No, we have not (yet) started another long trip, nor is this post the start of another series about a long trip in the past. However, even while we are “locked in” to Zambia for the time being, courtesy of a little virus, it is still possible to travel to local destinations. And that is what we did last weekend.
Lotri Bay, on the northern edge of Lake Kariba, is less than 4 hours driving from Lusaka, an easy ride during a Saturday morning. Our own drive was not very eventful, except for one discussion with a policeman armed with a speed camera. After passing through Kafue town, the traffic was lighter, but we did have to take great care through the mountains, where the winding road tends to hide huge broken down trucks and potholes of various sizes. Once we’d turned off towards Siavonga, there were less trucks to contend with, but larger potholes. After the turnoff at Kariba Store, we were onto dirt road and more interesting surroundings.
Manager Bruce Tweedie unlocked the gate of the small private reserve and guided us to the campsite. The reserve is home to a herd of impala, some zebras, sable antelope and a troop of baboons. In addition to the few human inhabitants, either living and working there, or visiting, like us. This weekend, we had the campsite to ourselves, except for the zebras who liked to snack on the lawn (and to fertilize it) at night. And who looked at us curiously during our midnight trips to the toilets.
I could write a lot about the very nice Lotri Bay Lodge and the campsite, but you may as well visit their website, linked here. I will just add that it’s a beautiful and relaxing place, run by a very pleasant couple, Bruce and Marlene.
I think you will all know that Marina and I are not the types to just lie back and admire the scenery, we do like to see more, to be a little active. The first “activity” (after setting up camp) was a sunset cruise. Bruce and Marlene collected us from the campsite during late afternoon and we cruised through the narrow gap onto Lake Kariba itself.
Interesting to see the wide expanse of the lake, currently at just over 40% full. This enormous man-made lake, straddling the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe, contains about 180 cubic kilometres (!) of water when it’s full. It also contains a dwindling quantity of fish… There were lots of Kapenta boats visible in the distance, as well as a (Chinese owned) fishery, apparently targeting Tilapia. Fortunately, neither of these activities are allowed in Lotri Bay itself, which serves as a nursery for fish. If you’re interested in the issues surrounding lakes like this, as well as other water-related matters, then I can highly recommend “Water – The Causes, Costs and Future of a Global Crisis” by Julian Caldecott. (A 2nd edition, “Water – Life in Every Drop“, is available from Amazon, also as an e-book.)
During the sunset cruise we did chat about fishing on the Lake and the associated problems, but generally enjoyed the scenery that was changing with the setting sun, good company, a couple of cold drinks and complimentary snacks!
We took it quite easy the next day, walked through part of the reserve, also to the lovely Treetops accommodation at the lodge itself. I will let my photographs do the talking.
We got up somewhat earlier the next morning, so that we could start our walk up to Ridge View before it got too hot. It may be winter here in Zambia, but some days can be hotter than most European summers.
It was a quite steep walk/scramble up to the top of Ridge View, but really worth it. Clear views across both Lotri Bay to the North and across Lake Kariba, towards Zimbabwe. The hills forming this northern edge of the Lake are the sedimentary rocks of the Upper Karoo Group, and it’s amazing to consider that these grits and sandstones were being deposited by other rivers about 200 million years ago. To the Southwest, they were capped by the basaltic lavas of the Batoka Formation that currently form the magnificent cliffs at the Victoria Falls. All of these rocks are the expression in Zambia of the huge Karoo Supergroup that covered so much of South and south-central Africa (and still does). If you’re even slightly interested in that, read here for an easy and well-illustrated description.
All too soon, the few days in paradise were over and we were enjoying the last beautiful sunset over the Bay, but determined to return again, hopefully with some family or friends in tow?