22 January 2012- Livingstone, Zambia
We have been to see the falls- WOW! It is a massive plummeting, roaring, seething wall of water falling dramaticaly over the edge of a huge (100m) drop off, that extends for a length of 1.7 km! Incredible. Neither of us expected it to be so big, it seems to just keep going and going. The best bit is the whole sensory experience- the roar of the water, the site of the falls and feeling the water from the falls hit you. It was a beautiful clear morning when we walked from our camp the half hour or so (so nice to walk! so often we cant either because of animals or safety) and both gasped when we got our first look, which was a tiny portion of what we were to see. As we carried on walking to various lookout spots it started to get a bit misty (you can see the mist rising from the falls from town, well before you get to the actual falls) a few minutes later we got a little bit of ‘rain’ from the falls and soon we were absolutely drenched! It was literally like being in the shower, more water pressure than most showers we come across!
We are in Livingstone now, we stayed in Zim a few days then came over the border (back to Zim in a week or so, we’ll see) so we could see the falls from both sides. We will be here a few days as we have landy booked in for a service Thursday and then we will head off to see some more of Zambia. Olly has a grumbly belly and I have itchy sore eye (infection the dr told me today) so staying for another day or two will prob be good for us.
We have only had a quick look at Zimbabwe and had no problems crossing the border from Botswana. It was our longest border crossing yet – only because we both needed visas and there was a group of about 20 French people in front of us in several hire mini buses (it takes much longer to cross a border with a car, the day trippers from Botswana were in and out in a few minutes). With us both needing visas and with the landy documents we had to go to all the windows in the office and pay this fee and that and get this stamped and that then we got back in landy and drove 10 metres up the road and had to show them all the bits we had just had stamped. It was all very easy and everyone was most helpful and friendly. The very friendly guy at immigration knows how to say hi in seemingly every language (even Australian as he bellowed out G’day Mate with a belly laugh) and the guy who let us through asked if we brought him one small kangaroo as a gift. 🙂 We had read we could only get single entry visas at the border but happily were able to get double entry (with it being noticeably more expensive for British passport holders than Aus- The Man doesn’t like UK).
The small town of Victoria Falls is a nice, tidy tourist town that has monkeys and baboon all over as well as warthog trotting right through town! It is only now starting to see visitors trickle back in again after the devastating effects of the economic mess that has been Zimbabwe and of course all of the horror stories in the media from recent years. People want to ‘guide’ you or sell you something (or even trade for what you are wearing!) at every turn (more so than anywhere else we have seen so far in Africa) but the tourist police shoo some away otherwise no thank you works after saying it several times, I don’t begrudge people trying to make a living.
We had a great thing happen today- bit of a story. Yesterday when we arrived in Livingstone we went to get cash and realised the my credit card (which is what we use to get cash for fee reasons) that I am normally very protective of was not to be found- bugger! We mentally retraced our steps and realised the last time we used it (or saw it) was over ten days ago (!) when we took our scenic flight. After that we had enough Pula (Botswana currency) to make it the rest of the way through Botswana and Zimbabwe uses US dollars (which we had enough with us). Anyway we looked everywhere we could in landy- no luck. I got online and it had not been used, good news there. I should have reported it lost but had a feeling to just wait a day. If someone was going to use it they would have straight away before it was cancelled. As a long shot we emailed the guy we did the flight with in Maun and also emailed some people we are going to visit in Tanzania to see if we were able to get a replacement sent and use their address, if needed. I told Olly when we heard back from the emails we would cancel it. Well this morning we heard from the flight guy he had the card! He apologised as one of the staff had found it and put it in a drawer and it was forgotten, no worries from us! He offered to send it on to us if he could. In the meantime we were given an address to use in Tanzania. We half jokingly told the flight guy yes please send it on unless of course you have a flight to Livingston in the next 2 days. Well he wrote back saying, its on a flight right now and will arrive at 1:30 today you can pick it up at the airport! So we did, more than ten days and two countries later we have the card! Unreal!
While travelling in Aus we met a very nice couple who are originally from Zimbabwe (but have lived in Aus many many years) who live south of Perth, we spent a lovely evening with them when we were down there. They have put us in touch with some good friends of theirs here in Zambia and we will be visiting them soon, exciting and so kind! It will be great to see some friendly faces and get some local advise on coming weeks.This afternoon we are going for a drink at the Royal Livingston which sits right on the Zambezi River near the lip of the falls to celebrate getting the credit card back. We meet the nicest people!