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 but all had Ministry if 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 has 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 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 and 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. To add to the slight disappointment, the actual park was several km away and there really wasn’t much to see. Sioma camp has a great website but I think it might be several years old. They advertise first and foremost “cold beer”. They had 6 beers in a freezer. They advertise 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. Maybe this place was happening years ago 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. Kinda sad and now we know this is a place to either 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.