Wednesday, 29 January 2014


7th - 10th Jan 2014

Leaving Livingstone with Vic Falls spray far side.
The final day in Livingstone was hot with blue skies. What a pity the previous weather had been so damp and unpredictable. Hey ho, but mustn't grumble. I was booked onto the 70 minute ProFlight back to Lusaka and then on up up to Ndola. Jetstream 41s again and either I'm getting bigger or the cabins in these aircraft are shrinking, but at least they were on time. There was time in Lusaka for a lunchtime pit-stop and was met by my Lusaka friend for a reviving drink or two.
On boarding the aircraft in Lusaka for the 45 minute flight to Ndola there were four spare seats. I grabbed a window seat with one of the vacant seats next to me. At least I had a bit of space. All pax seemed to be on board and the door about to be closed when there was a bit of a kerfuffle at the front. At the last minute an enormous black lady had struggled up the steps and was now wedged in the door. She was prised in by the concerned looking hostie, sweating, swearing and accompanied by ominous ripping noises. I had that awful premonition of the inevitable; I just knew where she was going to sit. OK, I was in the centre of the small aircraft and if she sat at either end there would have been a serious CofG problem. Sure enough she bore down on the spare seat next to me and  attempted to sit down. I was trapped. African ladies tend to be of fairly well upholstered construction, what is known as the 'traditional' build, especially in the prow and stern areas, but this one was exceptional. To use another naval term 'avast behind' would not do her justice. She possessed the shape and size of bum that you could park your bike in and rest your beer mug on top. To be honest, her figure would cause a hippo to believe it was anorexic. The arm-rest between us had to be raised and I felt as though I was being engulfed by an avalanche of sticky flubber. Without a 'by your leave' or word of apology she overflowed around her seat and the worried hostie had to find an extension seat belt which, if it was ever done up, was now invisible although, relastically, she didn't need one as she was the living incarnation of an inflated heavy-duty airbag. Squashed against the fuselage I began to feel somewhat claustrophobic and breathless. It was made worse by the fact that this behemoth was pouring with sweat, had dried up sores down her flabby trunk-like arms and her scent was certainly not of the Givenchy 'Vien a Moi' variety. This was going to be a nightmare 45 minutes. Was the Captain aware he was carrying the equivalent of an extra 5 passengers? Assuming the aircraft managed to get airborne, I was genuinely concerned that I was going to suffocate and nobody would see me helplessly engulfed by black flesh.
We did leave the ground ( after an extended take off run? ) and at some point this moist monster produced a book which I couldn't help but read a bit of as it was partly wedged under my weeping eyes and I couldn't move. It was entitled  'The Power of Prayer to Help Your Problem Adult Children' What!? It banged on about 'praying hard to the Lord and your crack-smoking bandit offspring will become reformed'. I asked myself 'who writes this rubbish?' Presumably some charlatan religious freak who had spotted a lucrative market selling religious clap-trap to suggestible and naive Africans. I wondered if this elephantine creature had any books on 'How to Lose 20 Stone Immediately'? If so it would have been more useful, indeed essential, reading. Maybe there's a market here?
During the flight the hostie wheeled a small trolley up the isle offering soft drinks. Due to my inability to move scarcely a muscle I declined the possibility of a cup of coffee. Actually I don't think the hostie could even see me buried under mounds of flesh and fabric. I think she had to dismantle the cart to get it past the blubbery outflow from Ms Universe. At one point I considered deploying the oxygen mask but in any case would probably not have been be able reach it. In the event of a crash, so the safety brief goes, use the nearest available emergency exit. This would not have been an option open to me. This woman-mountain was a flight safety hazard! If she really had to fly anywhere it would be more sensible if she was carried in a net underslung from a Chinook helicopter or, preferably, taken by truck.
We duly arrived at Ndola and after all the other passengers had exited my sweaty barrage balloon companion, without a word ( perhaps she never noticed me either ), was levered out. Phew! I had only just survived and was much relieved to get out and breathe some fresh(ish) air.

Met by Tom ( the helpful Brit farm assistant ) we drove back to Battledore Farm. He did ask me en-route what the awful smell was. I explained. It was a great relief to have a shower and much needed  resuscitating beer or two.

We had been joined at the farm by Michael, the co-owner, who was visiting from London. After another day relaxing and recovering from my near death experience, Gazza offered to cook his world renowned chicken biriyani for dinner. Despite being somewhat 'hard of seeing' he is an excellent and inventive chef and often manages to put the correct ingredients into the correct pots and pans. Another debauched feast, and this was our last as we were due to fly home the next bye-bye to Zambia and our generous hosts.

Left: Saying goodbye to the house staff; Evanesse, Israel, Martin and Mary, with GD. They had looked after us very well and also provided a most efficient laundry service. If I'd known I would have brought more clothes with me. Mary, at the front, is wearing a wig. Many, if not most, Zambian ladies wear either wigs or hair extensions, some of them very large and elaborate. I suppose they like to copy western hairstyles but they must be most uncomfortable and hot. That is the price of 'fashion'.

A particular skill African ladies possess is the ability, and desire, to carry things on their heads. This, right, is a poor example but demonstrates the ability to balance asymmetric loads which are sometimes quite enormous such as sacks, bundles,  containers or even car parts. I saw one lady with a whole exhaust pipe on her head. They do this totally 'hands free' and scarcely seem to notice what is balanced on top however heavy or oddly shaped. A most peculiar sight was a lady carrying a furled umbrella on her head! Can't imagine why she didn't just hold it by the handle. It must be something they are born to do naturally and without thinking. It is probably good for their poise and posture.

Our flight from Ndola to Nairobi left 40 minutes early! Lucky we had left plenty of 'fudge factor' time in hand. I have never before known an international flight to leave early!
On arrival at Nairobi, Jomo Kenyattayatta, airport Gazza was back in his wheelchair, pushed by the attentive and helpful Eric ( left ). This facility, as previously explained, is the most magic way of getting through all the immigration, security and customs farrago quickly and hassle-free. I will look at ways of using it in future. A zip-on plaster cast might be a useful aid, or maybe just dark glasses and a white stick.

We had an 8 hour wait at Nairobi. Michael had furnished us with a pass for the 'Priority Pass' lounge which offered many home comforts. Unfortunately we were informed that this facility had burned down in a serious airport fire back in August last year. Bugger!
Not to be defeated we went to the Kenya Airways VIP suite. Here we deployed our amazing 'blagging' skills with great success. Initially being told by the nice lady on the desk that no way could economy class oiks like us enter these hallowed portals, I then whispered in her ear that the poor gentleman in the wheelchair was none other than the famous actor Peter O'Toole. He was suffering badly and had fallen on hard times. She was mighty impressed and asked for his autograph. We were in! Unlimited free food and wine ( and wi-fi ) made the long wait perfectly acceptable. I hope the charming and besotted lady on the desk did not get to see Mr O'Toole's obituary published 3 weeks previously.

So back to London Heathrow the next morning. We didn't manage an upgrade despite much pleading and we couldn't push the old film star scam any more due to being asked for our passports. Of course the only time the wheelchair routine failed was in the labyrinth of grotty passageways at LHR. Initially put on an electric buggy they then wanted to transfer GD to a wheelchair but could not find the 'officially permitted' wheelchair pusher and a couple of rather dour jobsworths started to argue with each other as to what to do. Gazza having got bored with this performance, like Lazarus, then just got up and walked.

So that was the end of our excellent 'Avoid Christmas' trip to Zambia. A most amusing and educational experience. My over-riding impression of Zambia is of a vast underpopulated and generally poor country with a slightly creaking infrastructure and probably a somewhat corrupt government. However it is a peaceful and stable place with enormous scope for investment in farming, game parks, tourism, mining and many other things I expect.  It gets a thumbs up from me.

Next venture is likely to be a tour of Argentina and Chile at the end of February so stand-by for more of this erudite waffle from there.

"Shaaleenipo, twalaamonana"...that's Bemba for "Goodbye, see you later".

Monday, 20 January 2014


2nd - 6th Jan 2014

The sort of creature that was seen after several of the more bibulous evenings at Battledore Farm.

Next off on a 'day trip safari' in Botswana. It involved an hour's drive by minibus to a weird 'crossing point' on the Zambezi into Botswana at the town of Kazungula at the south west corner of Zambia. This place shares a common border with Zambia, Zimbabwe, Namibia and Botswana ( and only a few miles from Angola ). To begin with it was pissing down with rain. This did not bode well as I imagined all the wild-life would sensibly be shacked up for the day and not on display as meant to be.

After a rather cursory stamping of passports we quickly crossed the river in a sort of speedboat; a tourist bonus. There were four of us initially and we were due to meet up with other intrepid explorers and big game hunters on the other, Botswana, side.

Can't think why they don't have a bridge here as long queues of cars and lorries were waiting to cross on a small, one lorry capacity, ferry. The bridge project has been planned but, apparently, Mr Ebagum, the elderly, charming and ever so slightly bonkers Prez of Zim has vetoed the idea. Some of the HGVs wait many days at the border to get across.

Met on the Botswana side by a guide in another minibus, it was still peeing down, and we had to endure another immigration procedure before going on to the town of Kasane, a short distance away. Fortunately it then stopped raining. We were given a decent breakfast, waterproof ponchos, but no guns, so seemingly no chance of bagging my souvenir leopardskin rug. 

It was then onto a boat which set sail up the river Chobe, a tributary of the Zambezi, to observe the wildlife in and around the water.

The boat had a very shallow draft to enable it to run into the banks so we could get a close look at whatever was lurking there. The disadvantage was that it was somewhat unstable and we were explicitly warned not all to rush to one side or the thing could tip over. I dread to think what would have eaten us first if we landed in the water.

Left: This tree has an eagle sitting in it. We were told what kind ( African Eagle? I've forgotten. Who cares. ) but as I have frequently pointed out there are really only three types of bird in the world; spuggies, craas and shitehawks. This was definitely a shitehawk.

Right: A monitor lizard lounging on a log. These creatures, up to 6ft long, look rather unattractive. I'm not entirely sure what their purpose in life is and I expect, if provoked, they would probably bite you. Most things around here would probably bite you given half a chance, some with greater enthusiasm and more lethal consequences than others. They are omnivorous, which means they will eat anything they can get in their mouths. Not dissimilar to many people I know.

Left: Vervet monkeys, which are in great   numbers everywhere. They live in gangs, sleep up trees and the males have bright blue bollocks. These are the little bastards which steal cream cakes from people's dining tables. I suspect they are on the menu themselves for any toothsome animal which is quick enough to catch them.

Right: A Nile crocodile, of which we saw many. This one, on the shoreline, remained totally motionless while we gawped at it. A bloke standing next to me reckoned it was a stuffed replica put there to be photographed. I agreed and suggested he throw something at it to test his theory. Just as he was about to do so it launched itself at lightening speed into the water. We then reckoned it was pulled in on the end of a string. As a point of interest, do you know the easiest way to tell a crocodile from an alligator? The pair of lower fangs fourth back from a croc's snout overlay the top jaw. Alligators' fangs stay in the mouth. This could be very useful knowledge while you are being dragged into the water. I also believe alligators normally choose to live in Florida and rarely venture to Africa.

Left: A very rare creature; a one-eared impala. This is either a specific breed or is just a normal impala which unwisely put it's head to the ground too close to the water listening for crocodiles. There were many different types of antelopes and 'bucks, boks, beests' etc. on display. As with the birds I only differentiated between little ones, medium sized ones, large ones and ones with bloody great pointy horns on. A particular type, we were told, is the 'red lechwe' which likes to graze on islands mid-stream. It has long horns and it's back legs are much longer than it's front ones. This has something to do with swimming to and from the mainland although, given the proliferation of crocs, I can't imagine why they bother.
Right: Hippos were present in profusion. These timid and harmless creatures tend to spend most of the time in the water because they are very fat and it takes the weight off their feet. You would have thought this idea might have caught on amongst more of the British population. Their noses are almost permanently under water. This poses them no problem because, as you are no doubt aware, they breath through their ears.
Some smart-arses believe that they leave the water at night to go grazing on the lush meadows lining the river. What nonsense! They eat fish. This is the reason why salmon and trout are in such short supply in the Chobe river. They do not appear bothered by the crocs, probably because they are so fat a croc can't get it's mouth around them.

Right: Another shy and retiring creature is the Cape buffalo. They normally live in herds, but when an individual animal commits some antisocial act  it is banished, as has presumably happened to this poor chap. In this case they tend to get a bit lonely and sometimes seek out the company of humans, often with their heads down at 80mph.  I'm sure they don't mean any harm but as their eye-sight is notoriously bad they occasional fail to stop in time and can cause injury to those not within easy reach of a stout climbable tree. This one is making friends with an egret, before eating it.

Left: There were some very smart houses along the river. The 'safari' business must be doing a good trade.

After a very good lunch we set off again, this time in an open-air Land-Cruiser ( with comfortable seats ), to tour the neighbouring Chobe game reserve.

Elephants were in evidence here in great numbers. There was one behind practically every bush. It was Elephant City. Their staple diet is buns which they shake off the indigenous  African bun trees. We were told that they too are harmless, unless they feel threatened or are in 'musth', i.e. very randy. In which case they flap their ears, make loud honking noises and charge. This one ( right ) started to do just that. We were told it was only doing a 'mock' charge. I suppose you only realise it's not a mock charge when your jeep lands upside down and you are speared or trampled to death. 
It reminds me of the occasion when an acquaintance of mine, on a game drive in Kenya, got out of a land rover and 'mooned' at an elephant which then, understandably, took offence and charged. The poor chap, facing the wrong art with his trousers around his ankles, grinning and oblivious to the impending danger, was not well placed and slow off the mark despite the warning cries from his 'friends' in the vehicle. He only just made it back on board and away in time.

Left: Also common is the giraffe, or African slope-backed humpless camel. Being rather tall they eat the bits on the tops of the trees which the elephants can't reach, as well as small rodents. Their colouring is of the sandy crazy-paving design which is good camouflage on many modern paved patios and tasteless swimming pool surrounds, which is why you don't often see them there.
They run deceptively fast and have a powerful and lethal kick. It is therefore unwise to take them by surprise from the rear.
We were told they have no natural predators and you are definitely not allowed to shoot them. Like pandas, they don't feature on many international menus.

There were several 'lie-ons' around which live in prides and sleep for 23 hours a day. Right: This photo shows a lie-on sleeping in the tall grass. 

Contrary to popular belief, lie-ons catch their prey ( anything on two or four legs except  hippos, elephants, giraffes or indeed pandas ) by hiding in the branches of trees and dropping on it as it passes underneath. The only time they do this sweaty 'running about chasing things' is to impress wild-life documentary camera crews, or the likes of David Attenborough, when they are visiting.

Left: A baboon watching some impala ( or it could be some other antelope type for all I know ), with evil intent. Baboons are particularly horrid creatures in my opinion. They have large dog-like snouts with long sharp discoloured fangs. They also display those revolting looking swollen red and purple backsides. Good grief, if I ever had the misfortune to develop an arse like that I would be straight down to the nearest clinic, toot sweet.
There were many baboons lurking around Livingstone. They sort of approach you, rather arrogantly, along paths with their tails in the air. I was told they would try to snatch any bag containing food you might be carrying, and bite you if you hung onto it. I was also told that they might back off if shouted and waved at by a man but would not be frightened away by women. Not sure what to make of that and I didn't have cause to put it to the test.

Right: A warthog, or maybe bush-pig, looking it's handsome best. Lots of these around too, often crossing the main roads with several hoglets in tow. They stick their tails in the air possibly to warn unsuspecting motorists. I didn't see any road-killed warthogs but as they are built like mini-tanks I suspect the cars come off worst.

We were told that many of these animals could do 'nought to eighty in three seconds, or thereabouts ( including hippos I think ) which is how they either caught their victims, or avoided being caught. I suppose the lucky targets could do 'nought to eighty in two seconds'.  Either that or they are good climbers, or can fly. I wonder how fast David Attenborough can run.
Left: Another speedy buck/lope/bok/beest or whatever. 

Some of our party were due to stay for the night, camping, or even longer. I met a couple later, back in Livingstone, who told me they had seen lots more lie-ons with their cubs and even a leopard killing a baboon ( well done the leopard ). I was due to return to the wild-life in Livingstone so back through all the immigration, across the river by speedy boat and home.
A most enjoyable and educational trip.

Left: A small lie-on kipping at the Waterfront in Livingstone. I mean, it's only a matter of scale really.

I hope I have passed on some useful and well informed observations on African 'game'. I expect the BBC will be calling on me for advice in future.

Monday, 13 January 2014


2nd - 6th Jan 2014
Victoria Falls

Onwards south, by air in a ProFlight Jetstream 41, to Livingstone. Livingstone, situated near the Zambezi river ( the border with Zimbabwe ), was the capital of Northern Rhodesia until 1935 when for various administrative and climatic reasons it was moved to Lusaka. The town has recently hosted a world conference of some sort so, for that, it underwent a substantial smartening up. Indeed the streets and buildings looked much cleaner and tidier, and more prosperous, than Lusaka and Ndola. It is also becoming an increasingly popular tourist venue. Much of the original prosperity of the town was due to the commercial influence of a few wealthy Jewish families ( long since gone ) at the end of the 19th century.
Left: The main street, Mosi-oa-Tunya ( previously Mainway ) which means 'The rain which thunders', the local name for the Falls. There are some decent old fashioned shops and loads of hostels and guest houses. The Jewish family built a very attractive 1950s style cinema. the Capitol, which was refurbished and opened recently after many years of closure. Sadly it has now closed again. I suppose DVDs are to blame.

The only irritant that I discovered was the number of hawkers trying desperately to flog copper bracelets. They were everywhere and became thoroughly annoying. You were continually ambushed by them. They wanted to sell only copper bracelets, nothing else. You would think the market was somewhat flooded by now. 

I was to stay at what turned out to be a very pleasant and not too expensive 'Lodge', the Zambezi Waterfront which, as the name implies, is on the river about 2 miles south of the town and 2 miles north of the Falls.
Right: The bar.
Our rooms were in riverside chalets hidden in the surrounding woods. Very quaint, and comfortable.
There are several hotels and lodges spread out on the riverside, a couple of which, down nearer the Falls, are incredibly luxurious, and expensive.

It had a little swimming pool ( left ). You can see ( not perhaps in this photo ) the mist and spray rising from the Falls downstream, to the left.
There were plenty of small Vervet monkeys around the place which, we were warned, are prone to nicking things. I also thought I saw a hippo down by the river which, as it happened, turned out to be a fat South African tourist. I was told that elephants wander into the river during the dry season. Anyway, there seems to be some wildlife down here in contrast to Ndola and Lusaka.

It even had it's own 'booze cruiser' moored off the bar area and on which I enjoyed an evening trip up and down the river. Unfortunately on the first three days I was here the weather was a bit iffy; cloudy and occasionally stormy with severe downpours. The remaining two were hot with blue skies, but I had done most of my 'touristing' by then. 

There is a plethora of tour operators, one based in this hotel, which organise such delights as white-water rafting, bungee jumping off the bridge, kayaking, fishing, a gorge swing, abseiling, riverboarding, jet-boating, game-drive safaris and even bird watching. There was usually a gang of youngsters in the bar in the evening gleefully watching videos taken of them tipping up on their white-water rafting expeditions. I don't recall hearing of any of them being drowned. It is a bit like Queenstown, New Zealand, where everything 'thrilling' you can do in rough water or from great heights is exploited.  Another ( expensive ) entertainment on offer is flying over the Falls in either helicopter or microlight. In fact the tranquility of the area , during the day, is almost constantly disturbed by the roar and clatter of pesky helicopters. I resisted the temptation to do most of these, especially the bird watching, due to my dodgy shoulder. 

I did go to the town museum. which was not particularly inspiring. Outside, as a sort of 'gate guard' was this ancient Chipmunk aircraft. I remember flying them myself many years ago. I don't think they were ever at the 'cutting edge' of the Zambian air force and were probably used for training. As I discovered in Lusaka, the Zambian air force is the most prestigious service of their armed forces. I'm not sure whether they have a navy; they don't have a coast line unless you count Lakes Kariba and Tanganyika.

Also standing on guard was a statue of dear old Dr David Livingstone. A large room in the museum was given over to his exploits, including many sliding drawer-fulls of letters he wrote to various friends and colleagues. I was struck by how bad his handwriting was, but I suppose he was a doctor which might explain it ( or he had the shakes suffering from Malaria ).
Photography inside was forbidden, so I don't have very many. Anyway, there wasn't much worth taking photos of.

I quite liked this piece of 'African village philosophy' which was part of a rather primitive diorama. I think it sort of goes someway to explain why many African men are most content, and naturally adapted, to lead a simple day to day life watching their womenfolk till by hand a small patch of land and their children standing guard over a few cattle or goats. Certainly anything that doesn't involve machinery!

A useful map of Zambia was displayed which you might be able to click on and enlarge. The road north-south down the centre from Ndola, through Lusaka to Livingstone about covers the extent of my travels. The road going off north-east passes through the Luangwa Valley which is home to many of the poshest Game Parks and Safari Lodges ( several British run ). The salient in the north is called the 'Pedical' and is land ceded to the Belgians when they ran their bit of the Congo.
The area of Zambia is over three times the size of the UK, so quite large and with a population of about 13.5 million. There is bags of scope for much agricultural development which explains why many white ex-Zimbabwean refugees, and other white investors, are here and doing very well setting up farms and plantations of many various types. Fortunately the Zambian government is sensible enough to see the mutual advantage in this and is unlikely to 'do a Mugabe'. Zambia now profitably exports grain and other agricultural produce to Zimbabwe and elsewhere. It used to be the other way round.

Showing some initiative, someone ( a British train spotter I believe ) took a museum exhibit from the local railway museum, a 1920s steam locomotive ( left ), and painstakingly restored it to full working order together with some ancient carriages. A work of some devotion. It is now known as the Royal Livingstone Express ( 15 mph max ).

This train now does a twice weekly 10 mile return journey taking passengers down to the Vic Falls Bridge which includes a slap up five course dinner, courtesy of chefs from the 5 star Royal Livingston Hotel, in the gloriously restored dining car ( right ). There is also a luxurious lounge car, two bars and an open-air observation car at the back. I believe it stops along the way to let people off for a bit of sight-seeing. They leave at 5.30pm and get back at about 9.00pm so plenty of time to fill up with good nosh and alcohol. I wonder if they all make it back.

I spent a lazy Sunday wandering around the town. There are several churches and they were all packed to the rafters, plus people sitting on benches outside listening to the service on loudspeakers, all dressed up to the nines. I watched from the street passing a Roman Catholic church ( I think ) in fascination. As mentioned before, the style of most of these services is of the mildly to highly emotional, if not hysterical, variety. The priest rants and raves with flailing arms and rolling eyes about 'Praising The Lord' etc., ( rather to extremes in my opinion ) and, although it was difficult to understand his heavily accented English, much of the gist was to whip the congregation into a bit of a frenzy which, judging by the clapping and cheering, they were all thoroughly enjoying. I read in a local newspaper that  a woman had recently died of a heart attack during a similar performance. Maybe she wasn't 'praising' hard enough, or too hard perhaps. The church is obviously more popular than the late Capitol cinema. The African is, by nature, very superstitious and by extension loves a bit of magic, mystery and mayhem, plus lots of jolly singing.
I was told ( in fact I saw a few ) that Zambia, especially in the north, is home to many white 'missionaries' who, frankly, most of us would regard as eccentric, if not complete nutters; you know, the sort of wackos who stand on  soap-boxes at Speakers' Corner in Hyde Park and expect everyone to repent because the end of the world is nigh. I suspect they are here because they have a very willing, and possibly gullible, audience. More so than Hyde Park at least. Anyway, whatever turns you on!

I went on down to the Royal Livingstone Hotel  for lunch. This is indeed a very comfortable watering hole and it would be nice to stay there if one could afford $800 per night. I had an excellent lunch with terrific service from most attentive and polite staff. Quite a luxury.
Left: The verandah on which guests 'take tea'. There are, as at the Waterfront, several Vervet monkeys knocking around. They are also very adept at 'taking tea'. Trouble is they do it when the paying guest turns his head away for a couple of seconds. The little bastards spring from nowhere. I saw one jump onto a surprised couple's table and swipe three sticky cakes before making a hasty retreat to sit and scoff them all by the swimming pool. They are very cunning. I hope it was sick. I suppose it caused some onlookers a bit of amusement.

Zebras ( walking rugs ) stroll nonchalantly over the lawn and there is even the occasional giraffe which turns up from the unfenced wooded area surrounding the hotel. Not sure if they get elephants. I suspect they are discouraged due to 'elf 'n' safety' concerns. It's one thing having a monkey nicking your bun, but an elephant doing similar might be somewhat alarming.

This hotel is situated only a couple of hundred yards from the lip of the Falls. You can sit with a drink on a deck ( left ) by the river on a nice sunny evening and watch the rainbows form in the cloud of mist and spray which always lingers over the gorge. Sadly, the day ( well two days actually ) that I visited the weather was pretty dismal and drizzly.

Right: The sitting room and bar inside. Looks like they put the zebras to good use from time to time.

I walked from here to the Falls. There are good pathways, and a narrow bridge which takes you about a third of the way along the southern side of the gorge. The entry to the park area, rain forest, is again guarded by 'you know who'. He seems to have a very large right hand which might explain his bad writing.

Right: Posing at the eastern end of the falls. They are over a mile in length and the water, after dropping 300ft into the lateral gorge, is then all channelled through a narrow neck, about half way along, into the 'Boiling Pot' a veritable cauldron of foaming brownish water. From there the narrowed river runs under the Victoria Falls Bridge into a further series of zig-zagging  vertical sided gorges ( the white-water rafting places ).

One gets wet from all the spray. However, even though it was a cloudy damp day, it was warm. You get wet with sweat if you wear a poncho ( for hire ), and probably less wet from spray if you don't. 

Right: Visibility not so good looking west along the Falls towards Zimbabwe. The border between the two countries runs down the centre of the river.

Left: The combined water from the line of falls running through the gap into the Boiling Pot.

....and then on under the bridge. This is the rail/road bridge in  the middle of which is the bungee jumping station.

Left: This tells you about the bridge. Click on to enlarge if you're interested.

Right: A bungee jumper on the end of his elastic band. Some had their heads dipped in the water beneath. When the bouncing has stopped you are pulled back up again somehow regaining a head up position.

At some point I took a walk across the bridge.

Left: Looking down from the bungee launch pad.

Right: Technically speaking I walked into Zimbabwe, but their immigration/customs post is at the far end of the bridge. It was suggested that I should walk into Victoria Falls Town, and go to the magnificent Victoria Falls Hotel for a drink and see the falls from the Zim end. This would entail paying Mr Mugabe $55 for the privilege of aquiring a visa, the cost of said drink, and then having to pay another $50 for the return visa ( I'd already used up my two Zambian entries ). I decided this was not good value for money.

By now I had recruited, or been recruited by more like, my own personal taxi driver, a charming and reliable chap called Bison. He is an Arsenal supporter and enthusiast of loud Congo music. They are keen, for obvious reasons, to latch onto a particular tourist. Competition is hot between the many drivers and this is the low tourist season. In fact they seemed very good drivers ( the ones that I had anyway ), have fixed rates to the various locations and always turn up on time if you pre-order one. It is one of the few places I've been to where taxi drivers don't rip you off. All credit to them, or the system. So back again to the Waterfront for a beer or two.

,,....and the local beer ( lager ) is called Mosi. It is perfectly good, but then most lagers taste the same to me.

Stand by for the next gripping instalment; Uncle Matt Goes On Safari.
This should put David Attenborough to shame........possibly.

......and if miracles do occur ( Praise the Lord! ) the vid below will have transferred and you can see and hear the Vic Falls in action.