Zambia, a serene country situated in the southern part of Africa, boasts of historical sites, wildlife and Victoria Falls, which is regarded as the seventh wonder of the world. Funke Olaode was there and recounts her experience. The Zambians were still basking in the euphoria of the country’s 50th independence anniversary when our plane touched down on Wednesday, July 23, in Lusaka for the 3rd African Women’s Economic Summit organized by Graca Machel Trust in collaboration with African Development Bank. It was the country’s winter period, the breeze that blew relentlessly ushered everyone into the beautiful city.
Zambia is the home of the world heritage site, the Victoria Falls and the country is also home to about 12 million people with two million people residing in the capital city, Lusaka. Lusaka is predominantly a civil service state with a few corporate organisations such as banks and telecommunication companies. Zambia is regarded as one of the most beautiful, friendly, diverse and unspoilt countries on the African continent. Aside from the majestic Victoria Falls, Zambia has more natural water resources than any other southern African country, including a myriad of other falls dotted across the country. The many National Parks offer great opportunities for observing Africa’s plains game and their attendant predators, whilst bustling urban areas offer a taste of eclectic Zambian culture.
With her tourist sites, a first time visitor would like to have a glimpse of its magnificent sites ranging from the Victoria Falls, game reserves, the National Museum, Kawata Village, one of the largest markets where hand crafts are made ranging from jewellery, bags made with Ankara, artifacts, wood armchair and so on. The hustling and bustling of Kamalla local market to get a feel of how the locals make livelihood with a lot of hard work and entrepreneurship is also a sight to behold.
According to Katarina Leravica, a media consultant and a Yugoslavian who was born and raised in Zambia, Zambian is regarded as one of the most beautiful places in the world not because of Victoria Falls or its wildlife but because of the people. “Zambians are warm people and friendly. If you look at Zambia on the map, it always looks like a smile in the middle of Africa; generous, kind, community driven. I love and I’m proud to say I am Zambian.”
The Victoria Falls
Victoria Falls is about 500 kilometers away from Lusaka. It is the one of the tourist sites that puts Zambia on the global map as the Seventh Wonder of the world. The Falls present a spectacular sight of awe-inspiring beauty and grandeur on the Zambezi River, forming the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It was described by the Kololo tribe living in the area in the 1800’s as ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ – ‘The Smoke that Thunders’. Named after Queen Victoria and located between Zambia and Zimbabwe boundary, it was discovered by a Scottish missionary and explorer, David Livingstone in 1855. It is incredible and it is something that everybody that has opportunity should visit and see and hear the magnitude of the nature of Africa.
Zambia National Park
Zambia has one of the most wonderful game reserves in the world. The reserve is about seven hours by road and less than two hours by flight to the capital city. This park provides pristine sanctuary to a wide variety of wildlife, and boast of some of the best game viewing opportunities in the world. From the North and South Parks on the hippo and croc-infested Luangwa River and to the wide expanse of the Lower Zambezi. South Luangwa National Park in Eastern Zambia Luangwa River, is a world-renowned wildlife haven. It supports large populations of Thornicroft’s giraffe and herds of elephant and buffalo often several hundred strong, while the Luangwa River supports abundant crocodiles and hippopotamuses. It is one of the best-known national parks in Africa for walking safaris.
Founded as a game reserve in 1938, it became a national park in 1972. The reserve is surrounded with beautiful chalets that make tourists feel like home. There are lots of animals such buffalos, elephants and lions. The most interesting thing about that park is that you can be in the middle of the game park and see animals grazing or seeing antelope coming to your chalet or lions moving around. It is quite incredible.
The National Museum
Lusaka National Museum which started as a national political museum is now a cultural history institution specializing in ethnography and art, archaeology and history. Located on Presidential Avenue in Lusaka, it was commissioned by President Titus Chiluba and officially opened its doors to the public on October 25, 1996. The Museum is like a mini archive that gives an insight to the Zambia of old before modernisation. The Museum has two galleries, one on the ground floor of the museum building and the other on the upper floor of the building. The lower gallery is a temporary exhibition space in which temporary exhibitions on various themes and contemporary art are exhibited. The upper floor tells Zambia’s history and development from its prehistoric past to its contemporary way of life. Here, is a village square which designs focus on Zambian lifestyle, their root, where they are coming from before modernization. The purpose of the village square according to the tour guide is to teach people and also promoting traditional root.
In Zambian culture, parents don’t communicate with their children in those days because it is believed to be a taboo. The elderly people communicate with their children through folk tale. The upper gallery also hosts children’s corner through which the museum introduces the young Zambian’s heritage through various practical educational activities. Also, there is Nachikufu Café which was discovered to have been used by the bush man in the Northern Zambia in those days.
One thing a tourist cannot miss outside the massive National Museum is a gigantic statue. Called Anti-Retroviral man, it was erected in memory of Winstone Zulu, a young Zambian man who was the first to declare his HIV status in 1989. He was a young bright man and was selected to study Political Science in Russia. At that time, HIV was considered a death sentence and therefore, could not go for studies. Instead of hiding his status, he went on television, radio and travelled all over the world telling his story. In his memory, Art4Art was inspired by individuals like Zulu, who proved that it is possible to be on treatment and lead a fruitful life. Furthermore, Art4Art through anti-retroviral man aims to encourage people living with HIV that not all hope is lost. With my latest adventure, I found out that for lovers of nature, Zambia is a must visit country.