Day 9 | $3,188 | Victoria Falls! Policeman, Thunderstorm and Wildlife.

We got a ride from Bulawayo to the Victoria Falls with our British friends. They were driving one of those minivans that made us felt like we were going on a school trip!

On the way, we got stopped and controlled by the police 13 times!!! And it’s not even that long of a drive! They check your driver licence, and then try to find any reason possible to give you a fine. The radio was broken so we were listening to music by plugging my phone on a little speaker. Because they would hear the music, they would try to fine us because we do not have the license to listen to the radio and it would take for ever for us to explain to us that we don’t need that freaking license, because we are not listening to the radio, that the music comes from our phone and so on… So at some point we were just turning off the music every time they would be stopping us.

At one of the stops, one asked us to turn the lights of the car on and notice that a little one above the number plate at the back was broken. So it’s a $10 fine. And we argued so hard, that we don’t need that bloody damn light and we will arrive at Vic Falls before dark and fix it but he wouldn’t want to hear anything. But we didn’t give up and the four of us started to argue with it and he finally let us go.

On the way we could spot some of those very tiny round houses, standing alone between kilometres of emptiness. We would see kids walking from school on the side of the road and we couldn’t believe the distance between the last couple of huts we had seen and the time we finally passed the school. Those kids must walk for hours! Under the heavy sun and heat, with not a single bit of shade to make it easier…

We finally arrived at Vic Falls after 7 hours spent in the car (and on the side of the road waiting for the policeman to give their judgment), the girls dropped us at Vic Falls Homestay where we were welcomed by our hosts Bruce and Clive. They were awesome, so interested about our project, they asked us tons of questions, gave us so much feedback and tried to link us up with every person that could potentially be useful for us (including a pretty cool newspaper! Let’s see if we can make this happening!).

Then they loaded us at the back of their pickup and we drove to a place where they knew that a family of hyenas was staying. So we parked there, all sat down at the back of the pickup in our camping chairs, a beer in the hand, waiting for the hyenas! We didn’t get the chance to see the parents that were staying inside with the new born because the weather was crazy!

We were in the middle of three thunderstorms and we could see the lightnings and hear the thunder from all around us! (Fortunately, we didn’t get a single drop during the hyena expedition). However we could see the juveniles. Half the adult size, they were teenagers who obviously didn’t give a sh*t about mum and dad’s advice to stay inside during stormy weather! But because we weren’t 100% sure that the parents were actually inside and not outside hunting, we stayed alert, it would have been sad to end up as their dinner.

I love when we get the chance to stay with locals! They know everything about the place and all the tricks and tips, the hidden places to go and things to see. We could stay only one night there but I wish we could have stayed longer!

In the evening we went to Shoestring for party. That was tons of fun! We walked back to the homestay and people kept on warning us about elephants and buffalos that could be wondering around town. We thought that if those animals were the only thing to worry about, it was worth the walk!

This town is so safe, it’s incredible! People barely lock their house that don’t even have the lot of barb wire + electric fence + alarm + ferocious dogs that is common in South Africa. Being able to walk around at night without having to worry is something that we don’t value enough until it’s taken away from us. Traveling always reminds that nothing should ever be taken for granted, safety included.

Now we are staying at Shoestring Backpacker, apparently THE place to stay in town for travelers. The place is very chill, a very nice and colourful garden full of very interesting structures, it’s also a hotspot at night, everyone in town seems to come here to have a drink (or two or three!), they often have live bands and African dance shows and fire shows as well. It’s a very nice place to experience the party vibe! The guys working there recognized Toto from when he was here a couple of years ago (he must have made an impression!) so they arranged us the stay here in a nice double room (yay! Thank you shoestring!!!). Only shitty point: internet isn’t free. We are struggling so much to try to save every single cent, and now we have to throw $5 in a couple of hours of connection! And we can’t even connect both our laptops so we would need to spend twice the amount. That’s crap! With $10 we could both eat for a day! And the coffee places in town that have free internet are crazy expensive, we feel kind of screwed! (Update! We found a hotel who gave us the wifi password for free ahah  Done!)

We went to see the Victoria Falls! Woow that was soooo impressive! And at this time of the year they are not that full and will fill up by March! From the city you can see the constant mist that goes up from it! They are 1.3km long and people walk along the path with umbrellas and rain jackets because they get all wet with the mist. The noise is impressive as well but apparently when they’re full, you can’t even talk to the person next to you because they’re so loud! We got a huge thunderstorm that caught us and we didn’t really know any more if it was raining or if it was the falls. But at some point it started pouring rain and we had to run the whole way back to try to save our cameras from an imminent and tragic death. It was fun though. I wish I could have seen them with blue sky but Toto felt that the crazy weather gave them a dramatic and picturesque look (nothing can deflate an optimist!)

Tomorrow, crossing the bridge to Zambia!

January 18, 2015

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