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Out of Africa

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Friday and Saturday, Feb 8 & 9

Currently 20,000 feet up just outside of Paris, we are on the final flight of our journey. It all began about 28 hours ago when we woke up in Zimbabwe. It’s hard to believe we are this close to the end. I know I’ve said it before, but this really was the trip of a lifetime...even though I am already pondering where I should go next in Africa 🤷🏽‍♀️😉😀 We’ve gotten so many tips and ideas and stories from fellow travelers, I can’t help but start to fantasize about all the possibilities.


But back to the beginning of this two day ordeal. We took our time getting to breakfast Friday, and enjoyed having the veranda all to ourselves. Having heard such glowing reviews of the Victoria Falls Bridge the night before, I was really pulling hard for us to get there. Thankfully Brenda agreed and our hotel clerk said it was only a short cab ride followed by like a 500m walk to the middle of the bridge, so we should have plenty of time before our 10:55 airport transfer pickup.

We quickly finished packing while a taxi was called for us. And would you believe our luck to end our Zimbabwean taxi adventures the same way we began them: with Clever 😀 We gave him the scoop on what we’d all done, filled him in on our long journey home, and devised a plan for him to meet us a half hour later to whisk us back to the hotel. He was so funny when we told him how different the weather would be and he started asking about what snow is like and how we could possibly live where it’s that cold (oh Clever, I am asking myself that very same thing right about now 🤦🏽‍♀️🙈). Brenda had him laughing when she said “it’s like in your freezer, only on the ground.”

So he had to drop us off outside the border patrol zone. He gave us strict instructions to just show our passports, ask for a bridge pass and don’t pay any money. He would be right back there waiting for us around 10:15. And off we went. Yet again the immigration officials saw our blue passport covers and had absolutely no interest in looking any closer. They shoved a stamped piece of paper at Brenda and we headed toward the bridge.


Ya know how it is when you’re in a hurry and not sure where you’re going and it seems to be taking forever?! Well that’s exactly what it was like. And then we became oh so interesting to two of the guys on the bridge trying to sell us jewelry. Not thinking, I said we were Americans and that made them even more interested and wanted to talk about Obamaland. Finally Brenda got rid of them by saying we were just trying to enjoy our walk to the middle of the bridge and we are NOT buying anything.

Whew...dodged that pair only to be picked up by the guys trying to convince people to do the bridge jump/swing thing. That would be a big NO from us. Unlike Cape Town’s milk money beggar though, these guys all listened and left us alone, which was very nice.

And then we got to the middle and I went into full on photog mode cause it was incredible!! You can see straight into the middle of the gorge and really see the height of the Falls. Plus from that vantage point the mist isn’t overpowering so you don’t have a hazy, clouded view. I am super duper glad we ran into those two couples and got the inspiration to get over there. Had I gotten home and realized it after the fact, it would’ve been a repeat of the Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair incident from Sydney, and I would’ve been oh so bummed and ticked off.


Naturally we had to snap photos with both the “Welcome to Zambia” and “Welcome to Zimbabwe” signs, standing with one foot in each country. And kudos to Brenda for spotting the crossover spot so we could take a look down the river on the side opposite the Falls. And double kudos for her quick thinking and telling the next guys to ask: that we were Canadians, from Manitoba. Yep, that confused and shut them up quickly 😝🤣


A quick glance at my watch and we knew we needed to hightail it back. As soon as we stepped out of the immigration office, I could immediately see Clever’s big smile as he furiously waved to make sure we spotted him. Now that is some mighty fine door to door service right there. He said we need to come back and visit or send all our friends there so he can drive them around (take note Julianne, and tell him HI from us if you see him in June 😀).

Back at the hotel we headed to the room to cool off in our a/c for a few minutes. We hadn’t quite thought through our humidity filled dash at the start of our long journey (oops...and thanks again Brenda, I know I owe you for that one 😉). Cooled off and ready to go, housekeeping showed up just in time to offer to carry our bags and we headed to reception to wait. In no time at all we were on the road to Victoria Falls Airport, bidding a fond farewell to Batonka and Zimbabwe.

With some time to kill at the airport, there were a few cute shops to look in and we each picked up a little something (I mean we didn’t come all this way to not have physical proof of it). Yet again South African Air wins the day by one lady hustling through a meal service on a flight that lasted about an hour and a half. We landed in Johannesburg with over 5 hours before our flight to Paris. The only logical thing to do is shop and eat of course!! And now that we’re back to rand and a foreign currency, it all feels like more of a bargain. The shops are just so bright and colorful and draw you right in. Not to mention this airport is like one giant mall. Purely by chance, we both liked the same tee shirt and bought it (with no plans to wear them at the same time of course 🙊). I also couldn’t resist a little stuffed giraffe keychain with a butt tag that says “Made in Africa,” and who has subsequently been named Sabi to honor all the giraffes we saw in Sabi Sands. Next order of business was dessert for dinner - banana chocolate fudge ice cream cone for me and a double chocolate muffin for Brenda.


By that point, our carryons were getting heavy so we headed to the gate to stake out a seat. Good thing we did as we discovered our plane to Paris was one of thee largest double decker jumbo jets, with a capacity of 516 passengers. We’re not sure if there were that many people on board, but it was pretty dang full. Regardless, they did a great job of organizing and boarding all of us (quite possibly better than our flight to Chicago, which is half the size).

The flight again was long and the food was the worst we had on any flight. I ended up in a middle seat with a rather interesting Frenchman on the aisle next to me (and not in a good way 🙊). After 10 or 11 hours, however long it finally took, we were so ready to be off that thing. Five hours in Paris was enough time just to eat something, walk around some and get a few of these posted. And at long last we boarded our final flight to Chicago, aka the crying room 😝 We don’t have an official count as to how many tiny ankle biters are on here, but enough to make quite the chorus of crying as we waited on the tarmac. No matter the nationality, the high pitched squeal and screeching seems to be the same in any language 🤷🏽‍♀️ The poor flight attendants were basically herding cats as people en mass were attempting to move seats. But alas we are surrounded. Thankfully it got better once we were in the air...scratch that as here they go again 🙉🙉🙉

And now we are two hours in to yet another almost 10 hour flight. I am so NOT looking forward to the weather in Chicago (nor sitting in a car for another 3 hours), but a shower and good nights sleep in my own bed does sound delightful. I’ve basically only napped a few hours intermittently since this day began what, 30 hours ago?! The not so glamorous part of travel. But I’d do it all over again in a heartbeat for the incredible experiences we’ve had.

7 flights...5 hotels...3 countries...2 friends spending 2 amazing weeks in Africa 😀🐧🦒🦓🐆🦏🐵🐘🦁🌳🐛🐍🦎🌍😎

Saturday, Feb. 23

And here we are, two weeks post Africa, and I figure it’s about time I wrap up this final blog post.

As a quick recap, we arrived fine and on time in snowy, cold, cruel Chicago. Brenda’s friend Kyle was ready and waiting as soon as we got through customs and grabbed our suitcases. The drive back went well and amazingly we both stayed awake (well until I started dozing off at the very end when they were talking about work stuff that I had no clue about). I think having someone else asking us questions and commenting on the trip was the only reason we looked alive. If we had been left to our own devices to drive home, I think we would’ve been in a world of hurt. So thanks again for the driving services Angie and Kyle!!

Basically they dropped me off at 6:30, I dumped my stuff just inside the door, showered, brushed my teeth (twice for good measure 🙊) and by 7:15 I was out cold for the next 12 hours 😳😴 And that kicked off an entire week full of exhaustion and intestinal and germ issues. In all the trips I’ve taken, I’ve never been hit quite so hard by the jet lag as this one. But I finally got through it, as did Brenda with her not sleeping issues, and now it’s time to sort through the pictures and videos and purchases. And for me at least: start planning the next adventure 🌍🌎🌏 Thanks for coming along and partaking in my ramblings, and here’s hoping you join me in the future. Have passport...must travel 😀 🛩 😍


Posted by JackiesJourneys 12:00 Archived in Zimbabwe Tagged africa safari zimbabwe victoria_falls jet_lag

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