Day 9 - Victoria Falls to Sydney- Homeward Bound
We woke at 5:15am and waited in reception for our 6am pick up. This morning a small group of us will be heading down to Victoria Falls National Park to watch the sunrise over the stunning natural wonder. This truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity. With the continuing drought that had gripped the African continent, this natural marvel may not be around for many years to come.
Real Natural Beauty
Victoria Falls at Sunrise is a lot better than during the day.
If we don't do something about climate change this will be completely dry soon.
I organised a sunrise photography and guided tour of Victoria Falls. I highly recommend this. Even if you aren’t interested in the photography aspect, like most of my group, the guide was very knowledgable and guided you to the best spots to see the rising of the sun over the Falls. Throughout the morning will walk the entire length of the falls, so be sure to wear walking shoes. This particular morning there was a slight breeze but not enough to warrant putting on a raincoat.
A glimpse of the Falls through the surrounding rainforest.
Even at the Falls there is wild animals
His a bush big not a warthog.
David Livingstone Statue looking over the falls of which he named.
After our breathtaking final morning in Africa, we headed back to the hotel for breakfast before packing our bags and checking out at 11am.
Now it is time to start the long journey back to Australia.
The unemployment rate in Zimbabwe is 72%. There is a welfare system, but the money gets misallocated before it gets to the people in real need. There is only a 6% crime rate, which is very surprise continuing the high rate of unemployment.
Some travel companies have organised village tours where visitors can donate to villages to help provide money to struggling families.
We arrived at Victoria Falls airport to one of the longest lines I have seen for a check-in counter. I would totally suggest giving yourself plenty of time, a minimum of 3 hours, to check-in and pass through security as the wait times are very unpredictable.
We would have waited around an hour to get to the check-in counter. Once at the counter, I kindly asked the staff member if she could check my bags all the way through to Sydney. By doing this, it meant I didn’t have to exit Johannesburg airport to re-enter again just to check my bags into a different airline. At first, the staff member said a flat no. I think she either didn’t know how to do it or didn’t want it. At the same time, another member of our group was doing the same thing with complete success. I wasn’t going to give in and asked another member of staff to assist. After a good 25 minutes at the check-in counter, I got my bags checked all the way to Sydney, and it’s now time to pass through security and passport control.
Eh. Another long time. What’s with this place and long slow lines. It took another 50 minutes to pass through security. The line was moving at a sloths pace as the security were using two x-ray machines for carryon bags and one body scanner. Everyone needed to remove their shoes. I don’t understand why people wait until they get to the front of the line before starting to remove their shoes. If you see you are getting close, prepare yourself, so you aren’t holding up the line. This goes for checking if you have prohibited items and laptops in your bag.
Next up is passport control. Which you guessed it, is another line. This time there is one passport officer checking passports. The line wasn’t too long as we got through in about 10 minutes. Just in time for our flight to be called. I would have hated to be a passenger checking in late you don’t have enough time to get through the process.
The quick one hour and forty-minute flight from Victoria Falls to Johannesburg were uneventful.
After arriving back at Johannesburg airport, we were all glad we didn’t have to wait in super long lines to pass through security. But just a reminder even when passing through security always ensure you aren’t carrying any small bottles of water. Miriam.
Now we are all waiting around Johannesburg airport to embark on our final legs home. Some fly straight to Sydney, like me, some fly via Perth and others fly via Dubai or home to the UK and Hong Kong.
So what does one do to kill four and a half hours before their flight? Shop!
There is a variety of souvenir stores spread throughout the airport, so before purchasing all your presents from the first store you see, look around first.
We made camp, as we usually do, at one of the restaurants so we could leave our luggage and wander the stores.
At 7:30pm my flight was called. My aunt and I were the first to leave. It was a sad goodbye as we had had a fantastic time together. Many laughs and experienced so many once in a lifetime sights.
The flight back to Sydney was 11 hours and 15 minutes, which happen to be a few hours shorter than expected. The flight was full of screaming babies and no aircon. It was stifling hot. It was getting to a point where I left like I was going to melt. The aircon kidded in about an hour after we left Johannesburg.
As always, the Qantas food and services was very average.
We arrived back to Sydney around 3:30pm.
Travelling to Africa has really been an amazing experience. Seeing so many wild animals up close and experiencing a spectacular sunrise over the magnificent Victoria Falls. This trip is highly recommended for those interested in photography, experiencing a different culture and any all-round traveller.
Accommodation: Cresta Sprayview
Airline: South Africa Airways