Livingstone in the south of Zambia is the tourist center for visitors to the impressive Victoria Falls. The Zambezi River separates Zimbabwe and Zambia and both countries ‘share’ the Vic Falls located in this river. The place is named after the Scottish explorer David Livingstone, the first white person to see these huge waterfalls in the year 1855 and give them the name of the English Queen. Whoever walks or drives through Livingstone will see that there are still many English influences from the colonial era.
At the end of the 19th century, the so-called ‘Old Drift’ was the safest place in the wider area to cross the Zambezi. This crossing point in the river, just above the falls, was therefore very important for trade between the areas south and north of the Zambezi. Because this point was used so much, the British camped here (this is called Old Livingstone). After 1900, however, the English left for higher ground, as the malaria mosquitoes by the river caused many sick and dead. The settlers settled in 1905 on a piece of land that they called Livingstone as a tribute to the explorer.
The British settlers built schools for their children, churches, banks, pubs, hotels, theaters, and huge colonial-style houses, some of which can still be seen today. The British pursued a policy similar to that of the apartheid regime in South Africa, whites and blacks were largely separated and the provisions for the black population were scarce. The area where the black population lived bore the name Maramba, named after the small Maramba river that flows nearby, the township of Livingstone still bears this name. There was even talk of renaming Livingstone in ‘Maramba’ since it is the only place in Zambia that still bears an English name after independence in 1964. But because of the international reputation that the place name has for tourism, this name change is very unlikely.
As mentioned, Livingstone is the perfect base for visiting the Victoria Falls and all activities that take place around the waterfall such as bungee jumping from the Zambezi bridge, rafting on the Zambezi, flights above the waterfall with a microlight plane, boat cruises, fishing etc. The Mosi oa-Tunya National Park includes both the falls and a game reserve where you can make a safari by 4×4. Around the falls there are many markets where you can buy souvenirs, art objects, clothing and jewelry from a variety of materials.
Buildings from the English occupation that you will see when you walk or drive through Livingstone include the North-West hotel built in 1909, Saint Andrews Church from 1910, The High Court from 1910 and the Old Government House. Many of the buildings are being restored or have been nominated for restoration. Those who want to know more about the history of Livingstone and the surrounding area can visit the Livingstone Museum, Maramba cultural Museum, Victoria Falls Field Museum (geology and archeology) and the Railway Museum.
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Livingstone has a humid sub-tropical climate with a rainy season that is wet and warm from November to February (the showers that regularly fall provide a spectacular amount of water at the Vic Falls towards the end of this time). Before the rainy season it is often very hot. May to September is the dry season with virtually no rain and fairly large temperature differences between day and night.