After many hours on a bumpy road filled with potholes, we arrived at Negpi Camp, eager to rest our weary bones.
Along the way, amidst the desert landscapes, Emma managed to flag down some local farmers on horseback.
Before long she had convinced them to let her go for a quick ride. She trotted off into the distance, made an about-turn and headed back.
Handing back over the rains, she asked if the horse had a name, to which the farmer replied “no”.
It was at this point I realized; Emma had rode through the desert on a horse with no name. America would be proud.
Negpi Camp proved to be a hidden gem, with a beautiful campsite nestled along the Kavango River.
The highlight was undoubtedly the caged pool, allowing us to swim directly in the river.
As evening descended upon us, we indulged in a hearty dinner and drinks at the backpacker bar, sharing stories and laughter. It was a chance to unwind after what had been another long day on the road
The next morning, we rose early to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee thanks to Rhino and Dean, who had gotten up a fair few minutes before us.
With coffee cups in hand, we watched the sunrise of the river and discussed the plan for the day.
We were teaching at a small local primary school about a minute's drive from the camp, then would head straight on to Livingstone.
The school was a small, dusty, and very rural structure, open on three sides to the elements. Around 50 enthusiastic and very young children had shown up, along with half of the village.
One of whom was a lady who recorded the entire two-hour teaching session on her phone.
These lessons really optimized what LiC was all about, children having fun and learning to love conservation, in an environment that was wild and remote.
After the lessons, we set off for Livingstone. We arrived at Kazungula border post in good time, crossing over the Zambezi river before parking at the new one stop border post building, designed to speed up the immigration process.
It certainly looked nice but failed to streamline the entry into Zambia. We spent two hours waiting for Dean to sort out the payment for the vehicle.
After many “administrative hurdles,” we were finally let through. We climbed into Kili and headed for Livingstone.
The rest of the journey was rather uneventful bar a heated discussion on whether we had seen a Grey or Dickenson’s Kestrel. We never settled this debate.
Arriving at the River Club lodge just in time to check in to our rooms and rush to the pool to witness the sunset over the Zambezi River.
Our gratitude is extended to Steve Maccormick and Peter Jones for arranging our luxurious accommodations.
Each of us had our own fancy, spacious room, finally allowing us a break from each other for the first on the trip.
That evening, we ventured into Livingstone town for dinner at the Waterfront, one of the best meals of the trip so far hands down. We got back later than expected and went straight to bed.
The following day brought both farewells and new beginnings.
It was a late start, and due to our 9 a.m. teaching schedule at Tujatane School, we had the opportunity to sleep in.
Rhino chose to sit this one out due to the persistent pain in his back.
A few months before the trip he had seriously injured his lower back and had spent three weeks bed-bound trying to recover. Encouraging his decision, we told him not to worry and that we would be fine as three for today's lessons
The day at Tujatane School was nothing short of fantastic. With 40 eager students, we engaged in interactive lessons, breakout groups for presentations on the big five, games, and even an improvised tracking demonstration.
The highlight came at the end of our teaching when the children performed a song and dance, naturally, it wasn't long before we all joined in.
After the lesson we were given a tour of the school, the facilities were amazing and it was clear that the model was working very well.
Before leaving we saw two boys who had not yet left to go home. When asked why they had not left to go home yet they replied “because there are elephants on the shortcut”, emphasizing the importance of education on human-wildlife conflict in Livingstone.
Returning to the River Club, we received bad news. Rhino had decided to leave the trip due to the pain in his back. It was a tough moment, but we knew it was the best decision for his health.
As we watched the sunset once again from the pool deck, we drove into town for a final group dinner, enjoying curry and reminiscing about the incredible journey so far.
We grabbed some beers to go from the restaurant and returned to the lodge for a final drink as a team before Rhino's departure in the morning.
The next day, we said our sad goodbyes to Rhino, who had organized a taxi to the airport. With heavy hearts, we continued as a team of three, bound for the Lower Zambezi, ready for what came next.