Work; Adrenaline and Natural Beauty
By: Shannon Farrell
Our week started off with us all packing up the Over-lander once again to set off on our last adventure as an intake. We were all quite excited to head up to the famed Victoria Falls but saddened at the prospect that this was to be our last time together.
The trip took rather a long time. Needless to say we were all incredibly relieved to pile off the Over-lander after having being cooped up in there all day! We made quick work of setting up camp and getting everything in order for our first day at our various appointments for our work experience.
Each of us had a different role to perform within our organisations. Most of us were involved with the hospitality industry and travel and tourism. I feel that our three days was incredibly beneficial as we got to experience all the hard work that goes into the appearance and service exhibited in the hotels and lodges. We got to take part in various sections such as house-keeping; office admin; kitchen and bar duties as well as front of house. Some of us even managed to score a free gorge swing for our efforts! Others got to interact with elephants – close up and personal; as well as with a beautiful cheetah by the name of Sylvester!
The town of Victoria Falls itself was picturesque with little shops scattered around full of curios and other such delights – definitely a tourist town! Everything is pretty much within walking distance and when we were not working; we often could be found wandering around the town taking in the sights.
Nightlife was another prominent feature on our trip – with a lot of us going out “on the town” regularly to wind down from our various jobs. We had to celebrate Mr. M’s birthday on the Friday of course and we were treated to some truly talented musicians at the little bar down the road – Shoestrings – which is very popular. It has a lovely vibe to it and is very laid back and fun. At one stage or another we all wound up in the pool – sometimes voluntarily but mostly it was not by personal choice (which of course, made it all the more fun!)
After our three days of work we had a day off to ourselves apart from going crocodile diving – thankfully in a cage! We arrived at the crocodile diving a bit apprehensive at getting into the water with these prehistoric creatures, but excited nonetheless. One of our own was lucky enough to have drawn a slot to work at this particular establishment as well! After a quick briefing and some background information about these ancient reptiles we walked into the cage four at a time to have our experience diving with the crocodiles. AS we were slowly submerged in the pool; we realised how much bigger they are underwater – there was a massive albino crocodile in the pool and we were witness to his huge power and the size of his teeth! It was truly such an amazing experience to be underwater with these creatures and even more so to be able to touch them and shake hands with them! I feel that we all came away having learned something from this experience and definitely gained respect for these beautiful reptiles.
After this our day was mostly free and we wandered around at our leisure – a few of us decided to treat ourselves to some absolutely wonderful food experiences and we also took the chance to do some shopping for gifts and the likes for friends and family. Close to the crocodile diving centre is a lovely area called the “Elephant Walk” which is filled with curios and such things. It definitely provided some interesting barter between us and the vendors! There was an amazing moving artwork done with such intricate details all hooked up with wire and when a handle was turned all the sculptures came to life and moved around – it was truly talented work and so fun to watch.
Saturday heralded the activity that we were all most eager to do – the adrenaline packed white water rafting! Definitely (for me anyway) the highlight of the trip. After a safety briefing and talk on what to expect; we set off in our life jackets and helmets and paddles to the drop off point. The walk down to the starting point was quite steep and took us a little while to get down. Once there and having been refreshed with a bottle of water; we got into the rafts and had a small training session on how to manoeuver the raft and how to pull people back on board and the likes. And off we set down the river! Over the course of a few hours we navigated our way down the Zambezi River through 19 rapids all named with the intent to frighten in my opinion! We had names such “Oblivion” and the “Gnashing Jaws of Death” that we had to guide the boat through. The rapids themselves ranged from Level 1 through to Level 5 and each one was different in their make-up. There was a collision close to the beginning of the course and we were unceremoniously flung into the churning water. Some of us got stuck under the boat for a short-while which proved to be a very frightening experience! Thankfully after a few gulps of fresh air, after what felt like a near death experience, we were all well and off we set to tackle the rest of the course! After being dunked a few more times over the course of a few hours we reached the end point of our journey – we were all quite sad to be getting off the rafts and onto dry land once again. It was an activity that was thoroughly enjoyed by all of us and I think it is definitely something to be done again! Seeing the rapids coming up at you with huge waves and white water foaming and churning around really gives such a rush and getting through one and feeling the spray hit you is a feeling like no other. Facing off against the rapids and winning makes for a triumphant feeling indeed! We didn’t get to do all of the rapids on the course as one of them is a Level 6 and only the very experienced do this as sit is incredibly dangerous and as we walked past it on the banks we could see why we had avoided it – it looked rather menacing! Overall it is something that comes highly recommended from us Questors!
As we filed off onto dry land with all our kit; drenched and sunburnt we looked up at what we had to climb up again to reach the top of the gorge. It was rather daunting to say the least! But on and up we pushed and we were greeted with a wonderful lunch and some ice cold drinks as a reward for our efforts and then it was off back to Rest Camp to relax and recuperate after our adrenaline filled morning. As we got back we saw clouds brewing and though it best to try waterproof our tents – which we managed to do just in time! The rain came down and washed away some of the heat for a short while. Unfortunately it did not last very long and by night fall it was hot again.
The next morning we started packing up to be ready by 8 to go and view the natural wonder that is the Victoria Falls; locally known as Mosi-Ao-Tunya which means the Smoke that Thunders. We walked through the maze of paths that led to all the different viewing points of the falls; constantly under a light deluge of the spray that rises almost as high as the falls themselves. We were serenaded by the constant rolling thunder as the water hit the bottom of the gorge as we walked along the paths. It was breath-taking to see the massive volume of water that tumbles over the steep edge of the ravine; plummeting down into the gorge. One can understand why it is one of seven natural wonders of the world! It was definitely the best ending to the trip and rounded things up beautifully.
The air as we walked back up onto the Over-lander for our very last ride in it was somewhat nostalgic. It meant that our time together was finally drawing to a close and we would soon be saying goodbye. It marked the final closing chapter of our time here at Quest. It also marked a new chapter for each and every one of us as we prepared to part ways and go out to pursue our respective paths. It was bitter-sweet. Both excitement and sadness mingling.
After a 5 month journey, we are now but a few days from graduation. It has been such a wonderful experience and we have done and seen a remarkable amount! Thank you for everything Quest. You have helped us grow into the people we are today. We will all miss the place we have grown to think of as home and the people we think of as family!