Sunday, 24 September 2017

Part 4 of our African holiday - Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe all in one day!

Following on from the last African post, we planned a day to go to Victoria Falls.  Candy (see part 3) booked the trip for us and we were collected at the hotel and taken to the Kazangula ferry. Here we are on the Botswana side of the river!
Kazungula is a small border town in the southern Province of Zambia, lying on the north bank of the Zambezi river about 70 kilometres (45 miles) west of Livingstone. At Kazungula, the territories of four countries (Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Namibia) come close to meeting up.  The ferry is a fairly basic, old and rattly, used-for-years pontoon which traverses the river, which is 400 metres (1,300 ft) wide at this point.


A bridge is being built by an Asian company at a cost of US$234 million and construction commenced in December 2014   It is expected to be completed in December 2018.  At present all transport, including very large transcontinental trucks,  has to cross by ferry.  There have been several accidents, sinking of ferries and unfortunately, many lives lost.  The bridge will make life very much easier for business, residents and tourists, but I assume that tolls will be levied to recoup that $234 million!

You can see here the size of those trucks and their double-trailer loads; the ferries are usually overloaded and extremely low in the water,  so accidents can be expected! We were foot passengers, along with many locals, all of us hoping we wouldn't end up swimming!

Arriving in Livingstone, Zambia after a one hour trip in a minibus on a smooth tarmac road. Unfortunately it was raining, and although we were driven around and shown the sights, it was not good weather for photos!


I did get a passing shot of Livingstone High Court.


By the time we reached the magnificent Victoria Falls, the rain had stopped.  Not that it would have made much difference, as due to the spray we got soaked anyway!  It is not surprising that the local name for it is Mosi-oa-Tunya  meaning "the smoke that thunders"  I have seen the falls previously from the Zimbabwe side, but I think they are even more dramatic from the Zambian side.
While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls is classified as the largest, based on its combined width of 1,708 metres (5,604 ft) and height of 108 metres (354 ft), resulting in the world's largest sheet of falling water. 

David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary and explorer, is believed to have been the first European to view Victoria Falls on 16 November 1855.  He named the falls after Queen Victoria, but Mosi-oa-Tunya remains the local popular name. His meeting on 10 November 1871 with Henry Morton Stanley, a journalist and explorer who went to look for him,  gave rise to the popular quotation "Dr. Livingstone, I presume?"

We were being scrutinised carefully while walking around.  If you ignore them they will generally ignore you.  It is not wise to try to feed them, (or any wild animal for that matter); baboons have massive teeth which are like knives.  I have seen (I used to work for a vet) the damage that they can do to large dogs- not pleasant.  
Chacma baboon (Papio ursinus).

Impossible to get the whole falls in one photo, even with my wide angle lens!


Fluttering around in the trees was  a paradise flycatcher (Terpsiphone viridis).  This has to be a female, as the male has a very long tail!
  
Nigel and I standing at the back of the falls;  you can see its cloud of spray in the distance behind us.


Victoria Falls bridge. The siting of the bridge came under huge criticism, as it was felt that it would intrude on the natural beauty of the gorge and detract from the Falls themselves, but many years later, opinion softened after the bridge structure was hailed as one of the finest achievements of Victorian engineering and design.

The Victoria Falls bridge was a crucial link in the route of a railway running the length of Africa, the planning of which the famous Cecil John Rhodes envisioned.

To ensure accuracy in the manufacture, the bridge was assembled in sections at the Cleveland Bridge Company factory yard in Darlington, England before being shipped to Africa.

The main arch of the bridge was joined on 1 April 1905.  The two centre girders of the arch were in place by sunset 31st March, but they overlapped to the extent of about 1 ¼ inches.  When work started at sunrise next morning, it was found that the bridge had contracted during the night to the extent of exactly 1 ¼ inches.  The two centre girders had dropped into place and fitted perfectly!!

The official opening ceremony took place on 12th September 1905.   Sir Charles Metcalfe, an engineering friend of Rhodes, made a welcoming speech to declare the Victoria Falls bridge was officially open.

“I should like to have the spray of the water (of the Victoria Falls) over the carriages.” – Cecil John Rhodes

My shot of a bungee jumper from the bridge - he survived!; it seems to be a very popular pastime. There is a 111m (364ft) drop on the bungee, falling almost into the Zambezi River. They are very welcome, but I would much rather watch!!

Seen on a rock just off the path- Variegated Skink (trachylepis variegata).

Our driver kindly drove us over to Zimbabwe and had a chat to the customs officers there. We were were allowed out of the car, so we could walk back to Zambia across the bridge!

Nigel, Patrick and Christelle crossing the bridge. Nigel was still trying to stay dry, with a raintop over wet t-shirt and shorts (!). I guess Christelle and Patrick had given up !

Nigel and I on the bridge, looking rather under-dressed in the swirling spray!

Driving back to the hotel - a little memento from near the Botswana border.

Baobab tree. (Adansonia digitata) It is a tree from prehistoric times, that can live, so they say, for up to 1,500 years. They vary in size, up to 30 metres (99 feet) in height and 11 metres (36 feet) in diameter, and this one is at the larger end of the scale! Baobab has the only fruit in the world that dries naturally on its branches. Instead of dropping and spoiling, it stays on the branch and bakes in the sun for 6 months - transforming its green velvety coating into a hard coconut-like shell. The pulp of the fruit dries out completely and that when processed is what we know as "cream of tartar"!

and here's an interesting sky  under which to sit, relax, observe and drink a glass of great South African red wine! Like this.....


Cheers!!




Also see my daily diary HERE



and My Life Before Charente (updated  25 September 2016) I will get back to this eventually! 

39 comments:

  1. I loved all your photos. I don't have a bucket list as such but if I did, travel to see Livingstone Falls would be on it. I'm so glad that they are building a bridge which will be open soon as I wouldn't want to cross by ferry with all the big lorries and such. I have a concern over ferries in underdeveloped nations of the world. The Likoni ferry off Mombasa is forever capsizing and one must use it to get to the touristy beach areas. I hope you are enjoying your trip to Africa. There is so much beauty there to see. I also see that it is becoming more and more developed so things are changing rapidly.

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    1. I could not agree more some of the ferries around Africa, as we discovered travelling from North to South in 1953, are anything but safe!! So many things have changed since we lived there but I am not so sure it is for the good of the country. Botswana and Zambia are doing pretty well, but Zimbabwe and South African are suffering from the presidents that are there at present!. Have a good week Diane

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  2. Sorry, I said Livingstone Falls (in my earlier comment) didn't I? My brain isn't quite working today.

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    1. Ha ha yes you did, but I am sure Victoria falls would be on your bucket list as well. Diane

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  3. what amazing and beautiful travel you made Diane. I would love to go some day there :)
    hugs !

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    1. It is a beautiful place and once you have lived there a piece of your heart will always remain. Take care and enjoy your week Diane

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  4. Hi Diane - fascinating to see the journey you made from Botswana to the Zambian side ...I've only ever seen the Falls from the Zimbabwean side and when we went from Botswana we flew over to Zim ... lovely extra info you've given us here re the Baobab tree ... and the bridge - they learnt the lesson from that for the Sydney Harbour Bridge that the temperature had to be right for the sides to slot into place ... they waited at that stage too ... and the bridge was finished - other than the tidying up and making it suitable for use. Cheers Hilary

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    1. It is amazing how temperatures can effect things so large as a bridge, but most things expand when heated so it is to be expected. Glad that you enjoyed he extra info. It must be interesting to see these things through someone else's eyes. I know I appreciate a post when I have seen it myself and how someone else views it. Take care cheers Diane

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  5. Hi Diane. Great post! It actually brought a lump to my throat on your behalf - I can imagine how homesick you must have felt, returning to Africa (homesick for your life in Rhodesia and South Africa that is). I didn't know that Cream of Tartar came from Baobab fruit - that's really interesting. I visited Zim (then Rhodesia) in 1972, and saw the falls but don't remember them. Hopefully one day I will visit them again, but from Zambia. Kim

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    1. Certainly homesick for my life in Rhodesia but it will never be the same there again I am sorry to say. I hope that you get to see Botswana and the falls, they are both so well worth the visit Kim. Hope that you have a good week Diane

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    2. I hope I get to see them too. Take care. Kim

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  6. Yep... It reminds me of great wet moments!! My son jumped off that bridge, a real daredevil this one!
    Great footage Diane, I enjoyed each photo :)
    Hugs again in a rush...!

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    1. Yous son is very much braver than me. I am sure my back would never survive the jolt at the end, but then I would never be brave/stupid enough to find out!! Glad that you enjoyed this post. Keep well hugs Diane

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  7. I always feel incredibly homesick when I read your posts Diane. They do say if you've lived in Africa for a long period of time it never leaves you.. it's true 😊

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    1. Grace that is a certainty. Everyone I know who lives in Africa, especially I think Rhodesians, always leave a part of them behind. My very best friends are still all the people I know from Rhodesia, they are a different type of person. I can understand you feeling homesick you lived there during the best times.
      Take care and enjoy your week, cheers Diane

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  8. What a great adventure! Love the shot of the Baobab tree.

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    1. It was a wonderful holiday. I have always been fascinated by baobab trees. Hope you have a good week Diane

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  9. I always take great delight in reading your travel 'diaries', Diane, and your wonderful images are the icing on the cake. This one is right up there with the rest of them and includes some fascinating information too. Thank you!

    With my very best wishes - - - Richard

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    1. You are a delight to write for Richard as I know you appreciate my travels. The next few posts will be mostly animals and birds. 79 different species of birds identified from my photos in RSA and Botswana!
      Take care and enjoy your week, cheers Diane

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  10. What a wonderful trip! I would the baboon is fun to look at but I'm sure he would scare me in real life! Have a wonderful week, Serena

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    1. Thanks Sarena, any wild animal can be dangerous so best to keep your distance. Hope you have a good weekend as well. Diane

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  11. How I want to see Victoria Falls. Great bridge story. But no thanks to jumping from it. I didn't know rails rain the length of Africa. That would be an awesome journey. That is a magnificent Baobab tree. Makes me homesick and I'm not even from there.

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    1. I have been on the train from Joburg to Harare, but most of my trip was through the night so I did not see a lot. I manly remember he customs waking me at some ungodly hour to look at my passport!! Yes looking at the photos makes me homesick again as well. Take care Diane

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  12. It must have been thrilling to see all those amazing sights. A family member/historian once told me many years ago, that we had missionaries who worked with Livingstone, but though we found missionaries who were in Africa in our genealogy search, there is no proof of this connection.

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    1. Pity you did not find the proof it would have been an exciting subject in your family tree. My Mum always believed we had a connection to the Black Prince but I never managed to establish that fact either. Maybe one of the family was some menial servant LOL. Take care Diane

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    2. Or a Royal but both would be an exciting connection:)

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  13. I first heard of the Baobab tree when reading "The Little Prince" in French class in 9th grade (in French, of course). It's an astonishing looking tree. Victoria Falls is beautiful, as are your other pictures. Love your story of the bridge, and while I'm not afraid of heights, there would have to be a mighty fine incentive for me to jump off a perfectly good bridge, bungee cord or no.

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    1. Marjie in winter when all the leaves have dropped it looks like it has been planted up side down and the branches look like roots. No I don't think any amount of money would get me to jump off that bridge! I have far too much respect for my back which is not in wonderful condition to start with! I also do not mind heights. Take care and thanks for the comment. Diane

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    1. Thanks so much Emma, comment much appreciated. Have a good day Diane

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  15. From the look of the weather, you may have had four seasons in one day as well! Nice.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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    1. Thanks Stewart, so often one has days like that in Africa except seldom winter except when you expect it. Having said that I remember one Christmas party which was planned for outside and we all froze!!!
      Have a good week, cheers Diane

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  16. Don't know how I missed this great post, Diane! Your photos are out-standing! That baboon and the Baobab tree are great, but actually they're all great! Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Thanks so much Pam for all your kind comments they are much appreciated. Take care Diane

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  17. The falls and views are absolutely stunning, Diane! I love everything here, and I really like the patterns on the skink!

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    1. Linda Victoria falls are really quite breath taking. I never in my wildest dreams though that I would ever get to see them again after so many years!! Thanks for back commenting, appreciated. Diane

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  18. What a super way to end a great day. Those falls are fabulous. I enjoyed them without getting wet. Thanks.

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    1. They are so well worth getting wet for. Certainly one of the wonders of the world. T'other Diane

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