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August 31 2019
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A ferry approaches on the Zambezi River, crossing between Botswana and Zambia.

With its crocodiles, hippos, and cobras, the Zambezi River in Southern Africa makes for a secure border. Swimming is verboten, and there are few bridges to cross. What you need is a boat. And, if you hop on one headed east toward Mozambique, at a narrow stretch you’ll come across a remote spot called “the Four Corners of Africa.” There are no signs declaring that this is “the World’s Only International Quadripoint,” but that’s what it is. It’s here that Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe all touch each other in a small single spot, the remnant of some long-ago colonial wheeling and dealing.

Convoys of Trucks

Kazungula is a small, dusty shantytown on the Zambia side. It is the main commercial hub for crossing in any direction by ferry. I drove there one day in April from Livingstone under a blazing sun, cutting straight through a national park dotted with clusters of small, brownish huts cut out from the surrounding bush. Almost everyone in Kazungula is a transient. The town sits right on one of the main Trans-African Highway corridors. Convoys of trucks loaded with copper and other commodities from Zambia’s Copperbelt pass through here and come against the river. As there are only a couple of two-trucks-at-a-time pontoon ferries, drivers can wait two to three weeks to cross. This makes for a whole city of single guys with nothing to do 24-7. It’s a permanent spring break on the Zambezi.

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