Hey, guys. Change of plans: I woke up at 7am this morning and decided to go to Zambia, where I am now. I finished doing everything I wanted to do in Vic Falls, so there wasn’t much point in me staying there.
I got a lift into Zambia on a Kumuka truck that’s on its way to Nairobi. It saved me three taxi rides and a lot of bag carrying. I think Eddie’s worried about me because I was dropped off in the middle of a dusty town (Livingstone is the most African – as opposed to Western – town I’ve been to so far). Once off the truck, I was bombarded by men selling copper bracelets and nyamis (necklaces). One of the men offered to point us in the direction of my backpacker’s which wasn’t too far away, thankfully. So I said goodbye to Eddie, Karl, Fernando and Lisca.
The day before I had to say goodbye to everyone else who was on my Kumuka truck: Pip, Anna, Doug, and so on. It was the hardest thing, to say goodbye to some people.
I like Zambia better than Zimbabwe already. Livingstone seems more authentic than Vic Falls, which seemed fake in the sense that it was full of things for tourists: hotels, trinket markets, and adrenaline activities. Other than those things, Vic Falls was quite bare. And the locals there were only interested in selling something or marrying a tourist.
Also, it’s a bit cheaper for me to stay here, and the backpacker’s is much nicer, so it seems like I get more value for money. There wasn’t much choice in terms of places to stay in Zimbabwe: the choice was between a noisy backpacker’s, and one that looked like a concentration camp. The noisy place cost US$10 per night for a dorm bed and the concentration camp cost US$8 per night. The dorm bed in this backpacker’s in Zambia costs US$6 per night, and there’s a pool that isn’t bright green!
Also, here it’s easier to find local bakeries, etc. In Zimbabwe, barely anything was available in the supermarkets, and because of that I found myself eating at restaurants, where I ended up paying about US$10 per meal, which to me, is a little over budget in Africa. Here in Zambia today, my lunch cost US$2, which is more like it! Tonight I was lazy and bought dinner at the backpacker’s (US$6) because I didn’t want to get stuck outside and have to walk back to the backpacker’s in the dark.
Oh, and I almost forgot: there are a couple of things about Zimbabwean money you should know. Each note has an expiry date: “Valid until July 2007” (or something to that effect) is printed on each note. It’s hilarious... isn’t it? How can money have an expiry date? The second thing is that the notes’ watermark looks like a man’s private parts. Just thought you should know!
Tomorrow, I think I’ll see Victoria Falls from the Zambian side. And I might check out the local markets. After that, I’ve been told I can get a transfer to Lake Kariba, and there’s a transfer back to Livingstone on Friday. Apparently Lake Kariba is really beautiful, so it might be worth going. If I do that, it means I’ll have two more days in Livingstone, during which I might visit a village or something like that. In any case, Livingstone is a nice place to chill out. When I’m done here, I’ve been told I can get a bus to Maun, where I’m meeting the Earthwatch crew.
Originally, I wanted to do a tour from Kasane to Moremi or Savuti, but apparently the rains will be here soon, and vehicles can’t negotiate the terrain in wet weather.
Oh yeah, and if anyone who was on my Kumuka tour is reading this, I’m sending the list of everyone’s email addresses out soon – I keep forgetting to have it with me when I use the Internet!
And one more thing for anyone reading this who’s coming this way: if you’re in Zimbabwe and you want to come over to Zambia, you can save money on your visa by contacting Jollyboys Backpacker’s. For US$25, they’ll organise a visa waiver for you, pick you up from the Zambian side of the border, and give you two nights of accommodation. It seems like a good deal, considering the visa alone costs US$25 for Australians normally. The catch is they need 48 hours to organise everything. I didn’t organise a Jollyboys pickup because I didn’t want to waste any more days in Zimbabwe when I could be in Zambia doing something I hadn’t done before.
Well, I have to go. I might have some photos up soon. Talk later!