Crossing the boarder from Zambia we entered Zimbabwe. It took quite some time to get over the boarder, as it was extremely busy. Being British I was informed I had to obtain a visa myself rather than with the rest of the group. I then had to pay $25 extra for my visa than everyone else because I had an English passport. I felt slightly discriminated against but I put it down to the political situations in the past. Apparently for someone from Zimbabwe to enter England it costs them $400 for a visa – so I cant really complain! That night we went for dinner at a place called Mama Africa with the rest of the group as a goodbye dinner. The food took a very long time to come but we were entertained with traditional dancers and I was pulled up on the stage to dance with them, which was a lot of fun.
The following morning we were up early and we were driven for some time to a destination for white water rafting. We then collected our helmet, lifejacket and paddle and began a long walk down a steep track, jumping over little streams
and trying not to slip in places. Getting to the bottom we were overwhelmed by just how beautiful the area was – in front of us stood a beautiful glassy lake surrounded by volcanic rocks – it was stunning. Climbing into our raft and receiving some information on what we should do if the raft capsizes etc we were off…Feeling slightly apprehensive as we previously signed forms that morning which described the rapids as ‘extremely dangerous’ we quickly paddled around the corner straight into them… I will describe the whole process as ‘exhilarating.’ Managing to stay in the raft we got to rapid number 16 where we spotted crocodiles lazing on the banks and our guide quickly tightened our life jackets….suddenly a huge wave hit us and the next thing I knew I was under the water…popping up to the surface I found I was under the capsized raft. Quickly ducking back under the water I managed to come up to the surface. Taking a big breath I saw the capsized raft floating off down the rapids. I tried to swim as hard as I could but I got caught in a rapid and found myself being dragged away. Hearing
my guides voice in my head:
“If you fall out the raft, whatever you do swim away from the rocks”
I found my body being slammed against the slippery rocks…I tried to pull myself up but the water kept dragging me along and the rocks were so slippery. Just by chance a photographer had decided to take photographs nearby, as it was such a big rapid. He wandered down the rocks and managed to drag me up on the bank. Standing on the bank and getting my breath back I saw the raft and everyone else all the way down the river in the distance. Suddenly a man appeared to rescue me – his name was Martin and he was in a very small kayak.
“Just get back in the water,” he told me.
Climbing back into the river I was then told to lie on my back and straddle the front of his kayak with my legs and arms…I then experienced probably the most terrifying moments of my life
“Hold on tight” Martin yelled at me
So there we were kayaking through the biggest rapids of the day with me lying flat on
my back to the water with my arms and legs wrapped around the front of the kayak holding on for dear life. The waves were huge and every time I tried to take a breath more water hit me. Finally we got through the rapids (which were called ‘washing machine and dish washer’) to a nice smooth area where the raft finally came and picked me up and I was pulled inside to join everyone else safety inside. Fortunately we managed to keep the raft afloat for the rest of the course and then finished our morning by climbing up a huge hill where we ate a delicious lunch at the top.
During the afternoon we went to see Victoria Falls. It was absolutely stunning, more beautiful than I had imagined. There was a stunning rainbow that spread across the falls and at one point I looked up to see a huge elephant walking slowly across the top of the falls to the other side – what a great moment to witness! Although there was a lot of spray we were fortunate enough to have a clear view of ‘The smoke that thunders’ as the locals refer
to it. Another highlight of our trip - I could have spent a long time there just watching in awe.
Later that evening we went out to an African restaurant. It was a lot of fun and the atmosphere was great. We were given traditional outfits to wear and even had someone washing our hands. There were many types of food on offer as it was all you could eat. We tried Warthog, which was absolutely delicious – really tender. Tim tried a African worm and as a result was awarded a certificate for eating it. There was entertainment all through the evening and at one point some African drummers got up and handed out bongo drums to everyone. The whole restaurant joined in with the drumming and then a conga line formed and weaved in and out of the tables. Finally the evening ended with everyone up dancing the night away.
Sad to be leaving Africa we had a wonderful, eye opening, inspiring and challenging experience. Every day bought new adventures and we made some great friends on our tour. The many cultures we experienced were so rich, colourful and yet diverse. We
felt fortunate to have even touched on the small part of Africa we experienced. Now its time to move onto our new part of our journey – England where I am hanging out to see my friends, family and eat my favourite snacks. Can't wait to see everyone xxx
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