Take Me to the River

Our next camp is on the banks of the Luangwa River, major waterway through the eastern half of Zambia. It’s a short, two-hour drive, but the scenery has gotten more interesting, with rolling topography and distant hills. At least, that’s what we can occasionally see when the smoke clears a bit. The further we get from Lusaka, the less human habitation we see. But, about every 30 kilometers, there stands a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. Religious organizations of many flavors have made a presence in Zambia, and they are quite present on the main roads. The western-style architecture is easy to spot – they stand out from the round mud walls and thatched roofs of the native style. We did note a number of abandoned structures, stripped of their windows, doors and hardware. Not every effort has been successful. Who knows how long the current ones will last?

We can tell when we start our descent out of the hills and down to the river. Human presence starts to pick up, and there is a significant village along the road and the riverbank. Since it is nearly the end of the dry season, the Luangwa is more a river of sand, with only a small channel of water.

It’s really dusty here. Actually, it has been dusty all along – Zambia has not seen significant rain for months, and the “emerald season” is not due for another six weeks. The contents in the back of the rover had a good dusting after our first day on the road – had we not closed the door properly? After ten days out, dust is pretty much a part of everything, even after Steve tried a wipe down back at Pioneer Camp in Lusaka. Apparently, land rovers are notoriously leaky, even fresh off the showroom floor. We’re just happy that it’s not raining!

Contrary to the website photos, Bridge Camp is not a verdant retreat. The campsite is dusty, and two other land rovers were crowded in on either side of us after we arrived. Several other guests stayed in chalets. We were the oldest guests there (by at least 20 years) and we were the only ones to do our own cooking. Only a stopover, we go to bed early – we have a long drive to South Luangwa National Park tomorrow.

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