Sam Bowker: The Grand Tour Diary (2005 - 2006)

This is the archived journal of a 2005-2006 'Grand Tour' around the Eastern Mediterranean and along East Africa, written by Sam Bowker, whilst in search of his PhD topic.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Zambia - Canoeing the Zambezi

Dedicated to Dad

I'm writing from Livingstone now, the town near Victoria Falls on the Zambian side. It is raining almost constantly, but it's warm, the forests are lush, and the ambience is great. This camp site is known for hippos wandering about at night, so there are big "Do Not Approach the Hippos" signs everywhere. Likewise for crocodiles resident in the pools.

I have spent this morning canoeing a 15km stretch of the mighty Zambezi river, well above the falls. Three bold yellow canoes set out with two guides, myself and a young English couple, here performing voluntary work for a year in a beekeeping project. The sky was grey and interestingly clouded, and the water colour changed through dark navy blue to light green and almost orange-brown. It was warm to the touch, and much cleaner here as we are closer to its source. The rain was cool, and made wonderful speckling patterns on the flat water.

Hippos eyed us cautiously from the other sides of the river, and crocodiles slid off the sandy and grassy banks. We parked only a couple of metres from a fairly big one - the customs officer of Zimbabwe. The Zambezi marks the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, so I took the opportunity to smuggle myself across the border, just so I could say I have. The Chobe river also forms the border between Zambia and Botswana, as I learnt when we ferried across with the truck yesterday.

Speaking of things I've learnt, did you know the Chobe river actually reverses it's flow when the Zambezi floods? (The Chobe flows into the Zambezi) Does anyone out there know of any other rivers able to switch their direction?

Whitewater rafting may be cancelled for tomorrow, due to a massive group booking, so I might head off the see the Victoria Falls instead. I'll try to get another post sent tomorrow because Internet is reliable here.


  • At Friday, January 20, 2006 6:33:00 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Great blogs (just read the next one as well). Thanks for the dedication. Keep up the happy travelling.

    Lots of love


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