Lake Malawi

On our way to Lake Malawi we stopped in Lilongwe where we got to eat lunch and do some shopping. The people who had not gotten their visas to Mozambique in advance spent the whole day at  the embassy, as Mozambique visas are very rarely issued at the border.  Lake Malawi was only a couple of hours away and we got there just before the sun went down. Just in time to pack up our tents and bring all our stuff from the truck before it got too dark. The evening was spent around the campfire where our guide gave us a proper introduction of Malawi and explained all the things it was possible for us to do by the lake. 


The next morning we got up early to start with a trip to the local village called “the hot sand village”. It was said to have gotten its name because of the sand becoming so hot in october that everyone needed to have their shoes on. The main thing that was produced and sold in the village were boats and fishing nets for the lake, but there were also some good wood carverers who took special requests, so I asked them to make a key chain with a text and picture on it, and they made it perfectly at almost no cost. It was also interesting to hear our guide explain that the boys left their parents at the age of 15 when they started building their own houses. Their houses could be made in two weeks or two months depending on how quick they were, and they usually used around 5000 bricks made out of dried mud and banana tree leafs for the roofs. 


We also got to do some snorkeling at the Lake which had more fish species than any other lake on earth. After the snorkeling trip we got to play some volleyball at the beach and then again spend the evening around the campfire. 
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Zambezi River Canoeing

From Victoria Falls we had a 10 hour drive to get to Kafue National Park. The camp was located right on the Kafue River, which after 6 kilometers was connected with the Zambezi River. The Zambezi is the 4th biggest river in Africa and goes through Zambia, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe, and was the place where we were going to spent our next days. 

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We started early the next morning with paddling and came to our camping place in good time before it got dark. It was important so that we could collect firewood and put up our tents before it got dark. We also spent the next full day paddling on the river, repeating the same procedure like the day before where everyone helped collect firewood and then put up their own tents. If there is one thing in particular I liked about the canoeing trip on the Zambezi it was the sleep and the meals, which felt particularly good out in the wild and after such exhausting paddling. The canoeing trip was much like the Orange River, but on the Zambezi we got to see lots of animals such as elephants, crocodiles, impalas and lots of hippos. After the two full days of paddling we had put behind us 60 kilometers with an average speed of 8km/h, and when the boat came to take us back the next morning, we were all glad that it was over. Even though we had some fantastic days at the river. 



The next day we got to do a walk into a nearby village where the women let us watch them making “maizmehl” and the older boys let us play football with them. During the whole two hours we spent in the village, we had nearly a hundred kids following us the whole time. Even though most of them were malnourished and had no shoes they seemed happy and were smiling more than most kids back home. The village left a big impression on me and the little money we spent there on donations were probably the most well spent money on our whole trip.

South Luangwa National Park

With the roads in Zambia not exactly being state of the art, it took us around 13 hours to get from Kafue to South Luangwa. That being said we also had a shopping break in the capital and lots of pee breaks on the way, but this was a looong driving day.
The hippo backing out of our camp
South Luangwa was probably my favorite spot for safari game drives, but when the night crept on I realized that you dont need to go on game drives to have close encounters of wild animals.

The campsite was right next to the river, where the hippos were making loud chomping noises from eating seagrass so loud that I almost couldn’t sleep.

I finally fell asleep and woke up not long after to pee some of the beers I had drank the night before. When I zipped up my tent and put my head and a torch out the entrance I realized that I was shining my light on of the evil, human killing creatures I had heard heard laughing just some hours before, which was sitting less than three meters away! I was quick to draw my head back into the tent and stayed awake while watching the hippo walk away through my mosquito net. The hippos stayed close the next nights as well and me and my brother were happy every time the sun came up in the morning and we understood that the hippos had let us live for another day.

One of the other days at the camp, while I was sitting by myself eating ramen noodles there was also an elephant that had managed to sneak quietly up behind me. The elephant stayed peaceful eating leaves from nearby trees while I was sitting there by myself, but as soon as more people came to see it started to seem threatened and finally did a couple of charges towards us before backing past our tents and out of the camp. South Luangwa was definitely the place that had given us the biggest wildlife experience and most of it happened right there in front of our tents!

Victoria Falls: The African Adventure Capital

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Victoria Falls is a massive waterfall on the Zambezi River located right on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Our trip itinerary gave us three nights in the city of Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side. Here we would get the chance to do lots of adrenaline activities or just relax at the Drifters Lodge where we were staying.   

The first evening when we arrived, the chef at the lodge had prepared some traditional “braai”(barbecue meal) by the pool. They had also prepared a show for us, with traditional Zimbabwe dancing to keep us entertained during the meal. Since we all had booked activities starting early the next morning we all decided to go early to bed.


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The second day in Vic-Falls was the best one. It started off early with pickup from the lodge that would take us to Falls for some white water rafting. We had been told the day before that it would be quite extreme at the time we were there, but compared to what I had imagined it was a comfortable ride. There were some parts where the waves were rough, but mostly we were just gliding through in a beautiful scenery.

The second activity on the program was the sunset river cruise, also known as the “booze cruise”. Here we were reminded several times that all drinks were free of charge while the boat glided past elephants and crocodiles in the riverfront. The second animal mentioned we also got to taste later that evening at a restaurant called “Mama Africa”.

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The evening was spent in the bar of a backpacker hostel called “Shoestrings”. This seemed to be the place where the all the tourists gathered in the evenings. Even though the hostel was just a five minute walk from our lodge, we had been told to take a taxi because of the elephants and buffaloes who could get quite aggressive in the night. And I am quite glad we did! When we arrived at our lodge there were 5-6 buffalos waiting right by our gate, so our taxi driver had to honk and drive towards them to scare them away so that we could get in safely. So that was just a bonus adrenaline adventure! 


The next day we slept for a long time and then spent three hours at the Falls. Here there were some dry places with good view, but most of it was just a big shower of water where it was not possible to see further than a couple of meters. But it was still possible to hear the roaring of the waterfall and feel how massive it really was. 

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Nata and Chobe in Botswana

After driving 13 hours and 900 kilometers we finally arrived at Nata Lodge in Botswana. The oasis- like camp we were staying at was laying close to the Makgadigadi salt pans, but since we were just staying the night and driving again early the next morning we did not get to see any of that. It was also our first night of outdoor camping and we got to experience how cold it can be in the African winter nights, which was a big contrast to the hot days. 
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The drive the next morning was an interesting one, where we started to see wild animals like giraffes and elephants along the way. It was not surprising as we were driving into Chobe national park, which is said to have the highest concentration of Elephants in the whole world. 


We also got to do a good afternoon game drive in the national park which I really enjoyed. We got to see huge herds of elephants gathering at the water together with lots of giraffes, kudus, impalas and springboks. It was a good day for animal watching and it was also good to spend most of the day outside of the truck after all the driving. After a home cooked meal, we took a short drive across the border to Zimbabwe and headed to Victoria Falls where we would spend the three next nights.

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