Zambia

Zambia, a land-locked country, is bordered by eight countries in southern Africa. Approximately ten times the size of Ireland, it is unified and peaceful and has one of the lowest population densities in the world. Zambia is also one of the most highly urbanized countries in Africa. With a population of approximately 11.55 million, the economy is largely based on mining of copper and agriculture, with potential in tourism, energy and industry.

One of Africa ís poorest countries,Zambia ranks 165th out of 177 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index in 2007.Life expectancy has fallen to 40.5 years and over two-thirds of the population live below the national poverty line of less than $0.93 a day.Income inequality in Zambia is very high. The middle class in Zambia has shrunk considerably with many professionals leaving the country in search of better opportunities elsewhere.

Livingstone

Livingstone is the tourist capital of Zambia. It is located 450 miles south of the countries captial city, Lusaka. Livingstone is named for missionary and explorer David Livingstone.The main street of this quaint colonial town is the important Mosi-oa-Tunya Road, sections of which are lined with classic colonial buildings. These Victorian tin roofed houses with wooden verandas, many of which are decaying, are a typical example of the English settler architecture.

The spectacular Victoria Falls Bridge, which is only about 10km away from Livingstone, was completed in 1905 and settlers moved in to the higher ground at Livingstone to try and escape Malaria.

Livingstone became the capital of Northern Rhodesia in 1911, but the capital was moved to Lusaka in 1935. Livingstone then returned to being a lazy, quiet little town with much charm. It still is, despite the general air of neglect.

Livingstone is a historic colonial city and present capital of the Southern Province of Zambia, a tourism centre for Mosi-oa-Tunya (Victoria Falls) lying 10 km south on the Zambezi River, and a border town with road and rail connections to Zimbabwe on the other side of the Falls.

Victoria Falls

Columns of spray can be seen from miles away as 546 million cubic meters of water per minute plummet over the edge over a width of nearly two kilometers into a deep gorge over 100 meters below.

A path along the edge of the forest provides the visitor who is prepared to brave the tremendous spray with an unparalleled series of views of the Falls. One special vantage point is across the Knife edge bridge, where visitors can have the finest view of the Eastern Cataract and the Main Falls as well as the Boiling Pot where the river turns and heads down the Batoka Gorge. Other vantage points include the Falls bridge and the Lookout Tree which commands a panoramic view across the Main Falls.

The Victoria Falls Bridge affords a magnificent view both down the gorge on the one side and through to the falls on the other. The immense depth of the gorge can be fully appreciated from this perspective and combined with the sea green river below, the shiny black rock face and lush green foliage, the 360 degree view from the bridge is breathtaking.

On the opposite cliff, facing the falls, you can take a well marked and paved walk through the rain forests. Every so often the path will open out into a clearing for a view of the falls. Further along this path is the Knife Edge Bridge which affords an impressive panorama depending on the time of year. Although less can be seen of the width of the Falls during the wet season, the intense spray provides welcome relief from the heat, but donít carry anything you donít want to get wet!

During the dry season, be sure to take a walk along the lip of the Falls themselves. Sometimes the water is low enough to walk all the way across to Livingstone Island, the place where David Livingstone had his first glimpse of the Falls. This is surely one of the most magnificent views in the area.

Another interesting perspective is deep within the gorge into which the Falls descend. From the parking lot, look for the signs pointing to "The Boiling Pot." Itís quite a steep climb, but well-worn steps make it a fairly easy descent. Coming up is of course a little more strenuous, but the view from below of the wide Zambezi thundering over the cliff, then compressed into the deep thin crevice turning into the Batoka Gorge, crashing and swirling over rapids, is quite spectacular. From this vantage point one can also see up to the impressive Victoria Falls Bridge, spanning the gorge over 100 meters above.

The best place for a wide range of crafts and curios is the Mukuni Victoria Falls Craft Village. From intricate animal carvings in stone, wood, or the beautiful green malachite, masks, drums, marimbas, spoons, book ends, walking sticks, jewellery and much more. The vendors can be really pushy however, yelling for your attention from all sides, so be firm. Look at everything before buying as some offer better quality than others. They are usually happy to trade for things like Tshirts, batteries, shoes, or anything else hard to come by in Zambia.

Getting there

The Falls can be approached from the town of Livingstone by traveling south on Mosi O Tunya road for some 8 kilometers. Just before the border, there is a turning to the right which leads to a parking area. Walks all around the Falls are accessible from this point. If approaching from Zimbabwe, cross the border at the town of Victoria Falls and watch for the left turning just after the Zambian customs post.

 

We stay in a youth hostel called Fawlty Towers

Fawlty Towers is set in a massive private garden shaded with huge mango trees, with a swimming pool. Nearby is the Hippos Restaurant

The lodge is right in the centre of town with 7 cafes and restaurants less than 500 yards away. Supermarket, internet cafe and pizza shop right next door.

If you would like any further information, please or email us Abbey Zambia Project

Photos

Zambia Immersion Project Victoria Falls Zambia Immersion Project Livingstone Zambia Immersion Project Livingstone Zambia Immersion Project Livingstone Zambia Immersion Project Livingstone Zambezi Sunset