We had just said our goodbyes to the parents, who had left for Botswana and then on to Johannesburg in South Africa to drop off their hired car (Bushlore) and catch their aeroplane back to England. We were left with just the 4 of us, and gosh, did it seem quiet. But there was no time to dwell on our loss as we had a day of spring cleaning ahead of us.
We got cracking with the clothes washing and got those hung up in the heat of the day so that they could dry quickly in the sun. Next was the car. We unpacked all the boxes so we could give the interior a proper dusting out. It's times like this when a vacuum cleaner would be amazing! We wiped down all the surfaces, and the interior started looking a bit like our Daisy we once knew. We even gave our seat covers a wash and they came up looking amazing! We had forgotten they were grey as we had gotten used to the dull brown they had become.
We were chuffed and a sense of new, made us happy!
That night we enjoyed a calzone pizza the boys had made for us with the little ingredients we had left. They made the base with flour, water and yeast, they added the tinned passata, green pepper, onion, cheese and tinned corned beef. After it came off the braai, it looked amazing!!! And it tasted amazing too.
The next morning was time to look at the cars, while Cat and I did more washing. This time it was the bedding that needed doing, the hardest to try clean in a bucket!!! But we did well and the camp was once again smelling of roses from the detergent. The smell however, was eventually disguised by the smell of oil, cars and sweaty boys! Rob checked and adjusted the rest of the wheel bearings. Charles did the same and then fixed a few of his oil leaks.
We still hadn't been to the shops as their wasn't any around us, so that night it was pizza again on the menu. This time we had tuna, onion and cheese and it was once again a fantastic bodged meal!
The next morning we needed to get to Livingstone where we could hopefully buy a clutch slave cylinder and then a drive shaft. So it was a bit of a jerky drive to Livingstone, but we got there and arrived at Foleys Africa garage where we met Nick the manager. After giving him the list of things we needed, his initial response was a flat out NO! They didn't have anything we needed and as it was a long weekend coming up, the soonest he could try get it to us was in 4-5days time. Luckily we had time, so it was no biggy. But after rummaging in his garage he started pulling out everything we needed, including wheel bearings, wiper blades, an air filter and a fuel filter. Nick took off a drive shaft off of a new 110 defender he had lying around which Rob was adamant would work, but Nick wasn't so sure. Luckily, low and behold it worked perfectly.
Charles also needed a few bits and was lucky enough to have everything he needed. He needed a vacuum pump as it was leaking oil, a few other things like wiper blades, an air filter and a hub nut spanner as we were separating and had been using Robs up until now.
We paid the hefty bill for our Daisy of 3056 Kwachas (£235) and went on our way to Shoprite and then back to the Livingstone Waterfront where the boys could fit all their bits and bobs onto the cars.
Charles and Rob got up early and cracked on with the cars. They were having a great time with beers as support.. Yes they were drinking at 9am in the morning!!! Crazy boys!! After they were done, it was only fair that we spent the afternoon lazing around the pool and then later a drink at the bar, in hope to join the wedding party that had been mulling around the grounds. We ended up meeting three bush pilots who had just finished a job and were staying in the lodge before making their way back to Lusaka. Well they ended up buying us drink after drink and it all started becoming very drunken. So we all decided to buy 5pizzas to share between us all. One of the pizzas included crocodile meat which the 4 of us where incredibly intrigued by. I suppose we were all a little disappointed as it ended up tasting a bit like turkey, with the texture between chicken and tuna. But the rest of the pizzas where delish! Cat and I had to get in there early and we had to make sure we ate quickly with the five boys eating as if it was their last supper. Cat even started saving a few pieces by her side to guarantee she got to try every pizza.
Charles and Cat quickly went back to the cars to get the peach moonshine Andrew had given to us while we were in Angola. This stuff was lethal! Even looking at it, you'd know it was no off the shelf liquor. It was in a Lipton ice tea bottle with the lid duck taped to keep the alcohol from evaporating! This was going to be a messy night.
Cat and I were not feeling up to getting drunk as we had booked a microlight ride over the vic falls in the morning, and the last thing we wanted to do was ruin it. We had to be at reception at 6:45, so we were boring and called it a night.
The boys eventually returned at about midnight. Rob was a little worse for ware but still awake , which is always a good sign. He told me about one of the pilots who was sick over the edge into the Zambezi river. Well, I recon Cat and I made the right choice by going to bed!
The next morning was our microlight session. We all woke up buzzing and couldn't wait to get going. Rob and David (Cats dad) did it a couple of weeks before and absolutely raved about it! We were even more lucky as our parents called us to say they would pay for the three of us! It probably would have been something we wouldn't have done because of the cost, and now we were lucky enough to have a go. Again, our parents were still spoiling us rotten!
We got on to the mini bus which took us to the landing strip. We signed all the formalities and Cat went first. They called her to the microlight and she was soon strapped in, with her microphone on and helmet all buckled up. Soon she was motoring down the runway and off she went up into the sky and disappeared out of sight.
I was getting so excited as it was me next. They ushered me to the microlight and I met my pilot who seemed absolutely lovely. He was a Zimbabwean and an ex-military pilot and I knew I was in good hands. He helped me put on the microphone so that we could talk throughout the flight and then secured my helmet. We were soon off and lining ourselves onto the runway. Eventually he opened the throttle and this little go-carting engine was motoring was helping us motor down the runway and soon we were up in the air, and pilot instructed me to put out my arms so I could really feel the wind. I was flying and felt incredibly free. Soon we were up high and I had a 360 degree view of the land. With Zimbabwe on one side and Zambia on the other, it was magnificent. I could even see the curvature of the earth in the distance. No words could describe what I was seeing.
The morning sun was beating down on the land and reflecting off the massive Zambezi river. On the Zambian side I could see all the amazing resorts lining the river, and on the Zimbabwean side was national game reserve, so the land was untouched by man. In the distance was the incredible spray jumping into the air as an effect from the mighty Victoria Falls. We were headed that way and my pilot was pointing all sorts of things out to me and informing me about the erosion the river was creating and soon the Victoria falls would be even wider than it is today.
We arrived at the falls and I was in total awe at what I was seeing. My heart was racing, not in fear, but in total happiness. At that moment I felt like I was the luckiest person around. I was seeing the mighty Victoria falls in its total beauty and glory. Not many people get to see it like I was seeing it. The vast amount of water bellowing over the cliff was ginormous and incomprehensible to my tiny mind. We circled it a few times and the river that flowed after it created a winding gorge that displayed beautiful colours. It was phenomenal!
Eventually we turned back and went over the Zimbabwean game reserve in hope to see some animals down below. We were lucky and saw elephant, zebras, kudus, monkeys, buffalo, and the most impressive from up high were the hippos. You could really see the massive size they were with their silhouettes in the water. They were so cute as they rested their heads on each other while relaxing in the water.
Eventually my time was up and we were edging towards the runway. I was expecting a great thump as we landed, however it was smooth and easy. It was the greatest experience and I could not recommend it more. I suddenly knew now why Rob was boasting about it so much! This experience is like non other!
Charles landed and we all seemed to have the same opinion! We had all had the best time ever! Charles and Cat even got to fly theirs as their pilots let them have a go. It was a no brainier and we all needed the video as evidence and a way to remember what we had seen.
Unfortunately their computer was having problems and it took a couple of hours to eventually all get our footage, but we were all in good spirits, so nothing was going to effect that!
That afternoon we headed into town to check out the Livingstone museum which would give us some insight into the history of the falls and its people. While walking in town, we passed two children holding decorated boxes. Cat immediately recognised these boxes and stopped them to ask the children about them. These boxes were gifts for under privileged children that don't have toys and things of their own. Cats mom, in the UK, helps with this Shoe Box charity in collected toys and gifts to rap up and send to Africa . These kids had received these presents and they were holding them with such pride and joy. It was great to see and Cat was even more thrilled to see for herself the result that these charities actually provide for children around the world. We wished Lesley (Cats mom) could have seen the smiles on their faces.
We arrived at the museum and it was huge. Lots of reading and lots of memorabilia from David Livingstone who founded the falls. It's a great museum, just make sure to give yourself lots of time to go through it all. Very interesting!!!
The next day we decided to head back to JollyBoys backpackers as we needed to access some wifi. Charles and Cat needed to plan a route for their onward journey, after knowing what their financial situation was. And I needed to look at living opportunities for either Namibia or South Africa. And of course to check bank statements after our costly car issues.
After turning up we met some guys who were travelling from Mozambique. They were cousins and had just finished high school. This would be their cap year. So we got chatting to them and they seemed like great guys and we enjoyed getting to know them.
The next couple of days we got to know them very well. The boys helped them make some indicator light casings from Windhoek draft cans; but for some crazy reason it worked really well. Got to love the African bodge job! And they helped move their roof tent so that it would open to the rear of the car instead of to the side. They were all having great fun fiddling with the cars and us girls got to crack on with our research.
(The boys had put Cat to work and got her sew their broken fly net on their tent)
Cat and Charles finally came up with a plan and they would visit the rest of Zambia, making their way up to Malawi. From Malawi they would head into Mozambique, Swaziland, up into the Kruger National park in SA (also allowing Charles to change over onto his South African passport, meaning less visa fees), then Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and then South Africa. So this was where the 4 of us would separate. Rob and I just don't have the money to join them and we would be cutting our journey short. We are incredibly jealous (particularly for Malawi!! Always somewhere I've wanted to go!) but such is life.
We will just be doing Namibia, Botswana and then South Africa.
So this would mean we needed to make our last night together a special one.
We had met a guy that managed a small charity called Bhubesi Pride that brought Rugby into Africa (www.rugbyinafrica.org). They travel through teaching the locals how to play and offer some kit to help. They were going to play against the Livingstone team and immediately Rob was keen to join in. He played rugby back at home and was missing it so much, so this would be the perfect opportunity to get stuck in. They were delighted for him to play and we even got Charles, David and Robert (the guys travelling from Mozambique) to join in. We drove to the rugby pitch and they all got stuck in teaching the young children how to pass the ball and demonstrate some tactics before playing a game of touch rugby with them. The kids were loving it and their skills were really good.
Eventually the older guys arrived to play sevens against them and they all looked incredibly professional with matching uniforms. These guys meant business!! Already our guys had been running around the pitch for an hour in the blazing heat, so they all seemed a little tired. But they started playing with all the energy they could muster. When our boys had the ball they were doing great, but when the Livingstone team got the ball, our guys had no chance! These guys were as fast as lightening!!! They moved and the African athletic ability showed!
The Livingstone team won by 2points and my word were they great sportsmen. It was great to watch and they were thrilled that we'd showed up. Apparently it's really tough to get a team as they always get let down with no shows.
After the game we all enjoyed a few drinks with the team and it seemed as though everyone was loving us being there. Eventually we had to say cheers to the Livingstone team and head back to camp to start making some dinner.
It was our last night together with Cat and Vharles, so it was going to be a good one!! The shots were out and we were all getting very merry!! We laughed like crazy that night and were getting increasingly drunk! We still hadn't eaten anything and although the chicken was on the braai, it hadn't been properly lit in our drunkenness. We were all dying off one by one. My Rob was first, of course, as David carried him to the tent and tucked him in. Then it was David and soon we had lost Robert who we later found passed out in the bathrooms. Cat and I cleaned up the camp fire as best we could before realising Charles was also nowhere to be found. He too was in the bathrooms keeping Robert happy. All of a sudden it had turned a little disastrous. So Cat and I poured an amarula each and headed up to the view point at the top of the resort to leave them to it. We sat chatting the night away until Charles joined us, shocked himself as to how drunk he was. It was a fantastic night and one we will always remember!!!
The next morning everyone was feeling a little fragile, particularly Robert, who had obviously never drank as much as we had the night before. He was still throwing up the next morning.
But the rest of us continued our morning and ordered a full English breakfast from the bar and would spend our last morning eating together. It soon crept up on us, but it was time to say goodbye.
A sad moment but in high spirits that they would have an amazing trip ahead of them. They still had so many countries to do and I was glad they get to go do them. It would be strange not traveling with them, but our next chapter would be a new kind of adventure.
Love you guys always! Travelling with you has been AWESOME!!!!! Looking forward to catching up around the camp fire somewhere in South Africa...