Malawian Rice Vendor

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Nkhata Bay

We moved from Myoka Village next door to Butterfly Space.  We will be doing some volunteer work here in the coming weeks.  Butterfly is a grassroots organization, they have many different projects in and around the small community of Nkhata Bay.  We are hoping to entrench ourselves in a variety of different areas if possible.  The opportunities are endless as this small, lakeside community is quite impoverished.  It is the real reason why we came over to Africa.  We had a stroke of good fortune in being able to move in to a small "hut" right by the lakeshore.  With only a mosquito net for protection it has no shower or toilet, those are about a 20 meter walk away (not real fun in the dark).  Our room has come with a quite a few insects but hopefully between the ever present spiders and lizards they will be able to keep the population in check.  We also learned on our first night that we are sharing our room with a family of rats as they continually went into our groceries that we had hung on the wall to protect from the ants.  Again, I sometimes wonder if Erika thinks she made the right choice that fatefull day in 1995!  On a more uplifting note, the view from our "veranda" is truly incredible.  It looks out over the vast expanse of turquoise waters towards Mozambique.  A wealth of daily life takes place right outside of our front porch.  We awake every morning to the local ladies scrubbing the previous evenings dishes using our own little beaches' sand to scour and then clean.  They are followed soon after by the young girls who end up doing the family laundry, slamming it against the smooth rocks rubbing vigorously against their wrists before rinsing their tattered, fragile clothes in the pristine waters of the lake.   All the while the village men set an early launch to their small wooden hand dug out canoes from the beach as they go in search of an amazing aray of fish that inhabit lake malawi that they will try to sell at the local market.  Our ongoing battle with the familia rat came to a boil finally when Erika was awakened twice in the middle of the night by the creeping varmits, literally, scampering across her forehead in search of food.  Erika does not believe in killing innocent animals but this was the last straw, the critters had violated her personal space.   We were able to obtain a little poison and took some of our cherished peanut butter which we had found in a local market in Zambia and carefully placed the deadly mixture onto several banana leaves and placed them strategically throughout our little cottage and waited patiently for the little creatures to feast.  Sure enough, it was not but a few minutes before they attacked the poisonous concoction with reckless abandon.  Shortly thereafter, most of the leaves were completely emptied of their contents, we watched in rapt fascination as one poor rodent crossed our floor several times to nibble at what he though was a meal and what we knew would be his last.  He made one final attempt but suddenly, seized up, twitching violently, while the mouse anthrax entered into his small veins.  We felt a little bad as he helplessly fell to the floor and rolled onto his back in one final, desperate surge.  The question now was how in the world were we going to dispose of the damn thing!?!?  Neither one of us wanted to pick the creature up by it's tail for fear it might make one final, desperate surge and bite us, so we had to improvise.  I found a flimsy piece of cardboard and carefully, slowly, picked up the lifeless rat and slowly but steadily walked outside to toss him into the teeming jungle.  However, I tripped and the varmit flew off the cardboard hitting the wooden planks of our balcony with a loud thump!  Much to the dismay of the deceased rat, Erika and I burst out laughing to the point where Erika wee'd herself.  After we pulled ourselves together, we were finally able to extract the critter off the deck and tossed him to an unceremonious burial in the near bushes where we were certain the local ant population would devour him.  We are not quite sure where the other members of the family were but we were almost certain that they too met a quick demise as most of the piles of the tainted peanut butter were gone the following morning.  The good news is that we were able to sleep through the night without any of our plastic bags rustling and as we looked around to where we had tossed our one former pet, there was nothing to be seen as we were certain the elements had taken him away.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Lilongwe to Nkhata Bay

We made a move to St. Peter's parish which was much closer to town, we spent most of the day wandering checking out the old market along with finding something to soothe our now, red bumped filled itchy skin.  We also located the central bus terminal and found out when we could catch  a bus for our next destination, Nkata Bay.  We had a restless night sleep next to the shared bathroom both of us waking up to feverishly scratching our skin.  We finally both woke up at prayer call (5am), we gathered our gear and went out to try to hail a taxi or shared minibus.  Almost immediately we were told by two nice young school boys that we were standing in the wrong place so we moved to the right location.  We boarded the bus with our now exploding packs, everyone was laughing at us as we tried to squeeze ourselves around our packs to sit.  The short ride to the main bus station was replete with its blaring African music but we worth it at a cost of only 30 kwacha each (.20cents).  The bus station was  a frenzy of morning activity with various bus touts shouting out there destinations, food stall vendors trying to hawk their wares.  We were quoted by one guy that he would, for the inexpensive cost of only $500 he would take us to Nkata Bay.  We found our way to the bus having been told to be there at least an hour early, we showed up more than an hour early to find that the bus was already quite full.  A luggage boy immediately grabbed Erika's pack and went on to the filled bus as Jeff tried in vain to jostle with the crowd to get up the first step of the overcrowded vehicle.  Erika meanwhile followed her pack like a dog following a bone and was pointed to two seats which were currently occupied.  The luggage boy said something in chechewe and the occupants hastily moved seats.  Jeff, meanwhile sat outside trying to get Erika's attention to tell her he could not board because of the pack of people at the front steps of the bus.  The driver finally shouted something in chechewe and like Moses, the sea of people parted and Jeff was able to board with his overstuffed pack.  Somehow the luggage boy was able to cram Jeff's bag into the narrow bins above the seats.  The obligatory crowd of people seemed to shuffle in and out and then back in before settling down and we were able to depart.  We drove thru the outskirts of Lilongwe passing numerous roadside villages with women carrying huge cargo upon their heads balancing precariously.  While others were gathered around the village pump trying to coax the liquid life from the well's depth.  While in general the men sat around with seemingly nothing but time on their hands.  We passed through a number of police roadblocks and after a couple of hours stopped at a local vegetable stand.  Everyone piled off and quickly stocked up on vegies.  Curiously as the bus emptied, the policeman entered the bus to check all of the bags for contraband, cigarettes, medicine or anything else that could be smuggled to the rural north.  Everyone quickly loaded up into the bus , most carrying huge bags of vegies.  One poor guy tried to juggle 5 huge heads of cabbage while trying to find his seat.  The already crammed bus became much more full.  A couple of roadblocks later we stopped in the town of Salima where the bus was surrounded by hawkers, many with out stretched arms banging furiously against the windows trying to sell everything from hard boiled eggs to coca cola.  We bought a couple of vegie samosas and a coke and were content with a nice Malawi breakfast.  The boys were relentless.  A couple had bags of water at the end of long sticks which they pushed through the open windows to try and entice parched passengers.  We finally continued on with the bus now seemingly overfilled with sweaty people and all their worldly possessions.  We did not drive more than 5 minutes before coming upon another roadblock where the policeman stopped and counted the passengers of which there were many.  By Jeff's count, there were over 170 people on the bus which would normally hold 90 comfortably.  About halfway through the journey, we descended down to the Lake, a beautiful body of pristine, royal blue waters which sat in sharp contrast to the verdant jungle lined hills creeping to it's shores.  The next few hours we stopped at seemingly every small village along the lake shore of Lake Malawi.  As the sun started to make it's descent and the temperature started to cool, Jeff entered into a game much like tug-a-war where the girl behind him would shut the window every time the bus was in motion while Jeff repeatedly opened it at every stop.  As the heat coming through would irritate his already itchy, achy, skin.  As the sun dropped over the horizon, we made our way into Nkata Bay, some 9 hours after departure.  As we exited the bus we were surrounded by touts offering various accommodations.  We decided to stay at a place called Myoka Village, we found our room in the dark and after a quick bite fell effortlessly asleep to the sounds of the water lapping gently against the shoreline.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Onward toward Malawi

Reluctantly we knew we had to go.  We were fortunate enough to befriend a group of medical students that were studying in a town towards Chipata and they offered to give us a lift.  Much to our delight we were able to leave with them avoiding the pain of having to ride in a shared taxi of which only left at midnight.  One could only imagine how that road would be in the middle of the night packed with snoring people.  We were able to make the 3 hour drive in only 4 hours in the relative comfort of a landcruiser.  The docs were nice enough to drop us off at our guest house after stopping at the local stores to do some much needed grocery shopping.  We spent a very cold night in our tent at Deans Hill View, in the morning Dean himself was to arrange a taxi ride however the taxi was in disrepair and Dean drove us to the shared border taxi station.  A place that one could pass a dozen times and not realize it was a "station".  A couple of old broken down nissans sitting by the side of the road with a group of guys trying to exchange Zambian Kwacha for Malawian Kwacha.  We were able to get to the border for about 30,000 kwacha (approx. $6.5 dollars).  The ride only took about a half an hour and we then made it through both customs with relative ease and were approached immediately by another shared taxi driver who would take us to the nearest border town for only $500 malawian kwacha.  The car filled with 5 passengers even though the driver had promised us only 4.  We headed down the road only a few km's when an oncoming car flashed his lights and the driver was notified that the police check was ahead.  We ended up taking several detours through the dusty countryside in the Malawi highlands.  We eventually snaked our way slowly towards the town of Mchinji.  When we got out and got ready to pay, jeff asked one of the fellow passengers how much he was paying and he said $300 kwacha and we had been quoted $500.  Upon hearing this, Jeff confronted the driver demanding that we only pay the amount the locals pay.  With a huge cheshire grin on his face, knowing that he had been caught the driver reluctantly gave us our change due.  We quickly found a bus heading towards Lilongwe and were able to secure two seats in the back.  The malawian bus, unlike it's Zambian cousins, was filled appropriately, one person for every seat.  As we drove through the Malawain countryside we could see the abrupt changes, the housing was made from brick instead of mud topped with tin instead of thatch.  The countryside turned from a cool green to a hazy brown within km's crossing the frontier.  We made good time into Lilongwe making the 130 km journy in a little over 2 hours.  We came into the city and snaked our way towards the bus station.  We had heard of a place to stay called Mabuya Camp.  We asked a taxi driver to take us there but he quoted us an outragious price so we started to walk and find another way.  After walking quite a distance with our heavy packs in the searing sun, we decided to ask what looked to be a fireman for directions hoping he would offer a lift.  Graciously he gave us directions but did not take our hint and so we proceeded painstakingly forward towards Mubaya.  We crossed a bridge over the Lilongwa river when suddenly our friendly fireman reappeared.  He asked us politely how much were we willing to pay for a lift to the camp.  We negotiated a price, much less than a taxi would have cost, and they gave us a ride saving our backs and feet from more anguish.  We arrived at Mubaya Camp a dusty dank hostile like area where we set up camp for the night.  After a quick venture to town, tired from a long days journey, we stumbled back, had a dinner of Malawian bean stew and chatted with a couple of Dutch friends before retiring for the night.  We woke early in the morning discovering that we had endured a number of bites on both sides of our bodies realizing only then that we were being attacked by small ants.  It was at that point we decided we would move to a new guest house.  Erika walked over to one we had seen the night before and secured a couple of beds at a local Catholic Parish where we will hopefully spend a quiet bite free night.......................

Monday, 6 June 2011


Having traveled so far for so long one would think we would have had a relaxing sleep.  However, we were awoken throughout the night by the sounds of laughing hippos, roaring lions, and occasional chainsaw like sound of a distant leopard.  We woke up and got out of bed at the crack of dawn and walked down through the camp to discover that we were situated only meters from the banks of the river, Luangwa.  We gazed in wonderment at the hippos sunning themselves along the banks of the river while many more were wading in the shallow water.  Across the river, lies the South Luangwa National Park, a huge spanse of African landscape whose topography includes dozens of different animal species and hundreds and hundreds of bird species.  After a brilliant breakfast we moved out of our safari tent and pitched our little two person tent under a beautiful sausage tree aptly named for the dense fruit that hangs precariously from it's branches.  This was to be our home for the next week or so.  Our first full night at Flatdogs we went out on a game drive which took us deep into the verdant park.  We were fortunate enough to encounter several groups of animals including zebras, giraffes, along with the odd hippo. We watched the hippos in the nearby swamp filled with Nile Cabbage, they were like kids in a candy store, floating from side to side with their mouths open just devouring cabbage.  It was a true hippo buffet!   After a brief stop to enjoy the setting sun, we followed the trail of a wayward impala whom our guide thought was acting quite suspiciously.  Sure enough as we ventured deeper into the park following the path of this lonely animal, we stumbled upon a leopard about 10 ft. up in a tree with what we can only assume to be the lonely impala's young child in it's grasp.  We sat in awe of this magnificent animal as it slowly ripped the flesh and bone from it's prey.  While sitting watch this magnicifent spotted creature, a couple of spotted hyenas appeared hoping for a couple of scraps to fall from the tree.  The hyena can smell blood for up to 3 miles away so it was no wonder they were quick to appear by the leopard's side.  After watching the leopard devour the impala we moved on and were quickly able to spot a mother lion sneaking thru the bush along with 3 cubs in tow.  Our guide, Malama was quite skilled at telling us where the lions were looking to hunt and we were able to follow their movements until they disappeared into the thick african bush.  By then it was time to return to camp for a quick dinner and an early night sleep as we were to wake up the next morning for an early morning drive.  We loaded into the safari truck around 6 am and headed once again into the glorious national park.  As we drove, we watched the hippos slowly move back into the river, spending the day hydrating their skin in the Luangwa river.  We were able to spot herds of impalas, water bucks and wilderbeast.  After a quick drive along the river bank we stumbled upon a huge herd of cape buffalo... over 300 head stood placidly and grazed on the African savannah.  Again, Malama had a hunch and he drove a little further into the bush where we spotted a small pride of female lions as they slowly stalked the huge herd of buffalo.  We sat still in amazement as the lions crept ever slowly towards the huge buffalos.  Eventually, as they drew near, we could see from their body language they were ready to attack.  The buffalos sensed this also as the huge dominant males moved to the front of the pack.  Suddenly one of the lions made a move into the herd trying desperately to attach itself to the hind quarters of one of the buffalo.  It almost succeeded until one of the angry males chased it away with its horns poking forward.  The lions quickly retreated and tried to regroup.  Again, they made a plan of attack and tried to flank the buffalo sending one of the female lions off to the side trying to distract these massive black animals.  But again, the buffalo were wise to their ways as they repeatedly chased off the female lions.  By this time, the sun was getting high in the sky and we could see that the lions were quickly getting fatigued.  They finally retreated without being able to capture their breakfast and the buffalo slowly moved on to greener pastures.  We spent the next few days at the camp which was quite pleasant as most of the other tourists would go out on the game drives which left us and the local Zambians to enjoy the serenity of the camp alone.  This actually turned out to be almost as good as going on the game drives as most of the animals ventured into our camp.  One morning as Jeff started to stumble out of the tent he noticed a huge male elephant only feet from the tent opening.  He slowly backed his way into the tent and we both watched as the elephant stared directly towards us.  All of a sudden, through the thick grasses beyond, there appeared 6 more elephants and then five more including a little baby.  We were stunned!  We could not move out of our tent as everytime we opened the zipper, the sound would catch their attention and they would peer directly towards us.  After being stuck in our tent for a couple of hours, the elephants moved on to the kitchen area and we were able to get out and stretch our now sleeping legs.  Suddenly, they appeared on the other side of our campsite opening coming right for us.  Luckily we were able to climb up a small platform in a tree which gave us a better and more safe view of these massive creatures.  This became an almost daily routine and since most others were out on game drives, we got to enjoy it ourselves.  At nighttime, while the elephants were away sleeping, the camp was inundated with hungry hippos.  More than once we awoke in the middle of the night to hear a massive hippo munching on the grass directly outside our tent.  For those who have not experienced the sound of a hippo with the munchies, it can be quite startling.  The ultimate experience came when at 4am, one of the night watchman walked by our tent and told us to be VERY quiet and not move!  We were not quite sure why but through the thin nylon of our tent, we could hear rustling of a huge animal.  Neither of us said a word to one another and neither of us dared move because we were not certain what creature was out there.  Both of us having thoughts of a lion suddenly pouncing thru the thin plastic tearing us from limb to limb.  After a couple of hours of hardly breathing, we finally were able to get up and asked the night watchman what animal was there and he told us it was a huge bull elephant standing directly above our tent using it's trunk in a circular motion trying to decipher if we had any food.  Luckily, reception had warned us on our first day not to have any type of food product in our tent for this exact reason.  We immensely enjoyed our time at south luangwa and Flatdogs and we were sad to have to go but we knew if we stayed any longer, we might never leave.... So, we decided to hitch a ride the following day and made our way back to where humans roamed....................

Friday, 3 June 2011

The road to South Luangwa

We awoke quite early to the blaring sound of morning prayer call as there is quite a large muslim population in the town of Chipata.  We tried in vain to go back to sleep but the roosters and barking dogs would not let us.  Sam, our host, radioed for a taxi to pick us up at 8am as he had told us it was wise to arrive early for the mini bus to south luangwa national park.  It finally showed around 8:45am and Eddy, our driver, who seemed to be only 20 was actually 46, took us to the bus station.  We found the mini bus and negotiated what we thought was a fair price to take us on the 3 hour journey to the small town of Mfuwe.  We were told that the bus would leave around 10am or whenever it filled, whichever came later.  We counted the seats and there seemed to be enough space for about 12 people to sit comfortably or 16 people to sit a little less so...  The van itself made a 1970 VW bus look like a Rolls Royce.  By 10am we seemed to have only about 8 people so we knew we would not be departing on time.  Patience is the key word here in Africa.  By noon, we had  the 16 people to fill the bus.  However, the driver still would not leave.  About 45 minutes later, we discoverd why.  He was waiting for another 8 people to cram into the already loaded vehicle.  This included 2 small children and an infant with a smell of poopy diapers.  Finally, by 1pm, after cramming things in every available orfice, and loading the roof top beyond capacity, and having the luggage boy have to climb through a window to find space, we took off.  Only to stop 5 minutes later to fill the bus with petrol and to fix the spare tire.  Why the driver could not have done this in the am, is beyond belief.  Finally, about an hour later, tank "filled", tire "fixed", everyone loaded back into their pre ordained "seats", we were off.  The first 15 km's seemed to go well on smooth pavement, then things took a turn for the worse.  The road which we were told has been under construction for several years, was severly rutted and massive potholes lurking around every corner.  As we careemed around the dusty road, we heard the bald tires scrapping against the wheel wells which we knew could not be good.  About 2 hours into the drive, the luggage boy yelled to the driver and it turned out, true to form, we had a flat tire.  We stopped in front of a desolate village in the middle of the African jungle.  Everyone piled out of the van and the driver and luggage boy proceeded to change the flat tire.  This process took over an hour and a half before we finally were able to get the tire situated only to discover that we had two other bald tires that were leaking air rapidly but yet had no more spares!  They were able to temporarily stop the leaks through sheer will, we eventually piled back on and slowly took off for another village.  About one hour later, we arrived at a small village where the "boys" were able to take off the tires and find a place to repair them.  This took another 2 hours as the sun was setting and both of us a little nervous that we were still quite far from our final destination.  The boys were able to get the tires fixed using a bicycle pump to fill the smooth pieces of round rubber.  We were told it was only about 24 km's to the town of Mfuwe but what with the driver finally being cautious this leg took more than two hours all of it in pitch darkness.  We passed small villages with only the glow of open fires leading our way.  Finally we were able to get back onto some pavement and we knew Mfuwe was close at hand.  We slowly crested a hill, the poor overworked engine barely chugging along with one final jolt snapping all of our heads back and then forward in unison. The driver slowly dropped his passengers one by one at various huts along the way.   We were the last passengers to depart having endured what turned out to be almost a 9 hour journey.  The driver , upon letting us off, aplogized profusely for having "weak tires".  We were let off at Flatdogs Camp and had originally thought to set  up our own tent but being that it was so late and so dark and both of us exhausted from our journey we decided to splurge on one of the camp's safari tents.  We fell asleep almost immediately only to be awaken by what Erika thought was Jeff's snoring but what turned out to be a grunting hippo...................

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Across Southern Zambia

Well after a few days in Livinstone, it was time for us to move on.  We went to the bus station, station being a bit of a stretch, more like a little wooden shack and bought tickets for our onward journey which unfortunately had to go through the capital, Lusaka.  We decided to spend the extra two dollars each and go business class.  This turned out to be a good decision.  We were able to get two seats right up front which also made the journey much more pleasant.  We got to the "station" early and for once the bus seemed to be on schedule.  We got to our seats and noticed a young american kid trying to negotiate with a Zambian woman next to him to swap seats so that his friend in the back of the bus could sit with him.  This would mean she would have to sit next to a rather large Zambian man.  She tactfully declined and we were off!  Zambia is a very sparsely populated country and the ride towards Lusaka passed nary a village. About two hours into the ride, we were slowed down because there was a truck in our lane that was burned out with a horde of Zambians salvaging as much of the wreckage as they could.  Further down the road we noticed another truck that had jack knifed and rolled, it's driver obviously had not survived and this was confirmed as we passed by the wreckage and saw the tell tail sign of a sheet covering his body.  About 4 hours into the ride, it was obviously time for a bathroom break.  The bus slowed and Erika and I looked around but did not see any building.  When we came to a complete stop, everyone seemed to rush out of the bus and into the tall weeds to releave themselves.  Even though Zambia is quite a conservative country, neither men or women had any shame in dropping their drawers only a few feet into the tall grass.  Erika decided to hold it for the remainder of the journey.  About another hour or so down the road, we did manage to come to a roadside village where the bus was accosted by women all carrying bunches of over ripened bananas trying to sell to the passengers.  With the shrills of their voices and the stench of ripe banana was overpowering.  We passed only a scattering of villages along the way, each with their distinctive round mud huts with brown thatched roofs.  The women seemingly carrying their wares on their heads with babies slung on their backs while the men seemed to just be taking it easy.  Eventually we finally arrived into Lusaka bus station and were accosted by many taxi touts trying to gain our business.  We first needed to secure a ticket for our onward journey so while Jeff watched the packs, Erika went with a bus tout and bought tickets for the following morning.  He, of course, received his usual commission.  We found a place near the bus station, quite nondescript and went to the store to buy more provisions for our journey the following day.  We arrived at the bus station early the next morning having gotten a ride from the same taxi driver who had driven us to our guest house the night before.  The bus from Lusaka to the small town of Chipata was not quite as "luxurious" as our other bus. There was a mad scramble for seating assignments and Erika tried to squeeze in so that she could secure seating for the long journey while Jeff made sure that the bags were properly stowed without anyone getting into them.   With our legs barely fitting into the seats and our knees pressed against our chest we tried to settle in for what would be a 9 hour journey.  It seemed the bus was full but then 10 people entered to standing room only, only to be escorted out and a few minutes later, they seemed to straggle back in only to be escorted out once again.  Immediately upon departure a preacher placing himself directly next to Erika began preaching the gospel, one sentence in the local language, translation following.  While he was preaching there was another mentally challenged young man doing his own high decibel preaching to no one in particular....There seemed to be something amiss however as we started on down the road.  Suddenly, the music was turned on at volume 10 and it was then we realized, all was right in the world of the 3rd world bus journies!  The journey seemed to go great until all of a sudden the whole bus was overcome by the smell of excretement (s--t).  We both looked at each other and could not help but laugh.  We hit a town for a bathroom break and Erika was told by a Zambian woman that the bathrooms were filthy even by Zambian standards so once again Erika held it.  A few hours down the road we stopped along the Lilonwe river where many of the local villagers had set up stalls to sell dried fish.  We were the only two that did not buy a big bag of fish, so as the journey continued, we had the mixing smells of fish and s--t, music so loud our ears hurt and the guy blabbering about who knows what.  We finally arrived near sundown at the town of Chipata, the gateway to South Luangwa National Park.  The taxi driver grabbed our bags immediately and stowed them in his car wanting to take us to Dean's Hill View Guest House.  After some negotiation, we agreed on a price and we arrived at the wonderful, garden filled guest house.  Turned out we were the only two people there and we enjoyed a relaxing evening......

Livingstone I presume

Booking a flight from Capetown  to Livingstone is quite easy, no two week minimum required.  With a quick stopover in Johannesburg, we made our way up toward Zambia.  We landed in Livingstone and headed to Jollyboys backpacker retreat.  We now felt that we had arrived in AFRICA.  The temperature was much warmer, not a cloud in the sky.  We got a nice little room and planned to go visit Victoria Falls, considered by many to be one of  the seven wonders of the world.  Backpackers had free transportation to the falls which we used willingly.  We ended up spending the entire day staring at this wonder of nature.  Words can really not describe this amazing waterfall.  The amount of water rushing over the falls per second is mind boggling.  We just walked around the park enjoying the different views afforded to us.  At times, we could not see the falls through the sheer heavy mist as the water crashed against the rocks below.  The mighty Zambezi river relentlessly spilled its contents in a massive roar which at times was almost deafening.  We rented rain ponchos and walked to see if we could get a closer look at this monstrousity.  As we walked closer towards the falls, the spray fell with a powerful rain totally soaking every inch of our bodies.  After getting thoroughly soaked we decided to take a more cirquatous route and try to get a better view.  The problem was that the trail seemed to be guarded by a couple of ferocious looking baboons who seemed to not want us to go any further into the depths of the waterfall.  We decided to take another track and came upon a park bench which gave us a great vantage point when the heavy mists would allow.  We ended up sitting on the bench for quite some time as various Zimbabwan touts tried to sell their old 10 trillion dollar notes.  We again attempted to go down to another vantage point only to be chased off by the small platoon of baboons.  Normally we would not be so afraid but only a week earlier, an American tourist had literally gotten pushed to his death trying to fight off a baboon who was stealing his fanny pack.  We finally decided to leave the falls after taking a stroll up the river.  The following day we booked a game drive in Zambia's smallest park.  It was wonderful as it seemed we were the only couple of tourists in the park.  We had an opportunity to drive very close to dozens of different animals including giraffes, wilderbeast etc... and even got a chance to see a black rhino.  That night we got to enjoy a cruise of the Zambezi river.  As the sun began to set our small water craft plowed near the banks of the mighty Zambezi.  The late afternoon glow of the sun revealed hiding hippos and crocs waiting to pounce upon unsuspecting prey.  We joked that if for some reason the boat were to go down, we would forego life jackets and just swim as fast as humanly possible not wanting the added bulk.  We were quite sad to have to leave Livinstone and Jollyboys but we knew we had to make our way towards our goal of Malawi......