Thursday, November 30

Victoria Falls, Day Four: The Devil's Pool

In what was a last minute squeezing of our time here, we successfully had an early enough start for our second crossing into Zambia. If I'm honest I did feel a slight twinge of regret but was committed to the morning's activity.

After crossing the border post (this time complete with immigration and stamps - okay, maybe now I've really hit 40 countries), we headed to the lush Livingston Hotel to sign in for our excursion. Naturally while we were waiting we hung out with the zebras and giraffes - although we were told afterwards that they, alas, were domestic.

After a speedboat to Livingston Island, we took a shortish walk across the edge of the (currently dry) waterfall, experiencing the literally cliff edge views and double and triple rainbows caused by the mist of the waterfall. After enjoying those views, we needed to swim a short distance across the river to reach this morning's real destination: The Devil's Pool.

I have to say, the whole thing was pretty amazing. A natural pool at the edge of the falls, its no exaggeration to call it an infinity pool on drugs. There's almost no point in even talking about it it was that good.

We hung out in the pool for a good 20 or 30 minutes, being nibbled at by the fishes and taking photos. After that we were treated to a decent breakfast before being taken back to the Livingston, and then back to our hotel on the Zimbabwean side of the river.

That brought us to the end of our time in Victoria Falls, and indeed Zimbabwe. But this isn't the end of our trip; oh no, Zimbabwe was merely a prologue. The bulk of our holiday really begins as we enter South Africa, making it four countries in 24 hours, which for island dwellers like us is never going to get old.

Wednesday, November 29

Victoria Falls, Day Three: Chobe

I can't claim that Botswana was ever on our list of places to visit, but apparently Chobe is one of the things to do while visiting Victoria Falls, and since we already had our Kaza Univisas it was too much of a quick in to pass up.

The tour generally consists of transport across the border and back, a "game drive" mini safari, lunch and then a boat tour. It was plainly filler, but we did get to see (and hear!) lions feeding, and a few elephants, zebras and giraffes (and of course lots and lots of impala and hippo). The trip was just about worth the cost in time and money, but I'd probably have rather limited my stay in Victoria Falls instead.

On the other hand, Botswana marked the 40th country I have visited, so there is that.

Returning to Victoria Falls in the evening, I realised how dead it was after hours. This is contrast to many other tourist towns I've visited and I miss the live music and the random chilling with people you just met in a cafe. I'm not exactly a party animal, but the town does seem a little... functional for my tastes.

Tuesday, November 28

Victoria Falls, Day Two: Victoria Falls

After deciding against spending the whole of today on a day trip out of town, we instead set out to see what local activities the town had to offer - which largely meant a visit to the falls.

In what can only be described as tourist trail efficiency our helicopter tour was booked and flown before 11am. It was just as you can imagine: a thrilling and exciting yet expensive and short-lived experience which just fell short of being an unmissable experience.

We then set off to the falls proper for a look on foot. Now it's important to realise that we were here in the Zimbabwean summer, otherwise known as The Dry Season. Since I have nothing to compare to I have no idea if it was the right time to come - I did appreciate not getting soaked for sure, yet I couldn't help feeling a little underwhelmed at the volume of water being displaced. That said the views still gave a sense of enormity and overall it was a much more worthwhile experience than seeing it from above.

After we had our fill of the falls, we walked up the road to the bridge to catch the views from there (as well as place a foot into Zambia). Although we each had Kaza univisas (which gave us unlimited entry into three countries for 30 days) we took the bridge stamp option (if only to save some space in our passports). It was a pretty long walk but was just about worth it.

After a quick lunch back in our hotel we took the opportunity to book our remaining activities, after which we headed to the luxurious Victoria Falls Hotel for an opulent chai. It was very swank and an extremely nice way to spend an afternoon.

And that was it for the day - we decided to call it an early night so we could catch a fresh start the next day. I felt that we got right amount done, and was pretty done with what the town had to offer... although that might also have something to do with the price of entry. One thing is definitely for sure, Victoria Falls is expensive.

Monday, November 27

Victoria Falls, Day One: Getting Sold Down The River

Zimbabwe was never on my list of places to visit. In fact I'm still not sure how we've ended up here - in what can only be described as clear proof that feature creep doesn't just happen in software development I guess our main trip just spilled out into the rest of Africa, as if this was the only time we'd ever be visiting the continent. Add to that the recent news of good ol' Bob having been kicked out of office and we were quite apprehensive on arriving at Victoria Falls (the airport). Getting here was quite the chore too; we actually had to fly through Johannesburg which added both time and cost to the travel plan. Needless to say I had a bit of grumpiness to shake off after landing.

Landing at 2pm, the original plan was to take it easy for the rest of the day... but after being offered a sunset river cruise my need to optimise kicked in and so we decided to make the most of an afternoon. Logistically this was the right thing to do, but an overcast sky and chilly river made the two hour cruise one hour too long. But hey, at least we got to see some hippos.

Otherwise my initial impression of Victoria Falls (the town) is that of a typical African (or indeed third world) tourist town - lots of tour operators and hawkers trying to sell you stuff, with not much local culture or vibe to enjoy.

Either way... I'm going to sleep well tonight.

Tuesday, November 21

Film: Justice League Click for more info

Disagreeing with the mainstream reaction to the DCEU is par for the course now: I quite liked the films I was supposed to hate and didn't really think much of the one I was supposed to love. So given the almost universal panning that Justice League has gotten so far, I suppose it's not that surprising that, well, I kinda enjoyed it.

Yes, it was cobbled together and yes they really should have been patient and gone with the origin stories first. But despite the obvious flaws and awful pacing the film did entertain and had enough pow wallop to keep me going. And at a forgiving two hours long it really wasn't asking for much in return.