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Feb 19th, 2009, 05:10 PM
  #1
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Calling "MomLiz"

All your Fodor pals who gave advice about your quandry of whether to visit Victoria Falls want a trip report. Let's hear how the trip went with your family and you! ZZ
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Feb 20th, 2009, 02:20 PM
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It was wonderful! I posted a trip report - I think this should be the URL (hard to say with this new format...)

http://www.fodors.com/community/afri...millipedes.cfm

In short, Zimbabwe was somewhat depressing, but I don't regret going at all. We never once felt scared in regards our safety. The touts left us alone when we said "no thanks" (except for one very persistent and friendly guy). The falls were magnificent! And the kids had a ball with the adrenaline activities, although so much blood rushed to my oldest's head when he did the bungee jump that he said it was unpleasant and he almost blacked out - but he loved it. The Ilala was very nice, filled with white tourists. I wonder if that was what Rhodesia was like? Their history was always in the back of my mind. The money situation was a real annoyance for us, since we had not budgeted well, and so had very little cash left - we loved all our guides in Botswana, and tipped more that we had originally planned, so were running low on cash. But, we managed.

All in all, it was a wonderful way to end the vacation - a real change in so many ways from Botswana. And, actually, aside from only being able to use cash, the political and financial situation of the rest of the country was not immediately apparent. There were a lot of people selling things, and just milling around, but what we saw wasn't greatly different from other third world countries I've visited. When you looked closely, you could see infrastructure falling apart, and I imagine that the contrast to what the country used to be is huge, but as this was my first visit, I can't say for sure. Also, I'm sure Victoria Falls is better preserved than the rest of the country.

I would advise anyone to GO! and see for yourself. The people were super friendly, the Falls were great, and the kids very highly recommend the gorge swing. The flying fox was a disappointment. Here's some info:

http://www.afrizim.com/Activities/Vi.../High_Wire.asp

I know it sounds contradictory when I say it was depressing, but I recommend it, but it was depressing only when you think about what is happening, and what it could be. I hope to think that in encouraging communication with folks, and spending our money there (tips, for example go in the people's pockets, not Comrade Bob), we might help make a difference.







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Feb 20th, 2009, 05:09 PM
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Thank you for the report. You say that the Ilala (hotel) was filled, are you implying that tourism appeared in a healthy state? Or? Did you get any indication of political sentiment among the locals with whom you had contact? ZZ
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Feb 20th, 2009, 09:18 PM
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yes, tourism seemed healthy that night - but we were there new years Eve, and apparently Victoria Falls is where most of the (white?) Zimbaweans go to party new Years Eve.

The people that we talked to seemed not to be happy with the situation, but we were reluctant to press them for details, for fear of endangering them, so we didn't learn much. They seemed more concerned about the economic crisis.
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Feb 23rd, 2009, 06:01 PM
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We loved the Vic Falls as well. I would agree with the advice - GO IF YOU CAN! We stayed at the Kingdom Hotel - it was very empty, but a lovely hotel and great staff! Never felt unsafe. We also got a little caught for cash - we had a change of heart and would have loved to have flown over the falls, but did not have enough hard cash. Maybe next time!
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Feb 24th, 2009, 04:02 PM
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yup, that cash thing is tough - one gets pretty used to just running over to the ATM...

But with better planning than we did, it is easily overcome, and not a reason to not visit Zimbabwe.
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Feb 24th, 2009, 04:43 PM
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Regarding the use of ATMs: I've just gotten a statement from Wachovia Bank through which I have had a VISA card for many years. The rates for getting cash through the ATM overseas encourages me to carry cash, even though there are expenses related to it. ZZ
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Feb 24th, 2009, 04:52 PM
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The way I see it, you have to weigh the risks of taking cash (losing it) against the added cost of using an ATM. Do you buy travel insurance? Same thing.

regards - tom
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Feb 25th, 2009, 01:52 AM
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some banks also have more fees than others...
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