The South Barotse Trails Route is a community-based tourism route in south-western Zambia which roughly follows the Zambezi River from Victoria Falls in the east, to Ngonye Falls in the west. The route’s gateway is Livingstone in the east or Katima Mulilo if approached from the south and it meanders through Mwandi and Sesheke before heading into the rural areas of Lusu and Sioma. Apart from being able to delve into Livingstone’s rich history, the route provides visitors with the opportunity to interact with local communities in the untouched charm of their rural surroundings alongside the Zambezi, one of Africa’s greatest rivers. The first thing one notices upon arrival in Zambia is the gentle and friendly nature of its people. It is this aspect that stays with you long after you have forgotten the natural beauty which the country has to offer. Zambia offers much in terms of natural beauty, highlighted by the fact that it has 19 national parks, 37 game-management areas and two bird sanctuaries. Wildlife is abundant in many parts of Zambia and you could spot endemics to the region like Kafue lechwe, Thronicroft’s giraffe and Cookson’s wildebeest. Birders will not be disappointed, with 740 different bird species recorded in the country so far.
The appeal of the route lies in the combination of African remoteness and westernised infrastructure. The remoteness of some of the areas means that villages have not yet been influenced by western standards, yet on the other hand, one is somewhat surprised that a lot of the area is accessible by tarred roads. This makes it an ideal opportunity to visit one of the seven natural wonders of the world combined with the experience of visiting the as yet unspoilt areas further inland. There is currently a yearning for people to return to their roots and to connect with their natural environment. This route gives visitors the opportunity to revitalise the soul as only the African bush can, and to connect with the people of this area.
The history of Zambia is well documented through the travels of legendary explorer David Livingstone. Few people however are aware of its history before the arrival of Livingstone. Zambia’s present population lives on lands that have been inhabited by ancestors for millions of years. Archaeologists have established that the human civilization process got under way 3 million years ago, and crude stone implements, similar to some of that age found in Kenya, have also been found alongside the Zambezi River.