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Rich and Poor


sunny 23 °C
View South Africa, Botswana & Zimbabwe (Johannesburg - Vic Falls) - 15 Feb to 2 Mar 09 & Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Swaziland, Lesotho & South Africa (Vic Falls - Cape Town) - 2 Mar to 12 Apr 09 on hilarywh's travel map.

Victoria Falls Town

Until 2002, Zim was the preferred base for visiting the Falls and Vic Falls town itself is small and easily walkable. Where the streets used to be lined with hotels, bars and restaurants, today it’s like a ghost town.

Walking through the town’s vast craft market felt like an exercise in empathy where the locals can hardly make a meagre living selling their beautiful high quality wood and stone carvings. Lindsay and I spent 3 hours wandering the stalls, chatting with the sellers and promising that we’d visit everyone in turn before deciding where to spend our US$. Their over enthusiasm of trying to sell anything for a mere few dollars, or swap it for a t-shirt, shoes or a baseball cap can seem desperate, even tiring at times, but never intimidating.

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Victoria Falls Hotel

We spent a day in our cleanest clothes feigning wealth and sophistication at the famous dignified establishment known as the Victoria Falls Hotel. The pool waiter saw through us immediately so we came clean about not being residents, bought lunch and tipped him heavily so he allowed us to stay. It’s close proximity to the Falls means the mist risees up over the beautiful manicured gardens where a family of Warthogs were grazing the grass on their knees. The hotel corridors are lined with photographs of colonial history, it’s fascinating legacy giving it the edge over any hotel in Livingstone.

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I ended my 2 weeks with Lindsay at Shoestrings Backpackers, a brightly painted hostel behind high walls and guarded by 2 Great Danes and a Pig. It was laid back, central and a popular watering hole for both locals and travellers. At Tokkie Lodge I met the overland truck group for my next trip and lay blissfully asleep in my tent one night as another 2 tents were quietly slashed. Noone was hurt and only a few toiletries were taken as all our possessions are kept safely locked on the truck at night. It was the only incident I experienced in Zim but a stark reminder of how desperate people are.

Posted by hilarywh 08:06 Archived in Zimbabwe Tagged backpacking

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