Visit Victoria Falls Zambia: Anti-Rain Going Up

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    Victoria Falls.
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    1L Coke bottles. It has been a couple of decades since I have seen those.
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    Even the river is beautiful.
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    Zambezi River.
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    Mischievous baboons.
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    It is pretty.
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    That is a lot of volume of water....
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    The Victoria Falls are about 1.5 kilometers, or 1 mile.
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    It was hard to sneak these photos for the moisture in the air.
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    The tears of a river.
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    The 40 meter Knife Edge Bridge.
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    They just look like pure chaos.
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    Zambezi River and the falls somewhere behind the mist.
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    Panorama photos never really work out do they...?
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    The Friendship Bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
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    Young characters.
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    Zambezi River.
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    The falls in the background.
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    This is the Zambian side of Victoria Falls. It has characted.
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    That might be a look of shame.
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    My first sight of them, about 160 years after David Livingstone first did.
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March 10
Visit Victoria Falls Zambia.  It was one of my main reasons for travelling through Zambia southbound.  I have traveled a lot of miles to get here.  So, that today turned out to be such a m@therf*ker of a day is pretty disappointing.  I do not like to swear in this blog because I think it is tasteless to write with swear words, but I can not think of another word that I want to describe the day as it was….

They just look like pure chaos.

They just look like pure chaos.

I caught a group taxi for $1 from Livingstone, Zambia, to the Visit Victoria Falls  Zambia on that side of the border.  I was carrying everything with me so that I would not have to return to Zambia after and I could just travel on to Zimbabwe after to see the falls from that side of the river.

There was no place for storage at the waterfalls so I had to pay a security guard to keep my backpack.  When I asked him if he would store it for me, he asked, “How much are you going to pay me?”  I told him I would give him $1 as that was the equivalent of the ride back to Livingstone where I could have left it at the hotel.  He wanted more but agreed to my terms.  That all went well and the backpack was safe.

I had to pay $20 to get in to Visit Victoria Falls Zambia.  I went to look at the Boiling Pool and then I went to look at the actual falls.  As I got close to the falls, there were guys renting rain jackets.  A white guy was taking one off.  I asked him if a rain jacket was necessary.  He said if I did not want to get completely soaked it was.  I rented one for $2 and I left my shoes under a metal step to stay dry while I barefooted the journey.

My first sight of them, about 160 years after David Livingstone first did.

My first sight of them, about 160 years after David Livingstone first did.

Victoria Falls were first viewed by a European on 16 November 1855 by David Livingstone of Scotland. From the David Livingstone statue at the falls:

“In 1851, he first heard of great waterfall, but it was only in 1855 that he set out to visit it in the company of indigenous people of the falls area.  He spent a night on the Kalai Island a few kilometers upstream of the falls, having come down the river by canoe.

The next morning he set off in a small canoe to approach the thundering smoke.  He landed on the biggest island on the lip of the falls, not called the Livingstone Island, where he obtained his first vies of the falls.  Of the surrounding area, he wrote: “the most wonderful sight I had witnessed in Africa.  No one can imagine the beauty from anything witnessed in England.  It had never been seen before by European eyes, but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight.” (Livingstone 1857).

As soon as I got close to the falls, it began to pour rain.  I was being hammered.  Then, I got close to the railing…  The waterfall of Victoria Falls is so powerful and hits the river below with such strength that it creates so much mist shooting into the air that you can see reverse rain climbing towards the sky.  I am not talking about a splash of mist here; I am talking about a full force anti-rain going back into the air as high as I could see it climb.  So, it was this crazy phenomenon of the rain coming down and the mist shooting back up.  It was amazing to see!

Victoria Falls.

Victoria Falls.

Unfortunately though, the mist was so strong that it was difficult to actually see the waterfalls.  The visibility would change, but there was so much moisture coming down and going up that I could not really get my camera out from inside of my raincoat.  And there was so much rain coming down that it was coming inside of my rain-coat and my shirt and shorts were completely soaked.  I had my passport in my money belt, which also got soaked, so that now needs to be dried out and will forevermore have the pages of a wet and aired-out book…

The 40 meter Knife Edge Bridge.

The 40 meter Knife Edge Bridge.

Somehow, in 1968, a 40 meter metal bridge called “Knife Edge Bridge” was constructed to Danger Point of the waterfalls.  In some way, the bridge was once painted.  I tried to imagine how it was to construct that bridge through the constant monsoon of rain.  How long did that take?  I realized that I would have probably shaved the hair off of my body if I was on that job, just to cut back on water retention.  I am sure that since the beginning of time there has not been a moment in the area when things were not soaked and moisture was not pouring down or up.  How was that bridge ever painted?…

I think Victoria Falls the biggest waterfalls in the world.  I have now been to all three of the majors: Niagara, Iguaçu, and Victoria.  Niagara is a gorgeous wonder, but the over-development around the falls of casinos and wax museums has made something so beautiful very ugly.  Victoria on the other hand is completely undeveloped and there are barely any people there.  You feel like you have it to yourself at times, but it is difficult to appreciate because of the poor visibility from the amount of moisture coming down and going up.  Iguaçu in South America is the winner!  It is probably the most beautiful natural wonder of the world that I have ever seen.

The Victoria Falls are about 1.5 kilometers, or 1 mile.

The Victoria Falls are about 1.5 kilometers, or 1 mile.

I did not want to leave Victoria Falls because I felt like I really did not get enough of it, but there was just so much of the falls inside of my raincoat and everything I owned seemed to be soaked through.  I decided to give in and get out of the area, stopping at a restaurant just outside of the falls to get out of the rain.  There were baboons everywhere and they were invading the restaurant until the owner came out with a sling shot.  The baboons knew immediately who he was and what that was, scattering as soon as they saw what was in his hand when he got to the door!  They know him as the Sling Shot Slinger.  They resent him…

That is a lot of volume of water....

That is a lot of volume of water….

I collected my big backpack and exchanged my Zambian money at the ticket office for a better rate than the internet currently said the rate was.  That never happens.  Awesome.  The boss there is trading at old news which is still the rate his employees are using.  Sloppy of him, but great for everyone else using their services…

The Zambian Immigration office is only about 100 meters from the Zambian Victoria Falls entrance.  Exit stamp on my single entry visa.  I had to walk through a gate where a Zambian Immigration officer checked my passport to see if I had an exit stamp before I went into no-man’s land towards Zimbabwe.  A huge baboon had been walking beside me and he kept on going through the gate without stopping.  I asked the officer why the baboon had more rights than me and did not have to show his passport.  The officer had no idea what I was asking him…

Mischievous baboons.

Mischievous baboons.










It was still raining as I was walking through no-man’s land, though everything I owned was doing its best to absorb the water coming from the sky.  It was about one kilometer to walk to the Zimbabwe Immigration office.  The huge baboon, still moving with me, tried to grab one of the straps on my backpack.  I had to turn to face him to get him away from my back and I was aggressively saying, “F*ck off!  F*ck off!” to him, like I would to a human in the same situation.  It is funny how my reaction was to talk to him like a bad-people because he is so human-like.  And the amazing thing is that he backed right off.  That baboon seemed to know what ‘F*ck Off’ meant…

I walked past the bungee jump off of the bridge at Victoria Falls.  $160.  It was quiet and there was no one around…

The Friendship Bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The Friendship Bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe.

At the Zimbabwe Immigration office I filled out the entrance form.  I went to pay the $30 fee in accordance with internet information.  Nope.  “Canada passport.  $75.”  $75!  Initial anger!  I told them immigration man I would not have come to the country had I known it was $75.  He told me I could go back to Zambia.  The problem was that I only had a single entry visa there, and now with an exit stamp in my passport I would have to pay another $50 to get back in to that country.  I had no choice.  I was cornered….

I looked at the price listings for western countries.  They were all $30 except for Canada.  All except Canada.  This passport sucks.  It is true.  I know that probably just hurt Canadian feelings, but as far as western world passports go, it is the shittiest.  It is true.  Believe me, I know this…I have been to 84 countries with it.  I know there are Canadians reading this, and you have been brainwashed into believing that Canada has one of the best passports in the world.  If your point of comparison for a Canadian passport is an American one, then yes, the Canadian one does open more doors for working abroad.  New Zealand, Germany, Norway, Japan, etc, are all countries with passports all do what the Canadian passport does and most of them do far more.

So many times it has happened to me where I have had to pay the most for a visa to get into a country with this passport….  I am so pissed off about this.  Why is this happening so often with this Canadian passport?  Some countries have the same price for every foreign passport to buy a visa.  Other countries have different price listings for every foreign passport.  If this is the case, every single time with the exception of one case in Bolivia, the Canadian passport visa has been the most expensive of all of them.  The most in Russia.  The most in Laos.  The most in Argentina.  The most in Brazil.  Double the most in Turkey.  Today again…double the most in Zimbabwe…  And now with the oil-dependent Canadian economy in the tank and the country’s dollar in decline with my money thoughtlessly parked in Canadian currency, the visa that I was expecting to pay $30 US for ends up costing me $100 Canadian when the final numbers come though.  Good job Canada.  You totally sucked today.

Even the river is beautiful.

The Zambezi River is beautiful.

I was I a foul mood for most of the day after.  Ten minutes into my walk to the town of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, some guy tried to sell me pot.  That did not help.  I stopped and told him, “You know, in three months if Africa, you are the first guy to try to sell me drugs!”  He was smiling, thinking he was cool and said, “You are lucky then today!”  I was as snarly as I could be when I said, “No, believe me, I have been lucky until I met you.”  It has been so nice to not have to deal with those scumbags.  I just wrote about how I never meet those guys in Africa like I do everywhere else and then of course one shows up.  I should probably write about how terrible it would be to end up with a huge amount of money going into my British bank account later on today…

I wanted to find a place to stay, and when I arrived in the town of Victoria Falls and went to the ATM, I got into a conversation with one of the posted guards and asked him if he knew of cheap accommodation close by.  Yes, he knew, and he walked me across town to a hotel that they wanted $50 a night to stay in.  Great.  I had walked all of the way across town for that…  F!  When life is not flowing well, it really is an ugly place.

The hotel owners of course did not know of anything cheaper and neither did the guy who walked me there.  I just felt trapped by life.  I headed back to town to try to find a Zimbabwe SIM card for my phone so that I could catch internet and then I could search for a backpacker hostel.  On a way a local woman seemed to sense the desperation and devastation from my lousy day and asked if she could help me.  “Yea, I need a cheap place to stay.  Some guy just walked me to a $50 hotel.  I am looking for a place for about $10 a night…”  “Go straight down this road and then go to the left of the white building.  Ask someone for Shoestring Backpackers.”  YES!  I thanked her.  I high-fived her!

The guy at reception of Shoestring Backpackers was super cool and that seemed to soothe things some.  I dropped my bags in a dorm room, set out on the town for food, a beer, and came back to the hostel to climb in bed to sleep this shit day away…

Tomorrow can only be better…

(For the happier story on the Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side, click me!)

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