We're nearing the end. Today we break camp one final time and make the multi-vehicle move to Livingston, Zambia, where Victoria Falls happens to be. When I say multi-vehicle, I mean multi-vehicle:
- Land Cruisers from camp to Kasane township
- Bus from Kasane to the Botswana customs station on the river
- Ferry across the river
- Bus from the Zambian customs station to our hotel at the falls
But before we leave camp, we have a couple of things we have to do, like unload the bean bags:
The camp crew was abuzz about all this corn. They hadn't seen us load our bean bags, and they really hadn't made the connection that those bags we kept dragging to the vehicles might be filled with something they recognized. As often happens in Africa, this was all put into perspective using cows: "I could feed a cow for a week with all that corn" was something I heard one of the tent stewards saying to another.
Time for a quick photo of everyone: students, camp crew, and guides. You can see how this is a big operation to pull off. I'm always amazed at how well Adam manages it and how smoothly it all goes, but then he's been doing it for over 30 years now.
And then it was off to our panoply of vehicles. I won't bore you with all the gory details of moving from point A to point B, but here we are getting our bags ready to load onto the passenger ferry:
And here's part of the chaos you find on both sides of the river (there's no bridge, so everything has to go by ferry):
On either side you find about a week or two worth of vehicles sitting waiting for their turn. This, despite the fact that there are now four operating ferries that can load one of these big rigs onto them now (last time I was here it was two). There's been talk of building a bridge, but that's a three-country negotiation, and of course there's the small matter of who will pay for it. In the meantime, as the economy in the area grows, you get these miles-long parking lots of big rigs sitting by the road waiting to cross a few hundred yards of water.
When we got to the Royal Livingston in Zambia, we found they weren't quite ready for us. Usually it's a quick drink at the bar (below), grab your keys and go, but it seems that we're coming in on the tail end of the UNWTO (United Nations World Tourism Organization) conference being hosted by Zambia at the Royal Livingston. Believe it or not, we had to go through metal detectors (no one knew how to deal with dozens of camera bags full of things that set them off ;~) and pat downs (uh, that's a camera you're feeling…).
But the plus side was that those that still had any energy could run and grab shots of some of the displays and demonstrations going on all around the hotel:
Later in the afternoon, we all collected for a walk over to the falls themselves:
A couple of folk opted for a flight over the falls:
But for the most part, it was a pleasant walk out to the gorge and lots of photography.
At one point, I even had time to see what Tony was up to and give him some advice on his composition:
You'll remember that I wrote earlier that water is life, and life comes to the water. So it seems appropriate to end the day looking at the water itself: