25 DECEMBER – CHRISTMAS DAY We were up at 7 a.m. and looked out to a more promising day of weather. We exchanged our presents: Linda gave me Simple Mind’s latest album, Real Life and some chocolates, and I gave her a Zimbabwe t-shirt, and a carved stone hippo. We cooked up a breakfast of bacon eggs and sausages.
A UTC van arrived at 9 a.m. to take us and a lot of other tourists down to the river for a morning cruise on the Zambezi. The cruise lasted for 2 hours and was very pleasant, with the sun shining through the drizzly squalls that persisted. We sat with a British bloke in his Danish girlfriend as we motored up the river as far as the First Cataract. There wasn’t any wildlife to see apart from a couple of hippos just visible out in the middle of the river, but the bush growing to the edge of the water was pleasant and the glassiness of the river was perfect for boating.
Back at camp, we prepared for a second trip down to the Falls. The sun was shining this time, lighting the misty depths of the chasm and spreading rainbows amongst the spray and the rock. The spectacle of the falls was no less impressive on the second viewing, and we took a lot more photos of the falls and each other, dripping wet amongst the downpour of spray.
Our Christmas dinner consisted of potatoes, peas, carrots, and fried luncheon meat, washed down with port, drunk from the bottle, and beer, and then we sat around the camp resting. Paul Stroud, the South London bloke we met at Sable Lodge in Harare, and his girlfriend Lisa, turned up and we arranged to go down to the Victoria Falls Hotel with them for the evening buffet, which proved to be a good cheap feed because of the system they have whereby nobody checks whether or not you have paid!