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Zambia. Livingstone. Maramba River Lodge. Thursday 14 May 2015. Week 5, Day 33.

We had a good night at Peregrine. There were 2 security guards and as the camp was empty besides ourselves they guarded only us. We decided to have the 5,000km service done at the local Toyota agency as I also wanted the underside of the vehicle checked whilst up on a hoist for holes that mice could use . Both myself and 2 mechanics could find no entry holes into the vehicle to plug. We want to make an early start for Lusaka tomorrow and for convenience are going to move to Maramba River Camp in town, which also comes highly recommended and I hear has wifi so I can unload all of this on you.

We will not be visiting the Falls. Don’t shoot us, we have visited them at least 4 times previously and agree that they are not to be missed. After the 2 hour service of the vehicle I still have to sort out the Comesa Insurance, buy some supplies, get something to eat and quite frankly for us, Livingstone does not warrant a third night. Others new to it will have plenty to keep them occupied for a number of days. The white water rafting down the Batoka Gorge below the falls, bungy jumps and slides, flight over the falls in a helicopter or microlight, walk with lions and even elephant rides are all adventure items offered.

I telephoned the insurance broker in Livingstone whose name I had been given at the Third Party point of sale at the border. He assured me that the Comesa/ Yellow Card insurance was now defunct for South African registered vehicles as from the end of 2014 and although he always used to sell it, he strongly advised me not to buy it as any such sale would be fraudulent. I had heard similar reports just before we left home. One now has to buy individual third party insurance as you pass through the borders of each country. I was never able to sort out the confusion about Comesa and later in the trip in fact bought it. It becomes a major hassle to buy insurance for each country. Most border posts do not have this Third Party insurance for sale and you have to cast around in the nearest town to find an insurance agent to sell it to you. My advice is to buy the Comesa in Zambia if possible or in the next country you enter if unsuccessful. The point being that it is completely accepted everywhere. You still will have to buy the local insurance for the country where making the purchase as Comesa will then cover you for the countries lying ahead. You need to specify the countries to be visited and the fee depends on which countries you seek cover in. Not only is buying this multinational insurance cover more convenient but also cheaper. It is sold by most short-term insurance brokers. We eventually were to buy ours in Kenya.

We checked into Maramba River Lodge campsite. It has great facilities with an a la carte restaurant, bar and pool and beautifully grassed grounds. It is set on the bank of the Maramba River and is halfway to the Falls from Livingstone town. The camping is US$10/K 75 pppd. We had a great burger and chips for US$7.50. There are chalets and pre-erected tents but these are not cheap. As a generalization and for a number of reasons, I think Maramba River Lodge would suit most looking for a camping spot in Livingstone. It is more convenient but less private than Peregrine Camp. It will also help us to get away early as we head for Lusaka tomorrow. It has wifi but this is very slow.

It is on the Maramba River a decent tributary of the Zambezi, within the Mosi ou Tunya National Park. Although this park is no great shakes we could see hippos and crocs just in front of the large grounds, as well as elephant. We liked the atmosphere at Maramba a lot. There were no backpacker groups and although the facilities can accommodate quite a number of people we found it nice and quiet.

Things are very well with us and I am looking forward to introducing Anne to the splendors of South Luangwa National Park in a couple of days after overnighting in Lusaka tomorrow night.