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Capsule Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe – Poems, Pictures & Prose by Saaleha Idrees Bamjee

Capsule Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

I knew that Journalist is a dirty word in Bob’stan.
But surreal, in all the ragged over-use of that word, is the only one that can describe the furtive act of scrawling “Graphic Designer” in the occupation field on the immigration card.

There are other things I learnt in Zim.

  • I found that I could call on the power of GraySkull and prise a lift-door open with my bare hands after a power-cut had me stuck somewhere between the third floor of the hotel and oblivion.
  • You will not find a single coin-operated vending machine anywhere in the country. The Zim$100 000 note is the smallest denomination accepted by Zimbabweans (correct at time of blog). It’s also the first currency I’ve ever seen with an expiry date. The stupid tourist in me was overtaken by the novelty of being given Zim$3.5 million in lieu of ZAR30. But you spend millions in seconds, and all you have to show for it is the corny photograph you took of the notes spilling across your palms.
  • I ate what looked like fish fillets and tomato chutney. I now know that crocodile tastes something like chicken, but not quite.
  • Mosi oa tunya. Indeed it does. And it’s the smoke that leaves you soaked and in awe of the sheer tenacity of water that cleaves through the earth to assert its path.
  • The sunset over the Zambezi is perfect. That’s it. Perfect. Not even a bunch of Indian guys yelling Hindi across international borders to their Babhis over their cellphones could mar the incredible all-encompassing ‘Perfect’ of the moment. And after over-hearing the ‘baw majaa’ comment to Bhabi, I know they thought so too.

Some visuals here.

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I am a writer and photographer (look up my work on based in Johannesburg, South Africa. I have an MA in Creative Writing from the university currently known as Rhodes. My writing accolades include winning the 2014 Writivism Short Story Prize and the 2020 Ingrid Jonker Poetry Prize for my debut collection, Zikr.

4 thoughts on “Capsule Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe”

  1. loooolll Like SG told me, “Take a wheelbarrow for the money.” It was about the only suggestion that was completely accurate (thanfully)!

    Simcards?! Are you kidding- theres no bloody point! the network is so absolutely pants, it takes you a day and a half just to get a bleeding connection- only to break up after seconds followed by yet another day and a half to re-connect *rolls eyes*
    Thank god for romaing eh (and huge phone bills)!

    Vic Falls is stunning isnt it 😀 aahh took my breathe away! saaalleehaa.. i will have to share my pics with you! You have made me reminisce over my trip. Did you go on the Zambezi cruise thingy? Did you see the sun rise with the view of Vic Falls in the background? *sighh* by far the most beautiful sight i have ever seen in my life!

  2. * Obtaining a Zimbabwean simcard is a mission from hell, unless you are a foreigner. Sim cards are not for sale to Zimbabweans, allegedly because the network is too congested.

    * Internet is of the stone age era, taking many loooong minutes to send a few lines to the homefront. Oh ja: cost -> 25 rand per 15 mins.

    * The bugs are the size of elephants! One beetle – which crashed and burnt in front of my hotel room door – was the size of my mobile.

  3. I’m given to hyperbole:)
    Wasn’t that difficult to prise the lift doors open, I think there’s some contingency mechanism enabled for situations like powercuts.

  4. u really got yourself out of the elevator? was there a trapdoor in the roof) (like there always is in the movies)

    the currency thing amuses me – but it’s really sad. hope our country doesn’t end up like that one day.

    lovely pix 🙂

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