Zambia

The experience was certainly missing from my nomadic life: the full theft of my belongings while travelling, and that was in Zambia. I am not resentful, here is the portrait of Zambia

 

Zambia could offer the traveller an eternal memory, it is still where you can see the Victoria Falls! However, it is still far from there and hardly attracts the curious… 

 
The photo on the Zambia ID is of Victoria Falls. Ranked as one of the most spectacular falls in the world, lovers of things to see before they die, hurry up! The drought of the last few years has damaged them, but not dry! Contrary to what the buzzers publish on the net, it is normal that the flow of the falls is reduced during the dry season, i.e. autumn. However, it is undeniable that the country has experienced the highest drought of the century. This news is not good for the country. The Victoria Falls are Zambia’s major tourist attraction.

Tourists come to see them mainly through Zimbabwe. This neighbour also faces difficulties, but it has more than twice as many tourists as Zambia. Zimbabwe has 2.4 million tourists and Zambia 1 million (2016).
These two countries are not only at the bottom of the list of tourist destinations because of Z. The reasons for the desertion of visitors are multiple: insecurity, anti-white racism, delirious inflation, cash crisis for Zimbabwe. As for Zambia, the reputation of a dangerous country (armed factions, landmines near the northern border) and the assaults around the falls and tourist places paint an unflattering picture. 

I promised the truth, nothing but the truth. But beware, if all the following is true, it does not mean that it is immutable

 

Thefts have multiplied dramatically in Livingstone: 6 thefts and burglaries in one month, and this figure only concerns the declarations of French nationals. Alas, I am one of the statistics. The police are useless, inoperative. If the premises were not so stinking and dilapidated, I would say that it is decorative. The policemen don’t even have a pen (fortunately I had mine) and to enable them to make investigations you will have to pay for the petrol of the car.

Zambia has wonderful parks where wildlife roams freely and beautiful landscapes

 

Alas, it is not the only country that is home to lions and kudu! It is not the only country to allow access to the mythical falls of almost 2km long! In order to be able to explore this beautiful country, one should be able to explore it without having to lock oneself up in one’s 4×4 or hotel reserved for foreigners. Safety should not be a question of financial means. 

I persist: Zambia is certainly a magnificent destination, a land of adventure and encounters

 

I am firmly convinced that if my adventure had not come to such a brutal end, Zambia would certainly shine in the firmament of my travels.
Precisely because it is not touristy, precisely because Zambians are like people everywhere else in the world: 99% good ones. Most of them I’ve met along the way have been great encounters. I could count on their warmth and also their spontaneous and surprising generosity. Their solicitude and their desolation to see me stripped were sincere. They have done so much to bring back positive experiences with me that I must return this honour to them.

So, how’s victoria falls?

 

It’s about the only remarkable thing I’ve ever seen in Zambia, I owe them a few lines. The victoria falls are simply huge

 
On the other hand, since travelers have been walking around with photographer drones, everyone wants to go and admire them. Only thing is, you’re not a bird. So what you’re going to see from Victoria Falls is a bubbling canyon and will have nothing to do with the video and music hovering in the background. 
In the high flow season, in the park you don’t see anything at all: it’s a bit like being in the shower. You should know that the water in suspension forms clouds that can be seen more than 10 km away. You have to mourn the sublime film and give in to the emotion: the ground trembles under the precipitation, the roar is impressive, such a power must be comparable to that of an erupting volcano. So yes, the Victoria Falls are magnificent, incomparable, divine.
 

Around Livingstone, it is possible to visit Mukuni: a lively village, deeply rooted in Zambian traditions

 
Don’t expect 3 squares and a tree in the middle. It’s a big town with almost 1000 inhabitants. It does not lack authenticity for all that, but the visits are paying even if you want to go there by your own car. The visit is only done with a guide (which is very good) and strictly organized: you can’t enter the village directly, you have to start with the handicraft market and be severely harassed by the vendors. There are nearly 50 of them trying to harpoon the curious and the experience is not pleasant. After following the compulsory path as in Ikea, one finally enters the village. This is where we will have the best time. The inhabitants are very friendly and we can learn a lot about vernacular constructions, ways of preserving food, cooking, social life…  

What do they eat in Zambia? A few good things but the palm comes back to the caterpillars!

 

Zambian cuisine is not very varied. You can’t miss Nshima, the dense corn-based puree and ifisashi, which is found almost everywhere in Africa. Ifisashi can be compared to a pan of local spinach with peanuts, onions, tomatoes and just about anything that can fall under the stove’s knife: squash, sweet potato, beans, tomatoes and various vegetables unknown to Westerners.
But the best both in experience and taste will definitely be the caterpillars. Make the effort to overcome your prejudices: it’s very, very good!

Zambie, Best Of

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