Victoria Falls

January 19, 2008 - Victoria Falls, Zambia

Namita:
Our next and final destination on the overland tour was Victoria Falls.  We would be viewing the falls from the Zambian side which meant we needed to cross the border into Livingstone, Zambia.  Steven informed us that it could sometimes take a while to cross the border (given all the trucks that crossed at that border point) so we woke up early the next morning to make our way across.  We drove to the border and then hopped on a ferry which took us into Zambia. Up to that point things went fairly fast until we got to immigration.  Our tour company, GAP, was to organize Visa waivers for the group, however, there was a mix up and the immmigration office had no record of this.  Apparently we were supposed to have crossed at another border point.  So in the end, each member had to pay for his/her own visa and the immigration office only accepted US dollars.  For Canadians, the visa cost was $55 per person.  Dave and I didn't have enough US money with us but fortunately were able to borrow some from Mark and Terry. The cost of the visa for visitors from other countries were all less than $55 per person, except for American visitors - for them it was $100 per person!  Steven assured us that GAP would re-imburse us for the cost of the visas when we got home.

The falls were not too far from the border.  On our way to the falls we stopped into town so everyone could pick up some Zambian currency.  That morning Dave had woken up with a red eye and by the time we made our way to Livingstone it had got a lot worse and was really starting to bother him - red, watering and sore - (likely pink-eye).  So we stopped off at the pharmacy to pick up some eye drops.  Luckily we had Terry with us, a pharmacist by profession, who helped us determine what eye drops to get. 

We then made our way to the falls.  It had been a beautiful sunny day, but just as we reached the entrance to the falls it got cloudy and very shortly after it began to rain.  With our raincoats on, we exited the truck and walked towards the falls.  As we walked it really started to pour so we rented some full length raincoats (usually rented out due to the mist from the falls).  But even with the double raincoats we still got soaked.  We couldn't figure out how much of it was from the rain vs. the mist from the falls.  The falls were stunning and much larger than Niagara Falls.  While we walked on the path around the falls we were surprised by the lack of safe guards preventing people from falling in (much different from what we are used to). 

After a short visit to the falls we returned back to the truck.  While we waited for the others, we stopped into a couple of shops near the entrance of the falls.  Here we had the opportunity to experience yet another sales tactic. In addition to the salespeson befriending us by asking us our names and what country we were from, he/she asked what items we had with us to offer them.  In our case, the salesman asked Dave and I if we had a pen.  Initially we thought the salesman wanted to make a trade with us but later realized that they used this ploy to make it "seem" like they were giving us a really good discount in return for the pen.  In Mark's case, the salesman asked for his socks.  Mark even went as far as taking them off to give to the salesperson but in the end made a deal without the socks. It was really just a way of engaging a potential customer.

After Vic Falls we made our way to the campsite where we would spend our last two nights of the tour (this meant only 2 more set-ups and tear-downs :))  The campsite was the nicest one we had visited thus far.  There were lodges and permanent tents at the site as well.  During our stay we had the option of taking part in some adventure activities. The activities were organized by the lodge but we would have to pay for this separately. There were a lot of activity options - rafting, elephant riding, ultra-light over the falls to name a few, but Dave and I in the end opted out.  Dave considered the rafting but with his eye still bothering him he wasn't feeling up to it and was having to wear his glasses not contacts. 

That evening we went on a "booze cruise".  Paul and Sarah had mentioned this to us before we left and said it was a must.  The cruise started at 4pm and lasted 2 hours. We were given free drinks throughout the ride as well as dinner. We did see some Elephants in the distance.  Apparently our cook Jeffrey really took advantage of the free drinks and was sick most of the night.


Pictures

Elephants seen on Booze Cruise
Elephant seen on Booze Cruise
Us with Steven - Booze Cruise
GAP Group - Booze Cruise at Vic Falls
 
 

1 Comment

Soraya and MS:
February 6, 2008
Hey we took that same boat to cross the river. Good thing it didn't sick. The other did!
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