The Journey to Victoria Falls…
In continuing our African Journey, we headed from Nelspruit to Victoria Falls to experience something that made Niagara Falls look like a runny faucet.
South African Airlink, much like Skywest with Delta, runs some of the shorter flights inside South Africa and beyond, and the flight itself wasn’t too much to write home about. A coach only flight, the seats were pretty cramped and the service basic, but at a total price of $98 one way, you can’t really complain.
Once we landed in JNB Johannesburg airport, we had about a 2 hour layover, and since the Priority Pass lounge was full, with a 15 person waiting line with a sign outside that said “Sorry, lounge is full, please come back later” we were relegated to the waiting area outside of the gate. It was, as you can imagine, crowded…
Service wasn’t anything so special as to write home about, so much that I actually forgot to take many pics… but here’s our fun “low kilojoule” can of coke 😉
TRAVEL TIP: Make sure that you get off the airplane QUICK. That’s because all On-Arrival Visas are handled on a one-on-one basis, and each one takes at least 3-4 minutes, since they are all processed by hand. They are EXTREMELY slow and hand write everything. By getting to the front of the line, you can get your bag and get on your way. It looked like those who took their time were going to have to wait about an hour just to get through the immigration and visa process. ALSO, have exact change. They will only give you change if someone ahead of you has given them exact change. At the time of writing, the Visa for Americans cost $30.
Once you pass that, it’s just a few short steps to the luggage carousel and then you’re out! There was an immigration area, but when we said “we’re just passing through to Zambia,” they waved us on with no hesitation. Wow, that was easy… almost too easy…
We were met outside by a group of locals performing a dance routine, and our driver was waiting for us to help with out luggage, take us across the border to Zambia, and process all our immigration paperwork. As a good tourist and a supporter of the arts, I tipped them a few dollars. Every little bit you can do to make the lives of locals better, I think you should. $5 might not mean much to you, so go ahead and help out!
The scenery along the ride was awesome, and we were treated to a view of what was to come tomorrow on our tours of the waterfall.
If you find yourself with a couple of extra days in the area, do stay another day on the Zimbabwe side. There are awesome views to be had from that end, but since we were short on time, we opted for the better experience, which is to be had on the Zambia side.
We made a couple of tour guide connections for both Zambia and Zimbabwe, so if you’d like to arrange or book a tour, please do let us know. We can help you with all the setup. It can be a bit daunting to do on your own, as many places require money to be wired or paypal transferred, which can be problematic for many Americans worried about scams. Nevertheless, by booking through us, we’ll make sure that you’re well taken care of.
Do yourself a favor and make sure to see this national treasure up close!