The camps ran from Monday evening to Friday morning which means that the other volunteers and I had two weekends to see what Zambia has to offer 4 tourists and a guitar.
Where did we start? Victoria falls of course! So we spent our first weekend, between the two camps, in Livingstone. You can get a 4 hour bus from Monze down to Livingstone for £7 so Friday lunchtime our bags were loaded, our waterproofs were ready and we headed south to see one of the great natural wonders of the world. Arriving late afternoon we got a taxi to a backpacker's guest house named Jollyboys – boy were we in for a treat. Bearing in mind we had been sleeping on the floor by a camp fire eating nseema (maize mash potato) twice a day we found ourselves in a life if luxury with a pool, bed, Wi-Fi, bed, sofas, bed, a chill out zone, bed, dozens of restaurants around us, oh and did I mention we had beds? As is to be expected with this scale of luxury overload the temptation to spend the whole of Saturday resembling four of the finest Maris Piper's you have ever seen was almost overwhelming. However, after a sedate start to the morning we endeavoured to be more energetic than your common garden potato so around 11 o'clock we headed off to see what happens when up to 6 million litres of water a second falls off a cliff 1708m long and 108m high (as a geography graduate I feel obliged to tell you these kind of fun facts from time to time, sorry). Anyway safe to say the results are pretty spectacular...
And pretty wet!
As you can see it was a cloudy day when we went and it actually rained, as if there wasn't enough water flying around anyway, so this combined with the large amounts of water that go over the falls this time of year means that it was like being attacked by a fire hose. So we didn't get the spectacular Facebook profile photo's that some may expect but we spent the entire time laughing our heads off with our feet clutching our flip-flops for dear life.
The weekend after the camps was spent at a lodge on the Lower Zambezi River. We stayed at a place called Zambezi Breezers and we had one of the most spectacular views you could hope for. The lodge was right on the banks of the Zambezi so you could even hear the hippos from your room. I have to be honest, at night, the 25 metre walk between the accommodation block and the toilets turned into a 25 metre hippo-watch-sprint. Imagine Usain Bolt trying to film an episode of Spring Watch whilst also trying to set a new 100 metre world record, "look, a badger-a-squirel-a-blue-tit-or-was-that-a-great-tit? I-have-no-idea!"; that but with a five foot eight luminescent-white moron with a head-torch strapped to his head looking around and running like he has smoked more marijuana and read more CIA conspiracy theories than can possibly be healthy. I imagine I looked very attractive.
Self-deprecating humour aside it was a fantastic weekend and we saw an elephant, several crocodiles and more hippos than we could count during a boat safari Sunday morning. So if you are ever in the area, staying on one of the lodges on the banks of the Zambezi should definitely be on your to-do-list. Just try and do it with a little more grace and dignity than I did – it shouldn't be difficult.