Visiting Victoria Falls, you have the choice to stay on the Zimbabwe or Zambia side of the falls. I was staying in Zimbabwe but would fly out of Livingstone airport in Zambia so not sure what qualifies as visiting a country but since I had to pay for a visa just to go to the airport, I’m counting it as a very quick visit since we did stop at the Zambezi Sun resort to pick up a passenger before the fun of the airport. Upon entry to the resort, you had a giraffe milling about and were greeted by a group of staff performing a welcome song/dance.
The passenger, a young girl from Singapore had also used my travel agency, Rhino Africa, and was traveling solo as well. We chatted about our travels and stayed together as we were on the same flight to Kruger.
Arriving at the Livingstone airport, it is a small white building with paint peeling off here and there reminding me of airports set in movies. The very helpful locals were outside eager for a tip, the hot British and Australian men were in line and the heat from the sun mid-day only added to the movie like atmosphere. The line snaked down the sidewalk outside of the building and moved slowly and we had no idea why. Eventually we made it inside and the line was in the middle of the room with airline offices on either side of us in small cubicle glass enclosed spaces that you are now familiar with if you watch “Amazing Race”. I commented that I was surprised all of these men were going to Kruger for safari? I was secretly hoping ALL of the British and Australian men were going to Kruger and would be on the flight. It was a bit strange – I thought maybe these were stag trips and quite creative alternatives to the European jaunts I’ve heard about.
As the line barely moved toward the one security x-ray checkpoint through to the airline counters (all four of them in a small room with a few chairs along the wall), it became apparent that ALL the hot men would not be on our flight as they were all in line for the British Air flight to J’Burg on the way home to London. It was then I realized that I hadn’t quite taken advantage of all of the adventure tours at the falls – maybe I should have opted out of the sunset cruise and opted in the whitewater adventure? Oh well, my adventures so far were outstanding with so much more to come. The counter for the flight to Kruger was empty so a quick check-in. Passing another security point we luckily found seats to wait on the flight. The waiting area had three shops and one snack bar so thankfully I had my power bars with me as that was a much better option than a bag of crisps – the passengers were all trying to make do with snacks in lieu of lunch – some opting for an alcoholic snack from the bar. I think the airport would do well to add a food area. So definitely bring your own food or eat well before going to the airport.
Securing our seats while a long line snaked around the shops to board the flight to J’Burg, I had to chuckle (yes, chuckle) as there were two lovely flight attendants outside a plain brown door with a small BA Lounge sign. The hot guys were in there – there being an air conditioned small brown carpet, brown paneled room – nothing like the T5 galleries in London but slightly above our cramped quarters outside looking in. My BA Silver membership had just lapsed (I was downgraded to Bronze) which would not allow me access to this 1970’s version of my wood paneled basement where the air conditioning existed and perhaps a biscuit or two?
The line to board the flight had to go through another security check (yes, this would be three security checks if you are counting all in the span of 1000 feet in this small airport) where the water and other drinks were being confiscated – yes, of course, they sell it to you and don’t tell you it isn’t allowed on board – capitalism is everywhere!
Once that line was boarded, they called another flight and another line formed leaving me and seven people left in the room. One couple on their honeymoon chatted with us and small world find out that they are from New Jersey, less than 30 miles from where I live. There were now eight of us left sitting in the airport – the shops were empty, the bar was deserted and were surmised that we were next to be called. Now here is where I would have just yelled “ok, you guys, let’s go” but they used the loudspeaker to announce the flight and for us to line up – yes, line up to wait for them to announce the flight again, check some boxes, take my water, etc. We then walked out on the tarmac to our plane – a small plane that seats about twenty? I felt like a rock star walking to my private plane with the group.
Next stop: Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve in Kruger National Park, South Africa