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.
Zambezi waters at Chavuma.
View of the Zambezi Floodplain from our hotel in Mongu.
Yeah – these guys have got the spirit!
Market on the outskirts of Solwezi.
Samwell and Zach doing laundry in the dingy, slightly creepy Lyambai Hotel in Mongu.
Villagers watch as we jump the battery.
Beautiful beetles we found along the banks of the Lunga River.
Check out the satellite dish!
Images from our trip around Northwestern and Western provinces, largely following the Zambezi River watershed.
Groundnuts and fried sweet potatoes: my favorite street food.
Sunset on the Zambezi.
In the spirit of adventure, Samwell drinks his first cup of coffee in over two years.
View from our campsite outside Chavuma.
The market in Mwinilunga.
Walking to the Peace Corps Provincial House in Solwezi.
Woman walking across a dam with a baby on her back and shoes in hand.
Katie’s host brother, Alex, cleans fish by the side of the river.
Termite mound, accented by early burning.
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!
Ah, the joys of sharing the camera with Zambian kids.
Where Mongu and the Zambezi floodplain meet – 25 kilometers from the river’s main channel.
Dugout canoe on the Lunga River.
Poling around the floodplain.
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.
Me, Zach, and Samwell on the boat to Kalabo. (Notice the guys’ sweet braids – my handiwork from the day before.)
Oddly enough, someone was trying to sell water along the Zambezi River.
Yep, the hotel had seen better days …
Zach wrestles a very young Zambian for his carabiner.
Start of the journey: Katie, Zach, and Samwell waiting for the early-morning bus from Lusaka to Solwezi.
Samwell and Zach show off their amazing hairstyles – braided by yours truly.
One of the many impressive termite mounds of Northwestern Province.
Samwell gazes into the Zambezi Floodplain.
Samwell, me, and Zach, not on safari, but on the Solwezi Peace Corps House back porch.
Courtyard of the run-down Lyambai Hotel – once a fancy lodge that hosted government officials from all over the country.
This woman sold us groundnuts and the last of her fried sweet potatoes – then kindly consented to a photo.
Homes on the edge of Mongu.
Tree reflection in the Zambezi floodplain.
Mongu harbor. We were surprised to discover how far it was to the main channel of the Zambezi!
Narrow alley in Mongu’s market.
A young man holds up his catch to attract our boat’s attention.
Samwell, Zach, and Katie in an intense game of “Settlers of Catan.” And I thought only the Northern PCVs were addicted to this game!
Breakfast outside our lodge in the town of Lukulu.
A typical minibus scene. This playful baby was a key component of our on-board entertainment.
Long-beached ship in the Mongu Harbor.
Kabompo River ferry crossing.
Grass homes in the Zambezi Floodplain.
Me, soaking wet in the Zambezi River.
Haggling completed, a local fisherman hands over his catch of bream to the speedboat passengers who’ve bought them.
Old meets new.
Natural sinkhole near Katie’s village of Mukeya.
Harbor market in Mongu.
Neon-colored locust on my tent at our camp site on the Zambezi.
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.