This is the third instalment of ‘South Africans Travel Too’, since its inception at the Jaguar F-Pace media launch in the Eastern Cape. Honestly, I am starting to see this entity shaping up into something bigger than all three of us could have ever imagined. Even the people who are part of this travel group make sense, we love to travel, we own online entities where we can tell stories about our travels and great people all round.
When we discussed where to go to next, I didn’t know what to expect because all I know is information that I get from reading the news, but we are all about to find out. This month has been a busy one and I must say that I am not complaining with regards to things just happening the way they are. Seeing as it was my birthday shortly prior, this trip was a birthday present from the Gods. Our first flight from OR Tambo to Harare, Zimbabwe, was pleasant and not too long (1hour: 30), we flew FastJet.
We arrived in Zimbabwe and I must say that I was really disappointed with the condition of the Robert Gabriel Mugabe airport. The airport is dark, humid with no aircon and when we thought it couldn’t get worse there was no wifi at the airport, all I had was the Zambezi beer to console myself. Lelo had to buy a new sim card and load 2 GB of data for us just to be connected but on the flip side data is cheap 2GB was $3 which is about R45 at most. We spent about five hours waiting to connect to another flight to the Victoria Falls Airport. Victoria Falls Airport looks like what an airport should look like, the difference is like day and night. We get picked up from the airport and drove to the border so that we can go into Zambia. The border process is not bad and if you have a South African passport it’s seamless.
By the time we arrived at the Avani Resort Victoria Falls all I wanted was a shower and drinks as we have been travelling all day. The resort is like a mini Sun City with animals roaming around and people being chilled. After checking in we went to the Livingstone Hotel which is next door to the Avani Hotel. We chilled on the deck as the sun was setting, it was a beautiful sight to experience while drinking the local beer ‘Mosi’ before having dinner.
The coolest thing about these trips is that we get taken care of by the hotels, from the food and everything that’s needed on the trip. In the morning we embarked on the river rafting experience in the Zambezi River. The walk from the top to the bottom of the river was rather demanding, in my mind I thought that walking down should be easy, not this walk – all of our legs were shaking by the time we reached the bottom. We checked gear and got on the boats, Papi and I were at the front and Lelo was behind with a young German lady we met while walking down. One thing that I will recommend everyone to do, even if you are scared, is the river rafting on the Zambezi River. My goodness I had so much fun doing it, you are forced to let loose and adapt to the situation, oh and Lelo’s wig didn’t fall off either during the river rafting. There was a point where I was able to swim while the current took us to the next adventure, I believe that was the highlight of my trip the swimming in the Zambezi River while there are small crocodiles and all.
When we were done, we had to walk back up to the top and now I can imagine how bad the walk will be because walking down was not cute either. I got to the top first but I was beat, I was done, I’m not unfit but this was the ultimate test and our instructors did the walk so easily with boats on their backs. We got back to the hotel to rest and freshen up a bit while getting some lunch as well.
Around 17:00 we got picked up for the Royal Livingstone Express where we were to have dinner as well. The setup is similar to the Blue Train and you can chill and drink while sightseeing the beauty Zambia is. Now it got a little bit weird when we were introduced to a white man (forgot his name) who would tell us about the history of Zambia. Everything was fine until he got to the Cecil John Rhodes part, this man adores him and he believes that he is the best thing that could’ve happened to South Africans and he doesn’t understand why we took down his statue and why we aren’t grateful.
Our jaws were on the floor because of this man and obviously he didn’t consider himself racist either but rather expressing himself freely. (*We have a long way to go). I think this was the only thing wrong with this trip, the white man and we were the only black people on the train other than the staff. I enjoyed the food, and the entire experience of the train and at some point I had a conversation with the people in the kitchen, Zambians are very nice, sometimes I think too nice because white people get away with a lot in Zambia as well. I met some nice people on the train and they wanted us to join them to go to the clubs, but I was too tired to even consider that offer and we went back to the hotel.
Lelo Boyana left on Sunday morning while Papi Mabele and I had the whole day to recover and chill, the idea for this day was to chill and catch up on some writing, but I was suffering from a hangover from the Jameson that we indulged in after dinner. I checked out the market next door and one guy at the market gave me a bracelet that says Zambia, I ended up buying some for the people I care about back home. I slept for the rest of the day and nursed my hangover, including the heartburn from hell I had to deal with, but we were there to show up. At around 16:00 we got picked up for the boat cruise which was very chilled and we got a chance to see another part of Zambia that was breath taking and worth checking out. I think we used that trip to just reflect on how the year was for us and since it was my birthday month, I was really happy that this was how I got to spend it.
We got back to the hotel for the last dinner and to finish the Jameson before leaving for Johannesburg the next morning. This was by far the best trip we embarked on and our sponsors came to the party as well. Thank you to Avani Hotels Victoria Falls and FastJet Airlines.
Here are the details of activities that we embarked during this trip.
Return Airport Transfers from Victoria Falls Airport to the Hotel
USD 30 per person one way
Royal Livingstone Express Train Dinner
USD 180 per person ( Inclusive Train ride Experience, wines, beers and soft drinks and a 5 course dinner)
Safari Par Excellence
Half Day White Water Rafting on Saturday
USD150 per person (Light Lunch inclusive)
Full Day Trip
USD 160 per person
Sunset Cruise on the African Queen on Sunday afternoon.
USD 75 per person ( inclusive snacks, wines, beers and soft drinks)