Armstrong Adventures travel blog

Roadside charcoal vendor in Zambia

A group of kids gathered during a roadside lunch stop in Zambia

The lunchtime kids at Ian's home and boarding house - along the...

Snow hits em with a lil "Twist n Shout" Zambian style. The...

After 4 weeks traveling in the relatively developed countries of South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana we felt like when we arrived in Zambia we had finally gotten to the Africa you imagine when you think of Africa. The along the bumpy, potholed roads there is a steady stream of women walking with baskets balanced on their heads and children tied to their backs with scarves, men laboriously pedalling a run-down bicycle laden with more firewood than you would think would fit on the back of a bike, or a live pig precariously strapped on the back headed for the market. There were always people lounging in front of dilapitated storefronts, taking shelter in the shade from the mid day heat. After spending so much time in the sparsely populated Namibia, Zambia was comparably teeming with activity. We really enjoyed seeing everyone busy doing whatever it is they do.

In Livingston, Zambia, the first town we crossed into from Zimbabwe we enjoyed wandering through the food market where the locals go to buy their cooking oil, baskets, charcoal, twine, live chickens and anything else someone can think to sell. We found the street vendors in Zimbabwe to be annoyingly aggressive and really enjoyed the more laid-back, friendly interaction with the Zambians.

I really like Zambia and felt that we were finally enjoying a more cultural experience in Africa, rather than visiting the sites as we did in Namibia. I would have liked to spend more time in Zambia, but we really just spent 3 days transiting through the country. One day on the road we stopped for lunch in an area where there were a whole group of kid's of various ages playing and hanging out. It turned out to be sort of a compound/boarding house run by a guy named Ian, who is probably in his early 30's. Ian's parents had died and left him the property that had several rundown 2 or 3 room buildings. He was married and had 11 kids of his own and rented rooms to about 4 other families with children and also rented out rooms to about a dozen high school boys who lived there while they were going to school. Their familes live further out in the country where they don't have secondary schools, so Ian boards them for a minimal price. We had a great time playing frisbee and catch with the kids and they LOVED Snow's impromptu concert (see the pictures). The kids were excited to keep the frisbee and ball after we continued on.

We spent a night in a camp on the Luangwa River east of Lusaka on the border with Mozambique. We were a couple kilometers down a dirt road through a rural village from the main road. Snow and I decided after a long day of sitting in the truck an easy run up to the main road would feel good. Passing through the village you would have thought we were celebrities! The children in the rural village thought we were the greatest thing since color TV came to town! Snow was ahead of me and they swarmed him as he ran past. He told them his wife was coming behind him. At that point I heard swell of squeals of delight and mob of children came tearing around the corner towards me. Between peals of laughter they vied for position to run next to me so they could hold my hand. For about 10 paces I probably had 4 kids per arm. Being barefoot and running on much smaller legs, they quickly fell behind me. But they were equally as thrilled when we came back through on our return to the campsite.

We crossed into Zambia at Victoria Falls/Livingston, then headed north up to the capital, Lusaka. Then we headed directly east to the Mozambique border to spend the night on the Luangwa River. We paralelled the Mozambique border heading northeast (more east than north) to the Malawi border. We crossed the border at Mchinji and headed to Lilongwe.


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