Zambia in October wasn’t the plan. The plan was to road trip from Uganda down south via Zambia. It would be the rainy season and the Victoria Falls would flow wildly over the stone walls, plunging hundreds of feet to forcefully hit the rocky bed and splashback generously, leaving us dripping wet and bursting our vocals to talk over the sound of the churning waters. But the plan changed.
October is part of the dry season and nothing prepares you for the relentless heat and dry air. For the most part, I was close to the capital Lusaka which was noticeably cooler than Livingstone, home to the Victoria Falls. It was a long drive South from Lusaka to Livingstone, and I was awake for most, if not all of it. On long journeys, I’ll take note of small details, like quaint houses in the middle of seemingly nowhere and strange fruits or vegetables sold by the roadside. I think that’s my way of looking for home in foreign lands.
I found home in the charcoal sellers who share the Ugandan bad manners of deforestation; the roadside sellers, mostly women, displaying their best produce in an artistic formation with the “leaning tower of Pisa” vibes; and the small roadside trading centers with small shops selling the same items in small quantities. I loved that the highway barely had humps save for the big towns – it was literally a smooth ride.
We stopped in Choma, one of the big towns between Kafue and Livingstone. It was a good break to stretch and buy cool drinks. I noticed the railway line running parallel to the road, but only saw the train on our return journey. Judging by how sluggishly it went by, air and road remain your two optimal means of transportation from Lusaka to Victoria Falls.
For most of the journey, the land was arid. Some tree branches void of leaves and others more resilient and still donning leafy green canopies. The soil was generally red and sometimes black, with grass so dry but still defying the heat to survive until the rains fall. Then there were the anthills and tree trunks lined with red soil so high up it was an invasion of termites. And yet somehow, the hibiscus flower was thriving, standing out like a lone star on what was meant to be a starless night.
Close to eight hours later, we finally arrived in Livingstone. The excitement of seeing the falls was so intense that sleep eluded me that night. And although morning took longer to come, it showed up looking pretty making the excitement all worth it. Hear all about it in my next post!