Entering Zimbabwe is like entering a time warp and ending up in 1980. Entry visas and plane tickets are slowly written out by hand in duplicate, using actual purple carbon paper. Who knew they even made that stuff anymore!
The tourist town of Victoria Falls is something of a throwback to colonial times. Waiters ask, “How may I server you, Madam?” Unfortunately the food they serve so elegantly is pretty much terrible, as I suppose one would expect in a county plagued by famine.
Things I Ate
- Guinea hen
- Mopani worms. (Well, not really, I didn’t eat the worms but Steve did.)
The town is surrounded by a game reserve so the animals wander freely through the town and can be a danger. I heard one man had to jump into a ditch to avoid being gored by a water buffalo. I did not have to jump into any ditches but I did see elephants cross the street as we walked back to our hotel.
Animals I saw in the town:
Elephants, baboons, spider monkeys, wart hogs, and some kind of lizard
Animals I saw while on Safari:
Bush-buck, zebra, giraffe, fisher eagle
Animals I saw while cruising the Zambezi river:
Elephant, hippo, water buck.
This being the end of the rainy season the falls was too full of water and too fierce with spray to take the camera in with us. So you will have to be content with stock photos of the falls.
The biggest danger I faced in Zimbabwe was losing my sense of amazement at the wonders of Africa. There are just so many amazing things I begin to grow jaded. By the time we left I was annoyed with baboons, desperate for a good cup of coffee and barely noticed the native dancers begging for my attention or the women with babies on their backs and heavy loads on their heads.
If you think of Zimbabwe at all, you probably think of it as a country of burnt out farms and ragged starving natives with machetes in their hands and malice in their eyes. I know I did. What surprised me was the people we met who were driving through Zimbabwe with their teenage daughters on a family vacation. They and others sang the praises of taking a houseboat vacation on Lake Kariba in Zimbabwe. I even have a card from a guide who offers 15 day tours of the highlights of the country. That tourism in Zimbabwe outside of Victory Falls was possible was a surprise to me.
My visit is coming to an end. I return to the States next week. I look forward to seeing you all.