This was one of the many days that we really looked forward to on the trip. We would cross the Zambezi River with the Kazungula Ferry into Zambia. We got up early, packed up camp and drove to the border.
At Martins drift border post in Botswana, Pieter spoke to a guy that stays in Zambia and regularly use the ferry. He advised us to be on time as the ferry starts operating at 6:00 and stops at 18:00. “Be there early enough and you will be fine”.
Completing border procedures on the Botswana side were quick and without any hassles and we proceeded to the launching point for the ferry. We were first in the queue. Due to the increase of traffic at this crossing there are now 3 ferries in operation. A new bridge is also under construction which will replace the ferries as soon as completed. Evidence of the bridge can be seen and when finished, this will indeed be an impressive bridge to cross.
When the first ferry arrived we had to wait for a truck to disembark and then it was our turn. I had to walk onto the ferry as no passengers are allowed when driving onto the ferry and no persons in the vehicle when the ferry crosses the Zambezi. Crossing a river with a ferry was a first for us and on the “GoPro” footage we took from the car, you can see us chatting and giggling all the way to the Zambian side. The magnitude and strength of these ferries are beyond comprehension.
On the Zambian side border procedures were chaotic. It started to rain – which made walking in the already mud and water covered surface almost impossible. The Zambian army are fully armed and in uniform, but there is also just so much they can do to control the parking of trucks, passengers and foot traffic. The Carnet de Passages that we bought from the Automobile Association (AA) made life a lot easier. When we walked in at immigration the official on duty immediately called us to the front of the long queue when he noticed the Carnet in Pieter’s hand and we were helped promptly without any hassle. From there we had to go to another office for road and carbon tax, and then to another for third party insurance. It was very difficult finding your way around but all in all it did not take us to long as we anticipated and within an hour, we were on our way.
Our first stop in Zambia was Victoria Falls Waterfront Lodge where we camped for the night. We stopped at the local Spar grocer and got some drinks and also a MTN data card so we could start updating the blog.
Victoria Falls Waterfront Lodge is a mecca for Overlanders and adventure seekers. It is a buzz of activities and young people all around. At first we thought the camping sites overlook the Zambezi (as per the website), but it actually takes you to back of the lodge overlooking a pool. Again, NOT like the website indicated. If I had a dollar for every time a website had mislead us on our travels, I would be rich.
Rain was looming, and with all the Overlanders taking over the ablutions, we set up camp, made dinner and showered. Just in time before the rains came pouring down.
Late that evening, in the midst of the storm, another South African registered Land Rover Defender pulled into the campsite next to us. Sheltered from the rain in our tent we watched as they set up camp wondering where their travels would be taking them.
We later met the couple, Riaan and Annelien Oberholzer, and their two kids also from Gauteng, South Africa. They were also on their way to Malawi – and we would meet up with them at some of the places that we would also be staying at.