Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Zambezi Rain

The last few days in the company of my new friends on the bus Janis are over.

Chobe sunset

River cruise
After the Chobe cruise, we headed for the Zimbabwean border. Norman and Servius are both from Zim, and prepared us for some of the peculiarities of our next stop: there are three currencies in use at this time, the Botswana Pula, the SA Rand, and the US Dollar. Prices are in USD, and then you can pay in whatever currency you like, at more or less favorable exchange rates - and if they don't have proper change, they'll give you candy instead.

Greeted by a warthog - Pumba! - at the border crossing, we headed to Victoria Falls.
Country of Pumba
These falls are nothing short of amazing. The native word for them means "smoke that thunders", and they are about 100 times as awe-inspiring as the Niagara Falls. They are permanently surrounded by clouds of rain that gets propelled up in the air by the gigantic amounts of water falling down, and standing on the rocks in that rain is considered a ritual cleansing by the local tribes.
At the falls
Standing there, on the slippery outmost point called Danger Rock, with the deafening roar of the Zambezi in my ears, river water coming at me from all sides, the sun a dim light somewhere on the other side of the clouds and surrounded by rainbows I did feel like some sort of cleansing must be happening... the closest to spiritual I've felt in a long time.
Eddy from Holland capturing the view
In the evening we had the last dinner with the overland people, an amazing buffet at the Kingdom hotel. I ate Sadza (pap) and yorkshire puddings in the same meal, and impala stew (the most delicious game stew I've ever had) as well as a bit of stir-fried crocodile on top of my salad (tastes like fish-flavored chicken meat, very interesting).

Then I had a great night out with Norman and Ines, the translator of the accommodated tour running parallel to us - drinking Castle Pilsener at the local bars, meeting just about everyone who works in the tourism business in Vic Falls and watching blonde and blue-eyed Ines getting hit on constantly. One guy kept telling her he was an ostrich...

Yesterday I traded everything I had in my backpack and didn't need anymore - a worn-out pair of trainers, a smelly shirt, and a broken phone - for yam-yam lucky charms made from the serpentine of the river benches, bracelets and jewellery at the local market. In the process I met Simba, who took the phone from me and gave me about a pound of yam-yams, twenty copper bracelets and an elephant tail ring for it - we're great friends now! As I was walking away without shoes or phone, and telling people I had neither money nor goods left to trade, one of the marketeers told me to sit with him and learn how to make a leather bracelet, and gave me one as a gift afterwards. And some marimba players waved me over and made me play with them (until my trusty companions from the bus got bored of watching the spectacle).
Gifted bracelet

Finished the day with a glass of Pernod on the terrace of the super-fancy Vic Falls hotel - best secret ever: 3$ for a drink buys you hours of lounging on a beautiful terrace overlooking the falls! And on the way back the added bonus of stumbling across a few elephants that had wandered into town and were snacking on some bushes just about 2m away from us.
Vic Falls Hotel terrace

Today I said goodbye to the last members of the group, and will be travelling solo from now on. Norman's cousin is joining me on the night bus to Harare tonight.

No comments:

Post a Comment