So it’s the weekend, and on my third visit to Zimbabwe I finally make it to Victoria Falls for a brief 24 hour stopover. Of course, working for BAI means that a visit to Victoria Falls does not start with the falls themselves. I am picked up at the airport by Douglas Siatimba, the Victoria Falls Librarian, and Sindiso Tshuma of the local Lusumpuko Education Trust, and am taken to the Public Library. The library has only been open 12 years but makes a big difference as there is not another library for miles. It is well organised and has many books which have to be retrieved from Bulawayo, 435km away. The librarian is also trying to establish 3 community libraries, and shows me a picture of one built in a vernacular, Zimbabwean style. The nearest of the 3libraries is 60km away with no libraries in between.
Afterwards I am taken to the Big Tree (a huge baobab tree over 1000 years old) , and then make it onto a boat to catch the sun set on the Zambezi. I can hear the falls but still have not seen them!
On Sunday, I get up early to make my way to the falls, and pass three elephants on the path between the town and falls. I walk along the path with someone who works at the Falls who assures me it is fine – elephants often visit the town!
The falls are as spectacular as you would imagine, though there is a lot of spray, and I am wet through quickly as they are in full flow at this time of year. Afterwards, Douglas and Sindiso, who have turned out to be most excellent local guides, take me to see a view of the Zambezi gorge followed by a snappy visit to a crocodile farm, passing more elephants on the way.
Then, an eventful 24 hours after I arrived, they drop me off at the airport. Air Zimbabwe, despite the doubts of many, gets to me to Bulawayo in the evening on time, ready for the week ahead.