During the dry months (between May and mid-November), you can also opt for a thrilling, photo-worthy excursion: a dip in the Devil’s Pool, which sits at the top of Victoria Falls. A guide swims with you to a natural rock formation at the very edge of the falls, where it looks as if you are about to go over the edge. Luckily, the natural rock wall just below the water’s surface stops you from being washed over despite the current.
About 247km north of Victoria Falls is the town of Chitambo. And about 30km further lies a small village called Chirundu, where Livingstone died in May 1873 of malaria during his exploration of the rivers north of Lake Bangeweulu. At first, Livingstone’s superstitious servants refused to move his body, but relented after they buried his heart under a mvule tree near the spot where he died, saying that the explorer’s heart belonged in Africa. The date of his death and the names of his three servants were carved into the tree, and today a large cairn marks the spot where the tree used to stand. His embalmed body was eventually wrapped in bark and sailcloth, and his servants carried it to Zanzibar to be sent back to England.
Lower Zambezi National Park
About 45km east of Zambia’s capital Lusaka and 373km northeast from Livingstone, the Lower Zambezi National Park offers an opportunity to explore the Zambezi river, just like Livingstone did in his heyday. In 1842, he began a four-year expedition to find a route from the upper Zambezi to the eastern coast near Mozambique.
As one of the first medical missionaries to enter southern Africa and the first European to explore the region, Livingstone’s observations filled huge gaps in western knowledge of central and southern Africa. And while his initial goal was to spread Christianity and bring trade to these regions, later missions were focused on ending the slave trade in Africa, exploring the Zambezi and its tributaries, and later, finding the source of the Nile.
Today, game such as packs of elephants, water buffalo and water buck wander in and out of the Zambezi channels, while lions and leopards can be spotted within the park grounds. Several local tour operators such as Wilderness Travel offer canoe trips along the Chongwe River, which makes up the western boundary of the park.
Tour operators Robin Pope Safaris and Club Travel are celebrating Livingstone’s achievements in 2013 by offering packages that retrace his journey, allowing adventurous travellers to do all the things that Livingstone did centuries before, such as game viewing, boating, hiking, rhino tracking, cultural tours and sailing.