The Traveller's Friend : Travel the Zambezi - Botswana, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Friday, 29 August 2014



Shearwater launches fully refurbished vessels.

It was with due pomp and ceremony that Shearwater last week launched its newly refurbished signature boats to take us into an anticipated busy season of soothing sunset cruises.  The often unsung land crew who work in the Shearwater shipyard on Teak Road, have been labouring away to ensure all guests who forthwith slip anchor, do so with increasing comfort, indulgence and safety.

Lower and upper decks have been freshly carpeted so that Hugh Heffner himself could smooch about in dressing gown, pipe and slippers and feel at home.  The ceiling of the upper deck has been finished with eco friendly iso board as opposed to roughly hewn fibre glass.  Tables have now been enriched with white linen table cloths, adding a little touch of grandeur as guests await the clink clink fizz of a refreshing gin and tonic or ice cold Zambezi beer.  On leaving the jetty, the brand new 4 stroke engines and latest hydraulic steering ensure a quieter and smoother cruise as the craft and crew head downstream. 

Once midstream the advantages of having a highly rated restaurant in town (Rainforest Cafe) becomes self evident, as the delicious snacks that are served,  are prepared by the same chefs and  are of a quality way beyond the expectations of most customers

It’s not just hardware and hors d’oeuvres though.  The entire crew have undergone extensive training to really enhance levels of service, facilitate interaction with guests, and animate the whole nature of the cruise with commentary and insights where appropriate.  They have also undergone comprehensive first aid training.  And finally of course - a useful barometer of comfort and convenience is so often the basic ones – the facilities.  Separate ladies and gents loos –2 for each, and no unseemly hand pumps for flushing – all fully automatic.

The serenity and tranquillity of those sublime Zambezi  sunset cruises just got a whole lot better.


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

African Bush Camps – The Safari Act Special


Three exceptional packages offering travellers a once in a lifetime safari experience of two unique Destinations – Botswana and Zimbabwe. Book your preferred package now for travel between 1st November and 30th November 2014 and receive an unbelievable 20% discount.

Zimbabwe in 3 Acts
ONLY: USD 3 823*

Enjoy 8 nights in Zimbabwe exploring Hwange National Park and the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mana Pools.

Includes: 3 nights at Somalisa Camp in Hwange National Park, 2 nights at Zambezi Life Styles and 3 nights at Kanga Camp in Mana Pools

Botswana in 3 Acts
ONLY: USD 4 347*

Enjoy 8 nights in Botswana exploring the remote areas of Khwai, and Linyanti. Includes: 3 nights Khwai Tented Camp, 2 nights Saile Tented Camp and 3 nights Linyanti Bush Camp

The Double Act
ONLY: USD 8 825*

Enjoy 16 nights combining both Botswana and Zimbabwe and get two nights for FREE in Victoria Falls.

Includes: Zimbabwe in 3 Acts, Botswana in 3 Acts and two free nights in Victoria Falls at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge.

The 20% discount applies to the African Bush Camps properties included in the package. Transfers included in the package are not discounted. Each safari has to be booked in its entirety for the discounted rates to apply and cannot be separated or substituted for alternative options. The packages are subject to availability at all camps incorporated.

Standard Terms and Conditions apply.

For further enquiries please enquire direct at

Zambezi Traveller Directory:
African Bush Camps

Monday, 11 August 2014

Feeling Blue

By Evelyn Roe, Botanist with North-West Naturalists' Society of Zambia

Does Lobelia feel blue? Is Wahlen bergia ringing a sad note from its bell-like flower? Maybe they’re a little lonesome because blue is rare in the plant kingdom, occurring in less than 10% of the world’s 350,000 flowering plant species.

Aptosimum decumbens

In the Livingstone area, we seem to have our fair share of floral blueness, from the delicate petals of Lobelia kirkii which grace the paths at the Victoria Falls, to the dense hairs in which the stamens of Cyanotis longifolia are enmeshed; and from the creeping Aptosimum to the climbing Evolvulus, both of which bear blue-hued tubular flowers.

Cyanotis longifolia

However, some plant families cannot produce blue flowers, not even under duress! Horticulturalists have been trying for decades to produce a blue rose, but the latest genetic technology has managed only a pale imitation - a lilac rose.


So, what is the secret of the blue-flowering plant?

Certain families are capable of performing a kind of floral magic. First, they make red anthocyanins, which are found commonly in the plant kingdom, and store them in the watery vacuoles of their cells. Later, they transform them into blue pigments when they have the right conditions of light, acidity, a supply of particular metal ions, and a stack of other essential plant chemicals. The complexity of the transformation has been noted by scientists, but exactly how it happens remains a mystery.

Evolvulus alsinoides

We might ask, is flower colour significant for the plant? Many birds and insects are attracted to blue flowers and harvest their nectar, helping with pollination on such feeding forays. However, they also visit flowers with red and yellow hues, so it’s difficult for researchers to work out what it means to be blue. Perhaps it’s not the outward appearance of blueness that makes a difference; it could be that other qualities of the pigments– such as their metallic nature - influence the plant’s development and wellbeing.

Commelina forskaolii

In Tradescantia, which is a close relative of Commelina and Cyanotis, the blue stamen hairs mutate to pink in the presence of nuclear or chemical pollution. Experiments over the past 40 years have shown that spiderwort, as Tradescantia is commonly known, can be used as a reliable detector of such environmental contaminants.

Lobelia kirkii

In some cultures, the blue flower is a symbol of inspiration, hope and love. It can also represent the striving for the divine, and the merging of the self with nature. How does this tie in with our association of the colour blue with feelings of sadness, I wonder? Perhaps the coolness and spaciousness of the Earth’s azure skies and deep-blue seas create feelings of alone-ness; or maybe our human striving for union with the divine and the infinite is simply unreachable and unobtainable...just like the blue rose.

More from this issue:
ZT17 (June 2014) - Main Menu
ZT17 (June 2014) - Full Content Listing

More from the Zambezi Traveller:
Livingstone News

More articles in this series:

Silent Trumpets (ZT, Issue 16, Mar 2014)
Christmas crackers (ZT, Issue 15, Dec 2013)
Don't eat the daffodils (ZT, Issue 14, Sept 2013)
Rainforest Riches (ZT, Issue 13, June 2013)
Berry banquet (ZT, Issue 12, March 2013)
Marvellous Mangoes (ZT, Issue 11, December 2012)
Underground Forests (ZT, Issue 10, September 2012)
The healing powers of Aloes (ZT, Issue 09, June 2012)
Dogbane Drugs (ZT, Issue 08, March 2012)
Devil’s Claw (ZT, Issue 07, December 2011)
Elephant Toothpicks (ZT, Issue 06, Sept 2011)