I had a varied day yesterday. Enjoyed rafting from the early morning until the afternoon on the Zambezi river. As the water level is still quite high the trip couldn’t start from the usual starting point at the “boiling pot”, pictured below , but at rapid 14 further down the river. As I noted before the boiling pot was 600 meters down a steep cliff(which had a concrete path and stairs until recent Chinese ODA construction changed the water flow). The path to rapid 14 was non-existent, and as I didn’t have glasses, difficult to traverse. There was a family from middle England on the trip,and although very nice, not in any shape to get down the cliff. 12 of 15 people waited an extra hour for them to get down……The river was wonderful, set in a deep canyon………The rapids, especially # 16 and #24, were humongous……A fun day and 20+ Kms flew by…..Thankfully for the English family, the exit at rapid #25 had a winch to get back up the cliff(extra charge to use it)…….I walked back up with an American Marine Pilot who barely broke a sweat……
I came back to Chanter’s Lodge where I have been holed up the past few days. Run by an Englishman (a hotelier from a way back) it is clean, and his service team is wonderful. Never a problem (but this is Africa and shit does happen), he runs a tight ship in what must be very challenging circumstances. He set me up with in hours of arrival with a wifi USB modem so I could hook into his free internet. For me this is worth the price of room!
On the 10th I had pre-booked 2 adventures for the 11th. The first was the rafting and the second was the “Royal Livingston Express” dinner steam train. The dinner steam train comes in at $150 USD, and in any country would be considered an expensive dinner. The steam train is run by the Sun International Hotel Group, and a local “experience” provider. I was surprised to find out upon return to the lodge that transfers to and from the train were not included (unless you stayed at the Royal lIvingston Hotel). Sorry……that is not how it works, got the folks here to get in touch with hotel group and had them change the policy. Myself and 2 others were picked up and taken to the train. It was one of Roivos Rail trains without the sleeping cars. A very well executed dinner of French cuisine…….the portions were not huge and happily included sweets with some good coffee at the end of the 5 course meal. I was met on-board by some very nice people from the tour company and hotel group who assured me that all guests would now be picked up and taken back to their lodges. A good service recovery……..
I met 2 folks from Canada, Karen and Dave DuBois , a retired driver and teacher, who have traveled all their lives. Both born in small town BC , and have been everywhere. Lived in 4 countries and traveled 40+ others…..Now in the middle of a 4 month African adventure…I almost had them convinced to join me on my 21 day overland starting on the 14th….