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48 Travel Zambia November 2008 PeoplePeopleVakachaVakachaHabitatHabitatNkaniNkaniCultureCulturePeoplePeopleVakachaVakachaHabitatHabitatNkaniNkaniCultureCultur Rivers Most of Zambia is drained by the Zambezi, to the southeast. But the north of the country forms part of the catchment of an even mightier river: the Congo. The Zambezi River is Africa's fourth largest river system, after the Nile, Zaire and Niger. It rises as a small spring in the Mwinilunga District of northwest Zambia and flows 2,700km east to the Indian Ocean. Along the way it passes through the broad Barotse floodplains, the spectacular Victoria Falls, the zigzagging Batoka Gorge and the massive Kariba Dam. For 500km it serves as the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Kafue River, a major tributary of the Zambezi, is the largest river lying wholly within Zambia. It rises on a plateau in northwest Zambia, flowing south through the Copperbelt, Kafue National Park, and the immense floodplain of the Kafue Flats – home to one of Africa's densest concentrations of birds – before meeting the Zambezi about 20km north of Chirundu. The Luangwa River is another tributary of the Zambezi. It rises in the Mafinga Hills in northeast Zambia and down through a broad rift valley before reaching the Zambezi at Luangwa Town, 750km to the south. It is one of the largest unaltered rivers in southern Africa and the Luangwa Valley is home to abundant wildlife. The Chambeshi River in northeastern Zambia is the furthest headstream of ? ? Africa's second- longest river, the Congo ? ? ? ? ? ? ? . It rises in the mountains near Lake Tanganyika and flows for 480km into the Bangweulu Swamps. It then exits as the Luapula River, ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? forming part of the border between Zambia and Congo DR, and connects Lake Bangweulu to Lake Mweru. Zambia by water Zambia may not be able to boast an ocean, but many of its most impressive natural attractions are of the watery variety. These include southern Africa's greatest river, one of the world's largest man- made lakes and the most impressive waterfall on the planet. Lakes Zambia's best- known water body is man- made. But there are many impressive natural ones too. Lake Kariba stretches along Zambia's southern border. It is one of the world's largest man- made lakes, 220km in length and covering an area of 5,580km2. The lake was created between 1955 and 1959, when the Kariba Dam was built across the Zambezi. It provides electric power to both Zambia and Zimbabwe and supports a thriving commercial fishing industry. Lake Bangweulu is Zambia's largest natural lake and one of the world's great wetland systems. Its permanent open water surface expands to 15,000km2 when its swamps and floodplains are in flood, though its average depth is only 4m. The system is fed by the Chambeshi, among others, and drained by the Luapula. Lake Tanganyika, at 677km, is the longest freshwater lake in the world and also, at a maximum depth of 1433m, the second deepest. Zambia lays claim to the lake's very southern tip, where ? ? ? ? ? Sumbu National Park protects a remote shoreline of sandy beaches, vertical cliffs, rocky coves and natural bays. Lake Mweru in northern Zambia is fed by the Luapula River, which forms a swampy delta to the south, and drained by the Luvua, which flows north to join – ultimately – the Congo. The lake measures 118km in length and is deeper in the north than the south. Waterfalls Zambia has more than 17 major waterfalls. One of them, Victoria Falls, ? ? ? ? needs little introduction ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? . But those prepared to venture off the beaten track will find many more. Victoria Falls was described by the Kololo tribe in the 1800s as Mosi- oa- Tunya, ' the smoke that thunders'. At a width of 1.7km and a height of 108m, this is arguably the world's greatest waterfall. In peak season, spray can be seen from 50km away as 546 million cubic metres of water per minute thunder over the edge. The falls are formed where the full width of the Zambezi ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? plunges into a deep chasm carved into a fracture zone in the basalt plateau. Ngonye Falls lie in western Zambia ? ? near the Village of Sioma, on the Zambezi. The falls are only 12m high, but form around a broad crescent with a volume of water that, in peak season, is second only to the Victoria Falls. You can see the falls from Sioma, but a better view comes by crossing the river 2km downstream. Kalambo Falls are situated in Northern Province on the Kalambo River, near the border with Tanzania. This spectacular jet of water plunges 221m down into the gorge below. It is the second highest waterfall in Africa and the twelfth highest in the world. Lumangwe Falls, which resembles a mini Victoria Falls, is located near the Chipembe pontoon in Northern Province. The falls are 35m high and 100m across and nourish a small rain forest on the Kalungwishi River. Local legend has it that they are home to a great ' Snake Spirit' called Lumangwe. Guests of Tongabezi Lodge, near Livingstone, may marvel at Victoria Falls from the air or canoe among hippos on the Zambezi. tongabtongab e zi ( 2)

November 2008 Travel Zambia 49 SAFARI Southern Afrifrifrica Tourisrisrism Expo The Zambia Tourism Board and Tourism Council of Zambia have come together to host a tourism exposition in Zambia. ' Southern Africa Tourism Expo', will take place from 2– 4 May 2009 at Victoria Falls, Livingstone. This location was chosen in order to take advantage of all the nearby attractions – not least the Falls themselves, which will be in full flow at the time – and its excellent tourism infrastructure. The expo aims to enhance the image of Zambia, and Livingstone in particular, as a tourist destination, and to promote regional and transfrontier tourism initiatives. Find out more at www. southernafricatourismexpo. com Luangwa by wheelchair Zambia is a thrilling destination for the able- bodied. But what if you have more difficulty getting around? Ron Crittall and his wife Penny went on safari to South Luangwa to find out for themselves. My wife and I were doing the ' Crittall tango': Penny stood on the wooden step next to the Land Cruiser while I clambered up beside her. I shifted one of my feet forward on to the running board, then moved her closer to the vehicle and lowered her onto the front seat. General applause! Perhaps I should explain. Penny has MS and needs a wheelchair to get around. We're in our sixties and I'm her carer. Penny's condition means we can't use light aircraft, coaches or minibuses – it's too difficult to get on board – so our travel options tend to be limited. Before booking our safari, therefore, we had to do our research. We found out that there were scheduled flights between Lusaka and Mfuwe, so that seemed OK, and that Kapani Lodge in the Luangwa Valley was accessible for wheelchair users. While there is no disabled accommodation as such, the thatched chalets are spacious and easy to move around, and there are brick- paved pathways through the grounds. The nature of the game- viewing vehicles is also critical. At Kapani they are large open Land Cruisers. The only seat suitable for Penny was next to the ranger, but higher above the ground than we anticipated – hence the Crittall tango. It also required the ranger to help steady her feet on the step. But we managed – and Penny got to see plenty of wildlife. The unexpectedly trickiest part was the flights. We had flown up from Jo'burg, where hydraulic lifts had helped get Penny on board the aircraft, but Lusaka doesn't have these. No worries. Four strong Zambians appeared and carried Penny, wheelchair and all, bodily down the steps. Then the smaller plane between Lusaka and Mfuwe had fold- down steps that were too narrow for the wheelchair. Penny was very nervous about this, but once again our helpers came to the rescue: one gripped her under the arms, another held her legs, and up she went – then down again at the other end. Penny treated every challenge as part of the adventure and we had a wonderful holiday. We are very grateful for the excellent service and attention we received from all the staff at Kapani Lodge ( www. normancarrsafaris. com) and Zambian Airways ( www. zambianairways. com). Know your limits: everyone in a wheelchair is different, with varying capability. Find out in advance whether you ( and/ or your carer) can cope with the accommodation, which – while spacious – has no disability aids. Make sure every operator ( airline and lodge) knows about your disability and what help you need. Check that the facilities offered match your abilities. Be prepared to be manhandled ( with the best of intentions) on and off small domestic flights. Game drives can last four hours, with only ' behind the bush' facilities that are not practical if you can't walk or squat. Bring pads or catheter. The airlines will carry your collapsible wheelchair, free. Go prepared for the unexpected and treat everything as an adventure. Safari tips for wheelchair users ron crittallittallittall ( 2)