Coming from Lusaka by bus, a few hours later we pulled into Livingstone. and caught a fairly dodgy looking unmarked cab ($5) to Tabonina Guesthouse ($45 per night with ensuite, breakfast included). It was an attractive place, with a homely lounge and a pool. Our room was next to the lounge and it was spacious with a nice hot shower, but a very creeky bathroom door. On arriving we starting hanging up our washing that still hadn’t dried and making the most of the great WiFi. I soon got comfy and didn’t want to go out so Mark wandered to the town centre, while consulting his map from the hotel. He found a Spar supermarket nearby and bought some provisions.
The next morning the alarm went off at 8am but we lounged around for another hour before we got up. We ate breakfast on the picnic table outside, which consisted of cornflakes, orange juice, tea, coffee and toast with jam. We then tidied up our cases, packed them and left them at the hotel while we wandered into town. We stopped at the supermarket again for supplies, then found the bus station where we boarded a dalidali bus for the falls ($0.5). We sat at the back and more and more people kept piling in. Eventually there were 16 passengers plus two kids before we set off. It was a real experience.
The bus stopped at what seemed like the middle of nowhere but turned out to be just 5 mins walk from the entrance to Victoria Falls. We crossed the railway line and paused to photograph the baboons on the street outside. Entry was $20 each and we were greeted by a choice of paths taking us to different vantage points. We took the trail on the left taking us to a photographic spot. On the way we found out route blocked a couple of times by baboons. One was a family group and the baby was so small it was struggling to support its own weight. They seemed quite used to people and just watched us as we walked by. We saw many of them, even some swinging on vines in the gorge. Continuing down the path we saw the French/Swiss German couple we had met at the hotel earlier, and we met a man from Arizona trying to get a selfie with a large baboon, which was funny. There were many viewing spots along the route but the best was at the at the end, close to the Victoria Falls Bridge that connects Zambia and Zimbabwe. The next track took us down into the gorge to a place called the Boiling Pot. There were rough dusty steps cut into the rock and half way down they had a bench so we stopped to eat our sandwiches. A few minutes later I jumped when a baboon appeared just a few inches away. We shoved the sandwiches back in the rucksack, but a hand darted in before Mark could completely shut it, and pinched the rest of my sandwich. Cheeky monkey!
We had been warned by a lady on the bus. We crossed a little bridge and went to the rocks at the end of the path, on the valley floor. From there we could see the water rushing from the gorge into the Zambezi, in front of the great bridge. Climbing back up we saw more young baboons wrestling on the dusty slopes and tumbling down on top of each other. We scaled the remainder of the steps and headed towards Danger Point and Knife Edge Bridge. Before we got far we came across a stall renting rain ponchos ($1.5) and shower shoes ($1.5) so we hired them, as we heard you get very wet. They actually gave us the rain poncho and a thin plastic layer to put underneath, and we left our shoes there. A few steps further we got our first close up view of the falls and a light spray. We then crossed the bridge to a rocky island for better views and got absolutely drenched. It was worth it though. We were able to get a sense of the full power of the falls. Mark had the camera in his hand, tucked under his poncho, and his rucksack on his back, underneath. We skirted the island taking pictures where we could before heading back to the mainland with a white South African family we met. We then headed to the final viewing area by the edge of the river, where it plunged down below. After a quick picture by the Livingstone statue we left the park and found a cheap taxi to take us back home ($6).
On the way we struck a deal with the driver to stop at Spar and wait for us at the hotel and ferry us to the border for $15. We collected our luggage and headed for Zimbabwe. We couldn’t take the taxi all the way into the country without paying a large fare so we alighted at the Zambia border post and went to get our passport stamped. We had just entered the office when a baboon snatched my rice crackers through my carrier bag. A local lady was laughing. I was funny. We then took another cab between the border posts and over the bridge, through ‘no man’s land’ into Zimbabwe.
What a fantastic place!