The tse-tse flies bit at our necks and our ankles as we bobbed along what semblance of a road we could find, as we looked for the Chongwe Gate and entrance to Lower Zambezi National Park. This was the real Africa - the hot, dusty, wild Africa that I was aching to see more of. "This will be an amazing detour," Glenn promised, even after the guy at the last petrol stop advised we were crazy to go into the park alone with no GPS.
The hours passed and the group began to worry. We were lost before even entering the actual park, and it was already too late to turn around. We reached a river crossing (read: dead end) and decided to suck it up, turn around, and go down one of the paths marked 'private clients only' to a lodge to ask for directions.
"You're lucky we have no guests today," was the subtle dig the owner threw our way after we explained our situation. I guess I'd be a bit surprised if a VW Syncro with painted flowers and peace signs pulled up to my five-star lodge in the middle of the Lower Zambezi, too. She offered to give us directions to the gate we were looking for, and radioed for a driver to help us. As soon as we spotted the open-air game drive vehicle, we jumped out of our van and into the truck. Asking for directions ended up being the best decision we could have made, not only for morale, but for the free game drive we managed to wrangle out of it!