Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Last week in Victoria Falls

Well it seems I am still here in Vic Falls, this place is just hard to leave! I went on a day trip to Chobe National Park in Botswana last week, probably one of the best places in Africa to get a safari 'fix'. It cost me $175 which seems a lot cheaper than most safaris and was well worth every penny.

The itinerary involved a pickup at 0715 after which we were taken to the Botswana border (Kazungula). The drive there was great fun as I was sat talking with an elderly South African couple and on the way we had quite an exciting front tyre blowout. Before we knew it we were driving on the rim with black chunks of tyre flying off in every direction (gogo North Korean chingmai deathmasters). The driver did pretty well controlling it and no sooner were we stopped and looking at the mess that was left than another minibus pulls up and offers to take us on to the border about 50ks away (TIA man, TIA).

We were dropped off at a very upmarket lodge where the first part of the day, a boat run down the Chobe river was to start. I met Ted here, an American photographer who I added on Facebook. He kindly helped me clean my camera lens which was a bit messed up still from the spray of Vic Falls, and gave me a few tips on taking nice pictures. After the boat ride we all ate at the lodge and were then picked up for the game drive in the afternoon. By this time it was pretty hot so most of the animals we saw were close to the water although there were a few camera shy Sable Antelope further inland. Although pricey it was a really nice day out and you dont just see animals there, many species cluster in pretty massive groups - especially the elephants.

Later that week my time on the Lion Encounter project was finished, quite an emotional day for me as I had time to bond with the big kitties in my two weeks with them as well as making very good friends and meeting some truly inspirational people. One guy who deserves special mention is Jabulani (JB), a Man Utd fan who you may notice couldn't resist leaving me a memento of the scoreline versus Liverpool in one of the group photos I took!

He was always ready with well informed comments on the lion project and I had some very interesting conversations with him about life, the universe and everything. Another person who left a lasting impression on me was Norman, an ex teacher with a smile that never left his face. He spoke to me at length about the history of Zimbabwe, starting with Shaka Zulu and one of his men who effectively defected by the name of Mzilikazi (the birth of the Ndebele people), onwards to present day politics and the tribal structure of Zimbabwe. There are too many other awesome people working at Masuwe to mention but I leave with very fond memories of the project and a little wiser about this region of the world.

Since then I have been taking it pretty easy and having a holiday from my holiday. I like Vic Falls even with all the craziness and have made many friends in the surrounding areas of Chinotimba and Mkosana, so much so that I have started staying there instead of at hostels. Total cultural immersion is awesome and I crack up whenever I walk to town in the mornings as all the kiddies who see me wave and never tire of shouting "Kiwa! Kiwa!" as I go by. I think I will hang around just one more week and then it is time to head up to Malawi, but I can't help feeling I will be back to Victoria Falls in the future.


  1. What's "kiwa"? maybe they were being rude to you "lone white boy in their midst". haha

  2. Kiwa means white, once I get a little further north it will be Mzungu :D

  3. Duude, you need to concentrate more on the football...

  4. I concentrate, it pains me. Know there are Liverpool fans all over the place here and I have watched every game so far except one. But hey, new owners coming - lets see something good happen soon I hope :D