This post is long overdue. New blog title name, credit to Danielle! I stopped writing in Tanzania for a multitude of reasons, mainly because I was becoming unhappy. Not with the country or the people, especially not the girls I grew close with, but with myself, the work I was doing, and the people that I was representing. I don’t regret the experience at all; I learned a lot about foreign aid, and about myself. The spur of the moment decision to return home made the transition very difficult, and it was hard to leave home again after finally starting to readjust. But I stepped off the plane in Livingstone, Zambia on August 31st and breathed in the familiar African air. The smells hit me hard and I felt a pang of both happiness and nostalgia. My stretch in Africa as a tourist feels very odd. I am not a student, or working. I am in the touristy areas, speaking English, eating western style food, and wearing pants daily. This has been the hardest adjustment of them all, to not know the languages and to be unfamiliar with customs. To what I’m sure is the annoyance of Danielle, my travel companion, I find myself comparing everything to Eastern Africa. Despite this, it has been an incredible so far.
The view of Victoria Falls is much better in Zimbabwe, but we had a great start in Zambia. On the first day, we met a local guide who (illegally) took us on a walk to the edge of the smaller falls surrounding the main one. We walked through streams and across rocks and swam in natural pools. The next day, we did the breath-taking Devil’s Pool and dangled over the ledge of the main falls. We also started what is apparently becoming a theme of our trip – resort crashing. We checked out the fanciest hotel in the area to use their wifi and have a beer. In Zimbabwe, we saw the amazing views of the falls, bungee jumped off the bridge right on the border of both countries, and I ate crocodile. The bungee jump was surprisingly one of the scariest things I have done. I thought it would be a breeze. But standing there with my toes over the edge, I was so scared that I forgot to hit “record” on the gopro attached to my chest. I remembered while dangling upside down, spinning in circles.
From there, we did a 3-day safari to Chobe National Park in Botswana. This was my 9th safari, but my first outside of Tanzania. The animals were mostly the same, but the environment and experience was different. I saw three new animals, and watched lions mating so that was pretty cool. The campsites here were also actual campsites. Our toilet was a hole dug a few hours before we got there, and we had no electricity or running water. Compared to the fully powered camps in East Africa, this was a lot of fun and made for a more authentic experience. Our safari guide, Robson, was one of the nicest men I have met, and went above and beyond, even coming to our hotel after the safari to help navigate us around the town of Kasane. The hotel we stayed in was a splurge – way over my budget for sleeping. But it was also much needed after camping, as we had our own little cottage with a private bathroom and kitchen. After doing some laundry and crashing another resort, we climbed on a small 20-seater plane (although I have been in smaller!) and headed to Maun, also in Botswana. We have since checked into a lovely backpackers on the water, where we will be the next 3 nights. Tomorrow we set off on a Mokoro (dug out canoe) day trip on the Okavango Delta.
It has been an exciting trip so far, and I am looking forward to what is to come.
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
“Boiling Pot”. That’s the bridge we bungeed from behind us!
We had a visitor at the pool of the resort we crashed in Kasane
Our off the beaten path (aka illegal) tour in Zambia