Our journey of 21 days sped by. I’m not sure where time disappeared to but something mysterious happens when your days are filled with driving and activities. My most interesting border crossing would be from Botswana to Zambia. We boarded a ferry carrying 8 vehicles per crossing and plenty of walk on passengers. A friend of Stephans who worked in Botswana needed to escape the Botswana immigration officials so he came to Zambia with us. Lucky for Stephan, his friend could drive the land cruiser onto the ferry and cross with us to start the tedious paper work of bringing a car into the country. the queue for driving the car on to the ferry seemed a mess. Plenty of people, called runners who try and get you to the front of the line or direct traffic with there whole plan to get some money for “helping you out.” An hour and half later he would finally cross, even though he was in front of the line for several ferry crossings. Order in an Africn sense, chaos by Western standards.
I was annoyed and disappointed the visa fee was $135 USD to enter Zambia. I was told this when I first booked my overland trip and then 2 weeks later told, Zamvia had changed the visas to $50. But I made sure I had enough dollars to pay the exorbitant fee. The immigration officially was patient and kind and told me it will last for 3 years so I can come back. I told him, “I won’t be coming back”, annoyed at the steep price to come into the country. It’s more frustrating knowing the visa fee used to be waived by a backpackers in Livingstone and by overland trucks but the law was changed at the end of Feb 2008. Apparently the steep price has to do with the high rate the US charges Zambians. Understood. I just wish that the high price I’m paying to be in the country for a short while would go to the people, to resources but I know it stays high within the government and officials bellies. You stay in Africa long enough and you see and smell the corruption. Then again, corruption is plenty in the USA, sometimes it just takes a while to bare it’s soul. All travelers I’ve met who’ve been to the States will tell me what a mission it is to enter. It’s a shame and ridicoulous. We make everyone feel like criminals to come and visit. How welcoming. Some how were meant to be safer. I don’t believe a word. I laugh everytime I go through security at the airport. Do you feel safer? I don’t. It’s a joke. It’s fear. THe more fearful the government can make us, the more control the government has.
We waited at the border crossing for an hour and half. Getting our visas was simple. Pay your money and get your stamp but bringing in a vechicle is another story. You need several differnet papers filled out and payment for this and that. Stephan wasn’t looking forward to this border crossing because it’s always a pain.
Finally, we boarded a huge overland truck serving as a transfer from the border to the Falls only 60km away. YOu could spot the falls several km away simple because of the mist that lingers in the air. The mist seems frozen in time, not moving.
We arrived at the falls to a huge curio market, charging inflated prices due to the massive amounts of tourists passing through. We paid our $10USD entrance per person and roamed around the falls. The sound of the falls is incredible and the mist in unbelievable. At several of the viewpoints you could barely see the falls or blue sky because of all the water rushing past and the mist being created you couldn’t see the much. I made sure to bring a trusty Ziploc bag for my camera and did I need it. I was also happy to have my rain jacket as some sections of the look outs, it’s as if it’s pouring rain!
Yet I can’t say that I was in awe. The falls are beautiful but with so much mist I couldn’t really comprehend or appreciate the vastness of the falls. Later, when people would ask us about the falls, everyone said, “amazing,” “spectacular,” “impressive” yet I wasn’t sold. I just kept my mouth shut. I had expecations of the falls… never a good idea. It wouldn’t be until I flew on a microflight my opinion would change.