Wednesday 2nd June - 4th June, Livingstone, Water wildlife & Boozy Boats!!
The day after the bungee we booked to do a canoe safari down the Zambezi in the morning, and a walking safari in the afternoon. Our guide for our canoeing, a man named Potatoe (I know!), arrived promptly and the three of us along with an Israeli couple jumped on the safari type vehicle and headed out towards the river. The drive took a long time but this gave us a chance to pick up some tips on traveling through South Africa as the Israeli couple had just come from that way. We eventually arrived at the river where Potatoe began to give us our safety briefing whilst his helpers blew up our inflatable canoes. The safety briefing was quite traumatic with the following sentences being mentioned: "If a hippo attacks your canoe swim to the nearest piece of land" and "if a crocodile attacks your canoe hit it with your paddle, if happen to be in the water I suggest you get back into the canoe as soon as possible." This talk made the 6 of us instantly think twice about entering the water, and made the 4 of us more scared than flinging ourselves of a bridge.
The canoes sat two, so we paired off with Silver and me in one canoe, Scott and Chris in the other, the Israeli couple in a third and Potatoe on his tod. The idea was that the persona at the back was to steer and the person at the front was the motor. Off we ventured into the Zambezi 32km from where the Victoria Falls ended, Zambia to our left Zimbabwe to our right. Potatoe gave us a brief history of the river and gave us instructions about signals he may give if any wildlife gets to close. We paddled down river with the current towards the falls. Scott and Chris seemed more adept in the canoe hardly surprising as Chris is a sailor and was at the back steering and Scott being the most muscular out of the bunch was at the front paddling away. Silver and I were covering much more ground than the other it just happened to be due to the lack of control we had, so much so that at times Potatoe would be pointing out a hippo or croc nearby or in the water and we'd be facing the wrong direction, or floating away!
We saw a quite a number of crocs and hippos mostly out of the water. I do like the hippo especially after Chimfunshi but they are apparently responsible for the highest percentages of human deaths by animals per year. I think this was the only safari that the participants didn't want to run into any wildlife. When the Israeli girl asked how often do people get tipped over or attacked Potatoe simply replied well it hasn't happened this week!!! Onwards we drifted eventually stopping on the Zimbabwean side of the river for a short drinks break. Upon arrival at the river bank Silver got out of the boat and whilst doing so pushed the boat away from the bank meaning as I attempted to get out instead of being in knee deep water I actually was in waist deep water - cheers Juju! Scott and I took the drinks break as an opportunity to piss on Zimbabwe like it would somehow mean that our pit stop counted as an official visit! Chris informed me when we returned from relieving ourselves that Silver was being only a part time canoeist leaving the majority of the work to yours truly, a claim that Silver denied. As a result Silver and I swapped round with myself at the back steering where I could see what he was (or more to the point wasn't) doing, and Silver at the front. This tactical switch actually provided even more of a headache with Silver in dictatorial fashion pointing me in which way he wanted to go down the river quick to jump on any steering mistake made. In truth the two of us found it quite funny zig zagging around the others, even including the occasional stylish spin for show. We eventually got the some rapids admittedly quite small rapids but fun nonetheless. Scott and Chris tackled them with consummate ease, with Silver and I doing them quicker but initially entering them sideways causing us to almost tip. It should at this point be made clear at this point that Silver Mulenga can't swim. I am not naming and shaming just merely pointing out that if we tipped it would be quite a struggle to upright the boat and re enter and I wasn't really up for a David Hasslehoff moment with crocs and hippos lurking. Despite our reservations prior to set off we completed the 17km journey with no problems, and after a quick water fight between our two canoes, we docked our canoes and were treated to a lovely meal prepared by Potatoe himself! The canoeing trip actually was very enjoyable and I would recommend it to anyone.
The second half of the day consisted of the walking safari which on paper sounded enjoyable. We picked up our guide and then our protector armed with an AK-47 which I would later be photographed wielding (I think that tops my brothers COD exploits!) before embarking into the bush. We got to see a rhino, impalas, a mother and baby giraffe, wilder beast, and warthogs. In all honesty there was more walking than there was wildlife and this experience paled in comparison to being on the river with Potatoe! After the canoeing we were knackered so treated ourselves to an early night and a lye in.
The following day after a trip to the airport to arrange internal flights in South Africa we chilled at the lodge enjoyed the creature comforts it had to offer. We had booked ourselves in for an evening booze cruise/sunset cruise that evening. The bus arrived and the 4 of us got on and the crowd accompanying us didn't look to promising. The demographic was mixed but there looked to be more couples interested in the sunset cruise opposed to the booze cruise we had in mind. We picked up more people from other hostels, and met even more people for the cruise at the departure point. We all ascended, the staff joking with Silver who wore his England shirt with Juju on the back. Juju in most African language apparently means witchcraft as well as junior bit polar opposite but after all T.I.A (This is Africa - a saying we have heard frequently since being in Johannesburg). The boat kicked off and we assumed our position at the bar. We initially intended to have a long evening drinking until we found out the boat ride which we paid a fair am0unt of money towards was in fact 2 hours. This turned from a casual drinking session to a challenge to make sure we weren't being ripped off. As it happened the crowd on the boat was cool. The more casual passengers interested in the views and wildlife was at one end of the boat with the more youthful passengers nearer the bar - everybody was happy. We started chatting to three Canadians named Roman, Adam, and Jen, two French Mathieu and Pires, and an American named Jeremy (a look-alike of the fictional serial killer Dexter for all you TV buffs). We exchanged views mostly on the world cup, and England especially. Queue more drinks the bartender getting far too generous with their measurements.
The next four or five hours that ensued became increasingly hazy. We invited our drinking pals back to our hostel and we carried on drinking, so much so that the bar ran out of the local favourite beer Mosi - great effort. Chris was first to retire. He threw up and past out in bed pretty early the pace clearly affecting him. Silver upon our return attempted to brush his teeth making a mess of himself, and then went for a power nap before returning and sweeping Miss Pires off her feet which ultimately led to a mysterious exit and an early morning barefooted arrival back at our lodgings 30 minutes before we were due to leave Livingstone. Scott stayed the pace, keeping himself stuck to the table where we were placed at the bar keeping the conversation flowing. I myself decided that a hammock sleep would be in order and stupidly decided to take the route which took me a little closer to the pool than I would have liked. I narrowly avoided falling in, but in the process smashed my toe on a nearby rock- ouchy but at the time I felt nothing. We retired to bed more than tipsy with a few more friends than when we left for the boat. It was a good time and a nice way to finish our time in Livingstone. Jollyboys and the activities they offered definitely got the big thumbs up from the four of us!
DC, Silver, Scott & Chris xxx