Zimbabwe - Round The World Tour 2003 Day 53
Sunday 4th May
Shakespeare once wrote that ‘parting is such sweet sorrow’. I think I now understand what he meant by this after our group broke up today and we each went on our separate ways. It was a very uncharacteristically late start to the day but all the same, I was wide-awake by seven o’clock. Everyone took their time getting up and slowly putting together their things ready for their onward journeys. We all eventually congregated around the breakfast table at the camp-site restaurant and chatted a bit about how to handle the tips for Theron and the guides, what we might do today and so on. Leslie & Toby and Kevin & Katie went separately to see the falls whilst Leif, Sandy and I went back to Shearwaters to slip in some more time on the Internet terminals. I tried to hook up the laptop but couldn’t get things to work and so had to give up on the idea of putting up some more photos and sending another WorldTravel update. The next update will be a long one for everyone to read, as it’s been a while since the last one was sent and such a lot has happened in that time. After breakfast, Theron went back to bed and slept for another several hours. Eddie & Nyasser mostly stayed around the truck for the remainder of the morning and early afternoon.
Everyone returned from his or her afternoon activities at around two o’clock and we had a bit of lunch at the camp-site restaurant. We summonsed Theron and the guides to present them with their envelopes that we’d each put some money into for them by means of a tip for their efforts over the past few weeks. Last night, I gave Eddie & Nyasser each $20 as a little extra bonus for them. I wanted them to have it directly and out of sight of Theron to ensure that they would get to keep the money themselves as opposed to sharing it. Not that I wanted to deprive Theron of any reward for his efforts, it’s just that I had developed a bit of a rapport with the two lads and wanted to do something special just for them. They both worked very hard for us all and thoroughly deserved their tips. We decided to put a little more into Theron’s envelope in any event. I also gave Eddie & Nyasser a wad of Zimbabwe dollars last night once I learned that they had not eaten all evening because there was no food left on the truck. I will miss them all and have come away from this tour with extremely fond memories of our time with them.
We had a really fantastic tour with Wildlife Adventures and we experienced some truly wonderful things over the past few weeks. It was not all plain sailing, however, and the trip was not without a few ups and downs. This is all part of the experience, on the other hand, and I would characterize the trip, in retrospect, as entirely successful.
After the formalities of the tip giving ceremony, we all went back to the truck, collected our things and said our goodbyes. Leif was flying home, Toby and Leslie were heading down to Jo’Burg to spend some more time in South Africa (they are hitching a ride in the truck down to somewhere in Zimbabwe where they would then catch a bus down to Jo’Burg) and Kevin & Katie were off to Singapore to continue their round-the-world trip. Sandy and I went back into town to wait for the free mini-bus service that would shuttle us to the lodge to hook up with Bertie & Mags.
Meeting up with Bertie and Mags was a real boost in the arm for us both. It was so warming to see a familiar and friendly face and we felt comforted in their presence. The next shock for us, however, was when Mags told us that they were off to Chobe National Park for a couple of days and that we would have to make other accommodation arrangement for the duration until they returned back to the lodge. We did contemplate going with them for the few days to Chobe as the package deal that they had was very reasonably priced but we had to cancel the idea once we realised that our Zimbabwe visas were single entry visas. The cost of the trip in addition to the cost of obtaining new visas again to get back into Zimbabwe made the whole proposition cost prohibitive for our backpackers budget. We will instead stay at one of the backpacker’s places for the couple of nights until they return.
Nothing is ever simple in Africa and plans are made and broken with a persistent regularity. You get used to it after a while and even get to expect it. If it doesn’t kill you, it will make you stronger. I’m still alive so I guess it must mean that I’m stronger for the experience.
During a quick drink at the lodge bar, we ran into Theron and Darren (another tour leader from another tour group that we had bumped into several times over the past few weeks) who had come up to the lodge to watch the sun go down. Without letting Theron know, I left some money with the bar manager so that Darren and he could have a few drinks on us for the rest of his evening. The four of us then went out into town to get a bite to eat. We went back to the Explorers bar where we had partied the previous night but the atmosphere there was just not the same. The food also left a lot to be desired this time around and we all left soon after eating the rather small meal that was presented to us. We went around the corner to another place where there was live music and a much better atmosphere. We sat and talked for a couple of hours and generally had a very good time, enjoying Bertie & Mags’ company. During the evening, we bumped into Eddie & Nyasser and then into Leslie & Toby – all enjoying their last evening in Victoria Falls before leaving early tomorrow morning. We returned to the lodge in the same mini-bus shuttle that dropped us off to begin with at ten o’clock and have now settled in for the night. Bertie & Mags have an early start to the day tomorrow and we must be out of the lodge by ten o’clock in the morning. We can leave our bags here until we have secured our accommodation for the next two nights.