Day 304: Ready To Move On

Thur. 13th June 2013

The sun setting on our time in LivingstoneWe’re not sorry to be saying goodbye to the Mosi-o-Tunya Executive Lodge today. It may not be the worst hotel we’ve stayed in but we are hard pushed to say what is further down our list than this. It is let down by details like the sink being held on its pedestal and then the floor by gravity rather than adhesive or the tepid, rubber fried eggs at breakfast. Worst though is that it is so far out of town – particularly when it advertises itself as being in the centre of Livingstone.

Its still more luxurious than tomorrow's accommodation!Still, best not be too judgemental – in a few days, we might be looking back at the MoTEL and thinking how luxurious it was. Today, we are going to be meeting up with the tour group with whom we’ll be travelling up to Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania. Bizarrely, the initial meeting is tonight but tomorrow is a free day in Livingstone and we start travelling on Saturday. We are with Acacia rather than Nomad for this stage but the principles are the same – adventure truck, long drives, African massage – but with one crucial difference. We’re camping. I should just regard this as good practice for what is bound to be more basic camping on my Kilimanjaro climb in three (!) weeks’ time.

The best (only?) coffee shop in LivingstoneThere’s no point in going too early to the Zambezi Waterfront campsite, however, and so we get Annex to drop us in town for a late, leisurely morning coffee at our new favourite (only) café that then runs into lunch. It was good to chill out, read our Kindles and catch up with podcast downloading and system updates whilst there is a relatively decent Internet connection.

With Annex, our favourite taxi driver in LivingstoneWe’ve enjoyed having Annex on call – our own private driver, essentially, for the last few days. Our last trip with him is out to the river and our campsite where we say goodbye and thank you. It’s always a relief when you get to a new place and find out that they are expecting you (though its only not happened a couple of times). Not only that but we’re on the Acacia list too as we meet Duncan, our tour leader for this trip, along with Sabie, our new Janis.

Quicker than the Germans to the sunlounger!Our accommodation tonight is a tent but it is a static tent on a concrete base with wooden cots for beds. It’s a far cry from The Hide! It does however have a light and a power socket and so is a couple of notches above the level we’ll have for the following 10 nights. We’re now in real backpacker land. As well as our Acacia group, it looks like there are groups from G-Adventures, Toucan and Intrepid. The campsite is busy and bustling and everybody seems very young (and noisy). What have we let ourselves in for?

The party boat heads outThe restaurant and bar have a terrace that overlooks the river and downstream we can, once again, see the the plume of ‘smoke’ coming up from the falls. The party boat is loading up – we can see the attraction of a sunset cruise on the river, perhaps some hippos or elephants to spot and free drinks to quaff. But equally, there’s no such thing as a free drink and the prospect of a quiet afternoon in the sunshine reading our books appeals more.

At 6pm we meet our new group for the first time. It looks like we are going to be the old hands – unsurprisingly, as our expectations were set that this tour was primarily aimed at 21 – 39 year olds. Having done these tours before we know the routine and are happy that we’ll get to know these folk and make new friends over the next few days. Above all, we’re ready to move on. We’ve seen Victoria Falls from both sides (and the air), we’ve done all the activities that we want to do here. We’ve loved it but we want to see more of Africa.

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