Location: Johannesburg, South Africa -> Livingstone, Zambia
Today we woke up at 5:45, which given our schedule the last week, almost felt like sleeping in. We packed up the last remaining items then departed for the airport. Because it was a Sunday morning, traffic was non-existent and we made it there very early. We passed the time in the SAA Lounge.
The flight from Johannesburg to Livingstone, Zambia was uneventful. The one downside to the flight was that we were seated on the starboard side of the plane, so we couldn’t see Victoria Falls on descent into the airport. We’ll try to see it from the air on the way home in a couple days.
We were the first ones off the plane, and the first ones to get to immigration. We had read that there are few immigration agents and that it can take a while to get processed, sometimes it can take over 90 minutes. So we were fortunate that we got there so quickly. Even then, it still took over 5 minutes to get processed. We then passed through customs and found our transfer. Sadly we were in the same vehicle as another couple, so we had to wait a while for them to pass through immigration.
We had a pretty decent driver for our transfer. He gave us a history of Zambia and Livingstone on the way to the hotel. He also pointed out various local landmarks, and pulled over to allow us to take photos of various animals.
We then checked into the hotel, which happens to be very close to the falls and situated in the middle of the national park. So there are lots of wildlife (giraffes, antelope, zebras, etc) openly walking around the hotel grounds.
After we booked our tours for tomorrow, we went up to the room to change clothes and put on bug spray, because we had a tour booked for this afternoon.
The highlight of the day was our first look at Victoria Falls from the Zambia side. By virtue of low attendance, we had our own private tour guide. He walked us through along the paths of the national park and gave a brief history of the falls. Our trip coincides with the end of the dry season, so there was very little to see on the Zambia side.
But the tour did take us across the Knife Edge Bridge to the rain forest island. This isolated area has a different micro-climate from the rest of the surrounding area due to the mist that comes up from the falls. The difference in vegetation was amazing.
After we finished our tour of Zambia side of the falls, we stopped at the nearby Curio. Ryan used his world famous ‘haggling skillz’. He pretty much had to, because the shop keeper wanted US$35 for three small magnets.
We returned to the hotel and decided to take it easy. Our original plan was to grab a small snack and swim in the pool. But the Scotland-Australia rugby game was on while we were eating, so we wound up watching the whole first half. Half-time corresponded with the golden hour for photographs and we spotted several zebra walking around.
A staff member saw us taking pictures of the zebras and offered to drive us on the golf cart to the giraffes nearby. Of course we agreed.
Tomorrow is a very full day. We wake up early to walk to the Zimbabwe side of the falls, have lunch on Livingstone Island, swim in the Devils Pool, then take a sundowner cruise along the Zambezi River.
Total Steps: 14,206