Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe - Thursday, January 15, 2004

If we spent all our time believing what we saw on TV, we wouldn’t have visited 7-8 countries on our list. Zimbabwe has horrible political problems, but Vic Falls is still a somewhat safe haven for travelers. We stayed at a backpackers within 2 miles of the falls and town and spent much time chatting with South Africans, Namibians, Zimbabweans, Aussies, and Zambians. The owner of the backpackers had his large company and farm taken away from him at gunpoint by the government. He’s actually still paying the electricity for his 4th generation farm, though he doesn’t live there and is forbidden to visit. We got an earful for the 3 days at the backpackers. It’s just such a shame that a country once considered “the jewel of Africa” is all but destroyed. The currency is extremely unstable, finding food/staples is difficult b/c the new “farmers” don’t know how to farm, insane laws are passed erratically, and people are starving. The crowd certainly got us fired up! The situation is pretty bad no matter what color you are.

We spent the first evening on a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River watching wildlife. A couple from Capetown made the trip even more interesting. Well, beer helped too. We finally got a close up of hippos and had a wily croc follow the boat around in search of food. The sunset was beautiful. We got close enough to the falls (above them) to hear their roar and see the spray.

D took advantage of the low prices here and went on an all day fishing trip for about 1/4 the cost it would be at home. He spent the day chasing the notoriously tough and toothy Zambezi Tiger fish in hopes of making a catch. Half the day was spent canoeing down the river, casting for fish; the other half was spent trolling a wide, lazy section of the Zambezi. D caught 3 fish, sunburn, and met some interesting Brits. Well worth it!

Our last day was spent hiking around Vic Falls National Park sweating our butts off. The trail took us to various viewpoints of the 1708m wide falls where the spray kept us soaking wet. Quite refreshing actually! Vic Falls has the largest curtain of falling water in the world, making it a World Heritage Site. The highest point of the falls creates a “plunge pool” of 108m deep. In full flood ~100 million liters of water pass over the falls. The falls were stunning from every angle.

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