I need to put the mosquito net down tonight as I have been bitten during the night.
After breakfast, where we did our best to hold onto the crockery and utensils long enough to eat, Brett and I walked down to the travel office to find out if there was any word on the helicopter. The guy in the office didn’t know so we said we would leave it until tomorrow, and we thought he was going to book us in at 10 am tomorrow.
We got a taxi along with another rider called Steve to the Zambian border. Steve works as a physiotherapist with disabled children. This is Steve’s first TDA tour but he has done lots of self-supported tours all round the world. Steve has a 13 year old Chihuahua called Shirley.
We had paid for a double entry to Zambia so we can visit Zimbabwe for the day. The taxi driver then took us through no man’s land to the Zimbabwe border.
Getting through was pretty quick and from there it was a short walk to the Victoria Falls. The falls are one of the 7 natural wonders of the world and they are amazing. We spent about an hour and a half walking around looking at the falls from different vantage points.
We had a phone call while we were there from the helicopter company, who advised they were on the way to pick us up at camp. The man at the travel company had not passed on the message. Hopefully we have arranged it now for 10am tomorrow!
After the falls we went by taxi to the Victorian Falls Hotel which was originally the lodge where the engineers who built the bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe stayed while they were building it.
The Victoria Falls Hotel is a lovely old hotel and we had a drink on the deck of the restaurant where you had a great view of the bridge.
The components of the bridge were constructed in England and shipped in parts to Mozambique and transported overland to Victoria Falls. The bridge was designed by Sir Ralph Freeman who also designed the Sydney harbour bridge.
We had arranged for the taxi driver to come back and get us and he dropped us back to the Zimbabwe border. In hindsight we should have got him to wait while we went through Customs and take us to Zambian border. In the 2 km of no-man lands we were constantly harassed by locals wanting to sell us wooden animals, plates, copper bracelets and paintings. We were told they would have no money to feed the wife and family if we didn’t buy from them. I managed to get away with only buying 2 wooden animals and 4 copper bracelets. It was a relief to get off the bridge and through the border back into Zambia.
At 4pm we were picked up to go to the Elephant Cafe. We went there by water jet, 14 km up the river.
When we got there we had an hour interacting with a mother and son elephant feeding them pellets and we were able to stroke them. I was amazed by how hard the skin on their trunks was, and how soft their ears were.
All ten elephants who live here are rescue elephants. They are not ridden and the money from the cafe generates the income to feed them. They range in age from 4 to 35. Elephants live in the wild up to 65 but in captivity they can live longer. This is because when they are born they have 6 sets of teeth. Each set lasts about 10 years. Once their last set wears down they can’t chew their food, and they die from starvation. In captivity they are given soft food that they can eat.
We got to see all 20 elephants coming in from the fields going to their night enclosure.The restaurant can take 24 people but we struck it lucky tonight and there were only two other guests, Shirley and Terri who are both from USA and volunteering at a local school. They have been here for 3 weeks and tonight is their last night. Tomorrow night the restaurant is fully booked for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The staff are very friendly and the meal was amazing. We started off with a glass of bubbles and then an amazing butternut soup and homemade bread and butter, with a glass of Chennai’s Blanc. Chicken on a post o sauce* with potato gratin and salad with a nice glass of merlot, finished off by a wild fruit crumble, yum!
The setting was fantastic, right by the river, white table clothes, candles and lovely glasses.
After dinner we went back by road to the hotel.
* Editor’s note: I don’t know what “Chicken on a post o sauce” is meant to be, and I don’t know why these pics are so small, that’s how they were sent to me