Good morning, it’s a beautiful morning in Livingstone – I reckon it’s going to be a hot one. I’m starving, those crisps I had for tea last night didn’t quite hit the spot so I’m off to order a full English breakfast. It’s strange eating food that’s very similar to what you eat back home, I say similar because I am not sure what type of bacon or sausage it was I ate today. It was okay though.
Today I am heading to Victoria Falls for the morning but first I am leaving the Backpackers to go across the road to Shoprite which is a supermarket to buy drinks and some food to accompany me on my journey. The supermarket was super cheap (well compared to prices I’m use to back home) I bought all the essentials water, more water and a bottle of Coke.
There was one thing the supermarket didn’t have and that was tablets to deal with a problem I have had since the moment I landed, luckily there was a Chemist next door and I went in and whispered my problem to the man behind the counter. He returned with Imodium, just the stuff I’m after and I headed back towards my accommodation.
As I walking back to the Backpackers I seen a gift shop, it wasn’t a tourist tacky type place but they had postcards and some really nice gifts so took a a detour and purchased some things. Postcards are one of the things I had really struggled to find in Zambia, I had been looking everywhere for them and I was starting to believe they didn’t exist.
The second I arrived at my accommodation I was sitting in a courtyard taking a swig of my cola and I took my much needed relief medication (and hoped for the best). The backpackers here have a free shuttle bus to the Falls but you need to make your own way back – I wasn’t really sure of how far away it was. As I was waiting I inquired about a few things, because I was late arriving last night I was unable to book a Safari which I was absolutely gutted about, as well as some other activities, so the Falls would have to be it.
As the bus pulled into the checkpoint at the Falls there were baboons casually walking around in-between the tourists as we queued at the ticket office. Ticket purchased, then you make your way to the main entrance. From the two points lie a row of shops selling hand crafted traditional African gifts from necklaces, masks and other bits n pieces. I was approached by one of the sellers, John, who gave me some friendly advice. He told me once inside watch out for people who will try and give you a tour of the Falls, the grounds are well signposted and they will overcharge you big time. What did John want in return? He wanted me to buy some items from him on the way back, I gave him the usual – I’ll speak to you on my way out routine.
I walked into the National Park and was greeted by an impressive statue of Dr David Livingstone, he’s everywhere – oddly enough. The statues I had seen dotted all over Livingstone remind me of the Simpsons and the towns founder Jebediah Springfield, ha!
Victoria Falls are absolutely stunning.
It really does make yesterday’s marathon journey kind of worth it. The heat here is really something else, I have managed my way through two bottle of juice and a bottle of water just walking around the place for an hour. It’s boiling. The time I visited is the dry reason which meant that some of the falls weren’t active, I would love to see what it’s like when all of them are on! Depending on the water levels you can actually swim across one of the top of the falls, it’s called the Devils Pool and looks really cool. I didn’t do it, something to do if I ever come back.
The walk around the falls park is great, there are loads of different angles you can see the falls from. There is even a steep path which descends down so you are nearly at ground level with the falls and you can look up. Wow, it’s absolutely incredible. I attempted creating a panorama on my phone of the view, it is breathtaking! (Click to view here).
The climb back up was not so fun, I actually struggled – I had to stop every so often because I thought I was going to pass out, I could feel my heart beating through my chest. It was hot, hot, hot. I made it up and edged my way towards the exit, I am against the clock. I need to buy my bus ticket for my trip back to Lusaka and visit the post office so I can write and send some postcards to my family back home. As I passed the exit, it was the usual ‘taxi, hey sir you want a taxi, boss’ (you get the picture) and I got a taxi to the bus station. Guess what? I had totally forgot to stop buy and see some of the gifts John was selling and he started shouting after the car “hey, Mr Cameron” luckily the taxi driver didn’t notice and we continued on our way. Awkward.
I arrived at the bus station and booked my bus for tomorrow straight to Lusaka. Again, I wasn’t guaranteed a seat so tomorrow morning I will need to get there early. I thought I would walk back to my accommodation seeing as I had not really had an opportunity to walk about so headed towards the post office. A group of men chilling at the side of the road shouted over ‘hey, hey, are you Jesus’ brother?’ I just laughed it off. It must be the hair, beard and sandals. Kidding, I’m not wearing sandals. I made it to the post office after a short but exhausting walk when I got inside it was like going back in time to the 60s or something. I quickly wrote my postcards, queued up and paid for them. I read somewhere that it could take up to four months to arrive in Scotland!
The next thing on the agenda was visiting the Livingstone Museum, I wanted to find out more about Livingstone and more importantly Zambian life. As I reached the entrance of the building there was a group of street sellers, they were selling painting, bracelets and masks. They were quite insistent that I bought something from them and I told them I would come back. This was really starting to piss me off, if they hadn’t been so forthcoming I probably would have bought something.
The museum was in a grand building and had a huge map of Zambia on a wall, I just had to get a photo to see the distance I had travelled across the country. There was a huge section on David Livingstone (oddly enough) and it was weird seeing photos from back home. I think what was probably the coolest thing I seen was a model version of David’s house (which now houses the museum in Blantyre). It was a bizarre experience. The museum had other displays looking at some of the animals you can see on Safari and a piece on the Ivory trade too. It was what you would expect from your typical museum.
Although outside it there was an old plane (have a look at the picture above). I purchased some gifts from their gift shop then left. The street sellers were still there, with their sales pitches ready – I repeatly told them no and one of them followed after being quite aggressive to the man he stopped tailing me. But when I turned around there was another one of his friend, I waited for him and told him the same – he was quite adamant that he walked me to my accommodation but I insisted I would be fine and was heading to the supermarket to see my friends. He continued walking on put I noticed him cutting across a carpark to where I was heading so turned around and walked swiftly to my accommodation.
It was quite frightening being followed. And, to be quite honest has ruined my trip to Livingstone. I was told Livingstone was a safe place because it was very touristy but it has its downside because people thrive from tourists trying to sell things, give them lifts, etc it’s just annoying. But I guess if you look it from their point of view they have try and earn a living someway.
Anyway, I am going to hang tight in my accommodation until the morning then I am getting a taxi to Livingstone to get out of here. England V Wales is on tonight in the bar so hopefully that picks my spirits up but I am really missing home right now, I would go so far as to wishing I had just flown back to Scotland than travel in a country I barely know at all. Don’t get my wrong, I am absolutely grateful to be given an opportunity like this but it is starting to get to me.