The Real Africa

The Real Africa

The summer of 2012 was a pretty good one as far as adventures go: Africa, the Olympic Games and Bulgaria!

In June my man and I got on a plane to Lusaka. Okay, whatka? Yes, Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. Uhm, Zambia? Yes, that’s right, Zambia. For most travellers to the African continent Zambia is not very high on the list, especially not for a first visit. This of course got Zambia even higher on our list :). And the fact that Zambia promotes itself as being “the real Africa” (which is confirmed by several guidebooks) made it climb all the way to the top of our Africa bucket list. Okay, and we found this great KLM ticketdeal since they just started with direct flights between Lusaka and Amsterdam. So we actually were on the fourth flight out there, pretty neat.

After a first night in Lusaka we got on a public bus to Livingstone, which is a border town between Zimbabwe and Zambia and mostly known for its proximity to the Victoria Falls. Most people visit the falls from the Zimbabwean side and they have no clue that you actually have way better views if you go to the falls from the Zambian side. Trust me, we know: we’ve checked out both sides. We got extra lucky since we were in Livingstone at the full moon period. And in June especially the full moon provides an amazing view over the falls at night which results in a moonbow – a rainbow at night. During the full moon evenings you can access the falls with a special ticket and it’s so worth it to time your visit accordingly. What a beautiful sight…

Lusaka bus station
Lusaka bus station

Zambia

Zambia

Locals selling fresh produce
Locals selling fresh produce
Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls

Zambia

Between March & July the water levels are at its peak - so pack a rain coat!
Between March & July the water levels are at its peak – so pack a rain coat!
Victoria Falls Bridge
Victoria Falls Bridge
HIPPOOOO!
HIPPOOOO!
Falls by night in style :)
Falls by night in style :)
Yes, you can bungee from there & hell no, I didn't do that
Yes, you can bungee from there & hell no, I didn’t do that
Walking across the border to Zimbabwe
Walking across the border to Zimbabwe

Zambia

Relaxing tunes to help you chill before you get on a... MICROLIGHT!
Relaxing tunes to help you chill before you get on a… MICROLIGHT!
Security check - it is just a kart with a kite after all
Security check – it’s just a kart with a kite after all
WOW! Amazing experience!
WOW! Amazing experience!

After a few nights in Livingstone we crossed the border to Botswana to camp out in the middle of Chobe National Park. To clarify, camping does not mean sleeping in a resort or a campground or anything. Nope. Our guide/driver just stopped the jeep somewhere in the wilderness where they’d put up three little tents, and that was that. No gates. No guards. No guns. Nothing. Just us, the guide, a chef and the tents. Ow, and a fire which was supposed to scare off the animals. Animals as in lions, hyenas, leopards and so on. I did hear lions growling and elephants in distress the entire night, while my man was sound asleep (this was his first night in a tent – EVER!)… If you see the footprints of lions really close to your little tent the next morning, you’re pretty relieved that this is only for one night!

Totally safari ready!
Totally safari ready!

Zambia

A whole family of hippos
A whole family of hippos
Elephants!
Elephants!
That's right
That’s right

Zambia

Jungle Book anyone?
Jungle Book anyone?
Can you spot his catch?
Can you spot his catch?
Melt! This baby elephant was not even 2 weeks old ♥
Melt! This baby elephant was not even 2 weeks old ♥
This shot of mr Lion was taken without any zoom & from an open vehicle...
This shot of mr Lion was taken without any zoom & from an open vehicle…

Zambia

The "camp" - no gates, no guards, no guns
The “camp” – no gates, no guards, no guns
Monkeys warming up in the early morning sun
Monkeys warming up in the early morning sun

Zambia

Baobab tree
Baobab tree

After we got back from Botswana we picked up this extremely cool (brand new) jeep we rented. With a rooftop tent. That’s right: a tent on the roof of the extremely cool jeep. We drove from Livingstone all the way across the country down to the Zambezi river. We camped at two beautiful campgrounds where we were the only guests and got amazing service. At the Zambezi river we’d set up camp right next to the river and we could see crocs and hippos slide their fat bodies into the water from our rooftop bed. I can tell you: you’re glad to be sleeping on the roof of your car if you see that… Okay we can only cross off three African countries, and I can already tell that I will be back for more because travelling in Africa is amazing!

Our next destination: Lower Zambezi NP
Our next destination: Lower Zambezi NP
African dirt road
African dirt road
Jeep + rooftop tent + cat
Jeep + rooftop tent + cat

Zambia

Zambia
Happy camper
You'd think sign one would make sign two unnecessary...
You’d think sign one would make sign two unnecessary…
The hippo & the fisherman
The hippo & the fisherman
On the Zambezi river
On the Zambezi river
Watching the sunset over the Zambezi
Watching the sunset over the Zambezi
And another African dirt road to get us back to Lusaka...
And another African dirt road to get us back to Lusaka…
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