Where to start. After we spent our last night in this superb place in Victoria Falls – thanks again to Victoria Falls Safari Lodge for hosting us! – we enjoyed a great breakfast and made our way to the border. The border post on the Zimbabwean side wasn’t busy yet – it was about 10 AM – and within a couple of minutes we got our exit stamps and were free to walk into the no mans land between the two borders.
The so called no mans land is a stripe of land between two land borders, which is not owed by anyone. In this case we had to walk the 3,5 km from the Zimbabwean border post, to the Victoria Falls bridge and further to the Zambian border post. I remember crossing the bridge the last time when I left Zambia after 6 month to Zimbabwe. It is with absolute certainty the most beautiful border to cross walking. The gorge of the Zambezi river gives your eye a physical, real separation of two countries. On the Zambian side we met an american couple who is working for a epidemic research center in Zambia. Kindly they
offered us a ride for the 8 km to Livingstone. Due to technical issues, not that I expected anything else, it took the Zambian border officer quite a while to issue our Visas. We wanted the new cross-border Visa for unlimited crossing between Zambia and Zimbabwe + a day trip to Botswana. It cost the same than the normal tourist visa ($50) but is only valid for 30 days compared to 90 days. As didn’t plan to stay that long, and wanted to stay flexible, we decided for the cross border.
Coming back to Livingstone pulled up a lot of old memories. Great memories. Quickly I remembered the places and people in town. A town I once called home for quite a while. We headed straight for Jollyboys Backpackers, as they kindly offered us accommodation for our first nights. I had no idea who of my old crew was still in town – many people seemed to have left. Only after returning to Livingstone Backpackers, I realized how many friends I still had out here. Everyone remembered me, as if I haven’t been away at all. We got greatly welcomed and quickly sucked into the community again.
Adam, an old friend of mine, whom I met back in 2013 on an island in the upper Zambezi, was now managing the Livingstone Backpackers and invited us to join him and our new Spanish friends to his recently bought piece of land inside the Zambezi river gorge at rapid 21. Together with a friend he founded a company called Freedom Camps, bought this incredible piece of land, and started to develop it. A lot of hard labor and 4 month later the place has a nice trail from the rift down into the gorge, a couple of nicely situated campsites, a community place with bon fire, a bathroom and a chill out lounge close to completion. The recent rains washed a huge part of the beach away, but the rising river will soon cover the areas and leave a new layer of beautiful beach sand. I could hardly believe that he managed to get such an incredible piece of land. So beautiful, perfectly situated inside a stunning gorge, on the mighty Zambezi river including a private beach. I’m speechless.
Our new Spanish friends happened to run two NGO’s, with projects similar to ours, in Livingstone and in Nairobi. We had long chats on the fire, exchanged experiences, ideas, knowledge and just enjoyed being in such a special place with such beautiful, like-minded people.
Since then we are staying at Livingstone Backpackers whose owners and friends kindly offered us accommodation. I’m really happy to be back here. To meet all my old friends and catching up with their life. The backpackers is a great place for us to get things done and a perfect base for networking, spreading the word, walk the talk.
Let’s see how we are going to make the best out of it!