African Adventure: Days 9 – 11 (Zambia: Livingstone & Victoria Falls)

25 Oct

Day 9: Livingstone, Zambia

We set off early this morning so that we could get across the Botswana/Zambia border before it gets hot, so by 7am we were waiting by the river for the truck to be loaded on to a very basic ferry (ferry is a massive overstatement) before we crossed the river and landed in Zambia. At the border they sometimes (totally depending on how they feel apparently) have a Kasa Visa; this is the same cost as a Zambia visa, but it also lets you into Zimbabwe too. Worth getting if you can, but they weren’t being nice that day so a sole Zambia visa had to do!

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I rode front from the border to Livingstone and we stopped off in central Livingstone before heading to the Riverside Lodge, our final campsite of the trip. I was meant to be staying in a different campsite once the trip ended but I basically loved the peeps I with so much I cancelled the booking, upgraded to a TENT WITH A MATTRESS (I know, get me) and stayed with everyone for the last two nights. Plus, look at the views from the campsite bar above… how could I possibly leave?

IMG_1134 Actually, crap, I’m wrong. After Livingstone we actually went to Victoria Falls. We were dropped off at the entrance and we decided to go to the Boiling Pot – a swirling load of terrifying water at the bottom of the falls. The walk down was lovely – very uneven, steep but lush greenery, hidden mini waterfalls and more. The boiling pot and part of the trail are the photos I’ve put above.
Getting back up to the start of the trail however was reasonably awful.  It was midday, VERY hot, very steep and I got through about a litre of water in 20 minutes. Basically, if you’re going to do it, make sure you’re fit (like me innit, haha) and well hydrated!

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After recovering we then went to view the falls – as it’s the dry season there’s virtually no water falling on the Zambian side, but you can see the Zimbabwean thunder  falls in the distance looking lovely. During the dry season you can also climb to the waterfall edge as all that’s there is a lake and a bit of a stream in October, which is pretty cool!

In the evening as it was *officially* our last night as a group, we went out for a meal in Livingstone. We ate at Cafe Zambezi as Leah recommended it and it was a great shout! One of the people in my group order fried caterpillars as a starter and I tried some… they’re basically fried and crunchy and taste a little bit like pork crackling. Not going to have them again I admit, but still glad I gave them a go…

Their portions are huge and I went for the local chicken dish (can’t remember the name, whoops) and a lot of other people went for the crocodile ribs and loooved them. The food was really good, great value and (until the karaoke started) the atmosphere was really nice too. We went to a bar across the street where we bumped into a guy that Leah had used to change money at the border. He was using her $500 to treat his mental wife and friends to drinks… his wife then went on to take photos with Leah and then accidentally showed Leah photos of a threesome her and her husband had the night before. Amazing stuff. Then the power went off so we gave up, got a taxi back to the campsite and finished the night in our bar before I went to bed in my fancy upgrade tent but woke up every 30 minutes because of the epic and amazing thing I had planned for 7am the next morning.

Day 10: Livingstone, Zambia (a.k.a the best day of my life)

The title of this day seems a bit much, but I hands down put this down as the best 24 hours I have ever had. Let me tell you why.

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7am: LION WALK. Yup, I went and spent 90 minutes walking with the most glorious creatures on earth and loved every single second of it. Lion ALERT are dedicated to raising lions born in captivity to become fully functioning, wild lions capable to fending for themselves with no human contact by the time they’re adults. They’re not drugged and they are encouraged to use their natural instincts… hence why we had a 60 minute safety briefing! You have to approach the lions from behind and never turn your backs on them (the reason the lions don’t go for humans are because they’ve been raised to see us as dominant. But show them a weakness or threaten them and they’ll still go for you)!

IMG_1302 The lions I walked with were 17 months old. At 18 months you can’t walk with them anymore, so I was actually very lucky as in November there would be no lions young enough to walk with. This is actually good – ALERT have enough lions in stage 2 or in the wild to mean they don’t need to raise any more and do any lion walks for a little while. I walked with two female and one male lion. He was MAGNIFICENT. LOOK AT HIS MANE. You walk right next to them, I was literally off my tits on happiness and spent the whole time trying not to jump around in excitement.

IMG_1194 So we walked with them for a bit, waited while they had a bit of a rest and then saw them spot a giraffe and chase after it! They came back (without having killed it) and then we walked for a little bit longer until the male lion gave up, sat down and then rolled around. TOO CUTE. There are some photos above of me with the lion and we are in love and I love him and he’s now my favourite thing ever aside from my actual cat.

10am: I returned to the camp and basically have never been higher on life. I was jumping around and literally shaking with happiness. I ran over to Leah, Donna and Timan, hugged them all, jumped around and they told me to immediately go and do a bungee jump. I admit, I didn’t do it immediately…

2pm: I got a taxi to Victoria Falls bridge to do an effing bungee jump. Timan has done loads apparently so I got him to give me a “you won’t die, don’t worry, it’s fun” pep talk before I headed to the bridge (above). However, Donna, Jack and I didn’t take our passports so we had to sweet talk the border security into taking our driving licenses hostage (Vic Falls bridge is the crossing between Zimbabwe and Zambia. Technically doing the jump doesn’t mean I need a visa as I’m technically not leaving Zambia…)

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So, the jump. Ugh. SO scared. They have a whole troupe of people there to stop you from freaking out and to take your mind off of things. I was followed to the jump by a guy trying to become my best friend/sell me stuff (he then got very annoyed when after the jump I didn’t buy anything, pfft). So, I stood on the bridge while they put a load of harness stuff on me, then I went to the metal ledge, where they put very, seemingly basic, towels around my ankles and they tied me up VERY tight – to the point where I had to shuffle to the edge before I jumped. They counted down from 5 and at 4 I decided I couldn’t do it. Then I remembered Timan’s advice – jump on 2 otherwise you won’t do it – and I went for it. AGGHH. It was amazing falling; the view is incredible and the fall is so freeing… until the bungee snaps you back up and then I started screaming like a maniac.

After what felt like 5 minutes I did a slow swing upside down and was shaking wildly (not in a sexy way, in a OMG THAT WAS INTENSE way). The guy hoisted me up to the lower bit of the bridge and theeeen told me I had to go to the Zimbabwean side to get back to the top of the bridge. So I illegally entered Zimbabwe, ran away from the border guard back across the bridge to safety.

IMG_1296 I have never felt so alive. After that, I felt like I could do ANYTHING. As soon as I’d picked up my DVD (on which I look way more chilled than I was) I went back to the campsite, hugged Leah and Timan because I hadn’t died and I admitted that they were right about the whole me not dying thing, and then I drank Savannah cider and ate pizza to celebrate LIFE and BEING ALIVE and FUCK YEAH.

(The rest of the night consisted seeing a wonderful sunset over the Zambezi ft. elephants, eating steak that Timan cooked when I tried to drag him to the bar so that we could give him and Leah their tips for being so awesome. After that, I had some more cider and wandered back to my tent, still continuing to seize the moment, live life and take risks because if you can bungee you can DO ANYTHING).


Day 11: Zambia and then home 😦

Today was my last day. SOB. I woke up early after not sleeping too much due to the crazy amount of adrenaline still knocking about from my amazing 24 hours. However, by 7am I was at a luxurious hotel waiting to get a boat ride to Livingstone Island to swim in Devil’s Pool – a pool at the top of the fast part of Vic Falls where you can literally look over the edge of the waterfall and have yet another near-death experience.

IMG_1393 Last time I went to Vic Falls I went to the Zimbabwe side so I got a better view of the falls, but I didn’t get there early enough to see any rainbows. THIS TIME I DID. It was beautiful. The noise and rush of the water coupled with the rainbow… swoon. As a waterlord and colour-lover, this was epic.

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I then stripped down to my bikini and swam across the top of the falls to some rocks before volunteering me, Donna and Jack to go in first. So we did! I sat on the top of the falls, swam across the pool, lay over the edge and got bitten to DEATH by something in the pool (I’m pretending they were piranhas, makes me seem more hardcore). I don’t have any photos yet as my iPhone isn’t waterproof, but I’ll update this blog post with a photo of me on the edge of the falls when I have one!

IMG_1394 I then got a rather fancy breakfast on Livingstone Island (well yummy) and then we got a boat past hippos and birds back to the hotel, and then back to the campsite. I then proceeded to pack up all my things, get well emosh and saw goodbye to the crew below.

IMG_1399 The 11 days I spent in Africa were the best I’ve ever had. I’d been to Africa before with Oasis Overland but the driver and tour leader (as well as the people on my tour) weren’t that great. This time, with Tucan Travel, I was surrounded by wicked people. Donna, Alex and Jack are planning on going back and doing Kenya – Vic Falls in Spring 2017, and if Leah were still working for Tucan I’d totally request her (as it is, hopefully Timan will still be with them as he loves Tucan, so we’ll deffo see him again!) I had a blast and have memories that will last a lifetime – and a burning desire to go back to Africa ASAP. When 46 degree heat doesn’t put me off, you know if must be love.

(This is a link to the tour I went on: Kruger to Vic Falls, 10 days. Well worth looking at, especially as it can be done without taking more than 2 weeks off work. You pack a lot in and it’s worth every single penny. Thanks again Tucan Travel for picking me as a competition winner!)

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