(Memories of Africa, Livingstone, Zambia – 02/02/2018)
I always was fascinated by Africa and its wild nature. And the Victoria Falls were one of these places I wanted to visit in my lifetime. So when the chance of visit then came along, didn’t hesitate.
Johannesburg was my last city and to farewell Africa, I wanted to visit something really special. Most of people decide to go to Kruger National Park, but even for Europeans prices are expensive. And if you go alone, prohibitive.
Pilanesberg Park (www.pilanesbergnationalpark.org) is an alternative, but it is more of a ‘tamed’ environment. And if you have been in a big 5 reserve as I did (Thank you Gatito for being such a wonderful guide of your country), then is not a money that well spent.
So for a 1/4 of the money I could spend in Kruger, I went to Victoria Falls. Few tips: go to Zambia instead of Zimbawe (the falls are in the border of both countries) as it is cheaper.
As well, use a flight deal search page to get your flight (in my case I found a fantastic great deal in https://www.flightsite.co.za). And you can find decent accommodation at affordable prices once in Livingstone.
I stayed at cafe Zambezi House of Africa (http://www.booking.com/Share-oJntQS) for $10 USD per night. It was a dormitory of 4, but I was alone the entire time so it was like having my own room. Cafe Zambezi was refreshing place: there was a pool, a restaurant and a bar and at night, live music was performed and people from town attended. What a beautiful atmosphere.
Tip number three. Ask for more than one quotation. Don’t take first price on board without checking. And for certain things you will need to play the bidding game. I have to admit I was never good at that. Besides I feel embarrassed to discuss about 1 dollar extra or less, but at the same time it infuriates me to pay more than it really is.
However, and this is advice number four, be prepared when traveling to Africa, South America and Asia. Everyone thinks you have a money making machine in your luggage and you will have to negotiate prices if you don’t want to be milked.
Final advice, when visiting the falls you don’t need a guide. You can perfectly visit them on your own, although your money might help local economy?
The Victoria Falls are impressive, absolutely stunning to see, smell and feel the power of the water around you. In addition to the tour, there are other activities you can do like zip line or rafting. All can be done in 1 day. Elephant riding for sightseeing safari was banned due to new laws that came into force.
If you want to get posh, there are cruises along the river offering a view of the sunset while eating and drinking. But in my opinion, these are to westernized. My interaction with locals at Cafe Zambezi was more interesting.
In addition to the Falls, wandering around the streets of Livingstone is well worth it. The city has a mixture of colonial architecture and real African houses. Africa at his best: protestant colonial churches altogether with hotels and civil architecture, all along mixed with houses built by locals.
Like Africa, the city is chaotic in a beautiful way. Some streets are paved but majority aren’t. You might find a modern mall and three blocks away an African flea market, with all the colors, flavors and smells (some of them not pleasant) exploding right front of you.
The Livingstone Museum is worth the visit, although you need to adjust your expectations. But with no doubt, exploring the city, getting lost in the alleyways is the best way to flavor Africa.
Pictures of my trip are in the video below.
Despite all the chaos, there are very fond memories of my time there. Africa will be always a special place.