We made it.
We skirted through the South African Airlines strike and landed in Zimbabwe on time. The moved through immigration and customs at an acceptable pace and found our name on a sign. THANK YOU!
Originally, we were not going to stay in Zimbabwe given that there has been some political problems lately. We thought it better, during the planning process, to cross the border immediately. However, with the delays and other problems we have had, this was no longer an option. In the end there was no issue nor problems in Zimbabwe.
The drive into town proved to us we were in Africa. As we drove into town, we watched baboons running across the street and hanging out on the grass next to the road. Amazing. We arrived at our first hostel and settled in. Not the normal amount of luxury we are used to, but acceptable. Fortunately, we thought ahead enough to have silk sleeping bags with us to sleep in, because bed bugs cannot get through silk. Not as bad as it sounds, really.
We awoke at 0600 the next day to catch the sunrise at Victoria Falls. Our first photo mission. We made it to the falls just after the sun cracked the horizon and ran to our first point to start shooting. For one hour we fired away. Two hundred and fifty shots later we left. Wonderful. Images to follow.
After our photo mission we had breakfast and got picked up to cross the border to Zambia. I have never walked across any controlled border in my life. We stamped out of Zimbabwe and crossed onto the bridge over the Zambezi river. No man’s land. There certainly was some worry factor in this one. Good fortune prevailed and our ride showed up ten minutes later and we were off.
We arrived at our second hostel, this one in Livingstone, Zambia in no time. Similar set up as the night before and yes, we did use the silk sleep sacks again!
We walked around town on Sunday and felt a bit off. The city was new, the country was new, the whole situation was new. It takes some time to adapt. The next day we were old pros and felt fine.
On Monday morning we met up with a guide and took a four-hour bike ride into the surrounding villages. The kids did great. We visited numerous small villages and stopped to photograph some. We did some wonderful portraits this day.
The highlight was when we stopped at a small pre-school in a village far out of town. It was a two-room building. Younger kids on one side and older on the other. They stopped school for out visit. The kids in each room sang songs, recited poetry and did a small play for us. It was wonderful. Connor and Alexa had a great education this day. We took numerous photographs and totally enjoyed ourselves. We shall never forget the feeling of all of those little fingers and hands reaching out to touch us as we left. It will stay with us forever.
We spent the rest of the day looking over our images and printing a few for the school and some of the people whom we photographed over the day. One of the luxury items we brought with us is a very small but very good photo printer that runs on batteries. We put it to good use this day and left a little of ourselves behind for the great people we met and photographed. This is one of the major reasons we came on this trip.
We were up at 0700 on Tuesday and off on our bus from Livingstone to Lusaka. Seven hours on a local bus. $10 each for a ticket one-way. Fits our budget!
We thoroughly enjoyed Victoria Falls. The sight of one-million liters of water per second falling over a half mile long falls and hitting the river three-hundred feet below was awe inspiring. One of the seven natural wonders of the world. The feel of the spray, roar of the fall and bass sounds of the water impacting the river below left no room for us to forget this fact.
We plan on one more pre-dawn photo mission at the falls from the Zimbabwe side (the falls fall from Zambia towards Zimbabwe, so better for photography) when we return to the falls for one last night before we catch our flight to Windhoek, Namibia.