I spent the last four days of 2015 and the first three days of 2016* seeing, Botswana, Zimbabwe and a little bit of Zambia. Of course I’d love this to be a super normal and straightforward post about the sites and sounds of this bizarre trip but it isn’t the sites and sounds that made this trip what it was for me. It was the people, and if you called me cheesy just then, I wish adult chicken pox on you, because this is very serious and I’m in my feels right now, k?
But let me indulge you.
This may take long and may even be strange for some people to read but I think, by now, you folks bother with this blog because you enjoy my strange stories. The overlander truck carried 25 other people who were complete strangers to me and most, to each other. But you spend 7 days eating, drinking, partying and sleeping with 25 other people in the bush (don’t be dirty) and all the rules and lines of everyday living and social codes are blurred (again don’t be dirty).
On Monday, we set off on a 650km drive from Benoni to Palapye, Botswana. Funny story; I was running late because Nkee and Sibo made me drink, the Sunday. Luckily, there was somebody who was way later than I was. If I’d missed this trip, I would have hung myself on a loose clothesline with some wet toilet paper.
I found Botswana okay enough. I think this is because I find ocean-less countries kind of underwhelming. Like, where’s your beach, bruh? Sun’s out, guns out? No? Mmkay. Also, we were so exhausted from the journey that even if there was pretty shit around, I wouldn’t have cared. We all just got off the truck, pitched our tents (not really, I got ahold of the demonstration tent like a boss) and headed to the bar, where we got treated to some nicely highly priced beverages. The Rand is not having a good time.
We woke up bright and early the following morning after a quick brekkie and started the 850km drive to Victoria Falls Town, Zimbabwe. Needless to say, it was hot and draining but everybody was a good sport about it, especially because we got to see a few elephants every now and again.
We already had big plans for when we arrived in Vic Falls – we were going on a party train. Yeah, I know – we actually hopped on a train with a bar area and a dance floor in it and guess what happened next? It took us to another party where things got nice and messy. You wish you were there, bru, no doubt. I have no clear recollection of the party train ride home, I remember a winding railroad, lights and laughter and giddiness.
Breakfast was at around 10. The weird thing about festivals is that you can sleep really late and wake up at a normal time and not feel as crappy as you would at home. In the day that followed we visited, of course, the great Victoria Falls themselves and it was majestic. I usually only use the word majestic to describe a horse’s mane or godly arms on a dude, but man… this is where that word belongs. As we walked through the rainforest, snapping pictures and marveling at our surroundings, I thought to myself, this is so touristy but this is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen. It was low season in December but there was still so much water and spray, I vowed to come back during high season one day. I literally felt like the water, falling heavily as I walked those paths, was cleansing me – no joke, and I felt the most elated I’d been in a long time.
After taking all of that natural beauty in, we walked over the border to Zambia to lunch there. It pains me to say, I underestimated the sun and the walk and how much tourists get hustled for money. And mostly, during the whole trip, I underestimated just how much the Dollar was currently tearing the Rand a new one – all that RAND>DOLLAR>KWACHA exchanging had gotten me famished. It took us a bit of a walk around to find a nice air conditioned restaurant in Livingstone but we were very happy when we did. The walk back wasn’t as bad and we got home just in time to get ready and go party hopping all around Vic Falls Town. There were many parties, there was a Swiss boy and he was beautiful. It was mint.
It was so mint that we spent the following day vegging next to the pool, with our overpriced slushies and ciders. For the whole day. And played a game where I ended having to jump into the pool with all my clothes on. Eventually everybody jumped in too but I was bummed because I hate the game we were playing. Card games… ugh. At night we got onto one of the many shuttles transporting all the campers to the venue where the big finale concert was taking place. There was no alcohol allowed inside so we had to down our drinks at the gate. Or did we? Well, let’s just say, there was a part of the wall that the security personnel were neglecting and I was rolling with a bunch of badasses, and I’ll end it there. There is never really much to say about New Year’s parties because we’re all too busy getting into the fun of it all – and boy did I get into the fun of it all.
I think all of that fun and all that happiness surging though my skin helped me not to kill myself on the drive back to Botswana and further back home to South Africa. The border was dreadful and our truck had turned into a sauna, everybody was gatvol and nobody was chattering anymore – we had all become zombies. It wasn’t until we saw the network bars on our phones come alive and the last border behind us that our humanness was restored. And we arrived in Benoni, so happy to be back in SA but equally so happy we had gone to Zim and travelled with the world’s most amazing group of people and seen one of the world’s most amazing sites. And also Bots 😉
*(this has been backdated for continuity and such, kthanksbye)