Tom's African Adventure: Part III
Welcome to the third and final instalment of Tom’s big adventure, as he travels across southern Africa discovering safari holidays and top-end hotels.
Day 6: Botswana - Zambia - Livingstone - Mukuni Village
Up ready to leave the hotel at 07:30 (after a spot of breakfast, of course), we were re-united with our mini bus and made our way to the Botswana/Zambia border.
There was an astronomical queue of lorries and other heavy good vehicles waiting for the ferry; they can wait between 3 days and 3 weeks before they can make the crossing. Ours, luckily, was a much shorter wait, and after a quick stamp in the passport we were on our way.
After we negotiated our way through the street sellers on the Zambia side, we promptly dealt with getting our visas and then started the journey to Livingstone, about an hour away. After a whistle-stop tour of the falls by our guide we then made our way to the Mukuni Village - a village that has been on the receiving end of some help by the Saga Charitable Trust (Saga is one of Titan’s sister companies).
The Village leader introduced the village choir and we were graced with a few songs before being shown around the village and told about how much our support was helping with the overall lifestyle and future of the village - simple things like water that’s now available in the centre and bunk beds for the dormitories. This made me very proud to be part of something that was having such a clear and positive affect on such an amazing race of people.
We then made our way back to make ourselves a little more presentable for a 5 course dinner on the Royal Livingstone Express. This was exceptional and it was only on the return leg that I think we all could comprehend everything on our trip; and the feeling I had at this moment was that of utter content. I was very grateful to have travelled everywhere we had, and seen everything we had.
Just as we returned and were about to retire for the evening, we were then informed of our final surprise - tomorrow morning, we would be swimming in the Victoria Falls!
Favourite moment of the day: Visiting the Mukuni village and the humbling feeling seeing what our charity is all about.
Day 7: Departure Day, Livingstone - Johannesburg - Heathrow
Today marked the end of our trip, but thanks to the news the night before, we still had one last thing to look forward to. We all woke ready for our ‘quick dip’ at 07:15, we signed a rather scary disclaimer, and then jumped into a rather rickety speed boat. We then zipped across the Zambezi to Livingstone Island (in nothing but my swim shorts, bath robe and slippers). The guides showed us briefly round the island before stopping at what I thought was a view of the falls, only to be told this was in fact Devil’s Pool and where we would be swimming.
Once the horror had passed, we all navigated the rocky edges and swam the strong current to reach the pool. After a quick safety briefing we were lovingly dangled over the edge of the falls by our guides whilst rather unflattering pictures were taken to mark this special occasion (photos I will take to the grave with me). This was by far one of the most amazing experiences of the trip, all before breakfast too!
Once we had made our way back, we prepared for the next 24 hours of travelling. We left the hotel for the flight to Johannesburg and home, as we all said our farewell’s to the country that had so willingly accepted us all for the last week.
Favourite moment of the day: Swimming in the early hours of the morning across the Zambezi towards the Devil’s Pool, Victoria Falls - following in the footsteps of David Livingstone.
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Article published on: 19th December, 2013