Liuwa Plains, Zambia 2010 - From Liuwa back to Kasane

When we got to Kalabo Vic phoned the ferry operator at Kalangola and checked that it was operating. Fortunately it was which meant that we could return via Mongu where we'd be able to get fuel.

When we got to Kalabo there were several people waiting to cross the river.

Some of them had their fishing catch with them.

This colourful guy was in charge of the ferry.

The first hour or so was driving on a tar road but after our lunch stop we were back on sandy tracks.

In 2002 a road from Mongu to Kalabo was proposed, with the eventual aim of carrying it on into Angola, and a 35km raised causeway (the yellow line on the map below) was built across the Zambezi floodplain.

Sadly heavy flooding has washed away parts of the causeway so, currently, the track sometimes is on the raised causeway but you often have to drop back down onto a bewildering array of tracks on the floodplain.

After our lunch stop at the start of the sandy track Mike forgot to put his vehicle in 4 wheel drive and got stuck in the sand. Martin offered to pull him out but the tow rope wasn't long enough and Martin didn't want to back up any further into the soft sand. We'd used the 2 way radios to inform Vic and he returned and decided to pull him out backwards - easy!

We caught up with the rest of the convoy at the Zambezi ferry crossing at Lealui.

A mokoro heavily laden with reeds.

This overloaded lorry soon got stuck in the sand.

There were a few stalls beside the ferry crossing.

This young girl was collecting water in a plastic bag.

These people looked like they were on the way to the river to collect water in a variety of containers.

There are lots of people living on the floodplain which, at this time of the year, is free of water and has much more fertile soil that the surrounding area.

Some of the houses were temporary structures in areas which will be under water during the wet season.

More permanent houses are built on slightly higher ground which will become an island during the rains.

Another permanent settlement.

The Litunga (Lozi King) lives in one of the villages on the floodplain during the dry season. Each year the Ka-omboka ceremony takes places around February or March when the floods are high and the King moves by barge to his high water residence on the edge of the floodplain. We saw a couple of the barges being prepared for next year's ceremony.

One of the few times that we were able to drive for several km along the top of the causeway.

More often that we were driving alongside the causeway which had been breeched by the floodwaters.

Once we arrived in Mongu, which is on the edge of the floodplain, we could look out over it.

Mongu is the largest town in the region with fuel stations, banks and supermarkets.

This boxer dog at the campsite in Mongu reminded us of the one in the 'Toyota' adverts.

Our final ferry crossing - this was the ferry that was out of actions on our journey to Liuwa Plains.

As usual there were plenty of people waiting for the ferry.

More fish for sale.

Just to the north of Sioma camp we stopped to have a look at the Ngonye Falls.

We walked down to the river and were taken across in a small boat with a couple of guys rowing - hard work again the current.




The Ngonye rapids on the Zambezi (S16 39.141 E23 34.497) may not be as large as Victoria Falls but they still make an impressive sight.

We stopped at Sioma Camp for the night.

This was our last meal with the whole group together as several people had decided to return to Botswana via Livingstone so they could visit Victoria Falls.


Between the border and Sioma camp we saw signs of the road being upgraded - the Chinese have a contract to do this road but, as we've noticed in other countries, the work seems to be very haphazard and looks like it will take years if they don't have lots more equipment and people working.


From Sioma camp VIc said we could make our own way to the border crossing so when the Prado ground to a halt we were on our own. However soon afterwards Graham & Leona and then Geoff and Diane arrived and asked if we needed any help. As Kev reckoned that it was either an electrical fault or a wire that ad come loose we said thanks but told them to cary on as we knew that Vic was behind us. Geoff suggested a problem with the fuel, which Kev had also considered and soon afterwards he found that a wire to the fuel injector had broken. To repair it properly by soldering would have involved removing the air filter so he managed to use a piece of wire to connect the 2 broken ends and wrapped tape around them. Just as we'd finished Vic arrived so we followed him to the border.

The 2 boys on the left appeared soon after we stopped and sat and watched Kev making repairs - and gave him a round of applause when he got the engine going. Later the guy on the left came along and asked if we had any fishing gear. Kev reminded me that we'd found 3 hooks in a packet several weeks ago. I managed to find them and he was delighted with them - his English was pretty good. He walked to the nearby village and then returned to show us his fishing rod and than us again.

1. Travelling from Kasane to Liuwa Plains.

2. Liuwa Plains.

3. Travelling from Liuwa Plains back to Kasane.

Diary (Word '97 document).


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