We left you all not knowing what was next for us. So many thoughts went through our minds. What if the passports had been in a different bag? What if we hadn’t walked down that particular road? What if we’d been able to catch the train that we had originally planned? But we quickly realised that this sort of thinking wouldn’t get us very far. We met an American guy in the police station who had been held at knife point the day before and the locals told us this was becoming very common and that the robbers were even using guns sometimes. We just had to be thankful that we were safe and hopefully we would be able to continue our travel without too much disruption.
After spending the weekend contemplating how we would get out of Dar Es Salaam and continue our trip, we spent the day on the Monday speaking with the consulate in Nairobi and filling out new passport applications. It was then time to wait for our emergency passports. It was probably the most boring and frustrating few days we’ve had. We were sitting by the phone constantly checking emails to get an update on when we could leave. Our documents were finally sent on Wednesday afternoon and they arrived on the Thursday afternoon, much to our relief. As soon as they arrived we booked a flight for a few hours later to fly to Nairobi.
We turned up to the high commission first thing on Friday morning and met with the consular officials. We were able to apply for new passports and they confirmed that we would be allowed to keep travelling on the documents that they’d already provided while we waited for the proper passports to be issued. It was also very comforting to hear some Aussie accents and see some cricket on the TV in the foyer.
It was with a big relief that we left the high commission, we went straight to a bar for a drink and started planning what was next. Our tour group had left Zambia and was now in Botswana. We still wanted to see Victoria Falls, which should have been our first stop on the tour, so we made the decision that we would spend a few days in Livingstone and then meet up with our group in Windhoek, Namibia.
We flew from Nairobi to Lusaka and then jumped on a bus which took us to Livingstone. We were in transit for 16 hours that day. It was exhausting but good to finally be back travelling again. While in Livingstone, we took a sunset booze cruise along the Zambezi, visited the falls and hiked around for about 4 hours and took a helicopter ride over the falls.
One of the seven natural wonders of the world, Victoria falls is a truly stunning spectacle. The traditional name is Mosi-oa-Tunya means the smoke that thunders. The sheer amount of water that passes through is breathtaking. The cascade produces a constant, loud roar that can be heard well before the falls can be seen. The force of the water falling also creates a constant spray of water spraying back up above the falls, or as some like to call it an “irredescent plume of inverted rain”, so great we could see it from our lodge.
We are towards the back end of the rainy season so the volume of water means the visibility can be a bit limited, but the view was still worth every second of the drenching we received. The helicopter ride was a first for both of us, it’s hard to describe which was more thrilling, the ride or the view of the falls from above.
Another day of travelling was now ahead of us as we were finally catching up with our tour group. We flew into Windhoek and arrived at our camp site at 11:30pm to a raucous welcome from our new family, who had stayed up especially to welcome us. Needless to say it was reinvigorating for the two of us to be amongst fellow travellers who were pumped for the adventure ahead. They’d all been together for at least a week but were very quick to make us feel welcome and part of the group. There’s a good mix of backgrounds with Aussies, Irish, Brits, Canadians, Americans and an Italian, Swede, German, Kiwi and Korean.
Etosha national park was our destination the next day, we were up early to pack up our tent, have brekky and pack the truck. It was an 8 hour drive in the truck which would be our home for the next 2 weeks. Once in Etosha Lachie took the afternoon game drive while Gemma got the lucky dip and to go on the evening game drive.
We had been so lucky in the Serengeti to see all of the animals that we did and all so close. The drives through Etosha really made both of us appreciate how lucky we had been. We did see a couple of groups of lions and rhinos and many in the group hadn’t seen them before so we were all super excited to see them. On our drive leaving Etosha to Spitzkope we came across a lone rhino that was within 10m of the truck. We’d now seen all the big 5 up close and personal. While not having the abundance of animals that the Serengeti had, it was still very satisfying to see these guys so close up.
We’re getting used to the new way of life on the tour, it’s very hands on and everyone having certain chores each day. We have to pitch and pull down our tents every morning and every evening. There’s washing up duty, cooking duty and bus cleaning duty. Some camps are very nice, with hot showers and real toilets, at others the only option is to go ‘bushy bushy’. We also spend a significant amount of time on the bus travelling, going from place to place each day, but the atmosphere and getting to know everyone makes the time pass quickly and the long drives more than bearable.
We continue our journey south through Namibia and into Cape Town. Until next time