When I was 7 years old, my family moved from Switzerland to Zambia. Culturally, it was quite a shock for me and my brothers, but like most young kids you eventually adopt a routine and quickly adjust to your surroundings. Our stint in Zambia was only 2 years long, and mostly felt like a blur…or so I thought. It wasn’t until a few years ago that I realized I still have a little piece of Zambia that lives in me. I can still sing the Zambian national anthem, draw the Zambian flag ( I can never get the eagle right though), and to this day I still mentally jam to some of the catchiest jingles I’ve ever heard in my life. Still have never tasted Chibuku, but I’ve had a Mosi beer. It was alright.
One of the fondest memories I have from living in Zambia is when my dad let us tag along on a work trip in Livingstone. My brothers and I were crammed into the back of our Toyota Cressida as my dad drove for 5 hours in the dry heat from Lusaka to Livingstone. When we got the the hotel we were happy to discover they had a channel called KTV which pretty much aired cartoons all day long.
Why is this a big deal, you ask? Here’s why:
In 1994, Zambia’s main television station, Zambia National Broadcasting Corporation (ZNBC) did not begin it’s daily programming until 5 p.m. which meant we actually had to play outside with the neighbours to avoid dying of boredom. Every day, at exactly 4:57 p.m. my brothers and I would rush to the living room, turn on the TV and stare at this:
At 5 p.m. sharp, the signal flipped and a pre-recorded performance of military band playing the Zambian national anthem came on. I’m pretty sure the video was from the 1960’s. This was how our TV-watching ritual started every.single.day. For a 90s kid, TV trumped absolutely everything. What I’m trying to say is the highlight of my trip to Victoria Falls was watching Lamp Chop’s Play-Along on a 12-inch television set in our hotel room. Don’t get me wrong , I still thought the Falls were breathtaking. The largest spitting body of water I had ever come close to was the Jet d’Eau in Geneva, which looks like a drinking fountain compared to the mighty Vic Falls.
Fast-foward to over 20 years later, here I was standing at the place I took for granted 20 years prior. As I walked on the cobblestone pathway with misty-eyes that weren’t a result of being close proximity to the Falls, I reminisced about a much simpler time full of wonder and innocence. A time when all of us lived under one roof instead of being scattered all over the world. The simple, fleeting things we take for granted.
Then I paid a guy $1 to take my picture:
The water levels are typically at their highest between February and mid-June, and their lowest between late October and early December. Next time I return, I hope to swim in Devil’s Pool which is usually the most accessible when the water levels are low.
You can get to the Zambian side of the Falls by flying into Livingstone from Nairobi or Johannesburg from Addis Ababa, Lusaka, Cape Town, or Nelspruit.
Accommodation ranges from full scale hotels set within walking distance of the Falls, afrochic hotels, and luxury lodges tucked into the most remote curves of the Zambezi river.
You can take a helicopter tour of the Falls, go zip-lining across the gorges, bungee jumping, or if you enjoy staying alive like me, simply relax on a river cruise on the Zambezi while drinking a Mosi.
It’s a perfect spot to round off an African safari, or if you’re like me, take some time to fully appreciate the beauty of many places in Africa that we take for granted.