(8 huts, camping) office opposite Fawlty Towers; tel: 03 323708, 323194; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; www.junglejunction.net
Jungle Junction's funky Bovu island promises (and delivers) 'hippos, hammocks, huts and harmony'. A large, sandy island on the Zambezi, it's a 10-minute makoro ride from shore. Transfers are arranged by their office in Livingstone, but the launch site is reached via the same turn-off as Zambezi Royal Chundu, about an hour's drive from town. Jungle Junction has a well-earned reputation for a hippie atmosphere, attracting visitors to 'party' in paradise. Allegedly hippos aren't the only ones to snort a lot here.
Facilities are rustic, but the setting is splendid: indigenous shade trees, sandy beaches and sweeping river views. Here you can idle away the days or sway in the breeze tucked in one of the hammocks around the island. Simple reed-and-thatch riverside huts share basic ablutions (flush loos, and showers with hot running water). The two larger ones have wood floors, mesh windows, mossie nets and veranda with views to Zambezi National Park. The others (2 twins, 1 double and 3 with just mattresses on the ground, encircled by mossie nets) have sand floors and roll-up reed mats in front. There is no electricity, though a generator heats water and powers the fridges. The camping area, where there's plenty of space to pitch your tent upon the sandy shoreline, has its own kitchen (utensils and essentials provided) and shared ablutions (long-drops and hot/cold bucket showers). You can even hire a tent complete with mattress, blanket and pillow, though you'll have to bring your own linen or, in the words of the staff, 'drink enough so you don't care'.
Three nearby bomas house the barefoot bar with its river views and futon-style floor seating, undoubtedly the most popular hang-out. In the adjacent library, books line shelves made of makoros. The restaurant serves food throughout the day for US$4 to $15: standard fare of sandwiches, steaks etc or traditional Zambian meals. A small shop sells curios and basic essentials, but it's better to bring your own food if you plan to cook. Activities include fishing, nature walks, village/school visits and trips taking you hippo watching or to a secluded swimming spot. Think twice before venturing into crocodile-infested waters, though, no matter how safe it is deemed. Fashioning your own fishing rod out of a reed pole is quite novel, or you can hire tackle for about US$5 a day. Transfers and all boat activities are in makoros (dugout canoes), which are fun but potentially perilous, and venturing too near the river can be dangerous as crocodiles quickly become habituated to people and may lurk in the shadows. Two-day guided canoe trips (using inflatable 'crocodile' canoes) are in the offing.