After only a two-hour drive out of Lusaka, everything changes. The sound of cars disappears and is replaced with chirping birds and rushing water. The grey of the buildings becomes the green and brown of the earth. Nature takes over and reminds me why this is my favorite place.
I’ve been visiting the Livingstone since I was a child. Whenever my family needs a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, we tend to venture south. Any place along the Zambezi River is particularly beautiful in my humble, unbiased opinion. Sunsets along the Zambezi are simply different from any others I’ve ever seen. It’s as if the universe’s energy is released with more force in that particular part of the world. The Victoria Falls – or Mosi-oa-Tunya (the smoke that thunders) as it is locally called – is just as brilliant. The natural wonder renders all of its visitors speechless, forcing us to realize just how insignificant we are in the grand scheme of the world.
Whenever I visit the Livingstone, I feel a greater sense of pride in where I’m from. I am reminded that my country is incredibly beautiful, with scenic areas that have remained untouched by the unwarranted threat of “development.” Though Livingstone itself is a town, it only takes a short drive into the bush to escape urbanization. There is almost an unspoken agreement between lodge owners and the land that lodges should do their best to blend with nature. Thanks to our local conservationists doing whatever they can to preserve our environment, wildlife along the Zambezi River is protected as best as it can be.
I have lived away from home for the past six years, and the distance hasn’t gotten any easier to bear. My time at home has become all the more necessary for my grounding. When I’m able to drive 2 hours out of my city to watch the sunrise from my favorite place, I feel a renewed gratitude for who I am and where I’m from. As I sit in a boat floating between Zambia and Zimbabwe, I think about the the fact that my grandparents endured a time when they were not free to move about in their own countries. I feel grateful for my parents who took what little they were born into and turned it into any- and everything my brother and I could have asked for. I remember the true nature of being Zambian – working hard to provide for something greater than yourself.