Three days ago our train from Bulawayo Zimbabwe pulled into the Victoria Falls station shortly after 11AM, about four hours late. But for the first time in my life a late train was a good thing. Because it meant more time slowly chugging through the African wilderness with new German friends we met in Bulawayo.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
The Zimbabwe chapter in our trip really began back on July 15th when we left Cape Town South Africa on an Intercape Sleepliner overnight bus. Traveling on a bus is never something anyone looks forward to but they can be very affordable. And an overnight bus is even better because it means you do not need to pay for a hotel that night. That bus was from Cape Town to Johanasburg or Jo-Burg as the locals call it. And it really was not too bad because they are designed to sleep in. Which means the seats recline extra and a full leg rest is provided. It is like sleeping in a Lazy-Boy.
The toughest thing was having to spend a full day in the Jo-Burg bus station. Turned out to be just a boring day that could have been in any bus station in the world. Then that evening we boarded another Intercape bus bound for Bulawayo Zimbabwe. This one was not as relaxing because we had a border crossing to do at some point in the night. This bus ride really deserves its own blog post but I can tell you that we spent about 4 hours at the border starting at around 2 AM.
Zimbabwe requires a visa for Americans so we had to fill out an application, go in a separate line, and pay $45. The whole process took 3 different agents and plenty of forms. But the agents where friendly enough and we got through without a hassle. Eventually we found outselves standing in Bulawayo Zimbabwe thinking “we are in Zimbabwe!”
Our goal was to catch a train that night to Victoria Falls so we headed straight to the train station. We did not know where it was so we started to ask around and quickly learned that the people of Zimbabwe are very polite, friendly, and helpful. In no time we were at the train station to discover that the train for that day had been cancelled. Doh!
It was also cancelled the next day but this was a good thing because it gave us extra time in Bulawayo to explore Zimbabwe outside the tourist zone. Finally on the 19th we were able to buy tickets for Victoria Falls. While in line for the tickets we met two young German gals who were also going and we all decided to go in on a sleeper car because the 2 berth cars were all full. The train ride is yet another event that demands its own blog post but I wanted to get you up to speed on our trip recently. (That is if anyone is still reading this far.)
From the train we could see smoke in the distance and at some point realized that it was not smoke but mist from the falls. We read that it can sometimes bee seen from 100km (62 miles) away. The excitement was building as we were getting so close to such a well known natural wonder. But the falls themselves are not easy to see and we did not actually see them until today. But it was from a helicopter so it was worth the wait.
We plan to spend a few more days here in Vic Falls before heading back to Jo-Burg and then flying to Kenya. And that will start a whole new chapter in our travels. Yesterday we went to Botswana as well but again that will be another post. I guess I better start writing!