Guide: Symen Vegter
Company: Wild Wings Safaris
Contact: Onne Vegter
Bookings: +27 83 259 4647
Address: P O Box 10644
George 6530 South Africa
- ZIMBABWE -
Zimbabwe was a truly memorable experience and although we primarily wanted to see the magnificent Victoria Falls, we were lucky enough to meet some beautiful locals and learn a lot about the culture and economic crisis these people face.
The currency is mind blowing with a conversion rate of ... wait for it ... ZIM$73,000.00 to AUD$1.00 Australian when we were there. So, if you are having trouble comprehending all those zero's, you're not alone. For example, dinner for Dad and I at the hotel on the first night cost ... wait for it again ... ZIM$6,600,000.00 with a cheap bottle of wine which cost ZIM$1,500,000.00. It was kind of amusing to land in a country that labelled us multi millionaires', and that was just with the loose cash in our wallets. So, for less than AUD$14.00 I received ZIM$1,000,000.00 on a cash conversion.
I spent a little time with two lovely Zimbabwean ladies, Adelaide (Ironic considering where we were from) and Tsitsi who both worked at the Kingdom Hotel. These ladies were both kind enough to give me an insight into their customs and cost of living. Both of these girls earn around ZIM$5,000,000.00 each month. That's only about AUD$69.00 p/month for doing a job that would pay around AUD$600/$700 p/week here in Australia or around ZIM$50,000,000.00 p/week.
My heart truly went out to these people as their smallest note is ZIM$20.00 which we worked out to be worth less than a single square of toilet paper purchased locally in Zimbabwe. So yes, it would be more economical to use ZIM$20.00 notes than toilet paper when the time arose.
Victoria Falls speak for themselves and are truly a magnificent site. We chose to see them from the air by taking a Helicopter flight over the falls. Simply Beautiful.
We also got our chance to get truly up close and personal with an Elephant by supporting the local Elephant Conservation Foundation and going for a ride. This is a wonderful experience if you ever get the chance. They have two groups of Elephants, so each Elephant only takes the tourist on a one hour walk each day. They are not abused unless they're unlucky enough to get someone like me. After the walk, you get a chance to feed and touch them which is really special. Then it's off to a magnificent buffet breakfast while the camera man edits the video taken of us on our ride, to produce a DVD for sale. A great souvenir of a great day.
We also took a sunset Zambian River Cruise, which was nice, but more like a typical "Booze Cruise" here ... only with terrible food. Cold Sausage Rolls and Soggy Potato Chips ... YUCK! At least we can say that this was the ONLY food on the entire trip that was bad. Every other meal was delicious.
Finally, the accommodation was mind blowing. We stayed at the "Kingdom Hotel" in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and absolutely everything about this place is awesome. From the staff, to the decor, architecture, food and atmosphere. This is a hotel with a truly Zimbabwean feel. We loved it.
We hope you enjoy this peek at Zimbabwe.