Posted by: Anna | January 16, 2011

Happy Days, Zambia

We said farewell to Zambia today after 7 days. Livingstone, right on the border with Zimbabwe, is the only place we went in Zambia, so admittedly, our experience was limited. However, Zambia was a great place to recharge and renew our travel energy after an exhausting time in Mozambique.

What I will remember about Zambia…the friendliness of the people, most of all. As you walk down the street, commonly, people will just say hello, good morning, or how are you, with a smile. It is lovely. We had a good place to stay at Jollyboys Camp with a comfortable safari tent (a tent they have permanently erected with two beds, a side table, a fan, and two chairs outside the tent entrance for relaxing). We caught up on sleep, read books, watched movies and just relaxed, mostly. We only did three real activities: the gorge swing, a “booze cruise” on the Zambezi River at sunset, and visiting Victoria Falls. Each one was a true pleasure, something to treasure and remember.

We also did a walking tour of town, visiting the local craft market, the first school, post office, and bank in Livingstone. Our guide also pointed out the local discos, although we never went. We got to talk to him for a little while about the languages in Zambia – there are many – and how the locals communicate. He says they can understand each other, even when they do not speak the same language, because the languages are very similar. Thankfully for us, everyone also speaks English quite well.

We cooked for ourselves almost the entire time, which allowed us to do a little budget correcting. Thanks to my Mom sending me spices for Christmas, I was able to make some of the tastiest food I’ve cooked on the entire trip, including a pretty nice stir fry, and even chicken fried steak, at Tommy’s request. We had a lovely meal (as you saw in the previous post) at the Royal Livingstone, accompanied by beautiful views and an elegant atmosphere.

Livingstone would make a wonderful honeymoon destination, with plenty of time to relax, and plenty to do when you want to. There were tons of activities that sounded fun that we didn’t do – some of the best whitewater rafting in the world (we were told), helicopter tours, microlight flights, cooking classes, drumming classes, and more.

I felt safe in Livingstone, which was nice after worrying about police hassle in Mozambique and crime in South Africa. We walked quite a bit every day in town, greeting friendly children, passing African women with brightly printed skirts and random tshirts carrying giant packages on their heads, and smiling at formally dressed men going about their business.

I can see that HIV/AIDS is still an important issue here (as it is South Africa and Mozambique), as is workplace discrimination. Signs and billboards are everywhere targeting these issues, and when you meet NGO (non-governmental organization) and Peace Corps volunteers, they are most often working on something related to one of these two issues. It is a reminder that for all the friendliness and gentleness that we found characteristic of Livingstone, it is still a difficult place to be a woman. Jollyboys does a lot with a local orphanage, mainly filled with children orphaned by AIDS. At the grocery store, condoms are on display at every checkout stand, and they are incredibly cheap. Billboards remind you to get tested, promote the benefits of circumcision, and offer counseling.

After the “booze cruise”, we went to the bar at Jollyboys to have another drink with our new friends from the cruise (four Americans from Minnesota). Typical of our travels thus far in Southern Africa, we met more Peace Corps volunteers on holiday at the bar, as well as Brits volunteering as teachers in Namibia. We actually meet very few “travelers” like us – people on a long holiday – as opposed to meeting people who live somewhere in Southern Africa and are visiting another area.

Taxis in Livingstone are turquoise. I don’t know why you need to know that, or care, but I always found them interesting. I discovered Amarula (delicious sweet Kahlua type stuff) in Livingstone too.

Haiku for Zambia

Gentle Zambia
Home of “The Smoke that Thunders”
Miss you already


A pleasant surprise
Cheap, chill, adventure heaven
On the Zambezi


36BT7URMHCXB (Please ignore)



  1. Definitely would want to go to Zambia. I am so glad you got to recharge, relax and feel safer. I love your adventure but being a mom worry about you just having time to relax. Knowing you have makes me feel worlds better. Love you.

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