Stage 62 (43): Ruze Chalets to Livingstone
Another dew-laden morning; Bob’s garbage bag is doing a good job separating wet tent fly from all else in the duffel. I was up early (sort of), but still managed to among the last to depart camp. Very quiet roads this morning (although that changed later on) it being a Sunday, I suppose.
Todays profile looks great on paper; almost all downhill. The reality is always different on a bicycle it seems, but overall, still an easy day. That’s just as well for me, as I’m not sure my legs would have it in them for any significant climbing. It’s indeed a nice quiet morning; even the road side vendors are still setting up their respective stalls.
The land has further evolved into mixed bush and grasses; more signs of cattle ranching, much less of the normally ubiquitous maize plots. I don’t stop more than a couple of times during the morning, on top of what hills there are to take several intakes of water and stretch briefly. Actually, I’m now trying to focus on taking a swig of water every 15 minutes while riding, starting first thing, before I’m particularly thirsty. Maybe because I find the terrain familiar to northern Botswana and southern Zimbabwe, I don’t take more than the two photos here.
I think this is some antique tractor at the entrance to a ranch; those iron wheels are embedded in concrete (as if anyone might walk off with it).
I’m definitely hungry before reaching lunch, and stop about 6 km shy in the first village I’ve seen since departure from Ruze. It’s a bakery with more than reasonable meat pies; that’ll get to me to the designated lunch.
A nice downhill right out of lunch is just a false call of the sirens; a series of small hills ensure for a while. Overall though, the land continues to drop. Colleen is waiting just past a toll booth, about 25 km from the finish; a good time to re-water, as I was well through the second bottle at that point. It’s become very warm with the drop in elevation. I spy the plume of spray from the falls about 10 km back from town. Entering Livingston on a nice sweeping downhill run, it’s only sparse Sunday afternoon traffic with which to contend. I’m scanning all the buildings and whatever shops might be open as I pass by; apart from the run-down colonial(?) era architecture, I finally see my objective. Coffee and ice creams! Brittany rolls in just after I; great minds do think alike on matters such as these. A cup of ice cream and a milkshake later, the final 5-6 km to our hotel/camp is trivial.
I see David very soon afterwards; he’s already arrived with river view chalet secured. Hellos and introductions all round to some of the crew and riders, with plenty of time remaining to clean up and relax for a short bit before meeting for the late afternoon / sundown cruise on the Zambezi.
The short bit of relaxation turns into a 20 minute power snooze on my part; David returns to wake me up and hustle us on board the MV Open bar (might not be the wisest scenario for this group) ensues as we shove off into the current, headed upriver. Thundershowers come in fast but depart just as fast so all good. The next 2 hours or so are spent idly looking for hippos and buck but mostly just enjoying being on this truly magnificent river. When the boat turns ‘round and the braii is being served and consumed, we can see the spray from Victoria Falls very high in the sky. It really does look like white smoke.
A wonderful sunset.
I bypass the bar upon landing, grab a water and head to the chalet. Too tired to think of much else other than being prone.