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Seeing Livingstone, Beyond The Victoria Falls..

By Gift Mwaba

· Travel,Zambia,Adventure,Safari,Culture

Livingstone the city you thought you knew

Most people that come to Livingstone only know it as the Home of the Mighty Victoria falls and nothing else. What they might not know is that the city has so much to offer other than just the Victoria Falls; so allow us to share some of the amazing places and things that you could see and do while in Livingstone.

Picture of Livingstone Central Business District. Picture taken by Moses Mtonga

The Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park

Safari in Livingstone's Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park

Livingstone is home to the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, it is one of the few cities in the World to have a national park. Mosi-oa-Tunya which means “Smoke That Thunders” is the name given to the falls by the Lozi speaking people of the western part of Zambia.

The park offers a stunning safari experience because of the vast amount of wildlife that you are likely to encounter. This could be on a game drive (Safari on an open vehicle) or a Nature Walk (This is a walking safari). During the safari expect to have sightings of wonderful wildlife such as giraffes, warthogs, antelopes, zebras, wildebeest as well as a chance at 3 of the big 5; the Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino. While in the park you have a guaranteed moment to stand a few meters away from the white rhinos in their natural habitat through a Rhino walk safari. You might be wondering how safe this activity is - there hasn’t been any incidence because we get accompanied by wildlife officers and we always maintain a safe distance from the rhinos in order for us not to disturb them. At the moment the park has eight (8) white rhinos.

For the bird lovers the park is a great place to spot different bird species; they can be seen anytime of the year but the best time is the green season (November to April). A number of water birds migrate into the park in this season because of the abundance of water; this season being the country’s rain season.

After the safari we take a short break by having a picnic in the park at the designated picnic spot, which is on the banks of the Zambezi River.

With all the time we spend in concrete buildings take time to reconnect with nature.

Three white rhinos in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park - Rhino Walk Safari

The Livingstone, Railway and Jewish Museum

The Livingstone Museum, located in Livingstone, Zambia.  Picture taken by Hugo Lingeman

An important part of travel is the opportunity it provides us to understand and appreciate the world around us and the progression of human beings through the course of time. The Livingstone museum gives you a detailed history of how the human species have progressed around Northern Rhodesia, modern day Zambia, from the prehistoric times, coming to the times of the ‘Bantu’ migrations, the first contact with European explorers, the struggle for independence and now modern Zambia. It also gives you more insight on David Livingstone and his interaction with the local people including some of his letters.

The Railway museum houses locomotives that were used to transport people and goods across Zambia and the surrounding region during the prime times of the railway system. The Jewish museum which is housed at the Railway museum has a story to tell on some of the first Jewish settlers into Zambia and some of the things they have done.

Old Locomotive at the Railway Musuem in Livingstone, Zambia.  Picture taken by Hugo Lingeman

Art Galleries

The National Art Gallery in Livingstone, Zambia.  Picture taken by Hugo Lingeman

Art is an important part of culture and one way to understand a culture of a people is to immerse yourself in their arts. In the spirit of culture and history, another place that would bring you to appreciate the artistic beauty from the Zambian perspective would be the Livingstone National Art Gallery and Wayi Wayi art Studio and Gallery. Encompassed there are the stories of different artists whose works have been framed for the public to see and appreciate. Art lessons could be organised at these galleries if you would like to create your own work of art. Most of the artworks are for sale, making them great places to pick souvenirs that will give you wonderful memories of your time in Livingstone.

Pottery class at Wayi Wayi Art Studio & Gallery

Mukuni and Mukwalantila Villages

Huts in Mukuni Village. Picture taken by Hugo Lingeman

The memories that we cherish the most are the ones that we share with others. Livingstone is close to Mukuni Village which is a short distance from the city center. The tour typically takes two(2) hours. Mukwalantila Village on the other hand is a bit further away from the the city center, therefore we advise taking the half-day or full-day tours. Visiting these villages is a good way to have a personal and close interaction with how people live in Zambia’s rural areas, because much of the time in Livingstone will be in the urban areas. This will give you a greater appreciation of the different lifestyles found in Zambia. What a way to embrace and learn about different cultures.

Mukuni Village, giving a hand in brewing the local beverage.

Livingstone Markets

You might be asking yourself what would be so important about Livingstone markets to warrant a visit. Well the markets give you an important perspective into the economic structures of the city, the country and to a certain extent sub Saharan Africa. This is due to similarities in historical progressions of countries involved. Beyond the formal structures most of sub Saharan Africa is into the informal sector as a source of income. Therefore, markets such as Mbita, Maramba, Dambwa Central and highlands market give you a glimpse of the sector and the focus of trade. Talk about broadening your world perspective right.

Maramba Market. Picture taken by Hugo Lingeman

Chobe National Park

The Chobe National park located in Kasane, Botswana is just an hours away from Livingstone. On the way to the Chobe we pass through Kazungula border, this is the only point in the World where four countries meet (Quadripoint) , these being Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia. At this point you will also see the state of the art bridge which has been constructed to connect Zambia and Botswana. The park is vast and hosts numerous wildlife and it home to four (4) of Africa’s big 5; lions, leopards, buffalos and Elephants. The package would enable you to experience a safari on water(Chobe River), land(Chobe National Park) and a sumptuous lunch in between the activities– now that sounds like a plan, right?

Elephants in the Chobe National Park.  Picture taken by Hugo Lingeman

Zambezi River Sunset Cruise

Amazing sunset on the Zambezi River in Livingstone, Zambia.  Picture taken by Hugo Lingeman

The Mighty Zambezi River is the fourth longest river in Africa covering a distance of 2574km from its source in the Kaleni hills, Zambia flowing all the way to Indian Ocean through Mozambique.

 

Lucky for you, the Zambezi river flows through Livingstone. While in the town you could enjoy a relaxing sunset cruise on the river, watching the beautiful colours of the African sunset painting in the sky and the water, showing us that not all endings have to be sad but that some can be beautiful. While on the cruise you actually get the chance to see birds in their variety, crocodiles as well as pods of Hippopotamus “bathing” or grazing on one of the islands. Now that seems like a way to end the day; don't you think.

The Victoria Falls

Victoria Falls, Zambia.

Let us end the list with one of the most common attractions in Livingstone, the Victoria Falls. The falls is known by different names and at the moment it has three known names, Victoria, named by David Livingstone after the Queen of England, Mosi-oa-Tunya (which means "Smoke that thunders") by the Lozi and Shungu Namutitima (which means roaring lion) by the Toka Leya people that live mainly on the east side of the falls and further along the Zambezi River.

The Victoria Falls, earns its spot as one of the seven (7) wonders of the world due to it being the largest sheet (curtain) of falling water. The Victoria Falls is shared between Zambia & Zimbabwe, so being in Livingstone gives you the opportunity to view it from both sides due to the proximity of the two entrances to the border. The entrances are about 5km apart and it could take less than an hour to get from one entrance to the other. This depends on how many people are going through the border at the time and how you would want to get there (Options are walking or getting a shuttle). And while in Livingstone, an aerial view would certainly enable you to have a full appreciation of this wonder through the flight of angels via a microlight or Helicopter.

Aerial view of the Victoria Falls. Image by otsuka88 from Pixabay

Finally, if you came between the months of July and January, you would be able to visit the Livingstone Island, one of the ultimate experiences of the falls which involves swimming on the edge of the Victoria falls at the devils pool and having an amazing meal around this period you could also swim under the falls. Additionally you could make your mark as one of the people that stood above the rapids of the Batoka Gorges through rafting or kayaking the grade V rapids, – talk about the full experience

Jumping into the Devils Pool, Livingstone, Zambia.

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