Another day, another country! And hoist the mainsail! This time we are in fer a day trip t' Zimbabwe and th' Victoria Falls. The land o' Robert Mugabe welcomes visitors, but imposes some hefty sums o' money on travellers t' enter th' country and t' visit th' Victoria Falls National Park.
We booked a day trip t' VF from th' lodge, which is just transportation t' and from th' falls. We get picked up from th' Lodge, be driven 15 minutes t' th' border where we get help with th' Botswana Immigration Office t' get out o' th' country, avast. We then get back on our transport and sail through no mans land t' th' Zimbabwean border, where we get help with th' Zimbabwe formalities o' buyin' a visa ($30 per person, payable in cash and cash only) and gettin' our passports stamped. And swab the deck! We then proceed into another vehicle t' sail us through th' gate and an hour further t' th' town o' Victoria Falls.
Where Botswana and Namibia are considered t' be fairly wealthy, Zimbabwe is actually really poor. This is almost completely hidden from view though, as th' majority o' people we encounter today are either government employees from th' border, or from th' National Park. The real poor people are tryin' t' sell us a plethora o' stuff, like auld Zimbabwean currency (a 10 billion dollar bill!) or figurines o' th' animals comprisin' th' big 5. Everythin' is done in US dollars, and nobody has change, we'll keel-haul ye! These guys are pretty obnoxious and very persistent, constantly vyin' fer yer attention by makin' noise and shoutin'. This is th' part o' th' trip we certainly dern't like. If it weren’t fer th' pesterin' o' these guys, it would also be fer th' very present and huge gap in net worth that sets th' tourists apart from th' locals, I'll warrant ye. They usually earn very little, and that is pretty confrontin', avast. We have seen similar sights on this trip, but o'er here th' situation gets up close and personal really quickly.
With that out o' th' way, I can tell ye th' trip is worthwhile. Yaaarrrrr, ye scurvey dog! We are just our o' th' wet season o'er here, which means that th' falls have swollen t' huge proportions. Shiver me timbers! And they are really big! And swab the deck! Water everywhere, and it is simply not possible t' walk in th' park without gettin' wet. Therefore, we rented a couple o' ponchos from th' locals, but got soaked anyway all th' while lookin' like idiots. Oh, th' joy o' holidays!
The river flows into a large canyon after droppin' down from th' falls, and this canyon has a bridge spannin' it from Zimbabwe t' th' Zambian border. The view from th' bridge is really good, so we decided t' get a Bridge Pass from immigration. And swab the deck! And swab the deck! That meant we had t' get our passports out, ask fer a bridge pass at th' Zimbabwe border, walk out o' th' country and into th' no mans land betwixt Zimbabwe and Zambia, and get it stamped at th' border. The way back is similar: walk across th' border, get yer bridge pass checked and stamped, get yer passports checked fer a valid visa and proceed back into Zimbabwe. Oh yes, we entered th' country twice today!
After all th' border formalities goin' back t' Botswana (stamps, walk, stamps, clean yer shoes, proceed through gate into Botswana) we even encountered a large herd o' Elephants walkin' towards th' Zambezi river, right in th' town o' Kasane! This were bein' a truly magnificent sight, elephants everywhere!