The road from Kabompo, the M8, is a remarkably good gravel road (gradually being tarred), with relatively few villages and lots of thick teak forests along it. In the dry season the smoke from occasional bush fires will be seen drifting in the sky, above areas of scorched and blackened ground.
Zambezi is a small town with a few very basic shops, a mission, a telecommunications centre (Zambia's Ptc), and a small local market. There is one simple hotel here, the Zambezi Motel (Tel: 08 371123), which costs around us$12 per night, and an even more basic government resthouse which charges us$5 per night. Note that, like many regional centres in Zambia, Zambezi is referred to locally as 'the boma'.
Zambezi has just one fuel station, but this is unreliable and often empty. There are disturbing reports from this area of watered-down petrol from illicit sources – known as 'bush fuel' – being sold to unsuspecting travellers. This makes it even more essential, if you're driving into this area, to do so with very large reserves of fuel.Note on security
Because tourists are rare, and the border with Angola is a sensitive one, travellers going west or north from Zambezi should report to the local police – just to let them know that you're here. Perhaps going in to the police station to inquire 'if it is safe to proceed' is the easiest way to do this. It will allow them to ask you questions if they wish, and reassure them that you mean no harm and are not there to cause problems.
Getting there and awayFrom Lukulu
See Lukulu, Getting there and away, From Lukulu to Kasempa
for the road to Watopa pontoon (GPS:FERRY4), and note that this pontoon is incorrectly marked on the ITM map of Zambia. Then it is 20km north to the M8 road at Mumbeji (GPS:MUMBEJ), and a further 75km west and northwest to Zambezi.
This good M8 road continues to the Angolan border, at Chavuma, and there are plans to tar it.
What to see and doTraditional dancing
A few kilometres north of town are the palaces of the Lunda and the Luvale senior chiefs, on the east and west sides of the road respectively. The Luvale chief's palace is not only the venue for the Likumbi Lya Mize but also for traditional dancing which is held here several times a week.Chinyingi Mission
About a third of the way from Zambezi to Chavuma, just after the Makondu River, is a major track heading west and leading to the Chinyingi Mission. If you miss this turning then there is another better-signposted turning a few kilometres later.
The mission is located on the east side of the river, and runs a school and a rural health centre. It is perhaps most famous for the Chinyingi suspension bridge – one of only four bridges to span the width of the Zambezi anywhere along its length. (The others are at Chirundu, Tete and the railway bridge near Livingstone.) The mission is run by Capuchin brothers. They are helpful and usually jovial, and will happily tell you more about the area and the mission if you ask them.