africa week 7, part 2: victoria falls
we left for the airport at 10pm. our flight to lusaka, zambia was at 1am. it was a relatively short flight connecting through nairobi. we arrived in the wee hours of the morning to wait for our connecting flight at 8am. it’s very difficult to sleep at an airport. our flight was delayed a couple hours, which worried us a bit because we had to catch a bus. to make things worse, the airline lost one of my suitcases. not surprising since they lost one of stephanie’s on our way to rwanda. even john, our hotel manager told us that kenya airways is not good with bags.
with all the delays, we missed our bus.
luckily there was another one an hour later. we arrived in livingstone (named after the “dr livingstone, i prseume” guy) at 9:30 or so. we needed to take a taxi to get to our hotel, a fancy place called the kingdom (we decided to splurge a bit). the bad part was that it was in zimbabwe, just across the border of zambia. victoria falls is split between zambia and zimbabwe. we chose the zimbabwe side, but to get there from zambia. it was tricky to get there (this caliber of tourism is catered more for south africans than east africans), but we didn’t think it would be too much of a problem. we were wrong. very wrong.
our taxi got us to the border at 10:20. the border between the 2 countries closed at 10pm. they wouldn’t let us through. 1 night at fancy hotel in the toilet. he took us around and we finally found a $40 hotel. it was so late and we were going to try to cross the border early in the morning, so all we did was get cleaned up a bit and sleep for a few hours.
we woke up very early and went to the border. let me just say that i hate immigration and country borders. it’s so political and motivated by money. the taxi wasn’t allowed through. we had to transfer to another taxi on the other side. but before we could get there, we had to pay $50 each to get a visa. an unexpected expense since we were told it was free to cross the border.
our hotel was fantastic. basically a resort. everything was very spacious and nicely decorated. a very nice honeymoon destination. we checked in at about 7am. the first thing we did was shower, which gets the prize for best shower of the trip. at a place like victoria falls, your showers have to be up to par with the waterfalls themselves. the pressure from the shower head was an energetic downpour of steaming hot water expected of a fancy hotel at one of the world’s most famous waterfalls.
we ate breakfast and made our way to the falls. i’m not sure it’s even worth attempting to describe how beautiful it was. considering it took millions of years to form, geologically speaking, we’re damn lucky to see it. the map said it would take about an hour and half to fully enjoy. we took 3. this is the kind of water you can spend hours doing nothing but stare in awe.
afterwards, we walked around outside the park. we crossed the border (free as long as you don’t cross over to the other country) where there is a bridge over the gorge formed by the waterfalls. there’s bunjee jumping and zip cord lines and other adrenaline excursions. i felt suqeamish just watching the jumpers.
on our way back to the hotel, which was a 10 minute walk through what is essentially safari land, we walked up to an elephant. we saw it on our way to the falls as well, but not this close. we got too close apparently, and he turned his head very quickly toward us and even took a few steps in our direction. probably a “leave me alone, don’t come any closer” glare. whatever it was, it scared us. we safely walked around.
a couple hours later, we took the sunset cruise on the river that fed into the falls. after spending hours at the crashing falls, it was a nice and peaceful ride. we saw a bunch of hippos too. it was very cloudy, so the sunset was not quite as spectacular. but we were lucky enough to have a small window where we saw the sun quickly dive into the horizon.
back at the hotel, after another therapeutic shower, we went to bed early and slept in.
yet another shower later, we packed it up and checked out. another full day of travelling ahead. it started at immigration at the border. i’ll make it short, because it’ll just make me mad again. we had to pay for yet another visa to get back into zambia, even though the day before, the officer said it was free to go back in.
we had to make a stop at the livingstone airport to see if the lusaka airport had delivered my lost suitcase. they didn’t. wasted trip. caught the 7 hour bus back to lusaka. it wasn’t too bad. we found a simple, cheap hotel. had to wake up early to go back to nairobi, our final destination.