15 – 16th September: Monze to Livingstone
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15th September – Monze to Livingstone. The end is near
In the morning our little new friend is there to greet us and demand more food. It had slept all night on top of the car near our tent! We only had some cheese and crisps left but he is more than pleased with that arrangement, so much so that he doesn’t want us to leave without him.
Dark guardian of tents
Posing with our new friend, Moorings, Monze
I offer to drive if you take me with you …
King of darkness
We reluctantly leave at about 8am or so, the drive to Livingstone will take about 4 hours. The only noteworthy thing along the way is a small fire along the road. We arrive in Livingstone and head straight to our accomodation, Chundukwa Lodge – we want to spend our last night in style and it will be easier to pack up and clean up if we were staying in an actual room rather than tent.
Fire along the road to Livingstone
Chundukwa Lodge is very pretty and set along the Zambezi in a quiet area north west of the falls. For lunch we just cannot resist revisiting the Golden Leaf restaurant for some more delicious food. After that we go straight back to the lodge to relax a bit. Soon it is time for sundowners which we enjoy from a small boat graciously offered by Chundukwa Lodge. We also get to visit the island in front of the lodge and come across some crocs, birds and impalas. When we are back we gather around the campfire to socialize and then sit down for a tasty dinner. We have cream of cauliflower soup, chicken and vanilla cheesecake, all very nice. Stomachs full we settle again in front of the camp fire with the lodge managers who are an extremely entertaining couple. Alas at 1am it is really time to get some sleep, but first we still need to pack! When I finally thought I could get back to sleep, the parasites living in my stomach seem to be very reluctant to leave Zambia again so I am again very sick. A hippo keeps me company during my various trips to the bathroom, and some guard seems to be quite worried I am out and about all night with the hippo so close (the bathroom, though private, is not attached to the sleeping hut) but when nature calls you have to answer.
Room with a view, Chundukwa Lodge
A spot of sunbathing by the Zambezi
Chundukwa Lodge as seen from the Zambezi
Sandy beach on one of the islands in the Zambezi
Sunset over the Zambezi
16th September – Back to Helsinki
As it’s our last morning in Africa we treat ourselves to an outdoor breakfast at the Royal Livingstone – a bit on the expensive side so I am totally bummed that I’m sick and can’t gorge myself silly on all the lovely food on offer – but plane rides are awaiting so definitely no risks in the book! Their breakfast selection is insane, must be the best I have ever seen. Complete with a fine cheese table and plenty of meats and hot options. After breakfast we sneak to the Royal Livingstone’s business center to print our boarding passes but our cunning plan somewhat fails as even though we manage to check in we could not print the boarding passes as the 5 star hotel didn’t install any pdf viewing programs on their computers! We change clothes in their impeccable bathrooms with the sooting music, and repack our final stuff in the car park and reluctantly leave to go to the airport.
We still have a ton of food and stuff which we were saving to give out to some needy families but we still haven’t scouted a proper place to leave them. As we approach the airport we spot an unpaved road going further from it so we went around scouting for a mother and children. Bingo – we find the perfect looking family. We alight from the car and call them to approach it. They are quite confused and when it dawns on them that the stuff at the back of the car is practically all for them they are first stunned and then delighted. Amongst other things they have a picnic cooler, bucket, canisters of water, pasta, sauces, eggs, soaps, dishcloths, containers, beer, drinks, food etc etc. We even manage to dig out some angry bird toys for the kids. We then pose for a picture. What a humbling experience which is also turning into a lovely tradition – we did the same thing in Botswana two years before.
Happy Family in Livingstone
After that it is sadly off to the airport where we changed the last remaining kwachas – after spending ages in a queue in the bank waiting only to realise the american ladies taking up so much time are trying to pay their excess luggage fee at the bank! The guy who had to pick up our car doesn’t show up so we call Bushlore who inform us he is on the flight heading to Livingstone, the same one we will take to return to Johannesburg. So we agree to simply hide the key in the tent on top of the car discreetly. Easier said then done with all the people around. But all goes well eventually.
There is one long queue for the flights, it seems many flights today leave almost at the same time. They are quite rigorous in checking the hand luggage for size, amount and weight but thankfully we are within acceptable limits. We finally board our flight and take off gazing for one last time at the dry landscape which held so many surprises, adventure and unforgettable experiences for us. For sure we will be back.