Sometimes being extremely goal-oriented makes you do crazy things and this trip was one of them haha. I was scheduled to deliver trainings at the IFMSA Africa Regional Meeting in Zimbabwe and I thought, how can I go to Zimbabwe and not visit one of the seven great wonders of the world, Victoria Falls? So I began to plan towards it – however I didn’t get to complete my planning as preparations for the training took pre-eminence – next thing I know it’s time to go to Zimbabwe and I didn’t have a full plan.
When we (Toyosi, Alaa and I) arrived at Robert Mugabe International Airport, my mentor Dr. Adegboyega, who is based in Zimbabwe where he works for the WHO; was kind enough to pick us up and take us to the bus station where the luxury coaches that departs to Victoria Falls were. He got us lunch, sim cards with data and our bus passes – and this was all without having met me before; he is proof that there are still very kind people in the world – he is Mentor Goals. He had told me of the importance of bringing warm clothing – and boy was it cold at night! By 11pm it was -4 degrees! People that were wearing T-shirts when we boarded were now wearing full winter regalia.
The journey took 12 whole hours, but the roads are super safe so night transport is a totally normal thing to do, we even had restroom and food stops along the way and it was at one of the stops that I started talking to a woman on the bus who I later found out was called Fadzai.
Fast forward to 5am the next day, and we’ve arrived at Victoria Falls – but its so dark, the only people around were cab drivers who were taking people to Zambia (yes people can just drive to Zambia from Vic Falls in Zimbabwe) and it’s dawning on us that this plan wasn’t well planned lol, so I turn to my somewhat new friend Fadzai and asked where she advised we go till its bright enough to go the the falls and she looked at me and was like “you mean this is your first time at Vic Falls? I can’t believe it, well luckily for you, my partner and I are tour guides and we are doing a Vic Falls tour today, so we can take you the lodge we are staying at and plan a package.” She handed me her card, and everything checked out online – it was either take this risk and go with them, or stay in the dark bus park – yep you guessed it we went with them lol.
So the lodge is beautiful, they got us a room to keep our stuff, and we showered and had some breakfast and planned the trip. The Nigerian in me felt uneasy about trusting absolute strangers lol, but they gave me good vibes as individuals, and as the story unfolds you’d see my energy-meter was right to trust them.
First stop on our tour, was the Victoria Falls itself. My people, the waterfall is spectacular! Breath-taking! We went during the high season so some parts of the falls were obscured by the high pressure, such as the famous devil’s pool.
There’s an ongoing debate about which nation actually owns the Victoria Falls, because the falls are actually situated in Zambia, but the view is from Zimbabwe and so Zimbabwe makes the tourism money haha – who do you think owns it?
After the Falls, we went through a safari-like walk through a park, and we saw actual wild elephants walking around freely! Like this wasn’t a zoo, lol, the Zimbabweans believe in letting the animals live peacefully among them; was a very different, but beautiful experience.
Next we went to the Victoria Falls Hotel, which was built long ago, but is perfectly maintained (unlike some other places I can think of). Check out our sights haha
After this, we went to the gorge, which is where people did crazy things like bungee jump or banana swing into the long drop to the river from the falls – lol I don’t think I could ever do such a thing haha.
Next up, we went to the crocodile park (which featured a few other animals) and we fed crocodiles with crocodile tails – yeah its messed up to basically eat their own kind lool, the way the crocs jump out to get the food was quite frightening lool.
I also carried a baby crocodile, but before I could will myself to take it from the park attendant it took a whole lot of self-pep talk haha.
Last but not least, we had a sunset cruise on the Zambisa river, which feautured hippopotamus spotting, crocodiles and exotic birds. Watching the sun go down was so peaceful! It was a great way to end a beautiful day.
By 8.30pm we boarded back on the luxurious bus to begin out 12-hour drive back to Harare, complete with joyous memories! We had such a great time we suggested our new friends to the organizers of the Africa Regional Meeting and they organized tours for the other internationals that wanted to see the falls like we did!
So even though we took this major leap of faith in trusting absolute strangers, we ended up getting to see the Victoria Falls and other beautiful parts of the city with tour guides that were practically locals and so were very informative!
Sometimes doing things out of the status quo can be rewarding 😀
Till next time,