The spirit of the people of Zambia is something I experienced as I arrived in this majestic city with a taxi driver who was willing to take me all over town at no extra charge when all I had wanted was to be taken to Livingstone Backpackers. I expected the town to be over exploited by the hotel and backpackers industry as many tourists visiting the Victoria Falls choose to do it on the Zambian side these days rather than the Zimbabwean side. There was none of that though as the rustic feel of a true African town still exists in this tourist filled destination.
The down side is that the party life is a bit slow for tourists with locals packing just a few venues. The result is often a lack of space with people struggling to dance or even breathe. Some venues try to exploit tourists as we found out on New Year’s Eve when trying to enter a club. The security guard at the door initially told us the entrance fee was 40 dollars per person for the group of 13. After negotiating it was reduced to 10 but that changed as we were entering. We walked away as none of us were prepared to pay the 50 dollars they were now asking for as it was much higher than what the locals were paying.
We ended up welcoming the new year on the streets where people had an interesting and dangerous way of celebrating as they were spinning cars and throwing fireworks at each other. All the tourists watched until it seemed dangerous with several cars spinning out of control and almost endangering some people.
We scoped out Limpo which is an open air venue with locals playing pool, sitting around and drinking beer. It was a great venue but not what we were looking for on New Year’s Eve. We ended up in the Fez Bar.
Zambia has capitalised on the political instability in Zimbabwe and tourists get here using any means possible from trains, buses and flights from neighbouring countries and South Africa.
The majestic Victoria Falls doesn’t disappoint and I believe God created it on his happiest day as the views of Mosi Oa Tunya are great from every angle. Adventure enthusiasts also had a chance to bungee jump or slide across from the air. I hope Livingstone maintains its small town charm as it becomes more popular with international tourists. There is already one new luxury hotel and one new backpacker’s accommodation which can take in over 70 guests at a time. I hope more are blocked from opening.
I was also happy about the lack of South African and international take away chains found in most African countries which resulted in Hungry Lion as the only option for those who wanted a quick meal not served at the hotel.
Those who didn’t want to eat at the venue or cook in self catering places were forced to try Pap and Grill as most venues don’t open on public holidays and as a result were closed on New Year’s Day. Pap and Grill also has a club upstairs.