Bye Bye Botswana
Today we traveled from Kasane, Botswana to Livingstone, Zambia across the Zambezi River.
We had spent 8 days with wild animals and now we witnessed human commerce at its most competitive. There is no bridge across the Zambezi river but still lots of trade - many trucks waiting their turn for the one-truck ferry, several fast boats for walk-on transfers and some suspicious mocoro dug-outs. One group of dug-outs arrived from down stream and very quickly loaded gasoline, televison sets and other cardboard boxes, then immediately took off paddling fast downstream without any passengers - something looked not quite legal about their behaviour.
Our transportation across the Zambezi was a 6 passenger aluminum speed boat complete with life jackets which we were told to put on. On the Zambia side we were greeted by very persistent craft sellers and eventually Kayla was hooked. Turns out she really did get a good deal, as these crafts were double the price at our next hotel.
The transfer included Botswana passport control and Zambia passport control on either side of the river. Our Zambia support, Aston, expedited the Zambia passport stamping by collecting all our passports and jumping
queue to talk to the security staff - we had expected up to 2 hours for this process but were on our way by bus to Livingstone in 20 minutes. People in their own personal car can expect at least 3 hours at Zambia Passport Control - on a good day.
It took an hour on tar road to get to our Hotel in Livingstone, Zambia - the Zambezi Sun - right next to Victoria Falls and right in the middle of the Mosi-y-Tunya National Park. Kayla and Richard walked very slowly from the hotel to the falls overview in 40C+ heat. Then at 4:00 pm, we bundled into a bus for a helicopter overview of the falls. We had opted for this instead of paying the funds to enter Zimbabwe to see that side of the falls. Many of us didn't want to provide any funds to Mugabe and his government. All 12 tourists made the 15 minute ride in two shifts. It was quite a sight in spite of the low water flow that it typical of this time of year.
Hotel buffet supper was almost as tasty to our previous 7 bush buffet suppers. But
we had to admit the resort atmosphere was a bit over the top considering where we had been over the past several days. Check the pictures to see what we mean. Such a contrast!
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