The Baboon Diet and Mosi-O-Tunya (Victoria Falls)


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Africa » Zambia » Livingstone
July 21st 2013
Published: August 17th 2013
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Transport hubs are fascinating places. They always make me wonder where everyone is going and what they are doing. At 7am we arrived at Lusaka Inter-city bus terminal and it was already buzzing with people.



75% of Zambians are Christian, and our bus passengers reflected this rather well. When the bus left the station, within thirty seconds a man had stood up and started preaching to us about the gospel. He preached for about twenty minutes before he invited three other people on the bus to lead a prayer. Once he had finished, he made a collection so that he could get a lift back to the station and preach again on another bus. We later learned that this is not uncommon on the Mazhandu company buses!



The journey gave us a glimpse of the countryside; Small huts with straw roofs, meat hanging out to dry, people cycling on bikes laden with heavy loads, brick making, farm workers, children playing or just standing by the road.



We had one short stop in Monze for the 2 Kwatcha disco toilets, and after seven hours on the road, we arrived in Livingstone, to a crowd of taxi drivers very keen to take our business.



We stayed at Fawlty Towers for our first night (No Basil or Manuel in sight for the British TV viewers!) Livingstone was quite busy, so we had to go to Jollyboys to arrange accommodation for the following two nights. En route there were some young kids shouting “Muzungu” which means foreigner, and they were very happy to run and wave at us! Cute! Despite being hot during the day, all the pools at this time of year were very cold! Our attempt at a swim effectively meant dipping our feet in icy waters!


Lunar Rainbow




We were lucky enough to be in Livingstone under a full moon, so could witness the Lunar rainbow at Victoria Falls. The moon is so bright and there is no artificial light around, so the spray from the falls creates a rainbow in the moonlight. It was beautiful and mystical. The clear night sky was incredible, with an unbelievable amount of stars. The walk into the Mosi-O-Tunya national park down to the falls was dark and luckily there was a guide with a torch because apparently the night before there had been elephants nearby! The locals call Victoria Falls "Mosi-O-Tunya" which means "the smoke that thunders".



Day two, and we went to the National Park in daylight to follow the three trails to view the falls. First we followed the "upstream" trail and got a view down the length of the falls until all the mist and spray filled the gorge. We walked along the ‘knife edge walkway’ and across a small Bridge. It was great to be close to the edge, opposite the falls and to feel the spray from the powerful water. The route also provided good views of the Victoria falls bridge which connects Zambia and Zimbabwe. The weather was bright and sunny, and there were double rainbows at misty points in the falls. The falls are so long that it was not possible to see all the way down to the end due to the spray of water.




Baboon Diet




We then followed the photographic trail, and a short while in found a scenic place to stop for a picnic (or so we thought). We had opted for the photographic trail because the other option warned of baboons. We quickly learnt that the photographic trail was not exempt from this warning. We had been sat down for about thirty seconds when I heard a scream from Lindsay. I glanced round and saw a baboon holding our bananas and bread rolls! One other baboon was close by. In a second I was on my feet - stashed my food, grabbed the rest of Lindsay's things and we moved away but they were still keen. Lindsay's big bag was on the floor and the baboon was trying to open it! We shooed them away. It was horrible - but we had to grab our belongings. Who knows if a baboon would want a camera or a wallet as well as bananas! It didn’t help the fear factor that one of them had a baby on its back either! A bit shaken up, we quick footed it to the end and to the nice view! On the way back we sped past them on the bank of the gorge. What food we had left, we hid for the rest of the day are didn’t dare to get it out, hence the baboon diet was created!





The final path led us to the "boiling pot" at water level, looking down under the Victoria Falls Bridge. It was a great place to sit and relax and listen to the water.



We climbed back up to the start and having done all three trails on the Zambian side, we headed out of the park and took a taxi to the Zambezi waterfront lodge. As you can imagine from the name, it was a good location from which to view the sunset. The calm waters of the Zambezi in front of us, drifting towards the dramatic falls ahead. The sun went down with magical colours. A beer in hand, in Africa, overlooking the Zambezi at sunset. This was a bit of a surreal moment.



Before the sun had set, an even more surreal moment - a man sitting at the bar asked me if I'd seen the herd of elephants outside? Err....no....! Off we went and sure enough, just outside the gate of the hotel (which is inside the national park), were around thirty elephants walking past in amongst the trees! Amazing!

JHG







Info:

Mosi-O-Tunya National Park - 100 Kwacha/day. 120 Kwacha for Lunar Rainbow.

Fawlty Towers – 85 Kwacha/dorm. Good Location.

Jollyboys Campsite – Nice place with a campfire everynight, a short walk/taxi from the main road. Free shuttle to the falls everyday. http://www.backpackzambia.com/


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