Africa 2012: Night Game Drive and Starry Night Dinner at Vic Falls, Zimbabwe

After a full day exploring Cape Town, we woke up bright and early for our flight to Zimbabwe. We flew to VFA using British Airways with a few hours transit in Johannesburg.

We found it amusing that on the flight going out of South Africa, they bug(?)-sprayed the entire plane before taking off to Zimbabwe. I’m guessing it’s to prevent airborne disease transmission, but it left the plane smelling like toilet cleaner and not really a smell I wanted to travel with.

Day 6 – November 8, 2012

About an hour after leaving Johanneburg, we arrived at Zimbabwe. This dry terrain is all you see out the window, a vast difference from the lush South Africa. It’s crazy how worlds apart they looked, even though they’re really only a few hours flight away.

The VFA airport was pretty chaotic. There were only three immigration booth, and the line was long as everything was done manually including getting visa on arrival, which was literally just a sticker with handwritten notes on them. We spent over an hour before we were able to get out. Then we got a taxi from outside the airport which costed us a hefty US$8 per person.

A few years ago, I had heard about the crazy hyperinflation that hit Zimbabwe in 2006/2007 and peaked in 2008. As a result of this, the zimbabwean dollar became pretty much non-existent and is worth nothing more than a monopoly money. We used our US Dollar, Rand and Botswana Pula for monetary transaction. They don’t really take credit cards without charging fees, so we dealt in cash.

Here’s a picture of Serena handling thousands of US dollar in cash to pay for all of our activities in Zimbabwe…

Everything in Zimbabwe was remarkably more expensive. This is our dodgy adventure lodge at Vic Falls and was the cheapest accommodation we could find. Even then it wasn’t very cheap at US$80 per room especially for the kind of place we got, with leaky bathroom that wet the floor after each sh0wer. At least it felt clean…?

After dropping off our stuff, we were picked up promptly for our night game drive in a legit Safari truck!

We took a drive around the small village. Everything in Vic Falls seems to be bathed in golden rays…

Then we reached the entrance of the national park, which has Zebras and Warthog grazing outside in the entrance. Not sure what they’re grazing at cause there seems to be nothing on the ground!

We drove around for a few hours and saw a few Giraffes. They really do walk ever so gracefully.

And of course, some african elephants…

Also spent some time watching some rhinos feeding. They got really scary and aggressive at some point because (I assume) we got too close to them. The baby was so cute though!

Other than that we also saw monkeys, kudu, antelopes and Impala crossing our roads. Pretty mild yet fascinating stuff for our first game drive.

We watched the sunset and broke out some local Zambezi beer before heading off to our starry night dinner. Since there is (obviously) no electricity at the park, it got really really pitch dark pretty quick. We had to use a torch to be able to see the road clearly.

Then, finally something exciting!

A herd of elephant was caught crossing our path. The herd probably consisted of about 8 elephants. They let the kids pass by first as one of the adult watched us warily.

We waited for the elephants to cross the road before continuing to our dinner point.

Save for the few candles we had on the table, the place was really dark. Since it was a clear night, we were able to see so many beautiful stars in the sky. Too bad my camera can’t capture the view!

Dinner was cooked by our chef on the spot. It was delicious! The meal consisted of a rice dish, chicken curry and some sort of beef and vegetables. I had seconds of course :)

After dinner we headed back to the lodge. Our next day consist of crossing over the border to Botswana!