Zambia, the 12th country on our round-the-world itinerary, was full of beauty as well as challenges. The beauty came from the smiles, warmth and hospitality of the people, its amazing diversity of wildlife, and incredible landscapes. The health challenges came when half our party came down with serious traveller’s illiness, most likely from contaminated water. At one point during their illness, I thought my two sons and my wife would have to be hospitalized because they were becoming so weak and dehydrated. Our year-long journey seemed in jeopardy. They did eventually recover after several days, but we were forced to cancel one of our safari camps in Botswana, our next destination. Fortunately, we were able to make it to our second safari camp in the magnificent Okavango Delta, a treasure trove of wildlife. But more about that later.
Zambia also was about wildlife. We didn’t have to go very far to find it. We were warned not to venture out alone at night due to large cats and other predators sometimes hanging around our camp. During the day, hippo, elephants and springbok congregated around our camp along the bank of the Zambezi River. We also got to visit a remote village near Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park. Sinde villagers welcomed us with open arms and gave us a tour of their homes and lifestyle, which was very different from our lives in the USA, of course. They lived in adobe mud shelters with no running water, and most homes had no electricity. They never tried to sell us any trinkets or souvenirs, and they seemed genuinely happy to show us around and share their lives with us. The children came and took our hands, gave us flowers, and showed a curiosity and interest in spending time with people they knew came from half way around the world.
In addition to wildlife and people, there was the magnificent Zambezi River, the heart and soul of this part of Zambia. Much of our time was spent on the bank of the Zambezi, enjoying spectacular sunsets, wildlife and the gem of the Zambezi gorge – Victoria Falls, one of the largest in the world in terms of volume.
© Stuart L Gordon Photography