Zambezi circle - recommendation

Old Feb 28th, 2023, 09:46 PM
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Zambezi circle - recommendation

hi everybody,
Im planning a trip self driving between Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe, starting from Lusaka. I have been only to Botswana before, several times. The idea is to do Lusaka-Kafue- Livingstone-Kasane-Savuti-Kasane- Vic falls- Hwange- Mana Pools- Lower Zambesi-Lusaka. Do you have any recommendation on the absolute highlights for such a trip? what would be the absolute minimum number of days you would consider? Big thanks in advance!

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Old Mar 2nd, 2023, 12:28 AM
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Dear CarpetFlyer,
I'm very familiar with the Botswana and Zambia parts of your proposed circuit, but can't comment on the Zimbabwe part. But here are three of my favourites, which you won't find on the usual tourism websites.

1. The Chobe Enclave. You will pass through the Enclave on your way to the Savuti Marshes. It is a chunk of the Chobe River floodplain that is home to five small villages (Mabele, Kavimba, Kachikau, Satau and Parakarungu), and the residents share the floodplain with the herds of wildlife. Their cattle and goats are all mixed up with zebra, and various antelope, and there are hippos in every pool along with all the other animals you might find in the Chobe National Park. But because it is outside the boundaries of the National Park and the Chobe Forest Reserve there are no restrictions on access. You can walk or cycle along the donkey cart tracks and see an amazing variety of animals. The local people are very interesting too - most of the villages are Basubiya and speak their own language quite different to Setswana. There are a few comfortable and inexpensive places to stay, and you can take your time and explore the byways of the floodplain at your leisure. It is usually possible to hire mountain bikes from the Dipetsana Women's Bicycle Co-op in Kasane.if you don't have your own.

2. The Victoria Falls themselves are really special, but always thronged with tourists. But you can have the gorge below the falls all to yourself, excepting for the white water rafters passing by on the river. The sides of the gorge are too steep for any kind of farming, and nobody much uses the few tracks down to the water. so the wildlife is prolific and largely undisturbed. There are lodges along the rim of the gorge on the Zambian side. People mainly visit them to dine or lounge on decks with million dollar views, but I expect they all have their own tracks down to the riverside. The place I usually stay is Taita Falcon Lodge, and I would never pass up the opportunity to explore the undisturbed forest and bluffs of the gorge side.

3. My favourite place around Lusaka is Mulungushi Dam. It 's a little N of Lusaka - you turn off the main road near Kabwe. This was, I think, the first of the hydroelectric dams built in Zambia . It has been a favourite retreat for expatriates for the last century, and I think that even King George went there during his reign. The supply of expatriates is not what it was and the glory days of the little resort are long gone. The boating club is still hanging on, and when we were there we were the only customers for the bar and restaurant. But the views over the lake and the escarpment; the early 20th century engineering works; the walking tracks and the birdlife that attracted a king are all still there, and the bar had a great collection of historic photos. This is emphatically NOT a tourist spot: it has always been a holiday retreat for locals. But well worth a visit if you have time, and especially if you like to get out walking.

It's hard to avoid having a good time in this part of Africa so you can't go too far wrong ! Good luck with your travel plans.

Graeme


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