Saturday, 16 May 2015

Victoria Falls the First


If you ever find yourself at Victoria Falls in Zambia in late February on a beautiful sunny day, and you see the men renting out raincoats and you think, 'That's silly, why would I need a raincoat? It's so sunny!' then you are a fool who deserves everything that you get. I rented a raincoat from them - I did pack a raincoat but then my bag didn't make it to Zambia so that was totally worthwhile - and it's a massive, made-of-some-kind-of-reinforced-canvas monstrosity poncho of a thing. Plus, you wear a plastic bag raincoat underneath. And you still get soaking, hair dripping down your back kind of wet, should have worn a shower cap and swimsuit kind of wet, glad I'm wearing Will's thongs (flip flops for the Australian-challenged) kind of wet (which meant Will didn't have thongs, which meant that he wore his hiking shoes which he tells me 'filled up with water'). There's a lot of water going over them there falls!

One of the things I don't think people realise until they go to Victoria Falls is that while it is technically one set of falls, you don't just stand in one place and look at them, like you would at, say, Niagra Falls. It's 1,708m (5,604 ft) of falls, and you can walk the length of them. It's apparently also 108m tall, but when you have that much spray coming off the falls, you actually can't usually see down into the waterfall. We walked the length of it, taking photos as we went, until it was just too wet and we had to put cameras away. So keep in mind when you see the photos, it got even wetter than that! We also saw many people who thought that they could tough it out without a raincoat. Fools! So the falls are quite spectacular. We even saw places where the water from the waterfalls created its own rainbows. Very pretty. There is also a reasonable population of baboons that live in the fenced off area around the falls. Most of the baboons we saw in other places weren't too keen on humans and would skedaddle whenever one appeared. These ones, not so much. And some of them are big! At one point, Will foolishly put down his backpack and moved about two steps away to go and take a photo and a baboon came and stole his water bottle out of the pocket on the side! It withdrew about a metre or two and proceeded to try and chew the top off the bottle. Unsuccessfully I might add, because when we came back that way the bottle was lying there, still sealed. We did not reclaim it. Poor thirsty Will.

Thieving bastard
The rest of our time in Livingstone was spent hanging out at the hostel, mostly making fruitless phone calls to try and find my luggage. Or out shopping at the one store in town that didn't just sell tourist clothes - a delightful establishment called Pep! Kind of an African Best and Less - so that I had some clean underwear, socks, shoes that weren't winter boots and a change of clothes. Since my baggage didn't turn up for another 10 days (spoiler alert!) I'm very glad we did. Can say that the staff at the Livingstone Backpackers were kind of amazing and did as much as they could to track down my bags. Then we were off on safari!





Wet.





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