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Mint box at the Kingdom HotelUp to Victoria Falls

October 11, 2000

Onward and Upward

I caught my flight to Victoria Falls early that morning: on the airplane I spoke to a guy who works in sewage treatment plants (!).  He gave me a few tips on currency exchanging (such as *not* getting a lot of Zimbabwean money, since it was worth so little just now) and pointed out the falls as we flew over on our approach to the airport.

At the airport, I met two other people going on Contiki trips: Mike and Keri (but not the same trip as mine: they were going on the Zambezi Discovery tour)  We talked a bit on the shuttle bus to The Kingdom Hotel: they ended up having the hotel room right next to mine!

Victoria Falls!

After settling into the hotel (which was VERY nice!!), I took the footpath over to Victoria Falls.  On the way there I was accosted by many people trying to sell drinks, ice cream, and various souvenirs: I tried to avoid getting anything, although I did sign a petition from one guy who was trying to get sponsored for an education visa!

Victoria FallsPassing a statue of Livingston, I reached the falls, which were spectacular!!  The spray of the water felt great (since it was quite hot) and made for some great rainbow pictures, but it sure made it hard to keep my camera dry!  Mike and Keri had caught up with me at this point, so we continued to explore the falls together.

The falls were actually fairly low at the time: the rainy season didn't start until November, so there were large sections of the falls that were dried up.  The rapids looked great: I wondered if there was white-water rafting available?  One thing that was *definitely* available was bungy jumping: at the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia was a large bridge that people were jumping off at regular intervals: unfortunately we never did get a good picture!

Speaking of crazy people, across the falls we saw a group of people swimming in the water right at the edge of the falls!!   It looked like there was some sort of eddy or pool at the spot (at least I hope so!) because they were jumping in head first!  Later we heard yelling, but we didn't see anyone go over: guess they were having a good time!

On the way back to the hotel, we spotted guinea fowl, some sort of deer (which I still have to look up) and a troop of baboons wandering by!  The sales force was out in full swing as well: Keri got a soda from one guy, and another guy offered to exchange a soapstone statue of an elephant with - what looked like to me, anyway - ivory tusks, in exchange for my new sneakers!!

There was a Contiki orientation meeting to take place at 6:00pm that night (Keri got a flyer for her group, but I did not, for some reason: so I decided to show up anyway)   So I got cleaned up and headed on over to the lobby.

Our Guide

Sure enough, at 6:00 pm a guide showed up: the guide for the Zambezi Discovery tour, that is.  A little bit later, however,  Susanna showed up, who was to be our guide for the Desert and Delta tour.  I also met two other members of the tour: Katja and Martina.   Unfortunately our meeting was short: apparently one of Susanna's previous group had managed to sprain her ankle at the bungy jump, and so she was in Emergency Mode trying to get her fixed up!  So she told us where to meet in the morning (at a nice leisurely 10:00 am), and had to take off!

Dinner at the Boma

This left the three of us on our own to decide what to do next: fortunately, I had a plan!  A friend of mine had recently been to Victoria Falls, and had recommended to me a restaurant called the Boma, which was quite popular and had some unusual dishes to sample.  I suggested to Martina & Katja that we all go to dinner there, the front desk arranged a cab for us, and we were off!

My certificate of accomplishment!Dinner at the Boma didn't start until 8:00, so we got a table reserved and relaxed in the bar for a while, where we listened to the bartender tell us about the elephants that had visited recently!  In fact, they had apparently jumped in the swimming pool and ripped out trees all over the place: this is a fairly common occurrence, I gathered.

Dinner was a lot of fun: it starts out with your waiter bringing out a bowl of water to wash your hands.  Then you get a ceremonial beer, and some appetizers to be eaten by hand.  These included small dried fish, soybeans, and sweet potatoes (which were pretty good!)  After the appetizers you get your soup, which was a delicious vegetable soup, with lots of garlic (not to great for the breath, though!)  Dinner is buffet, and there were lots of different game meats to choose from, and well as salad, fruit and bread. 

There was also a very special dish: Mopani Worm, which is basically a cooked caterpillar!  I tried some (it didn't taste of much, just a bit salty and tough), but neither of the girls did.

During dinner, a dance troup came out and performed for us, welcoming us to the Boma and wishing us well!  The performance only lasted about 15 minutes or so, after which we grabbed some desert from the buffet.  I also went out and asked our cab ride (which had arrived about that time) if he could wait about half an hour or so: we still weren't finished yet!

As we were leaving, I got the item I had desired: a certificate stating that I had eaten the Mopani Worm!

My job here was done. :-)

Back at The Kingdom

After dropping off the ladies at their hotel (called "The Rainbow", and apparently not quite as nice as The Kingdom), and giving the cabbie a BIG tip (for waiting so long for us!) I walked over to the Kingdom's casino bar to see what fun could be had there.  Lo and behold, I ran into Mike and Keri!   They had just got back from dinner and were talking to another member of their Zambezi tour: they had to leave at 6:00 am the next morning!  We all chatted for a while, and I gave them my e-mail address so they could tell me all about *their* tour!

The tour starts tomorrow: can't wait!

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2000  William Geoffrey Shotts. Last update: Saturday, November 02, 2002