Sesheke actually consists of two small towns located on opposite sides of the Zambezi. The bigger town is on the east side, reached by driving from Livingstone, or taking the pontoon over the river. There are a few stores here, a small branch of the Finance Bank, a simple hospital, a police station (listen for their marching songs at 04.30 if sleeping here!) and a small government resthouse. If you have a cellphone you can get coverage here from the Namibian 'MTN' network. If you're heading north, this could be your last chance to use it for a while!
The smaller western section of Sesheke town, located next to the border with Namibia, has a police post and a small local store. Across the border in Namibia's Katima Mulilo fuel is cheaper and supplies are more plentiful, so Sesheke can be very quiet.
Where to stay
Sesheke has a handful of very basic places to sleep. On the western side the obvious spot is the Chumakweseke Grocery, Restaurant, Bottle Store and Guest House
which is relatively near to the promising Eclipse Night Club, a little cosmetic shop and salon, and a place manufacturing attractive wooden beds. On the eastern side they include the simple Satelite Guest House
, just to the east of town, Sleep-rite Guest House
behind the market, and Sesheke Rest House
, near Brenda's Baobab. All are very unsophisticated and basic, and correspondingly inexpensive.
However, the obvious option in Shesheke for travellers is on the eastern side: Brenda's, described below. If you're driving then your options widen considerably with at least one camp beside the river on the way to Livingstone (Soka Fishing Camp), and several more interesting places north of town, on the way to Ngonye Falls.Brenda's Best Baobab
Mulambwe St, PO Box 40, Sesheke; tel: 01 481228 in Lusaka
This unexpected gem sits behind St Kizito Roman Catholic Church, in Sesheke. Brenda and her husband, who is a Dutch GP, both travel regularly between Europe and Sesheke – so they're very aware of the standards that foreign guests appreciate. They've recently built four double-storey en-suite chalets which are certainly the best rooms in town. Brenda's has some promising looking vegetable gardens down near the Zambezi and adjacent grassy lawns dotted with shady picnic tables, down beside the Zambezi where the campsite is. Nearby are clean toilets and showers, and a large expanse of wooden decking around the large baobab which dominates the camp. They'll serve food, drinks, and an eclectic range of beers drawn from Namibia, Zambia and South Africa.Soka Fishing Camp
(3 chalets) c/o Gwembe Safaris, PO Box 630067, Choma; tel: 032 20169, 20021 or 20119; fax: 20054 or 20570. (GPS:SOKACA); the turn-off from Livingstone–Sesheke road is (GPS:TUSOKA)
Soka Camp is around 55km east of Sesheke, and 3km from the road. It overlooks a side-channel of the Zambezi, and beyond are wide floodplains, typical of the seasonally-flooded eastern end of Namibia's Caprivi Strip. The camp is owned by the Brooks family, of Gwembe Safaris and has three exceedingly spartan thatched chalets, each with its own shower and toilet; beds and mattresses are provided, but not linen.
Camping is really the best option here. There is a flush toilet, a gas fridge, a wood stove and some basic kitchen equipment for cooking, but you must bring your own food. River water is available, and the local people looking after the camp are friendly – they put a kettle on and heated water for showers without us even asking.
Note that the approach road to the camp is rather rough and really only navigable by 4WD, and there was elephant dung here when last we visited so keep an eye out for the wildlife.
Getting there and away
Sesheke is easily reached from either Livingstone or Katima Mulilo, in Namibia, on excellent tarred roads. The Livingstone–Sesheke road used to be one of the worst stretches of road in Zambia, but it's now one of the best – complete with a brand new, high-level bridge across the Zambezi at Sesheke.The Sesheke Bridge
In May 2004 the Zambian and Namibian presidents, Levy Mwanawasa and Sam Nujoma, opened this new bridge which connects Namibia to central Africa. They enthused that it would unlock the potential for trade and transport between their two countries, whilst opening up vital access to the Namibian port of Walvis Bay for central Africa.
The bridge is 900m long and lies about 5km inside Zambian territory. It was financed largely by Germany, who provided 32 million euros to build the bridge and improve the Sesheke–Livingstone road in Zambia as part of an infrastructure aid programme.
German and South African companies took only two years to build what is still only the fifth bridge to span the width of the Zambezi – the others being the road bridges at Chirundu, Tete and Livingstone, and the footbridge at Chinyingi Mission.