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Entry 20 // Victoria Falls

Update by: Luke | February 19th, 2011

After the hectic and stressful boarder crossing it was time for Victoria Falls. I was partially in a bad mood from the rigmarole we had to go through that I honestly wasn't even excited to see the falls. I knew we had to do it today though. We pull into the parking lot and change out of our riding gear into our outfits. I say outfits because we don't really have a wardrobe. We each have outfits. My outfit is my grey shorts and a blue tank top. Nicks is board shorts and a Mountain Hardware t-shirt. I grab all my camera gear including my camera pole and head for the gate. They are charging 20 USD. For some reason this upsets me. (I really was frustrated from the border crossing) I hand them $40 and they look it over. It does not pass. A few of the bills have small rips. We also found this true at the border. No one takes US money with ANY rips or tears, no matter how small. This does not add to my happiness. I go back to the bike and grab different bills and hand them over. He gives us the tickets. My ticket has a corner missing. I rudely point it out to him, We take off down the trail to the falls, and I feel bad for being in a bad mood. I'm blaming it on the malaria pills. I hear they can give you mood swings. Once I see the falls everything is good.First we walk up to top. It feels so good to get away from all the shady people at the boarder and just sit down for a second.
There are not no fences at the top of the falls, just a few signs

Now that we know it's fair game to walk across we head in

Ok, we didn't head in, but only because the river is at flood stage. They aren't even letting people Kayak it and the Rafting guys are only doing part of the river. This is very disappointing for Nick because it has been one of his lifelong dreams to paddle the Zambezi. For those of you that don't know. Nick is an amazing Kayaker and has done many class V rapids and once did a 38 foot straight drop over a waterfall.

We head down the stairs to the next viewing area. This whole section is raining from the falls. This is not a mist. It is a downpour. It is really something else to experience. You see the sun, and no clouds in the sky, but it's just pouring all around you and never lets up.These falls stretch on and on for what seams like forever. In fact, you can only see about 1/2 of them from the Zambian side.

This little guy was just resting on a rock.We take the pictures and shoot some video then take off. We are on a very tight schedule in order to get to Kilimanjaro in time to climb it with Timmer. On the walk out we see this bridge. We know from previous research that you can bungee jump off of it. We load up and take off for the bridge. The problem is, the bridge is the boarder between Zambia (where we are) and Zimbabwe. Immigration and Customs comes before the bridge. We ask the boarder guards if we can just go past to bungee jump. They instruct us to go inside customs and get a temp stamp on a piece of paper. We get the stamp and avoid the hecklers wanting money for watching our bikes for us, and drive over the bridge. We park on the Zimbabwe side and walk across to the bungee jumping office avoiding offers of copper bracelets the whole time. By the way, why are there 5 guys all only selling the same thing? Why don't they differenciate. Sunglasses maybe, or wallets? No, only copper bracelets. We are expecting to sign up for the jump and come back tomorrow, but luckily they have enough time to do it right now before they close. We easily get talked into doing the package deal. Just bunjee jumping is $135, but for $155 you can do all three. Zipline to the bridge, free fall swing, and bungee jump. We quickly paid with a credit card and ziplined across the gorge. It was beautiful and peaceful and not scarry. Next up the free fall swing.

I will tell you this right now. I have never been this scared in my life. It wasn't necessarily the wait, or anticipation. It was the falling sensation. You see, I thought that this would just swing us away from the bridge, but no. It is a 150 foot free fall, then the rope grabs and whips you like a swing back and forth. You don't jump, you don't dive. You simply step off the bridge and fall straight down. Also, the hurried instructions before we stepped off didn't help either. "If the rope starts to get around you legs, just kick it off." And yes, I said "we." You can do this tandem, and you can bet we did. I wrapped my GoPro video camera in my hand.The view after the jump.The whiplash is so strong that I lost my headband. They pulled us back up and with no time to spare I was due for bungee jumping. Now I was more scared than before, but I was almost numb, knowing that I had to do it. I was just glad I got to do it first to avoid more anticipation.

The set-up is pretty basic. Two towels and a strap. These guys were really in a hurry. By the time I was back on top of the bridge, nick had already jumped and was craned up. One of the workers shot this pic of him with my camera.When Nick is lifted up we all take off. The workers, the bracelet seller, everybody. As we are getting on the bikes, the armed guard for the Zimebabway side asked for money for food. He said he did a good job watching our bikes and had to shue bad people away. We fiddled around for a minute avoiding the bribe, then finally muttered something about tomorrow which seamed to work. We took off to find a bank and a place to stay for the night.

We wern't the only ones going through customs on the way backThis was one of the most beautiful places I have been. It is a shame you have to deal with the bribes and the cons trying to get at your money. However, it is nice to be able to see a place that is minimally developed. There are no shops or restaurants or boardwalks to ugly up the views. Most places have no fences between you and the cliffs. I wonder what it will look like in 50 years.

This is hanging from the rope swing.Victoria falls in the background with a double rainbow. How good is that?Yes, we find a bank, Yes we find a backpacker, Yes we pass out from exhaustion, and skip doing a website update.

 

 

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