Victoria Falls Travel Blog

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Woke up fairly early to say goodbye to everyone who was leaving today, including Mum and Bon. I didn't want the whole buffet breakfast, but Jenni gave me her fruit and yoghurt which really hit the spot. Said goodbye to everyone - Bon started crying - then headed to the border as we had decided to go to Zimbabwe today. It cost US$30 to enter Zimbabwe (which the guy forgot to charge me but I stupidly reminded him) and US$50 to buy our return visa to Zambia. Karl and I crossed through together. Sue, Dad and Tammy had to change Kwachas into American dollars first. We were escorted across by Steve who was one of the rafting guides from yesterday - he was returning home for two days off to his village 5km from the border. He walked us along the long road in the hot sun and then through the bush (which was a little scary to be honest) to a curio market which had about 30 shops and 60 men all wanting to trade and sell stuff.
Mugabe's casino
Richard had given me 4 of his shirts, Shelley a couple of hers, and Jenni a whole bag of stuff including tops, pants, toiletries and even underwear. They were keen on everything. The hottest items were the toothpaste and the baby powder. I bought a lot of stuff, nearly all of which was made of stone. Karl was really helpful with giving me change and helping me carry my stuff, which was RIDICULOUSLY heavy. We were there at LEAST three hours and we tried to buy each thing from a different guy to support as many people as possible. By the end we were feeling very thirsty. We decided to check out the casino opened by Mugabe in 1999 called The Kingdom. It was quite sickening, full of poker machines and huge statues. There were no customers of course, but there seemed to be a lot of people employed there so that was good.
Inside Mugabe's casino
I had a much-needed Coke. We caught up with Tammy and Sue there then headed to the market they'd spent all morning at - it was much cheaper than where we'd been and the people were much more desperate. There were 112 women in a big hall so I spent my last US$10 there. I wish I had had more to give. I tried to spend $1 over 10 stalls to support as many of them as possible. Digustingly, a loaf of bread costs US$1, which is also the maximum daily withdrawal from any ATM at any bank. That is equivalent to 150 billion Zimbabwean dollars (100 billion being their largest note). They were very desperate. It was ridiculous how much I got for my money. I told them they should all charge a lot more the next person a white person came in. Who knows when that would be. It annoyed me that I'd already given all my ladies clothes and toiletries away to the men. I just had to hope they passed them onto their wives, girlfriends, mothers, sisters and children. We finished up there about 5pm and began the LONG walk back to Zambia. It was exhausting because it was still so hot and our bags, filled entirely with stone carvings, were ridiculously heavy. Karl carried one of mine all the way which was really nice of him. After we crossed back through both borders we caught a taxi back to the Waterfront, where our new group members were having their group meeting. They are: Cat and Jo from England, Lloyd and Hayley from England, Simon and Lee from Australia, Rosie from Australia, Alex from Australia, and Arja from Finland. They were a very diverse group of people doing such a variety of things from being a pianist, to finding a cure for cholesterol, to working in an embassy in Mexico! They seemed very friendly. I had a much-needed shower then headed to the bar for another buffet dinner. It was better than last night but still not good and not worth it. Headed to bed about 10:30pm, sharing a tent with Tammy for the first time. Karl and Odin danced around our tent singing 'Ging Gang Gooley Gooley' for awhile in their underwear, which was hilarious, til Dad told them to shut up!
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Mugabes casino
Mugabe's casino
Inside Mugabes casino
Inside Mugabe's casino
Victoria Falls
photo by: Biedjee