Day 92, rest day, Zambezi Waterfront Lodge, Livingstone
With two full days off before us, the bikes sorted and the laundry done, we felt like tourists. We could look at brochures, make selections and pay ridiculous amounts of money for silly things.
The first thing we did was set off for the falls. I had seen them from the Zimbabwe side but never from the Zambia side. And since the water level was now so high they were sure to be spectacular. We took rain jackets with us. Approaching the falls is like walking into a rain storm. We paid our fee and walked towards the thunder. On the Zambian side they have built a bridge, called the knife’s edge bridge, between two peaks of rock facing the falls. By the time we got to the bridge you could no longer see the falls. You felt like you were inside them. It was no long rain but sheets of water washing over you. Rain jackets were wishful thinking. We were soaked to the bone. We would have been better off in swim suits. On the far peek we followed a path away from the falls. It ended in a cul-de-sac overlooking a sheer 100 metre drop into the gorge below. No fence. A slippery rock pathway. And Jan thought cycling was dangerous. We scrambled back to the bridge and then headed upstream. Almost nobody was there. We could walk along the banks of the Zambezi a hundred metres above the falls. Once again there was no fencing or anything. But there was a sign saying that ‘Nobody shall walk across the river with the assistance of an authorized person’. Great. But this was where Livingstone first experienced the falls in 1855. He had come down the Zambezi in a canoe to the top of the falls and stopped at a small island just before the drop – rather than come up the gorge and seen the falls from the bottom. We shared that upstream experience from the shore rather than the island. It was brilliant.
We then walked down to the bridge that spans the gorge and connects Zambia and Zimbabwe. We got a bridge pass and wandered across the bridge to where they bungee jump and do other silly and expensive things. I have been told the trauma to your brain from slapping around inside your skull from one bungee jump is equal to being knocked out 21 times in a boxing ring. No bungee for me.
When we arrived at the Waterfront Lodge there had been a lucky draw for those Tour riders who were raising money form charity. A bunch of local businesses had donated prizes. I won a sunset cruise on the Zambezi (read: booze cruise). So tonight Bob and I went sailing up the Zambezi, G&T in hand, to watch the sun set and look for Hippos. Found the G&T (several times over). Had some bbq’d chicken and salads. Saw the snout of one lonely Hippo in the distance (the water on the river is very high and they like the shallows and mud). And watched the sun set. Back at the Waterfront, with a skin full of gin, we ran into some friends having dinner. We joined them for ice cream and a lazy end to the day.