Saturday, June 14th, 2014

I finally get to sleep in for the first time in two weeks.  I’m mostly on my own time schedule from now through Cape Town, South Africa.  After breakfast, I start down to the falls.  No more than 20 feet out of the hotel I have two guys trying to sell me souvenirs, I politely tell them “no” and keep wheeling.  It’s only a 5 minute wheel to the falls entrance.  It’s a very nice sunny day, not too hot.  There are a set of train tracks to go over with many cracks in the pavement.  After wheeling through the souvenir area there’s a curb to go down to cross the street and the same type curb to go up.  The ramp down to the entrance is very steep.  I will not be able to get up the ramp by myself when I leave.

ramp to entrance

The entrance fee to the falls is $30 USA per entry.  Victoria Falls is called Mosi-oa-Tunya, “The Smoke that Thunders”.  There is a slight uphill at the beginning.  The pavement is made of small stones, very bumpy and uneven.  A staff member catches up to me at the top of the slight uphill to push me around the falls.  I tell him I think I will be able to push around by myself.  I start at Devil’s Cataract (map).  The amount of water flowing over the falls is amazing (video).

DSCN6121 Devil's Cataract

I go back the way I came to get a different view of Devil’s Cataract and run into Fran, Stuart and Kate.  There’s a statue of Scottish explorer David Livingstone who in January 1866 set out to find the source of the Nile River.  A few years ago I read the book “Into Africa” by Martin Dugard that documents his adventure.  Victoria Falls are 360 ft high making them the tallest falls in the world, larger than Niagara (167 ft) and Iguaza (296 ft).  Besides the statue there’s not much up this way.

DSCN6098 DSCN6097 ??????????????????????????????? DSCN6103 DSCN6101

I head back to the other view of Devil’s Cataract with Fran, Stuart and Kate.  We continue down the walkway to the Main Falls.  The view of this section of the falls is spectacular.  As we make our way to the view of Livingstone Island the mist is making it very hard to see anything.  It’s getting difficult to wheel because my push rims and gloves are so wet.  I’m very wet too.

Main Falls DSCN6110 Livingstone Island

The mist is so bad I don’t wheel to Danger Point.  I see Lydia and Oana, who walked to Danger Point, but could not see anything.  I don’t have any pictures because the mist is so bad I don’t want to get my camera wet.  There are a few slight uphills and one bigger downhill but I’m able do these by myself.  I make it to Victoria Falls Bridge without help where they do bungy jumping, bridge slide and bridge swing.  There are two steps get down to the viewing platform that Stuart offers to help me down.  I have an OK view from where I’m at and choose not to go down.

DSCN6122 DSCN6120

On the way back to the entrance Stuart pushes up three hills, help up two of the hills are because my gloves and rims are still wet I can’t get any grip to push.  It takes about 2 hours to go through viewing the falls.  Fran, Stuart and Kate are coming back this evening in hopes of seeing a lunar rainbow.  It only happens three days a month during a full moon from January through October.  I’m not willing spend another $30 for a this chance.  Stuart helps me up the steep ramp by the entrance.  I make my way back through the souvenir area, across the railroad tracks and start up the paved walkway.  Once I make it to the sidewalk by the road two tourists ask if I need a push, I politely say “no”.

pavement photo

Up the hill a little further, one of guys selling souvenirs from earlier asks if I need a push, I politely say “no”.  The two tourists from earlier are still walking slightly in front of me.  The souvenir guy takes it upon himself to start pushing me, this time I’m not so polite.  I loudly say “I SAID NO”.  The two tourists turn around as the souvenir guy walks away.  The tourists walk with me the rest of the way up the sidewalk.  It took me 13 minutes with two breaks to wheel up from the entrance.  I make it back to the hotel and ask guest services if there’s anything else to do beside the falls, they say “no” but suggest going to The Victoria Falls Hotel to view the bridge.  It’s only a 5 minute wheel to the hotel.  I meet an Australian tourist on my way to the hotel.  She stopped me because I looked like one of her friends who was in a wheelchair but had recently died.  He died of natural causes but enjoyed traveling and scuba diving.  We talked for about one hour viewing the bridge.  She also said that there’s nothing else to do her but visit the falls.

DSCN6124

I make it back to The Kingdom Hotel for a few beers at the pool bar.  Lydia and Oana stop by to say “Hi”, we make plans to meet for dinner at Panarottis Pizza Place, located in the hotel.  While talking with the bartender, he’s asks how much college is in the USA.  I say it can be anywhere from $10,000 to $30,000 per year.  He says he makes $150 per month with a house payment, wife and two kids.  I have a few beers at Quatermains before dinner watching the World Cup.  I’m back in my room by 10:30pm; I have a long day of traveling tomorrow.  I have to be up by 8am and don’t make it to Cape Town, South Africa until 10pm.

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