteries for months, so didn’t work, he simply completed a form wrote our temps as 36.7 and sent us on our way, a little strange seeing as we were leaving Zambia, not entering??
Within 3 hours we were luxuriating at the absolutely superb Lakeshore Lodge stunningly located on the shores of the beautiful Lake Tanganyika. Our room looked out onto the lake that lapped at our veranda, traditional dhows sailed past, while we were being treated to a glorious sunset that turned the skies red as the distant Congo faded into darkness, it was simply beautiful
A day was spent on the lake enjoying a sunset cruise before being entertained by the effervescent owners who regaled with wonderful stories of life on Lake Tanganyika. Their motto is “arrive as guests and leave as friends” and we certainly felt so welcomed with stunning hospitably during our stay, it was the essence of Africa.
Our last day for week 5 saw us leaving Lake Tanganyika and driving through the incredible Katavi National Park, one of the only national parks in all of Africa where bikes can ride through. We were treated to one of the most amazing wildlife experiences thus far as we visited a hippo pool chock full of hippos then came across a narrow bridge with the dry season remnants of a river, the pools were full of hippos, crocodiles, and a plethora of birdlife, we stayed here for 2 hours marvelling at this wildlife spectacle. Moneys, antelope, and elephant were also sighted on this amazing drive on our way to Mbala for the night and the end of another incredible week, or two, in Africa