Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
I arrived in Victoria Falls and was taken to the office that arranged the adventure activities for my time at the falls. I decided on spending a full day rafting down the Zambezi River. Then I was asked if I wanted to change money. I had read about the money changing scams that go on in Zimbabwe and was somewhat prepared. The is the only place that the Lonely Planet books suggest to change money on the black market and not at the "official rate". I was first offered the rate of 25000 Zim $ to the US $ and then asked what the "unofficial rate" was. I was quoted in a whisper the rate was 35000 Zim $ to the US $. By the time I got my money 10 minute later the rate had gone up to 40000. The largest denomination they have is a 20,000 note and no coins. As you can see from the pic attached it is quite a large number of bills to whip out. The picture is the equivalent of about $20 US.
Rafting the Mighty Zambezi
The first full day in Victoria Falls I went on a rafting trip. I met three (Nicole, Jeff, Meghan) of the people that would be on trip with me for the next 3 weeks and the tour leader. It was an awesome day. The weather was perfect. Really warm which meant the time in the water was very pleasant. The scenery was breath taking from the bottom of the gorge. Our raft only threw us out once but it was on a class 5 rapid that didn't seem to end. I was picked up by another raft and then thrown out of that one before we got to the bottom of the rapid. The rapids were quite strong and it was tough not to panic, but being a strong swimmer I knew I would come out of it eventually.
I spent an afternoon visiting Victoria Falls and it was spectacular. These are the largest falls in width in the world although we saw them during low water season. I did talk to some locals Zimbabweans that were visiting and they said the falls looked the best they had ever seen them because with low water the mist is low and you can actually see the falls. When the water is higher the mist is so bad that it makes for a wet, foggy view.
Vic Falls cont.
Another great view.
From here the tour officially began. There are 10 people on this leg of the tour. The truck (don't call it a bus) is built for 30 people but it is nice that there are only 10 of us because we can spread out and relax. It is also nice to know that for the next 21 days almost all of our meals will be taken care of, I won't have to worry about transportation or where I will be staying. The trip is a camping trip which takes a little getting used to, especially putting up and taking down the tents daily, but it is the best way to go. The truck is fully equipped with everything we need including a mobile kitchen with all the supplies needed. We stop every couple of days to load up on food. The tour includes a driver (David), a cook (Franco) and a tour leader (Carly).
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