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Nyami Nyami rest days

Victoria Falls Waterfront Hotel is about 4 km further down the road toward the river from Livingstone, and about 10 km from the historic bridge which crosses the Zambezi immediately below the falls themselves. We’re staying here for 4 nights; 3 lovely rest days. It’s pretty nice to wake up and see this river flowing by each morning right outside our room, and be able to lay abed just listening.


I do like my rest days as rest days and don’t feel a huge obligation to do the various special activities on offer; white water rafting, bungee jump, microlight flights, etc. David and I cycle down to the bridge on Tuesday and cross over into Zimbabwe to see the falls from that side. A surprise - single entry visa fee for Australians is USD 30, but Canadians nicked USD 75. Clearly Justin has done something to upset the current regime; that or memories are long.


The water going over Victoria Falls is maybe not at its absolute peak, but certainly it’s very high, more water than I recall having seen before. A somewhat subjective opinion, but if we consider them as both highest and widest sheet of continually falling water, the main fall of the VF is largest in the world. So there you go.


The Nyami Nyami, otherwise known as the Zambezi River God or Zambezi Snake Spirit, is one of the most important gods of the Tonga people. Nyami Nyami is believed to protect the Tonga people and give them sustenance in difficult times. It seems to have been totally commercialized at this point, however, with wooden, bone or metallic variations on sale everywhere. I’m told by a young man that there’s in fact two Nyami Nyami; one male, one female. They’ve been separated since the construction of the Kariba dam back in the 1950s (involving forced relocation of thousands). I subsequently read that climate change and neglect have brought the mammoth structure at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe to the brink of calamity — a crisis prefigured in the dam’s troubling colonial history.


After the falls visit and walk-about, we pedal up to the grand old Victoria Falls Hotel - it’s like stepping back a century. Sadly, the familiarly imposing figure of Odwell, the doorman for yonks has retired (but he’s still alive and well, I’m told by the dual security guys who’ve replaced him). We go in and wander out onto the terrace; ‘artisanal G&Ts‘ from the lunch menu are chosen (what the heck, it’s a rest day), and a pleasant hour and more is passed looking out onto the scene.

It’s an effort to re-mount the bikes and pedal back to camp on the Zambia side in heat of an early afternoon. A thunderstorm threatens but we get only a few drops, luckily.


Wednesday morning is spent on bike matters; drive train cleaned and re-lubricated, front derailleur tweaked, brakes and tyres checked and ok. Plenty of time to while away another afternoon.


Tomorrow, I’ll be happy to get back on the bike and head back onto the road.




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