With it being dry season, the Zambian side was a little lacking in mighty waterfalls which we could see thundering away in yonder Zimbabwe. The only thing for it was a quick day visa and border hop – easily achievable thanks to the mighty iron bridge that scaled the echoing canyon. On this side we were right up close to the giant water monster, torrents of the minutes-before calm Zambezi river surged over the steep edge flinging a cooling spray raining into the air as it did so-a welcome relief in the muggy heat. Doug whimpered as I goaded him by posing as an ape near the
Many a sign warns us humans not to carry food as a gang of hungersome baboons can sniff out a food wrapper a mile off. One gianta-baboon leapt down from his perch on the back of a passing truck to snatch a packet of crisps off an unsuspecting Canadian-Japanese tourist whose petrified face matched our looks of horror -it really looked like the creature was going to attack him. Luckily it was far too interested in the tasty snack which it whipped from his hands and went to munch elsewhere. As a defence-measure Doug and I found a couple of small rocks which we carried in each hand lest one of the naughty imps decide to take us on, quickly changing path where possible upon sight of their baboon-selves prowling towards us.
The Zimbabwean side of the falls possessed an enticing Rainforest cafe, walking past on our way to the falls, our eyes were drawn to dishes of yummy deliciousness. It was by far the nicest-looking food we had seen in a long time. As we hungered, to our dismay we discovered their card machine was down, posing a problem. We didn’t want to break our big US dollars and only had Zambian kwacha (in this currency we are millionaires!). Upon hearing our plight, the lovely manageress offered to drive us to an ATM in the town rather than troubling ourselves with a taxi and then really sweetly took us on a guided tour of some nearby sights – including a humongous baobab tree thought to be over 1000 years old – when she discovered we were only in the country for a day.
On her recommendation after a flavoursome, health-tastic lunch, we strolled over to the classy, colonial Vic falls hotel escorted by the tourist police. It’s actually as safe a route as anywhere in Africa but the moneyed people that stay here don’t like to be bothered by the locals trying to sell their usual trinkets (in this area normally a billion dollar zimbabwean note, carved African animals or copper bracelets), hence the tourist police. Despite our hobo-traveller appearance, we were the only ones who felt slightly out of place here, yet because we’re mzungus, we are deemed suitable by everyone else for such an establishment.
We wandered around, taking in the furnishings, imagining the life of early ex-pats to Africa and making the most of these clean, cool surroundings. I do believe I even squealed with delight on discovering the scented hand lotion…It was a glimpse into another era; full of lavish furniture, old hunting trophies, air con, sumptuous dining rooms with dinner dress-codes and a grand piano, exquisite views down the valley to Victoria falls bridge and timeworn photos of our dear, youthful Queenie with her mamar and papar in Africa.
Then it was time to head back to Zambia.