Published: July 22nd 2008April 6th 2008
The Mighty Zambezi
A view towards the falls from the top. The river was very high and all waterborne activities had been stopped.
The final day of the holiday arrived all too soon - well, it was 06h15! After a breakfast of cornflakes, yoghurt and toast, we decided that this was Zambian cuisine at its best and went to check out. By 08h00, we’d unhooked the trailer and were heading towards the Victoria Falls. Before we’d even got close, the spray was incredible; it’s no surprise that David Livingstone was drawn to these very waters.
Even at this hour, the temperature was soaring and so we stopped well before the falls to look at the view towards them. The Zambezi looked so calm as it raced towards the immense gash in the Earth’s surface. However, only a fool (or someone with a barrel) would even consider swimming close to such a torrent.
Parking the 4x4 under some trees, Brian, Jill and I made our way through the little kiosk, down the path towards a very nice gentleman hiring waterproofs. My wet weather gear was having its own holiday somewhere in the southern hemisphere, so for $2, I thought it well worth the while looking a right Charlie, but a dry one. As it turned out, I remained very dry whilst my travelling
The Sponge Tree
Notice how this very special tree acts as a barrier and soaks all the spray from the falls yet gets no larger.
companions came out of the visit slightly damp. Indeed, some had even abandoned all hope (and clothes) and visited the falls in their swimwear.
Rounding a corner, we were greeted by the most immense wall of sound and water. It’s difficult to describe such a sensation but it’s rather like standing in a power shower, fully clothed with a couple of seashells strapped to your ears! Just look at the photos and imagine! The views towards Zimbabwe and across the Knife Edge Bridge were spectacular although trying to capture them through the spray became a challenge.
Returning to the truck, we attempted to dry off as much as we could in the hot sun whilst sampling the delights of a bottle of pineapple cola; at least it was cold. Finally, we set off and, dropping Brian and Jill in Livingstone for a little shopping, Alfred kindly took me to the airport.
Checking in (with my international luggage - 1 carrier bag), I headed for the nearest necessesarium, changed into a clean shirt and sat down to wait. And wait. And wait. Finally, after a short delay (only 30 minutes this time), we took off, banked
over the Victoria Falls and headed to Jo'burg. Unfortunately, I was seating next to the most obnoxious South African couple who seemed to have forgotten that the Apartheid era had ended. Luckily, the air stewardess had clearly had training in this sort of behaviour and I dread to think just what ended up in their food!
Having arrived in Johannesburg, I had plenty of time before my flight to Amsterdam and so I decided to try and find my luggage. I headed for Terminal A, where the helpful folk at Air France confirmed my bag had gone to Namibia. Then I trotted off to Terminal B where the helpful folk at Air Namibia confirmed that my bag wasn’t with them in the terminal but was still in Namibia. I asked them to forward my bag to my home and (finally) received a written confirmation that my rucksack would soon be curtailing its life of Riley, packing its towel and heading back to Blighty.
That complete, I made my way back to my departure terminal and settled down to wait for the (yes, guess what? delayed) KLM flight to Amsterdam. It was at this point that tragedy struck. It
is with great sadness that I have to document that my trusty straw hat finally gave up. After 13 years of faithful service around the world, my hat disintegrated. Giving it a suitable burial in one of those upright, cylindrical coffins with a silver rim and top quality loose plastic interior, I headed to the Outdoor shop and bought myself another hat - all leather this time, which should last even longer. Just call me Indy!
Sadly, the shops began to close at 21h30 yet our flight wasn’t until 23h45 at the earliest. Later, they began to turn the lights off and, after being told that, due to “lost luggage”, our flight was delayed a further 2½ hours, we settled down in whatever chairs we could find and waited in the gloom - the only group in the entire terminal!
At last, we were called for boarding and settling into a plane with no magazine and no TV, we dined at 02h00 and fell asleep. Well, I say “we”, but the lady next to me didn’t sleep as she had a heavy cold and spent the night sniffing, sneezing and generally infecting everyone! The tedious flight eventually arrived
Though not impossible, it's very rare to have a near circular rainbow at ground level, never mind a double rainbow.
in Amsterdam at 12h10 and we headed for our (changed) gate ready for the 15h20 to Manchester. In Zambia, we’d had the pleasure of temperatures in the high twenties; here in Amsterdam, we were struggling to reach 7!
Finally, after the most dreadful series of flights I’ve ever had, I walked through the front door, reminding myself to open it first next time.
There are more photos below