Our travels around Northwestern and Western provinces in May 2014 took Samwell, Zach, and I into some of the most remote parts of Zambia we’d yet seen.
We started out in Solwezi, visiting the Peace Corps Provincial house there, but then quickly got off the beaten path, visiting Katie’s village outside Mwinilunga and then following the Zambezi River through Chavuma, up to the Angolan border, down to Lukulu, and finally to Mongu. There were many detours and back-road adventures along the way.
And a lot of time spent on the water. The Zambezi and its tributaries renewed my soul – as did spending 11 days just hanging out with my good PCV buddies, listening to music, sharing stories, and eating at every hole-in-the-wall restaurant we could find. It was a spectacular journey.
One of the many impressive termite mounds of Northwestern Province.
Neon-colored locust on my tent at our camp site on the Zambezi.
Natural sinkhole near Katie’s village of Mukeya.
Old meets new.
Zach wrestles a very young Zambian for his carabiner.
Katie’s host brother, Alex, cleans fish by the side of the river.
Yep, the hotel had seen better days …
Where Mongu and the Zambezi floodplain meet – 25 kilometers from the river’s main channel.
Walking to the Peace Corps Provincial House in Solwezi.
Homes on the edge of Mongu.
The market in Mwinilunga.
Samwell, me, and Zach, not on safari, but on the Solwezi Peace Corps House back porch.
Sunset on the Zambezi.
Poling around the floodplain.
Beautiful beetles we found along the banks of the Lunga River.
Zambezi waters at Chavuma.
Me, soaking wet in the Zambezi River.
Dugout canoe on the Lunga River.
Samwell and Zach doing laundry in the dingy, slightly creepy Lyambai Hotel in Mongu.
Start of the journey: Katie, Zach, and Samwell waiting for the early-morning bus from Lusaka to Solwezi.
Market on the outskirts of Solwezi.
Grass homes in the Zambezi Floodplain.
Termite mound, accented by early burning.
Samwell and Zach show off their amazing hairstyles – braided by yours truly.
In the spirit of adventure, Samwell drinks his first cup of coffee in over two years.
Samwell gazes into the Zambezi Floodplain.
Samwell, Zach, and Katie in an intense game of “Settlers of Catan.” And I thought only the Northern PCVs were addicted to this game!
A typical minibus scene. This playful baby was a key component of our on-board entertainment.
Long-beached ship in the Mongu Harbor.
Woman walking across a dam with a baby on her back and shoes in hand.
Me, Zach, and Samwell on the boat to Kalabo. (Notice the guys’ sweet braids – my handiwork from the day before.)
Courtyard of the run-down Lyambai Hotel – once a fancy lodge that hosted government officials from all over the country.
Villagers watch as we jump the battery.
Mongu harbor. We were surprised to discover how far it was to the main channel of the Zambezi!
Yeah – these guys have got the spirit!
A young man holds up his catch to attract our boat’s attention.
Boats remain the main source of transport west from Mongu.
Paddling a heavy load of reed mats to market in Mongu. The mats were piled so high that, at first glance, we thought this was a house boat!
Kabompo River ferry crossing.
Haggling completed, a local fisherman hands over his catch of bream to the speedboat passengers who’ve bought them.
View of the Zambezi Floodplain from our hotel in Mongu.
View from our campsite outside Chavuma.
This woman sold us groundnuts and the last of her fried sweet potatoes – then kindly consented to a photo.
A man and his fishing net rest on the rocks. Notice the man is in his underwear – a rare public site in a nation where thighs are typically hidden in public.
Images from our trip around Northwestern and Western provinces, largely following the Zambezi River watershed.
Ah, the joys of sharing the camera with Zambian kids.
Breakfast outside our lodge in the town of Lukulu.
Groundnuts and fried sweet potatoes: my favorite street food.
Tree reflection in the Zambezi floodplain.
Check out the satellite dish!
Narrow alley in Mongu’s market.
The proprietors of a fantastic little hole-in-the-wall restaurant, where we got ubwali and delicious fish for 6 kwacha. We were sure we’d get horribly sick but were just fine.
Oddly enough, someone was trying to sell water along the Zambezi River.
Harbor market in Mongu.