Jaini’s African Adventures | Livingstone, Zambia (Part I)

Having spent an amazing two nights in Chobe, Botswana (read about it here and here), we were back at Kazungula and ready to cross over to Kazungula, Zambia. Once all the luggage was placed on the small boat and I, on my wheelchair, was secured in, we crossed the roaring Zambezi river over to Zambia. Once we got onto land, we had to go through the customs again.

We passed through customs without an issue and climbed aboard a bus provided by Bushtrack Safaris, and drove up to Livingstone. Exhausted, we all took the time to snooze, so we would be rested to take on Livingstone.

It took us an hour to get to Livingstone and passed through the town. Compared to the green lushness that we had come from, Livingstone is an urban jungle. It was fascinating how different yet so similar Livingstone was from the small Kenyan cities, and to me, it looked more like a town in South Africa.

Livingstone is most famous for the Victoria Falls, which is what we came to see, but it also plays host to several museums, including the David Livingstone museum.

DID YOU KNOW?

Livingstone is named after the famous European explorer, David Livingstone, who was the first to visit the area. I bet you knew that! But did you know, that it was the capital city of Zambia, till 2012, when Lusaka was named the capital city?

We got to our hotel at 1PM- a whole two hours after we had left the lodge in Botswana. The premises comprise of two hotels – the Avani Victoria Falls Resort (formerly called the Zambezi Sun), where we were staying, and The Royal Livingstone Hotel, certainly the old man lives on 😉

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Photo | Vishal N Shah

We were dropped off at the reception, where we checked in and headed straight to the rooms. The hotel has an earthy African look with painted walls in funky, geometric designs, complete with several African beaded décor pieces on the walls, several metal sculptures, and stunning tiled mosaic floors. I was so in love with the décor here because it was something different that I hadn’t seen anywhere before (okay maybe, I do tend to have a baaaad memory).IMG_5982IMG_5979

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Beautiful floors (ft. Diva‘s feet)

The resort is huge with a huge curved pool, with sun loungers and umbrellas dotted about on the grass, for people to lounge on after a cool, refreshing dip in the water. Adjacent to the pool is a Poolside Grill and Pool Bar that provides people the perfect spot to refuel after a much-needed swim in the heat. There are also a couple of shops – one is by the reception, while the others, mostly crafts and souvenir shops, are a short walk near the reception at the Falls Entertainment Centre. Next to the shops is the ever-popular Activity Centre, where one can sign up for any excursions. Livingstone is home to a range of activities, perfect for an adrenaline junkie, ranging from bungee jumping to safaris to river cruising to swimming in the Devil’s Pool to jet boating. You name it!IMG_5984IMG_5981

Next to the shops is the Crocodile Café, a great spot for light snacks. There is also another informal, a la carte restaurant, the Squires Restaurant, open for lunch and dinner. The main restaurant where everyone has breakfast and meals throughout the day is The Theatre of Food, a buffet restaurant.

We passed the pool on the way to the rooms and it was crowded. I realized that it was Christmas day, so many of the local Zambians had come to spend the day in the hotel. We headed straight to the rooms. The room was smaller than the ones in Chobe, but it had two beds, a table with a dresser and a glass door leading to a terrace, out to the hotel grounds. The bathroom had an adapted shower, which I was excited about, but the room limited my movement. But that didn’t deter me as I was not here to spend time in the room.IMG_5970IMG_5988

Ravenous, we headed to the pool bar to grab a bite but it was full so we sat in The Theatre of Food and ordered a pizza, a veggie wrap, and some fries. The food was scrumptious – the pizza was the right amount of cheesy and it was seasoned well. The grilled vegetables in the wrap were flavored and were cooked to perfection.

With our hunger pangs under control, we then went to the reception to find more information on what activities we could do in the resort and in Livingstone. From there, we walked over to the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, a good ten minutes from the rooms. It was all on a straight level, which made it super easy for me to roll through.IMG_5987We walked into the park, signing in and passed by a giant stone statue of David Livingstone and carried on down to the majestic Victoria Falls. Since we were staying at the Avani Resort, we were allowed free and unlimited access to the park.IMG_5980IMG_5976

DID YOU KNOW?

Mosi-oa-Tunya means “the Smoke Which Thunders” in one of the local Bantu languages.

Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, a rather tiny park, only covers 66 square kilometers, from the Songwe Gorge under the falls along the Zambian river bank, for about twenty kilometers. It forms the south-western boundary of Livingstone, currently having two main sections: a wildlife park at one end and the land by the awe-inspiring Victoria Falls at the other end.

Upon reaching the top of the viewpoint, I realized that we could barely see the falls, so the rest went down to see if they could have a glimpse of the falls from there. Since there were stairs to access the best views, I waited at the top.Processed with MOLDIV

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I promise Diva didn’t force me to put this up

 

 

Once they got back, we went to the World War One Memorial pillar commemorating the North Rhodesian men fallen during the war.IMG_5985IMG_5973Then stepping outside the park, we headed to the nearby curio shops and just browsed around. Some of the artifacts seemed similar to what we find at home in the Kenyan Maasai markets.IMG_5983

Thereafter, we headed to the hotel at 5:30PM as the hotel closes access to the national park at 6PM. While Diva and my parents went to check out the activities available in and around Livingstone, I sat outside on tables by my room, waiting while accessing the Wi-Fi (Oh! What would I do without Wi-Fi?). Meanwhile, we regrouped with Dad’s friends and their family and just hung out, catching up.

That evening, we went to the Golden Leaf Restaurant, the only Indian restaurant in Livingstone. It was a short ten-minute car ride. The restaurant was located in an old colonial house like building. We sat on the outdoor patio as it was still extremely hot and humid at night. The restaurant primarily focused on Indian cuisine with a few indo-Chinese dishes here and there. Being Christmas day, the restaurant was quite full.IMG_5986.JPGThough the food took forever to arrive on the table, it was tasty. The servers were friendly and efficient.

We left after 10:30PM, and after a long day, I was exhausted and ready to hit the sheets.

Check out these shots of the hotel that Diva captured in that night.IMG_5972IMG_5989Processed with MOLDIV

Rested, the next day, I slept in till 8AM (I know! Technically, it’s not a lie-in, but hey, at least, I didn’t have to get up before 6AM, unlike the previous days). We then headed for a luxurious buffet breakfast at The Theatre of Food. Awaiting me was a spread of bread, pastries, cereals, eggs and other warm, savory items, a variety of fruits, and the best of waffles. I had to indulge in some waffles. Mmm…IMG_5974

By the time some in our party arrived back later, regaling us with tales of the microlight experience, Diva was already sold on the idea of trying that out. On the other hand, my mind was already set for the next stop – flying over the Victoria Falls!

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Microlighting above the striking Victoria Falls. Photo | Vishal N Shah

All photos for this blog post, unless otherwise stated, are provided by Diva Shah. A special thanks to Mikhil Shah for assisting in video production.

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