At breakfast this morning Siziba told us all some bad news. Vincent's Aunt (his Mum's Sister) has died and he will be leaving us as soon as we arrive in Vic Fall's as it is his responsibility, as the oldest man in the family, to prepare the funeral. Apparently he found out that she was ill whilst we were in Namibia although he had kept it quiet from the group so he had not had time to say his goodbyes to her and he is very sad. Not a nice end to this stage of the tour.
That said though we have been assured that he will still be joining us on stage 2 of the tour to Nairobi, he just gets 2 days in his home town to deal with family matters before returning to work!
Siziba will also be leaving us as he has booked leave for 1 month from tomorrow. During that time he will be travelling to Cape Town where he will be going on a guide training course that will teach him much more about Africa's animals. As if he doesn't know enough already! Those of us who continue north from here are sad to see him go as he has been an excellent guide. He is always saying that, during the time on tour, we are a family. I only hope our new guide will be as good.
We took a few photos and Christina was nominated to hand out the tips we had all collected together and do a little speech. We then said goodbye to Peter and Renata and climbed onto Sonny for what may be the last time.
It was just a short drive to the border, very short in fact, and whilst waiting for our visa's Siziba asked if Adam and I could get him a car when we return to the UK. I turns out that all cars in Zimbabwe are imported from the UK as it's actually cheaper than buying them there! He tells me that he is always checking Autotrader but it's difficult for him to know the condition of a car without someone there to check it over for him before he pays for shipping! Knowing that Adam worked in the motor trade meant that he thinks we are the ideal people to help him! Not too much pressure then…I hope he forgets! That said it would be nice to help him.
Just across the border was another short drive and we arrived in the town of Victoria Falls. The falls themselves are similar to the Iguazu Falls that stretch across the river between Argentina and Brazil, although slightly smaller. This particular river forms the boundary between Zimbabwe and Zambia, formally Northern and Southern Rhodesia. So if you look on a map you'll see that the borders of Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Namibia are all very close in this area. If you're wondering about Namibia, there is a strip of land that runs north of Botswana called the Caprivi strip so in all we are very close to 4 different countries. Not too dissimilar to sitting in Argentina and looking at Paraguay and Brazil across the river just a few months ago.
The town of Victoria Falls is mainly just for tourists visiting this famous landmark. It's probably even more famous now following the almost fatal bungy jump made by an Australian girl back in January. Adam does not intend to take part in this particular bungy…mainly because it's so damned expensive!!! That said there probably isn't a safer time to take part than now, all the equipment has been replaced for a start, and Simone, Stef and Wing are all planning to give it a go!
We will be staying in a guest house for 3 nights (or 2 nights for those finishing the tour) and after getting our rooms and emptying Sonny to prepare for the cleaners we all climbed back in for one final trip down the road to the Falls' entrance.
Siziba dropped us off, got our tickets and said goodbye. Vincent had already disappeared in all the hustle and bustle of earlier but it isn't the last time we'll see our guide, he's promised to join us this evening for one last group dinner!
In the falls we walked around for about an hour or so. It's incredibly beautiful and all those people who haven't seen such a large waterfall before were in awe of its sheer power! But for us it's nothing compared to the beauty that is Iguazu! Especially as you can only see a very small part of the falls from this angle because you are so close! The best view is from the air, but like everything in this town, scenic flights are unreasonably expensive!
In places we were so close to the water, which is high at this time of year, that we got completely soaked and it was impossible to get our cameras out for pictures. In other area's we were walking through jungle with Vervit monkey's running around everywhere and we couldn't see the water, although we could hear it!
We followed the various paths along the length of the falls until we arrived at the edge of the bridge. From there we watched a few people bungy jumping although it didn't appear to be very busy, probably badly affected by the negative publicity! Then, after getting lost several times, we headed back to the entrance and walked back to town. It was incredibly hot and our soaked clothes soon dried out which was a shame because they were keeping us cool!
Back in town we bought some snacks and cool drinks and headed back to the guesthouse which is several miles away from the falls themselves, all uphill and not pleasant in the heat!
In the evening everyone made the most of hot showers and got dressed up for our meal. We were all excited swapping clothes, makeup and hair products, the girls were anyway, and it was a welcome treat after so long sleeping in tents and never feeling properly clean! Christina has planned to wear a black maxi dress but dropped it in the bathroom where the floor was flooded thanks to a rubbish shower curtain and it got soaked. Cristina number 2 to the rescue…she had a hair dryer! So we spent about half an hour taking it in turns to dry her dress whilst she applied her makeup, ah the joys of being girls!
Dinner was to be at 7pm and Siziba had promised to meet us by the entrance, however, by 7.20pm we were wondering if he had sold us out! We knew roughly where to go and were just thinking of making our own way there when he turned up in a small pickup truck. We hardly recognised him! He was all dressed up and had cut his hair especially. He had also brought his son along, Terrence who is 5 and a miniature clone of his father!
Everyone scrambled into the back of the truck and clung on for dear life as Siziba drove recklessly though the town. He had booked dinner at a restaurant within one of the towns more prestigious hotels which is absolutely humungous and 5 star luxury! Why are we not staying here….!?!?!
Dinner itself was a big buffet containing just about every type of food you can think of. Everyone piled their plates high and enjoyed the entertainment. All the local tribes have their own traditional dress, dances and songs and there were groups from each tribe taking it in turns to keep us amused! In between courses Adam was hauled up to take part in one particular dance which involves some very high kicking! Everyone thought it was hilarious but I was too slow running back to the table for my camera and missed it! He did a pretty good job though…sort of!
After dinner another of the tribal groups, Siziba's own tribe in fact, approached us. It turns out that little Terrence is going to be 6 tomorrow and his father had arranged for a special dance and happy birthday song for him. Little Terrence loves to dance and is pretty good at modern dance and body popping. He joined in with the group doing his own little dance and was so cute. The guys who were singing happy birthday were pretty impressed with his moves!
After dinner Siziba drove most of us to a local hostel which has a pretty popular bar but he didn't stay with us and drove some of the group back to the guesthouse before going home with his son. We had a pretty good night and Thekla and a couple of others didn't make it to bed until 6am!