July 21, 2005
Awesome Experiences: Victoria Falls, Livingstone
We had an opportunity for the whole family to go to Victoria Falls together. It’s a 5 hour drive south of Lusaka and afforded a number of impressions. People walk immense distances to get to the nearest town or city. There are local buses which operate only on the major roads, sporadically…you may end up spending several hours waiting for the bus, and of course you can only take the bus if you can afford it. You really understand why Africans are long distance runners…they may traverse considerable amount of miles just getting to the main roads. Bikes are the next favorite mode of transportation and you can tell they are valuable property.
The countryside is unbelievably gorgeous and you can see for miles and miles and miles. As we were driving I noticed that many of the fields, most of the countryside, were spotted with 3-5 feet high red or grey mounds. From a distance it all looks like an intriguing pattern…but it turns out that those are termite or ant mounds…all I could say is ohhhhhh!
Outside of the city you mainly encounter small towns/commercial centers and see many thatched-hut villages. There are rare places with bathrooms that we can use so it was a matter of holding it for 5 hours or use a bucket filled with water to flush. When you enter and leave the towns you have to go over speed bumps… in LA they will slow you down a tad, in Zambia they are little hills folks and will break your axles! 🙂
There quite a number of custom/police stops you have to go through on the trip down but the most unusual stop was to be treated for “foot and mouth” disease. A barrier was set up so that all cars had to stop and everyone in a car had to get out and have a soapy mixture poured over their hands and walk on specially treated bamboo with their shoes before continuing on the road! Wow…was that a mind-blowing experience!
Livingstone is a major city like LA because it is the hub for tourists visiting Victoria Falls, which is the 7th Wonder of the World. We stayed at the Zambezi Sun Hotel which is located on the grounds of the Mosi-oa-Tunya [“smoke that thunders”] National Park. It is a wildlife preserve with signs that say “Beware of crocodiles crossing.” Needless to say that when we returned from the restaurant after dinner we were truly mindful of where we stepped! We had a chance to eat crocodile and kudu [wild game] meat and it was absolutely delicious.
The best part though was walking down a path and encountering a baboon walking towards you…believe me, we stepped aside! Later that day we were walking through the grounds to go to an evening boat ride and looked over and there was a whole pack of zebra. What a truly gorgeous sight! Monkeys are also quite prevalent and will come to your table and steal food or anything shiny…can’t leave your cameras on the table!
Last, but not least, Victoria Falls is unbelievably, spectacularly, fabulously AWESOME!!!!!!!. Mere words cannot truly describe the hugeness [!], vastness and stupendous sight of falls that must be 7 times the height and breadth, at least, of a Niagara Falls. Hopefully the attached pictures will give you an inkling of a wonderful visit.
Fyi… Zambia’s borders touch on Zaire, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and Angola!