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Chobe safari, part two

Thursday, March 18, 2010
This week we rejoin Ben Dark in Botswana's Chobe National Park, following the footsteps of Dr David Livingstone. The explorer journeyed down the Zambezi River in 1855 in search of the source of the Nile. He opened minds all over the world to the untamed spirit of Africa.

In the border town of Kasane, Ben joined the queue for the ferry to cross the river from Botswana into Zambia. More than 50,000 heavy vehicles make the Kazungula ferry crossing every year.

Talks of building a multimillion-dollar bridge have been delayed because of troubles in Zimbabwe making life tough for drivers. One truckie Ben spoke to said he has spent a week in the queue.

Kazungula Crossing is a chaotic and congested place and is famous for being the only place on earth where four countries meet: Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Once the ferry crossing to Zambia was completed, Ben headed 60km inland to the town dedicated to Dr David Livingstone.

Quaint, colonial Livingstone is the capital of the southern province of Zambia. It is the only non-African named city or town in Zambia which was not changed with independence. That was largely due to influence of its first president, Kenneth Kaunda, whose father was educated by missionaries who followed in Dr Livingstone's footsteps.

It became the capital of Northern Rhodesia in 1911 but the capital moved to Lusakain 1935 and Livingstone returned to being a quiet, charming town. Sections of Mosi-oa-Tunya Road are lined with classic colonial buildings. The Victorian tin-roofed houses with wooden verandahs are typical examples of English settler architecture. Sadly many are decaying.

It's an authentically African town and between October and February, the low-water period, it is possible to walk to the edge of the thundering Victoria Falls or swim in one of the rocky pools.

The spectacular Victoria Falls Bridge is about 10km from Livingstone, was completed in 1905 and settlers moved in to the higher ground to escape malaria.

Dr Livingstone is still legendary and there is a five-star hotel named after him. Most of the 77 rooms at the David Livingstone Safari Lodge & Spa look over the Zambezi River, and the thunder of Victoria Falls can be heard.

Architecture is beautifully raw with a mix of stone, wood and earth, contrasting the richness of gold, bronze, copper and ivory, once traded along ancient Arab routes. Doors, screens and furniture are beautifully mixed with the warm spice colours of the orient.

Meals at The Pool Deck, Gwembe Terrace, are a gastronomic experience. It's relaxed and casual and a great place to enjoy a cocktail at sunset. Kalai Restaurant in the main lodge offers contemporary meals in a traditional setting.

The Lady Livingstone boat takes guests on leisurely cruises along the Zambezi and for something more active there's white water rafting, river boarding, jet boating, abseiling, gorge swings, kayaking, canoeing, horseriding and so many more exciting things to do.

While Dr Livingstone didn't realise his quest to find the source of the Nile, he was the first white man to experience the beauty of the area and named the falls after his queen, Victoria.

Location

Following Dr Livingstone's steps from Botswana to Zambia.

Cost

The Africa Safari Co has three-day tours departing Victoria Falls. They include accommodation at the David Livingstone Safari Lodge & Spa, all meals, park entry fees and return transfers. They are $915 per person twin share.

Emirates has flights to Johannesburg.

Fares from:

  • Perth $2379
  • Adelaide and Melbourne $2482
  • Sydney $2501
  • Brisbane $2505

Sale and validity dates apply. For the most up-to-date fares, call them or log on to the website. Connections to Kasane are available.

Prices correct at March 18, 2010.

For further information

Emirates
Ph: 1300 303 777
www.emirates.com/getaway

The Africa Safari Co
Office 1, Block D, Illawong Shopping Village
273 Fowler Road
Illawong NSW, 2210
Ph: (02) 9541 4199 or 1800 659 279 (toll free)
Fax: (02) 9532 0744
www.africasafarico.com.au
enquiries@africasafarico.com.au

David Livingstone Safari Lodge & Spa
Riverside Drive, off Sichango Road
Zambia
Ph: +260 213 324 601
Fax: +260 213 324 615
www.dlslandspa.com
lodge@dlslandspa.com

Botswana

Visas: Australian nationals do not require a visa for stays of up to 90 days.

Electricity: 220V to 240V at 50Hz.

Time zone: GMT +2.

Currency: Pula.

International dialling code: +267.

Zambia

Visas: Australians require a valid passport to enter Zambia and visas can be obtained on arrival for the period of intended stay.

Electricity: 220V to 240V at 50Hz.

Time zone: GMT +2.

Currency: Kwacha.

International dialling code: +260.

Travellers should be "in date" for the standard Australia and New Zealand immunisation schedules. Depending on the time of year of travel and exact destination, other health precautions and preventions may be recommended and are best discussed with your doctor. For further information, visit www.smartraveller.gov.au.

To find out more about the hot deals mentioned on the show, check out Holidays for Sale.

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