A pot-holed journey to Sioma Ngwezi National Park

We arrived at Sioma Campsite on August 2nd after about 420 km of travel of which 100+ km was described as a “not a very good road” in our research. It was not a “not very good road” but a “very not very good road”! It was a bit of an adventure and the video clop below gives a good example of what we endured for probably close to two hours of driving.

We passed through many rural villages and all had Ministry of education schools and health clinics so positive development is obviously happening in Zambia.

The road eventually became a nice paved surface and the remainder of our drive was pleasant but surreal as the road was newly paved with bright centre and shoulder lines freshly painted and yet the villages we passed were still traditional grass thatched huts with reed bunch windbreakers and cattle corrals.

We stopped into the town of Sesheke on route and picked up some ice for our cooler and noticed several Halal meat signs on the meat shops. There were also some shop names with the word “Israel” so we assume this village may have a Jewish and Muslin influence. More research needs to be done to confirm this.

Once we picked up our ice we proceeded a little further down the road and I thought one of my tires might be a little low on pressure so we stopped into “Busy Auto Repair” to check it out. I got out of the truck and met a nice young man and I asked if he could check my tire pressure. He pointed to his sign and said “can’t you read, I’m busy”! Ha ha, I had to throw that in there. Our tires were fine. Bad joke.

Our campsite at Sioma was actually quite beautiful. We overlooked the Zambezi River and would occasionally see fisherman paddling out into the lazy current.

Although the road signs on the highway near us warned of elephant crossings unfortunately there were no elephants and worse, no hippos in the waters we overlooked.

The actual park was several km away from our site and the main attraction in the park is waterfalls that were supposed to be second in size to Victoria Falls. We knew from previous experience the low water levels this time of year are very low so we decided to skip the park.

Sioma camp has a great website but I think it might be several years old. They advertised first and foremost “cold beer”. The sign on the entrance from the highway even advertised this. It made you thirsty and looking forward to a cold one once you set up camp.

They had 6 beers in a freezer and the bar area was decrepit.

They advertised fishing expeditions.

When I asked the Manager, or whoever he was about fishing, he said his hooks were all ruined. What about the boat I asked? No boat he replied.

Maybe this place was happening years ago. It looked liked it could have been a cool place, but as I write this we are the only people staying here and I couldn’t even find anyone around to pay for our firewood.

There is a communal bathroom and showers and they are nice. There is also a small kitchen spot on the grounds with gas to do some cooking but overall, still kind of sad.

We think this is a place to avoid or at best use for a one night pit stop on the way to Luiwa Plains NP or Mongu enroute to Kafue National Park.

It is 10:00 pm as I write this and rather than listening to the sounds of nature we are surrounded by barking dogs in the distance and far off highway noise. Our next destination, Luiwa Plains is pristine so we are really looking forward to 3 nights of a true untouched non commercialized bush camping experience.

One thought on “A pot-holed journey to Sioma Ngwezi National Park

  1. Wow – thanks for sharing your adventure with us. Hopefully when you arrived at your destination – you did find the pristine camping experience. I just had a road trip to Trail to visit our Annie! Very fun. Love to you both.

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