After Robben Island, we got back to the V&A Waterfront and had a nice fish lunch, and then hit Cape Union Mart (http://www.capeunionmart.co.za/)- it is one of our favorite shops in South African- clearly meant for outdoor adventures and all possible camping, trekking, anything-out activity. My preferred parts are the clothing and the bbq-ing gears (I am clearly not that adventurous- although in 2008 Isa dragged me to a 3-night trek on the Drakensberg Mountains and then I did buy real serious stuff at the Cape Union Mart in Hyde Park!!!). Clearly that afternoon our long-shot purposes were a bit overshadowed by the late lunch, the shopping and the miserable weather, and decided to head back to our guesthouse. That night we went for dinner at Carne (http://www.carne-sa.com/) - a restaurant from Giorgio Nava, same owner of 95 Keerom, one of my most favorite restaurants in town (http://www.95keerom.com/ ) - Isa and I came here first in 2007, loved the polenta, and officially nick-named the chef "Giorgio Ramsey", for his authoritarian way with the stuff..
The morning after, we left (too) early and headed for the airport under a proper rain storm. We started our trip to Victoria Falls. At OR Tambo we met up with Jane, Kate's mom, and the team was ready to go!
We arrived in Victoria Falls early afternoon, which gave us enough time to check in at Ilala Lodge (www.ilalalodge.com), take a break, and get ready for a sunset cruise on the Zambesi (which we could book directly at the hotel). The hotel was really nice and had a beautiful view on the Vic Falls Spray.
That afternoon, at 4:30 we got picked up and taken to the jetty on the Zambesi. We sat and started enjoying ourselves- things are done properly down there, and in no time we were served local and fresh Zambesi Beer, Gin and Tonic, and some snacks, to complement the stunning view!
We did not expect to see any big animals, and in facts we saw only one lonely hyppo and one elephant on the shore- on the other hands, the birds-lovers (Marta, Kate and Jane) seemed pretty happy with spotting little and not-so little birds on the river. Isa and I took lots of pictures and had fun with the water reflections and the incredible sunset light. It was very peaceful, quiet, yet so exciting and our eyes got never tired to admire such grandness and beauty, radiating from the mighty Zambesi.
Ilala lodge was very good for us. It had a nice restaurant so we could have dinner "in house". The service during dinner time was much more efficient than at any other time of the day (45 minutes wait for scrambles eggs at breakfast... mmmm not funny). Also the food was really quite good and also very elegantly plated and served. Marta and Kate "closed" the bar on the first night, at around 10 pm, which translated in "bush" time means 3 a.m!!! We also introduced Isabella to Amarula, which we then adopted as night-cup until the end of our trip... Also, the bar had some cushions on which Marta's shirt camouflaged perfectly- needless to say we had such a laugh...!
There are many activities to do in Victoria Falls. The easiest and most accessible one is the walk by the fall, where one can get first hand experience of the loudness and the size of the waterfall. At the end of summer, the water quantity is huge-( I have been other times in Vic Falls, one of them in September, which is when the water gets its lowest point, and the scene is completely different).
Something we could define as epic was the helicopter ride. It would probably need a post on its own- in reality, it only lasted 12 minutes, but it resulted in one of the funniest moment we experienced as sisters and mother together (thanks to Isa and her complete and utter terror of flying!!!!). For some random luck I got chosen to sit in front, next to the pilot, so I had the perfect view! Both the pilot and I could still hear, despite the loudness of the rotors, Isa's screams from the back!!!
We ended our day with a drink at the glorious Victoria Falls Hotel (http://www.victoria-falls-hotels.net/). It is a must-visit and it shows the majesty of the British colonial power and style. It has the best view on the Vic Falls spray and a huge lawn with warthogs grazing and beautiful birds swing by. Feeling very British we had one delicious Pimm's!
And then, after two nights in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, we crossed the border at Kazungula Border post (with much giggling by us naughty Italians, because of the name of the place... yes, how immature, of course!). I guess this will be part 3 of our epic journey....