Africa Adventures, Day 12: Victoria Falls

Wednesday, March 16, 2011
There are always people who tell you not to visit third world countries like Botswana because of the stereotype of instantly coming down with the trots. This is utterly ridiculous, as plenty of people have come and gone without coming down with the trots. So I looked forward to my stay.

Unfortunately it seems as soon as I arrived in Botswana I instantly came down with a case of the trots. I don't know if it was the water or the food (I had some bread with dinner which I later found had sesame in it, which I am allergic to), but it was with me the rest of the trip. The first night was particularly bad, as I felt like I had a fever and was just sick in general. Still, I had to perservere - Victoria Falls was coming up!

Victoria Falls is the world's largest waterfall (in width). It resides on the Zambia/Zimbabwe border, and you can see it from either side. We chose the Zimbabwe side on the advice of the hotel people (that and the fact that the visa was cheaper). We took a quick bus ride to the Zimbabwe border, went through immigration, and then on another 45 minute bus ride to the city (also called Victoria Falls). Zimbabwe seems to be even more poor than Botswana, but they put on their best show for their main tourist attraction.

Admission to the falls is slightly biased: $5 if you are a Zimbabwe resident, $10 if you're a southern Africa resident, $25 if you are neither. We coughed up our money and went inside. It was a very sunny and hot day, and the heat was not helping my sickness at all. I ended up watching maybe 20 minutes of the falls at a time then returning back for pit stops. The falls were very impressive, and they thundered down so hard that it would be "raining" from all the mist. And this was on the other side of the gorge!

One fun thing about Africa is that a lot of the safety precautions that saddle down civilized placed aren't bothered with her. Most of the cliff edges only had "fencing" consisting of a few branches throw along the side. In some places there was no fencing at all, allowing you to possibly walk right off the side of the cliff. They allow for some fantastic views - if you dare. With my fear of heights - I didn't dare. But others did. I couldn't watch.

After spending several hours at the falls we walked back into town. People all over the place would try to badger us into buying their silly wood giraffe figurines or whatever. It was a bit annoying, but eventually a uniformed guy wearing a "Tourist Police" badge came to our rescue. He walked with us and chatted, eventually walking us to the hotel where we would meet our bus back to the border. After arriving at the hotel he shook my hand (indicating that he was ready for a tip) - I gave him a few bucks for his "protection". That's Africa!

We hopped on the bus back to the border, and about 15 minutes from the border it overheated. Apparently it had been leaking coolant the entire way and the radiator was bone dry. We had some bottles of water for consumption, so we dumped a bunch of them in, hoping to limp it along. Luckily another bus by the same company happened to be driving along and saw us struggling, so we were able to transfer to them and get back home safely.

More Victoria Falls photos can be found here.


Kellie & Cody said...

I'll admit it. Finally. Dave...I want your life. Seriously! You are amazing!