The proximity to numerous international borders from Livingstone is part of the destination’s appeal. A person could quite easily wake up in Zambia and cross into Botswana for a cruise on the Chobe River. That same afternoon, they could travel to Zimbabwe for High Tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel and return to their lodge in Zambia before the sun sets.
The above might sound exhaustive; however, it is all rather straightforward and utterly enjoyable. Air-conditioned vans with smiling chauffeurs can escort your private group and assist with all of the border formalities. Access to the Kaza Univisa means that your initial visa is valid for the duration of your journey, and rather than paying any further fees, you will simply have your passport stamped with a friendly welcome.
The scenic drive involves passing through the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia, Chobe National Park in Botswana, and the Zambezi National Park in Zimbabwe. Along the way, you are very likely to see herds of elephants, troops of baboons, a dazzle of zebras, and a tower of giraffes. You’ll pass by traditional villages with children waving and where life continues without modern luxuries and huts are kept immaculately clean.
Where is Kazangula?
Kazangula is the name of the district on the Zambian side of the border with Botswana, about 70 km from Livingstone town centre. Most people that live in this area survive from subsistence farming, fishing and cross-border trading. Tourism has positively impacted the region as several lodges cater to avid fishers on the lookout for prize tigerfish. Moreover, upmarket lodges such as Royal Chundu have implemented successful social enterprises in the surrounding village.
Why is Kazangula famous?
Although not ever officially mandated, the Kazangula area is said to be the only place on Earth where four countries met at a single point. It has been argued that Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia all came together at a quadripoint in the middle of the Zambezi River.
Whereas there are places in the United States of America where four states come together, the Kazangula area is the only instance where four nations converged. This has led to some skirmishes in the past. In 1970, South Africa claimed that there wasn’t even a border between Zambia and Botswana. At the time, South West Africa (present-day Namibia) was under the South African administration. Years later, Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe) fired shots and sank a ferry under the pretence of it being a military operation.
The Kazangula ferries still run today and enable pedestrians, passenger cars and lorries to cross the Zambezi River from Zambia to Botswana. A long-awaited bridge opened in 2021, which should speed up the process and be much more efficient, but we will miss this quirky river crossing.
Why did it take so long to build a bridge at Kazangula?
The newly-built bridge at Kazangula that spans between Zambia and Zimbabwe is an engineering masterpiece. It is as functional as it is beautiful by design. However, the precise placement of the bridge was a bureaucratic nightmare with four countries involved. It was only in August 2007 that the final deal was announced after years of deliberation.
Is there a sign to note where the four countries meet?
There is no marker to note where the countries of Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Namibia meet. The current agreement is that, rather than a quadripoint, there are two separate tripoints where the countries meet. This does make things easier for bridge-building, but rather than being the only national quadripoint on Earth, this area is one of over 150 tripoints.