The hotel breakfast didn’t look too flash so we opted for the Shearwater cafe 700m away – excellent well presented food. This is not the country I left in 1966. The waiters dress and behave like New York hipsters. The people here still have names like Blessing, and Definite Mlambo. Most are friendly even in passing its a ‘Hello’. The small town is full of tourists from around the world, of all ages. An adrenaline shot for the young, and for David who has booked swings over the gorge and a paddle on the fall rim to Livingstone Island. Curios of all sizes crowd the streets, some very good. Hawkers constantly harass us and one dare not show sympathy or you will have a 1m wood giraffe to take home.
David had booked a morning helicopter flight. I was hesitant as they will not fly doors-off and the windows are restrictive. However, we were in a 4 seater, I in the front. The curved glass did not seem to distort either. A 30min flight covered the upstream game park and wide area of islands, and the downstream gorges where people ride the rapids.
We spent the afternoon shooting the magnificent falls, 1km from the hotel. Even though the Zambian side is dry, the Main fall is stunning. I’m exhausted. I have photographed it end to end (1.4km, 16 view points, 4hrs) and assume I have some good shots. Not easy as the rock is black and the water bright, but with the tripod and filters I have the afternoon done. We will repeat some views in the morning light. Rainbows can be seen looking east from 2pm and rise quickly in the mist and rain as the sunsets. Some parts are very wet; one has to keep the lens dry with a cloth, wait for a break, whip it away, take the shot, and cover again. The Main Fall creates a breeze that carries the rain upward, into the forest for about 20m. Beyond that, thorn scrub prevails. I imagine these plants complaining that they can hear the thundering water, but don’t get a bit of it.
The Falls were ‘discovered’ by David Livingstone Nov 16 1855. The water is from Angola 1000km away, the same as the Okavango. Here it falls 100m over a 1708m brink. The 500million litres/min at peak flood creates a dense mist seen from afar, ‘the smoke that thunders’. At present it’s a thiner imitation, which is not bad as heavy mist obscures the fall.
We tried the micro-brewery across the road from the hotel for dinner – not as good as last night, but still ok and well presented. Their home brewed ginger beer is excellent.