Zambia does not disappoint in making Africa all that much more interesting. Our picks to explore at your own peril of witchcraft, falls and arrogance are to follow.
Museum’s are always worth exploring as we work toward understanding the world around us that we have the privilege to explore. Much tends to be the same, even in the cradle of humanity. You can wander the average exhibit and learn the extraordinary history of the land, but the most popular section of Lusaka National Museum is the witchcraft exhibit, which combines artifact with folklore. Tangible items represent supernatural abilities to sleep with another man’s wife, steal crops and inflict pain on others. The most recent addition is the property of 3 illiterate brothers who killed a dozen people and managed to live on the lamb for 7 years before the search led to a shootout. Their deadly capture left many questions as to Christian icons on their person, and the reasoning behind their seemingly unmotivated spree. The biggest question raised by the exhibit, though, may be what we hide behind and how we protect ourselves from the evil of man.
You have likely heard of Victoria Falls and possibly even The Devil’s Swimming Pool. Once you get to the falls, you can plan on hiking and kayaking and swimming if you require a selfie on the edge of the world’s most brilliant infinity pool. Sure sometimes people get swept over to their peril, but at least 18% of your Instagram followers will rejoice if you succeed, so we vote worth the effort. We will miss high season for low tides allowing for a dip and click. The best time to sit on this precipice of watery earth is September/November. In exchange, we raise the ante to Chishimba Falls. These are a series of 3 falls, all worthy in their own right. The most enticing bit, though is that we will be a good half way through the rally at this point and are faced with a more intense challenge than avoiding being swept overboard. We must be respectful adults. The ancient spirit Chishimba is believed to reside in the cave beyond the falls, making this a sacred place. There shall be no fornicating or arguing, and most interestingly, no arrogance. We acknowledge, our overblown sense of ability to survive these adventures, but believe us when we tell you, we are perfectly aware that we have zero capability to brag about. We should be fine entering the cave and being reminded of our follies past and present.
Maybe you are familiar with Shaka Zulu. Whether he was a brilliant military leader ahead of his time or a tyrant of the worst sort is still under debate. Regardless, he has had his own television show and song written about him. He never would have imagined these tributes to exists and Zulu only knows how he would have felt about any of it. it is less likely you are familiar with Zwangendaba who managed feats to rival those of Shaka while escaping his rule. He led the Jere clan on an epic escape spanning over 2 decades. Eventually he met his demise to a poisoned arrow during a solar eclipse and was laid to rest under a massive shrine turned to rubble. Should you visit during February you may be able to stand back and appreciate reenactments of ancient Zulu rituals from times gone by.
Dag Hammarskjöld Crash Site
Many nations harbor their greatest mystery, whether that be America’s JFK or Russia’s Dyatlov Pass, but Zambia is home to the greatest mystery belonging to the United Nations. In 1961, Hammarskjöld and 17 other dignitaries were aboard a flight bound for peace talks in the Republic of Congo. The plane never arrived and went down in Zambia. It may have been an accident or something more nefarious to subvert their efforts. The site exists as place to visit, remember and seek answers to questions as prevalent and unsolved as the remaining remains.
Stevenson Road/Good News
When prepping for a road trip, we would be remiss to overlook Stevenson Road. Sure, it never came to fruition in its plan to be a common thoroughfare, and that is what we respect about it. It’s a bumpy, brazen, half-idea at best, much like ourselves. On the other hand, it inspired many other grand plans that came to fruition. The most obvious, is that it helped create the Zambia-Tanzania border. The funding for the road came from a local mission, which spurned missions and towns along the route, promoting good for locals and protection for slaves. Along the way, if you search the underbrush, you can find the buried remains of the SS Good News, sunken into the land and growing plant life around and over it, because sometimes the good news is there, you just have to know where to look and see what is growing out of it.