Back to the primitive....and it is good!

Trip Start Mar 30, 2010
Trip End Dec 13, 2012

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Where I stayed
Crocodile Creek lodge

Flag of Zambia  ,
Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Well hello from Zambia!   This is to be my 8th country visited so far on this trip.  And to be perfectly honest, I have no idea why or how I ended up here.  I knew absolutly nothing about the country coming here, other than the fact that Victoria falls is there.  Not really that much to go on.  My whole trip after the world cup was up in the air as to where the wind would take me, and in a last minute click of an airline ticket, I ended up here, and pleasently surprised.       I had made another couchsurfing friend, Dalene, who operates a community farming project, includes schools for children in a local village.  I was greeted by her at the airport, along with two fellow couchsurfing girls from Germany, Alex and Malene who were also staying at the lodge.  I was given a quick debriefing in the car as to where the lodge was located and what I would need.  It was located 30 kms from Livingstone and 4 kms off the main road, with an abundance of wild life around.  The girls were telling me of the hippos that were coming out of the Zambezi river right infront of the cabins the night before....already off  to a cool start.        The next few days were spend as normal, getting used to the currency, surrounding area, and doing all of the touristy things first to get them out of the way, which included visiting the falls, going on a village tour, taking a Mokoru (hollowed out tree canoe) down the river looking for wild life.  At night time, you could here all sorts of animal life, sometimes almost eriely close.  On the other side of the river was Zimbabwae, from which you could hear elephants and lions roaring at night time.  We would all sit around the fire at night listening to the sounds, trying to guess what animal made what noise.      As I mentioned before, you always have to get used to new currnecies everywhere you go.  The money in Zambia is called thw Kwacha.  It is nowhere near as bad as the Zimbabwae currnecy where you need like a billion dollars to buy a loaf of bread, but still a lot of numbers.  The exchange rate is basically 5000 Kwacha (or 5 pin as they would say) to one American dollar.  The first time you buy groceries and see the total being something like 250 thousand dollars... your eyes pop out a bit.  And here in Zambia is likely the only place I have been, or will be able to go to a bank machine and take out 2 million dollars in my life.  Come on lottery....prove me wrong!!!     Sometimes for us to get to and from town, we would walk the 4 kms to the tarmac, and either catch a cab, or hitchhike.  Dalene had assured us that hitching was really safe here, and I figured why not.  Coming back from town one afternoon, Alex, Malene and myself ended up hitching with these two guys from Zimbabwae back the 30 kms.    I am sure that to some people this sounds crazy, because I likely wouldnt even hitchhike in Canada unless totally necessary.  I actully found it fun.  But as I soon learned, having two German girls with you, your chances of getting picked up are increased about ten fold.  I would hide behind them and as the car would pull over, it would be too late for them to keep going.  Nice trick...and it worked!!     After a week or so of being in the Livingstone area,  Dalene and I headed north into Zambia, to visit other locations.  The first stop was a visit at her husbands lodge, Nina's fishing camp, which is located in Barotse land.  This part of Zambia is somewhat of a grey area.  It doesn't fall under Zambian law because it has it's own King, and it exactly what you would picture Zambia to be....a whole lot of mud huts with grass roofs.  The road heading into Barotse land was a rough one too.  It would take us 5 hours to cover 90 kms of dirt trail.  Many of the people here are lucky to see one car per day in some of these areas.  At Nina's, we spent a full day of fishing on the water, catching Tiger fish, and just relaxing on the Zambezi river.  During our whole day, you could see a fish eagle following us high up in the sky.  It would also follow us by watching us from the tree tops.  After we caught a couple smal Tiger fish, Nicky, Dalene's husband, put one of the fish on a stick and threw it back into the water.  The fish eagle that had so eagerly been waiting for a fish, saw this and began it's decent.  There is a video and some great photos of this magestic bird coming down and grabbing this fish, no more than 10 m from the boat.  It was incredible to see this happen right in front of your eyes.  Looked like something out of National Geographic.    After Nina's, we headed even more into the Zambian wilderness to visit Sioma falls, a rock formation that has many small waterfalls.  There we stayed at a lodge owned and operated by a nice Dannish man, Hans.  Hans was a really nice, soft spoken man who was a ex Dannish diplomat turned lodge owner.  He had many interesting stories to tell of his trials and tribulations involved being in the middle of nowhere Zambia.  Hans even made a joke at the end of our time that, that if I ever wanted a job being manager of his lodge.....wheather he really meant it or not i will never know, but I would be lying if I said the idea didn't go through my mind a couple times.   Towards the end of my time in Zambia, I just stayed settled in Livingstone.  This country has been amazing.  Considering I had no idea what to expect, I was extremely pleasently surprised.  As a parting gift to all of the workers that worked at the lodge, instead of leaving them money, I took pictures of them, some of them with their families and got the pics printed in town.  This way, it is something a little more meaningful than just some cash.  Thanks to everyone at Crocodile Creek for all their hard work and for making my time there a special on.    I will have one more special blog entry for a specific night in Zambia, for those of you that know, I had a close encounter with an elephant.  It deserves a blog entry of its own, if you read just one of my blog will be that one!!  Thanks for reading, check in again soon.
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