Victoria Falls Day
We awoke groggy because of the constant barrage of noise from the hippo pod. I thought that Maxwell was having some serious sinus issues in the night, but alas, it was not him snoring…Add this to another animal sighting of our African roadtrip!
The main goal of this day was Victoria Falls. We were not allowed to drive our rental car over the Zimbabwean border for liability reasons, so we did the next best thing: hitch hike.
Hitch hiking in Botswana
Yes, rule follower Leeann was hitch hiking to Zimbabwe.
There are moments in my life that make me stop and really aware of my actions and surroundings. I pause and think… how on earth would I explain my situation to 10 year old Leeann? This was one of those moments.(Similar to the entire Inca Trail experience)
Despite droves of hitch hikers in the town of Kasane, we could NOT get a ride. It was over an hour before we got transportation. Once we got transportation to the Botswana border and went through passport control- we had to WALK to Zimbabwe. Not a far distance, but it was the lack of regulations that was amusing.
Once we got the Zimbabwean border, it was clear that we were not the only tourist. We had to get Visas for the day for Zimbabwe that cost around $35 USD per person despite us only needing them for a few hours. Our favorite interaction was with the passport control officer. He had a stern look on his face as he compared our passport pictures to our in person selves. He paused as he looked at Max and asked in the most deadpan dry humor, “What is this hair style?”
Maxwell’s hair at the time was a feauxhawk/undercut that had not been styled and was all over the place because of the hurried rush of the morning. Maxwell replies equally as dry, “Camping for 7 days”
The passport control officer laughed and it was clear that the stern facade was exactly that, a facade 🙂
We got a taxi driver that must spend his days driving tourists to and from Victoria Falls. It is about an hour drive from the border to the Falls. He gave us an audio tour as we drove and was accommodating once we arrived at the falls and gave us a time frame that he would pick us up. This was very helpful!
Make sure you bring a lot of USD in cash because they refused to take our card and we almost did not make it into the National Park…
Once we finally got in and realized how much money these few hours were costing us, we made the most of our time! (This whole thing 4 hour excursion cost us about $300 USD, all in cash!)
Exploring Victoria Falls
There is a network of walkways that give an indication that this terrain is different from what we have been seeing so far. The mist from the falls created a micro ecosystem of rainforest. It was so humid, we had to wear our raincoats and of course our hair reacted appropriately.
Once the falls began, we were in love.
Though this background looks like a backdrop- we promise it is not 🙂
We met up with our taxi driver after a life altering experience with a natural world wonder. He drove us back to the border and we had to walk/find a ride again.
Drive safely? Walk safely.
Driving through Botswana
Once we got back to Kasane, we had to head out for our next stop. At this point in the road trip, it was just a matter of getting back to Cape Town. We did not have many plans for ourselves, other than driving, for the next few days.
While driving along in Botswana, we encountered more elephants than you could begin to imagine. This problem was in contrast to that of Namibia. We found where the elephants are- Botswana. Roughly every 15 minutes we had to stop to let a herd cross the road. Though they slowed us down, I loved them all the same <3
Lions in Botswana
As we are driving along on the highway, we begin to see some beige figures. We assumed they were a variety of antelopes, but as we got closer…they were not antelopes. Three female lions crossed the road and put on a show for us.
This interaction lasted about 20 minutes then we had to leave them to get to our destination. They were looking at us and into us…
African Wild Dog encounter in Botswana
We continued to drive and were greeted by another rare friend. An African Wild Dog was running along the side of the highway. It is rare to see them and they are typically in packs so to see one was also rare. They are one of Maxwell’s favorite animals because of their running qualities and pack hunting strategy.
*If you have not seen it, please watch Planet Earth the BBC documentary. They highlight a pack hunt and it is seriously amazing.
We arrived at our destination late in the night near Francistown, Botswana. The last few hours of our day was beyond stressful due to our delayed time schedule. After the sun went down, there was zero visibility where we were at. In southern Africa, it is common to let wild stock roam free. That being said, we had many close calls of hitting cows, sheep, and especially goats. Considering we were in a VW Polo, one of those animals would completely take us out.
We found a campsite that allowed us to enter late after dusk. The campsite was fine, other than it had a sign near our site that stated “Snake zone & sanctuary”
A long day made our tent, that was getting dirtier by the day, feel like a 5 star hotel.