Published: May 16th 2011October 24th 2005
Zambia is not really set up for budget travellers.
Distances are long and 'value' accommodation is sparse.
Apparently some of the best game parks in Africa are here but you need your own transport and a willingness to brave endless dirt roads to get to them.
At the moment not even that is possible because the country is in the throes of a major fuel crisis. The only refinery in the country was closed for maintenance some time ago and has yet to reopen.
Some petrol stations we asked in had been dry for two months and only black market supplies are keeping a few things moving.
We, very fortunately, arranged a lift with a car toting couple, from Lilongwe (Malawi) to Livingstone, in the very south of Zambia.
We filled up the car and a shelf full of jerry cans before departing on the 1240km journey.
On the first night we stayed at a lodge at Luanga Bridge that turned out to be the most expensive place we have stayed in, in Africa.
For £40 we had a non-electrified chalet where the front and rear walls consisted only of mosquito netting. Passers-by
could see us in bed if they cared to look in.
The next night we spent at a campsite just outside of Lusaka, the capital. In the afternoon we were visited by a roaming family of giraffes, the first we've seen.
Another interminable drive through scrubland brought us to Livingstone situated near the Zambian side of Victoria Falls, where we stayed in a top-notch backpackers lodge called Fawlty Towers.
After a couple of days R&R we visited the falls.
We knew that it was the dry season and the amount of water would be low, but we were still unprepared for the derisory trickle that was falling on the Zambian side.
The ledge from which the falls drop is over 1200m wide. The viewpoint on the Zambian side probably extends to 800m of currently bare rock with a single, mocking, stream of falling water giving the finger to tourists.
We had a side view of the falls on the Zimbabwe side and, of course, the water was gushing furiously over there.
As some compensation we were able to go and walk along the dry ledge but as we approached the area where some
water was falling a security guard stopped us and said we'd have to join a tour for upwards of $60 to get any closer.
Some other people we met went to Zimbabwe for the day and were pleased they did so, but for Brits that costs $65 for the visa, plus $20 admission - an expensive day out.
We must return during the rainy season to get properly drenched.
There are more photos below