Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Victoria Falls part 2

It has been a very busy week and I have simply not found the time to write anything. My Lion encounter project finished yesterday (a sad sad day saying goodbye to the kitties and all the awesome people I met there: you know who you are!), so now I am back to the hostels although now it is camping time instead of using dorms. Too many things have happened to recount them all so I will try to stick to the highlights only. Also the internet and phone network is shoddy beyond belief, feels like major congestion at all times, even the most basic webpages can take several attempts and that is on the few occasions that it works.

Sunday before last I was at Vic Falls - Mosi-oa-Tunya (the Smoke that Thunders) to have a look. The falls themselves are almost impossible to show in photos so I cheated and took a photo of a poster too so as to give some perspective. It is 1708m wide and falls for 108 metres so kinda hard to photograph in any
meaningful way - check the wikipedia page linked for amazing shots and videos). Other than that a lot of time was spent with the lions getting to know them better. Jalani and Jabari were the easiest to get closer to, so much so that by the end of my time with them I felt better not using the stick for distraction. When they turn towards you and might be wanting a nibble (><) you just push the head away with your hands. It feels a lot nicer as there is a physical level of communication there that cats
seem to appreciate - they feel the forcefulness of the push while there is also a gentleness that they can understand. Anyway enough about cats as it is making me misty eyed!

On the project we spent our Saturday afternoons at the local orphanage with some absolutely awesome kids. As we arrived they were all at the gate and sung a song to welcome us, cue cuteness overload. We played some games with them and then served them their lunch - Pap (mealie meal) with some meat. Next were more games - the girls had made up some dancing game and some of these kids can really bust some moves! Then it was back to the rest camp for dinner and the volunteer group went out for 'some' drinks. This went on until about 4am as we went around discovering every watering hole around Vic Falls. Most nights like this start in Shoestrings, the partying backpacker place followed by Hunter's bar on the main street. Next was Explorers, a crazy place mostly frequented by the white section of the population here, probably as the entrance fee of 5$ keeps the hasslers out. After that Blue Zulu - a dance club which is full of locals and then me being me I ended up in the Chinotimba Sports Bar, a much more basic affair where all the young people of the area hang out. By this time I was the only white guy in the place but even though there are always people who will try to take advantage and get free stuff from the rich westerner I have a good group of local friends who look out for me. I have been there a few times since and as people get more used to seeing me I much prefer drinking there to the absolute alcohol fuelled madness of the places the tourists visit.

I am taking time off now to relax a few days and try to decide what is on the cards next. The options are to go to Namibia via Botswana and check out the desert, or maybe check out Zambia - the main factor is Visas as they are a great drain on my resources, about 55$ per country. I spent a day in Botswana already to check out Chobe national park but I will cover that next post. On the way back I had to get a new Zimbabwe visa so I went for the double entry one (70$) in case I decide to come back. Off now to relax - internet is dropping every few minutes and writing this with pics has taken 4 hours!

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