Botswana safari plus, day eleven
12.07.2018 - 12.07.2018
Last day at Victoria Falls
Flowering tree, Victoria Falls
Our last day at Victoria Falls, with no fixed plans until our evening flight back to Nairobi. Real Africa’s Paul had arranged for us to have a late check-out, so we had a relaxing morning, starting with a leisurely breakfast.
We then walked into town, crossing the railway line where an old train carriage seemed to be permanently parked. A local family were hanging out there – possibly they are even squatting there?
By the railroad tracks, Victoria Falls
Crossing the railroad tracks
We strolled around taking photos for a while, happy to have somewhere new to indulge our shared love of street photography. There were lots of photo opps, and it made a change from all the wildlife and landscape photography we'd been doing so far on this trip.
Local street vendors
Shoe repair shop, and local family
Local man reading the paper
A lot of the people on the streets here have crossed over from Zambia, via the bridge at the falls. Farmers there are able to come into Zimbabwe without a visa and do so on a daily basis as they can get a better price for their crops and produce here.
Zambian farmers with produce to sell
We had coffee in the rather cool Shearwater Café (which incidentally had some fun signs on the loos!)
I was amused by some of the other signs in town.
Signs in Victoria Falls
'Sign up, send it, sorted'
I browsed a few of the shops but didn’t buy anything, despite being rather tempted by some colourful cushion covers - realising, somewhat reluctantly, that they would look out of place in our London suburban Victorian terrace house.
Souvenirs for sale
Souvenir street vendor
Back at the hotel we had an equally leisurely last lunch at Stanley’s Terrace, with that wonderful view of the spray from the falls. A band (the collective noun) of banded mongooses came past as well as some vervet monkeys.
Mongooses on the lawn
We said goodbye, again, to Donna and Steve, who had arrived at the hotel the previous afternoon after a brief stay in Chobe. Then it was time to pack our bags and check out.
Back to Nairobi
Our transfer to Victoria Falls Airport was prompt and the airport itself very new and very quiet. Once we had checked in and gone through security we settled into the pleasant café to await boarding.
Our Kenya Airways plane landed on time from Cape Town, some passengers disembarked and we boarded.
Boarding our plane
Sunset at Victoria Falls Airport
Once airborne we seemed to turn in a full circle, the reason for which soon became clear. The pilot announced that at the request of some passengers he was doing a flyover above Victoria Falls! We got more excellent aerial views - higher up than from yesterday’s helicopter so giving an even clearer perspective on the shape, but harder to photograph through the plane’s rather grubby windows and in fading light. When those of us seated on the left had been treated to the view he then circled again so that passengers on the right could have their chance. I don’t recall a pilot of a scheduled flight ever doing something like that - point out the sights, yes, but deliberately change the plane’s path to ensure everyone could see them, no, never!
Victoria Falls from the air
taken through a dirty airplane window!
Dinner was served soon after take-off (fish or chicken, both not bad) with complementary bar service. The rest of the flight passed uneventfully, and we landed on time in Nairobi, a little after 10.00 pm their time.
Our room at the Ole Sereni hotel
The immigration hall however was chaotic, with a tangle of queues and conflicting information about which you needed to be in, depending on nationality and also whether or not you already had a visa. We thought that we had, having told the Kenyan embassy in London the details of our itinerary and been assured that despite our two separate visits within this trip, a single entry visa would suffice. It had seemed a little unlikely at the time and so it proved to be, so we had to fork out an additional $20 per person for a transit visa for this overnight stay. This is proving an expensive trip for visas!
Once in the baggage hall we quickly found our bags and were out into the night, to be met by Ortieno from Albatross Travel and our driver Jackson who had looked after us so well on our earlier stay. It was a relatively short drive to our hotel, as for this last night in the city we were booked into the Ole Sereni, quite near to the airport. We had a large modern room with all the usual facilities, and the nice extra touch of a bowl of complementary fruits so we could have a snack before turning in for the night.
We were back in the city where the adventures had begun. Tomorrow we would fly home, but there was still one more visit to make.