Ngonye Falls area
Lying about 132km north of Katima Mulilo, the main reason for visiting this area of southwest Zambia is for the Ngonye Falls (often referred to as the Sioma Falls) and the Sioma Ngwezi National Park. The falls are spectacular, although the park is not easy for the casual visitor to enjoy. With travel in the area often taking much time, these are also good places at which to rest for a few days if you are travelling between Sesheke and Mongu. Livingstone passed this way, having come north through what is now Botswana.
He noted:30th November, 1853. – At Gonye Falls. No rain has fallen here, so it is excessively hot. The trees have put on their gayest dress, and many flowers adorn the landscape, yet the heat makes all the leaves droop at mid-day and look languid for want of rain. If the country increases as much in beauty in front, as it has done within the last four degrees of latitude, it will indeed be a lovely land.
For many miles below, the river is confined in a narrow space of not more than one hundred yards wide. The water goes boiling along, and gives the idea of great masses of it rolling over and over, so that even the most expert swimmer would find it difficult to keep on the surface. Here it is that the river when in flood rises fifty or sixty feet in perpendicular height. The islands above the falls are covered with foliage as beautiful as can be seen anywhere. Viewed from the mass of rock which overhangs the fall, the scenery was the loveliest I had seen.
This was about two years before Livingstone journeyed further down the Zambezi and saw the Victoria Falls for the first time.
Getting there and away
The Ngonye Falls are a short walk from the road, about 120km as the crow flies from Sesheke, and 57km southeast of the Sitoti Ferry. Driving to them, you should first stop at the National Parks Office at Ngonye (GPS:NPSIOM), which is clearly marked beside the road. Here you can pay the entry fees, leave your vehicle safely, and find a guide to take you down to the falls themselves.
Where to stay
Though this isn't really a campsite run by the national park's staff, if you stop at the National Parks and Wildlife Service office near the falls, then they'll point you to a basic campsite nearby. They'll also give you advice on the best way to see the falls.
Rates: Camping US$10