Zambia - Home of the Seventh Wonder of the World


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Travel journalist - Afropolitan Magazine

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Zambia - Home of the Seventh Wonder of the World

  1. 1. am b ia ZPhoto taken by Jacques Nel TH E SEVEN E OF TH LD HOM H E WOR ER OF T WOND took a ecently NELL r e and JA CQUES e city’s rat rac th lls of brea k from ic toria Fa stical V spiring ted the my , awe-in only visi umblin g h Zamb ezi; a h ce whic xperien ide. For this iritual e an prov and sp ush c it was rican b junkie, the Af drenali n ith’ in urous a e a ‘leap of fa advent to tak a time stunts. also death- defying 90 the afrop olita n • I s s ue 1 0 www. a fro p olit an . co. z a
  2. 2. TRAVEL tyranny of his southern neighbour – she has also proven to be a relatively stable democracy; fertile ground for a thriving tourism industry and therefore a stable economy. And of course, the great Victoria Falls – named by Livingstone after his illus- trious queen and known to the locals as “Mosi-Oa-Tunya” (The Smoke That Thunders) – is the jewel in the crown of Zambian tourism. The waterfalls roar on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia, the mighty Zambezi River. During the rainy season (May-June) the enormous clouds of smoky spray, can be seen up to 30km away and the area around the fa falls is engulfed in a gentle drizzle with a powerful sound of crashing masses of fr fresh water. The Victoria Falls is also the widest c curtain of falling water in the world, making it one of the seven natural won- m ders of the world. Our team boarded a dI received a surprise call from Kaya European eyes; but scenes so lovely FM, offering me the opportunity must have been gazed upon by angels Zambian Airways plane at OR Tambo Air- Z to be the photographer on one of in their flight. I believe that no one could port, bound for the quaint colonial-style p their frequent weekend escapes, perceive where the vast body of water town of Livingstone, named after its to this time to the famous Victo- went; it seemed to lose itself in the founder, explorer and missionary, David fo ria Falls, an adrenaline junkie’s earth, the opposite tip of the fissure into Livingstone. The trip was an enjoyable Lparadise. Of course, how could I decline which it disappeared being only eighty two-hour flight, made even more pleas- twan offer like this? I immediately made feet distant”. Once upon a time a home ant by the warm hospitality of beautiful a Zambian hostesses and crew. Zpreparations for what later transpired of great empires, Zambia fell victim to Ten minutes before landing we caughtto be an idyllic experience in one of the the Scramble for Africa of the late nine- our first glimpse of the mighty Victoria ocontinent’s wildlife havens. teenth century when the West took a Falls. so many things went through my F My mission would be to attempt to keen interest in the continent’s vast and mind as I dazed at this wonder. From mcapture the beauty and diversity of one of rich natural resources for her Industrial the skies they look like a great white thAfrica’s beautiful destinations. Bordered Revolution. cloud perched on earth. After years of cby no less than seven African neigh- As Northern Rhodesia, she became tales, pictures and documentaries, there tabours – Zimbabwe in the south, Angola one of Britain’s key colonies as a copper- was no word to describe the immense win the west, Mozambique in the east and rich territory. When Nelson Mandela power and raw energy of this exhilarat- pTanzania in the north – Zambia’s most was sentenced to life imprisonment in ing encounter. I finely observed the falls infamous geological wonder, The Victoria 1964, Zambia eventually shook her colo- with my own eyes, totally repainting my wFalls, has captured the world’s attention nial yoke and became an independent previous dull mental picture, reminding pfrom the colonial days when famous Brit- country under former school teacher, Dr me of the power of different perspectives mish explorer, Dr David Livingstone, wrote Kenneth Kaunda. Her capital, Lusaka, and how they can alter your overall per- aabout this Seventh Natural Wonder of became home of the liberation move- ception of life. The experience cannot be cthe World. ment in exile, particularly the ANC. After put in words, personal experiences like p In 1855 Livingstone shared his African twenty-seven years in power, Kaunda ini- these cannot be communicated, it has to thadventures with his Victorian society back tiated multi-party elections in 1991 and be personally understood and personally bhome in England in a series of missives lost to trade unionist, Frederick Chiluba. experienced. ewhich indicate that he was clearly awe- While Chiluba was eventually arrested The airport gets lost in between all thestruck by the majestic waterfalls which for graft, nepotism and other corrupt vegetations and is truly camoufl age in vhe described as “The Divine Highway”. practices, his successor, the late Levy this beautiful African habitat. Customs th“The whole scene was extremely beauti- Mwanawasa, proved that not all African took longer than usual, but that’s what toful; the banks and islands dotted over the leaders are corrupt. He preached and I love about Africa, thinks like theseriver are adorned with sylvan vegetation practised a clean administration until should be expected and appreciated, if sof great variety of colour and form. No one his death in August last year. And while you want first class service go to Paris, ycan imagine the beauty of the view from Zambia continues to emulate the legacy this is Africa, The One and Holy!! thanything witnessed in England”. of their beloved president – who was also We then left the terminal and were “It had never been seen before by known for his outspokenness against the awaited by three vans, ready to take us aw ww.a fropoli t a .za I ssue 10 • t h e af ropolita n 91
  3. 3. TRAVEL ZAMBIA – HOME OF THE SEVENTH WONDER OF THE WORLDPhoto taken by Jacques Nel on our first journey through Zambia, with After check in, we were all escorted depths of this magical place, my mind our destination the Zambezi Sun. As we to our rooms and started to prepare began to alter... realizing, you should live began our trek through this enchanting ourselves for our first true expedition for today, because there will never be environment, I slowly began to feel alive –A sunset booze cruise on the great another one quite like it. and whole again, my natural curios- Zambezi River. We all got together at the It was as if the only thing that mattered ity and creative spark steadily returned, entrance of the hotel, snugly dressed and to me, was what I was doing at that very along with enthusiasm and energy for prepared for the cool Zambezi night and moment, everything else, the worries, living, peace came over me and a smile then set on our expedition, to introduce bills and work didn’t count. of joy! ourselves to the mother of the Victoria We seem to spend most of our days, Zambia is one of the most urbanised Falls. We were welcomed by the lovely worrying over past events that we have countries on the African continent. A Lady Livingstone and boarded our vessel no power to change or tormenting our- great many Zambians show a strong with great joy and excitement. We then selves about things to come, which never liking for living in the cities, 35% of her set “sail” on a journey of rediscovering do arrive. We should stop spending so people live in settlements with more this majestic wonder of unmistakable much time chasing life’s big pleasures, than 20,000 inhabitants – three times immense power. while we neglect the little ones! Start the proportion in most African countries Along the way we spotted hippos, appreciating the small things in live with the principal urban centres, Lusaka, Livingstone and the towns on the Cop- perbelt. In 1855 Livingstone shared his African adventures Livingstone is the main tourism centre for Zambia, because of the renowned Vic- with his Victorian society back home in England toria Falls. Livingstone is blessed with a in a series of missives which indicate that he rich British heritage and is also home of a famous museum, which houses a large was clearly awestruck by the majestic waterfalls collection of historical and metallurgical which he described as “The Divine Highway” exhibits, including relics of David Living- stone himself. Livingstone was the capi- tal of Zambia (then Northern Rhodesia) before Lusaka. crocodiles, and a variety of bird species that we take for granted every day, like We arrived at the Zambezi Sun and including the African Fish Eagle and just the beauties of nature. You can’t change were welcomed by African drummers, relaxed – savouring everything around the norm; you can only come to realize beautiful smiles and amazing hospitality us as we cruised on; just to think that and accept it and not be tormented or by the truly humble people of Zambia. four hours ago one was stuck in Jozi traf- harassed by it. The Zambezi Sun’s architectural splen- fic. I then sat back, a part of the audience There’s a saying “yesterday is history, dour is a combination of the unassuming watching the last rays of the African sun tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift and Zambian traditional styles and a touch of slowly being swallowed by the golden that’s way it’s called the present” Today Arabic architecture. horizon. As we ventured deeper into the is the day to live fully, not when you win 92 the afrop olita n • I s s ue 1 0 www. a fro p olit an . co. z a
  4. 4. ZAMBIA – HOME OF THE SEVENTH WONDER OF THE WORLD TRAVEL The market is well known for its soapstone ornaments, wooden carvings, handcrafted cloths, ethnic drums and copper jewellery extracted from Zambian soil steps of zebras and giraffes grazing on survival, being constantly at the mercy your doorstep, I got ready for a new day of tourist charity and compassion. in Africa and headed to the pavilion for Compassion comes from realizing and a morning meal. After breakfast we took understanding suffering, if you have seen a ride to the handcraft market to admire suffering or been part of it, then only you and buy curios as mementos. The market can plant the first seed in becoming a is well known for its soapstone orna- compassionate person, but this compas- ments, wooden carvings, handcrafted sion must be balanced with wisdom. The cloths, ethnic drums and copper jewel- two go hand in hand, just like a bird that lery extracted from Zambian soil. flies in the sky, needs two wings to fly. This is a place to pick up some great To be compassionate doesn’t mean just bargains; the locals also have a big inter- to give money, but to have time, intel- est in trading crafts for Western products lect and good will to offer. The sad thing like clothes, hats, sunglasses, shoes and is when humans suffer; nature suffers,the lotto or when you retire! anything not common to them. After a meaning that if there no compassion for The time is NOW, never put off the gift great morning of admiring such exqui- human life, environmental conscious-of living or the right of happiness, for the site handicraft, we all went our separate ness is nonexistent. The livelihood ofsake of achievement ways to take part in some adrenalin-filled the people depends on water, the forest, After an amazing sunset we set back activities. I had the honour to photo- food and the animals in their surround-to shore, with a great earned respect for graph a couple who won a price dubbed ing areas. When these resources becomethis source of life and then sadly headed “Legendary Flight of Angels”. limited, humans become animal onceback to the hotel for our banquet. As This involved a bird’s-eye-view of the again and the laws of nature start towe entered the dining pavilion we were Victoria Falls on a helicopter flight – a reapply - Survival of the fi ttest.presented with joy and laughter and an humbling experience which reminds us Our next surprise was an evening pre-amazing feast of a decorative buffet fi t of the fact that a human life is less than sented by Sun International and Kayafor a king! The pavilion has a beautiful a speck in the bigger scheme of things in FM, our VIP arrival was awaited withopen plan design with a truly unforget- this universe. The next life defying stunt banquet of food from every plant and ani-table ambience. We all dined and chatted was literally a ‘leap of faith’ on a piece mal you could imagine and rousing tribalinto the night, connecting with our travel of rope – bungee jumping. A favourite entertainment. What really disturbed mecomrades and sharing our experiences pastime of adrenalin junkies, this activ- inside was that here we were with theand similar paths we all walk so proud ity is regarded as the second highest in most amazing mouth-watering feast andthrough life every day. the world. just a kilometre from us, people were We talked about our childhoods, The setting of the jump is mind- dying of starvation.brushes with sickness and how it helps blowing. The jump is approximately a Only a human being can step outsideyou to connect to the simpler, yet com- distance of 300 metres off the edge himself and analyze what he is doingmonly neglected things in life. We also of Victoria Falls Bridge that connects right and what he is doing wrong. Thislaughed at some of our insights, such Zambia to Zimbabwe, with the falls as very acceptance shows a lack of self-as “the only thing you can expect in life the backdrop. The mental preparation awareness, the very quality that sepa-is the unexpected” and “if you want to for such a challenge can be translated as rates human from animals; figure outmake God laugh, tell him your plans” and a ritual within the mind. When standing what is right and what is wrong in yourthat our morning prayer should involve on that edge everything goes quite, your days and in your life, then set about mak-the request: “God, please help me to mind becomes still, you become alone ing immediate improvements. The onlybecome the person my dog thinks I am” and your ritual becomes a ritual of soli- reason why we allow this or show a blind We later gathered in the entertain- tude, releasing all the inner turbulence of eye towards it is because our “masks”ment hall and was entertained with live day do day life. This life changing experi- have become too from the Kaya FM DJ’s and danced ence fuelled with the amazing view and After a wonderful night of entertain-the night away... It was a great night, but the sound of thunder in the background ment and great refreshments, I retiredas life, all good things come to an end. is a defendant pit stop for the soul. to my comfortable room with a sad real- After a great night’s rest, which was The Zimbabwean side of the bridge ization that this idyllic experience – anpunctuated by the nocturnal chirping of is a reminder of the dire circumstances escape from reality – has to come to ancrickets, laughing hyenas and the hoof locals have to live in, as they struggle for end.w ww.a fropoli t a .za I ssue 10 • t h e af ropolita n 93