So, here is the latest from Africa: VICTORIA FALLS – OMG! – you cannot begin to imagine it – very wet and wild. We got soaked just from walking along the edge of the surrounding cliffs. It was beautiful and we saw lots of rainbows, but the best was a DOUBLE RAINBOW which we took as a sign that we were meant to come on this trip, meant to be in the travel business and that On The Map Travel was going to have a great year. That may be a lot to see in a couple of rainbows, but we stand by it.
For budget reasons, we decided to forgo the boma dinner set up by the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge – we figured we would experience the real boma when we were on safari later in the week. BTW – a boma (we learned) is an open, natural space that provides safety and shelter in the bush – most safari camps have them as the dinner venue. Plus, we are not huge fans of “manufactured” group experiences. On The Map Travel was formed to “provide individuals and groups with interesting and imaginative travel” and we didn’t think this dinner fits that description. Instead we treated ourselves to a formal afternoon high tea at the ever-so-proper and historic Victoria Falls Hotel – overlooking the falls and the bridge. A magnificent view. Warthogs running around the well-trimmed, expansive lawn – talk about a dichotomy. The hotel was built in 1904 (does that date ring a bell for those of you in St. Louis?) and is colonial to the max. It was a wonderful afternoon – so relaxing and full of history – as well as my favorite meal of the day, High Tea (see our blog post about tea at London’s Milestone Hotel – http://www.onthemaptravel.com/2011/01/18/on-the-maps-favorite-afternoon-tea-in-london). We also got a tour of the hotel (for future business), which was lovely. This was an experience I would not have missed. Though we did feel a bit odd, since it was so luxurious and yet the rest of the town, the rest of the country is so, so poor. We ended up buying from some street merchants to support the local economy and assuage our feelings of Western guilt just a little.
After that we toured another smaller hotel in the center of town and, as we were looking over a balcony, we asked the manager, “Where are the deluxe rooms located?” Without missing a beat, the hotel manager pointed and said “Do you see that warthog down there? The deluxe rooms are just behind him.” And he was not trying to be funny. It was the first time in my life that anyone used a warthog as a point of reference. Only in Africa. . .