Mosi-oa-Tunya...The Smoke That Thunders

Victoria Falls Travel Blog

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Unfortunatly this is my last full day, so I gatta go see the falls. Jollyboys offers a free shuttle at 10 am everyday so I took advantage of that cause a taxi si 30,000 Kwacha and a shared minibus is 2,500 Kwacha (exchange rate was about $1 US to 4,000 Kwacha as of October 08).

It costs about $10 US to get into the park. Unfortunatly the views from the Zambian side are not very good during the dry season, you can't see any water except for the main falls way off on the Zimbabwe side. The rock formations and sheer vasstness of the area is quite impressive and I guess its cool to see the the area without the water, but I def need to come back during the wet season to really apprecaite the falls. I was walking through the park and met two locals who wanted to sell me some Zimbabweian currency (the imfamous 100 Billion dollar note). They did impress me with their knowledge about the American Presidents (we talked about the upcoming US 08 Election as well). I told them I might buy some currency later as I wanted to cross the bridge and go to the Zim side. There was a hole in the fence and they said "oh just go through here, its a short cut". I should have walked around, but it was hot and would have been a long walk so I did it and was dumped out right on the bridge, but nobody seemed to care. The views from the bridge are beautiful, plus you can see right where the river rafting starts. Its actually a really long walk down a dirt road to the Zim border control once you get across the brige, as I got there paid the $30 US for the visa fee (for American passport holders). There was actual sercurity there as guards with guns wanted to see my passport. I got through and started walking to the park entrance then realized that I never got stamped out of Zambia, I totally by-passed the the border control by going under the fence. So I was a bit worried about how this would play out when I wanted to re-enter. As soon as I got across I got swarmed with people who wanted to sell me everything from copper bracelets to billion dollar notes. The really begged hard and seemed more desperate than anyone else I encountered so far (I am inclined to believe this is true, but I don't know), thus I did feel a bit bad for not giving anybody anything.

To enter the park in Zim it costs $20 US, again for US passport holders. The park is much nicer than on the Zam side. They have a nice exhibition hall with a lot of interesting info about the history of the falls, local peoples and David Livingstone. You can immediatly see a difference as you can hear the water rushing and actually see the mist rising up into the air. The "main falls" part is the only section that really has water during the dry season (also some other smaller sections on the Zim side that do as well, Devils Cataract and so forth) and its interesting to see how brown and dry the entire park looks like until you get right in front of the main falls where there is constantly mist. The trees and plant life were very lush and looked like a jungle, full of monkeys and baboons and beautiful flowers. You can see Livingstone Island well and the Devils Pool which you can swim in (during the dry season only) right up to the edge of the falls and watch the water fall around you. I had wanted to do it, but the walking tour of the island costs $45 US and I was tapped out. The ATM doesn't accept Mastercard, plus it had been ripped out of the wall so I couldn't use it anyway. After seeing everything to the point of almost dehydrating myself I decided to head back. Stopped in the bathroom and drank about a gallon of water from the bathroom sink. I read that you shouldn't drink the water in Zim or Zam, but I did everyday and never once had a problem. On the way out I bought a 100 Billion dollar Zim note for $1 US. Upon re-entry to Zambia, again nobody cared. There was a huge que to go into the immigration office, so I didn't and nobody stopped me. The, I'm guessing, native Zim people who crossed with me got stopped, but everyone looked at me like "oh he's white, he knows what he's doing". So I got back into Zam no problem. Once back I checked out the stalls where all the wood carvings and such are sold. A guy gave me the Nyami Nyami neclace of the dragon, which is for good luck I think. Then we started bargining about stuff, I didn't have much money, but the guy said "hey I like your socks, can I have them" so I gave the guy my socks for two wooden maskes of the first king and queen of the Tonga people to see Victoria Falls. Haha I thought it was a pretty sweet deal as I was going to throw them away anyway cause they were nasty.

In my opinion the Zim side is much better for viewing the falls, def during the dry season and it is well worth the entry price for Americans to see them.
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Victoria Falls
photo by: Biedjee