Livingstone In Perspective

Probably the last guest blog from Ruth Binney for a while, that’s Ruth with my wife Ireen pictured above in the latest fashion at Victoria Falls!

“Back now in grey and rainy England, my mind is full of memories of Zambian warmth – not just the sunshine but the smiles and generosity of everyone who made my recent visit so enjoyable. Particular thanks must go to Richard and his family, and to all the staff at Chanters Lodge who looked after me so well.

As a ‘regular’ tourist, the highlights were the rhino walk and the one day safari to Chobe (reported in previous blogs), as well as the sunset cruise on the Lady Livingstone and the visit to the Falls which, full of water after the rains, were awesomely powerful – and wet. If you are reading this and anticipating a visit soon believe me (as Richard will undoubtedly tell you) you WILL get soaked. Even with a hired raincoat and the umbrella of my guide, I was wet through. The Knife Edge Bridge was a river and the spray so intense that it was like being in a rainstorm. But I wouldn’t have missed it for the world!

As for everyday experiences, writing this on a Saturday afternoon I am recollecting the gathering around the TV to watch the football last weekend – a great way to share a sporting experience with fellow Arsenal supporters!

Shopping in Livingstone included the new Shoprite supermarket which is well stocked, bright and cheerful, but also visits to the fishmonger, butcher, chemist and stationer. Out with Melinda I also met her friends and members of her family and visited the market packed with stalls selling vegetables and fruit of all kinds. There – and on every street corner – ‘talk time’ for the mobile can be bought. This is definitely the most prized commodity for young and old alike.

To visit the home of Susan, one of Richard’s senior staff, was a privilege and a pleasure. For her, saving means buying cement and having bricks made so that her home can be extended. She is one of many young women acting as sole supporters of their families.

The food at Chanters was as good as ever – I specially recommend the Bean Curry and the Bream. At a family meal I followed Zambian tradition and ate nshima and chicken with my hands – it was delicious! The pool is inviting and warm and the garden carefully tended. As well as the many geckos I was also happy to spot a chameleon fly catching.

The downsides? Very few, but the internet is expensive and sporadic and business wise enterprises such as Richard’s suffer from the monopolies of banking, TV and other utilities in terms of both price and service. It makes some of our complaints seem trivial in retrospect.

Should you visit? Yes certainly – it is an experience that no one should miss and will surely give you a new slant on life. I can’t wait to be back in Livingstone and at Chanters Lodge again.”

Thanks Ruth, it was great to see you!