Words by Patrick Cruywagen Pictures by Patrick Cruywagen and Alison Cole
I’ve been visiting Livingstone for about a decade now, and have stayed everywhere from five-star hotels to backpacker dorms to campsites to chalets. During my younger days I frequented one particular venue because it was where the overland trucks normally stopped, which meant that things frequently got wild (and memorable). There are some rather prominent and respected figures in the 4×4 industry who might remember one occasion when nipple clamps (it’s not what you think – it involves sambuca, fire and bravado) were involved. Of course, things have changed; these days I look for places which have a bush feel, where I can read my book in peace and quiet.
On a recent trip to Livingstone, Ignatius Lindeque, a friend of mine who lives there, asked me to come and have a look at the campsite he was about to open. Ignatius entered into this venture with Jakes Jacobs, a Livingstone-based paramedic; this is a man whose card I carry in my wallet when travelling in Zambia as he’s better connected than MTN. As both these guys are South Africans who love the bush they’ve created a campsite with the South African traveller in mind.
Baobab Campsite is located on the same property as United Air Charters (another of Ignatius’ businesses); they own the dark blue Eurocopters which you see doing ips over Victoria Falls on the Zambian side. A campsite on the edge of a heliport might sound like a recipe for disaster but the helicopters only fly during the day and around the falls so their noise isn’t much worse than the grunt of a nearby hippo.
The other big advantage of this locality is that the massive deck and braai area, which serves as the waiting area for those taking a ight, can be used by campers. is is a popular socialising area especially for groups.
One thing I liked about Baobab is that it’s far out of town; you need to take a dirt road to get there, so you get the feeling that you’re camping in the bush. Plus, it’s a lot closer to the falls than staying in town or next to the river. Each campsite site has its own little building which houses a kitchen and bathroom. Several SA-compatible electricity points can be found in each of these buildings. Most people say that camping isn’t so bad if you have a decent toilet and shower. The great thing about Baobab is that you will have a private unit just for your party, and the showers are spacious and clean. Each site has its own braai area. In short, the site has everything a South African could need. At the time of my visit they had just planted a small grassy area at each site where one can put a tent or chair. The surroundings are mostly bush and rocks.
Baobab campsite has several things going for it. Firstly, it’s away from the main road and people and you get the feeling you’re in the bush. Secondly, it’s not too far from the area’s main attraction, the falls. Thirdly, it’s been designed and built by South Africans for South Africans. Finally, at sunset you can take a stroll to the deck with a drink and watch the smoke that thunders. And if you like you can have a braai there too.