Our lodge’s shuttle driver dropped us off directly between our two shopping choices, the very authentic, locals’ market, and the Elephant’s Walk Shops.
“I recommend the local market, you can haggle and get a very good price,” said the driver.
As soon as we emerged from the van, several sellers from the local market made a b-line straight towards us. They were already trying to convince us to part with our dollars, and we hadn’t even crossed the entrance.
“We’re going to go have some breakfast before we shop,” we announced, it wasn’t a lie. That was our plan. We promptly fled into the Elephant’s Walk Shops.
I read great things about The Africa Café before our trip, and was eager to give it a try. It was a colorful, friendly, happy, place.
We started out with coffee, which came with a delicious little cookie.
I couldn’t remember why, whether I heard it on a podcast, vlog, or read about them recently on someone’s blog, but I had toast soldiers on the brain. It was fortuitous that they were on the menu.
My toast soldiers came wrapped in bacon.
The egg holders were adorable.
It’s always satisfying, when you have a certain food on the brain, and then you get to eat it.
Shannon got a dazzling open breakfast sandwich. I had a bite or two. It was super yummy.
The Africa Café sits in the middle of the walk. We watched shop owners stop by for a cup of coffee and a quick chat.
We took extra time to nurse our caffeinated beverages, after two days packed with activity, having a lazy morning was just what we needed.
To be fair, we are not shoppers. Unless it’s a bookstore, food market, or what I assume will be my feelings in Japan, where as a fangirl, I will want to buy all the things, we consider shopping more of a mission. We had one mission, find the one souvenir we try to acquire on every trip, a Christmas ornament. We didn’t care about haggling. We just wanted to get done what needed to be done.
We are introverts. I also deal with some social anxiety. I don’t do well with having strangers purposefully invading my personal space, speaking to me in loud, rapid speech, shoving items at me. I get overwhelmed. It short wires my brain and I can’t think. Instead of being like, why yes good sir or madam, let me take a moment to consider this purchase, it’s more like Monty Python, Runaway, Runaway! And that’s exactly what I do.
High pressure sales tactics do not work on me.
There is controversy surrounding the Elephant’s Walk Shops at Victoria Falls. It’s too fancy, it’s built specifically for tourists, and it takes business away from the local market, but after the previous day, where we had to fend off endless touts, I just needed some space. On a different day, maybe I could have braved the local market.
The shops contain everything from basic souvenirs, to antique books, to fantastic art.
The grounds are tranquil, and there are sculptures dotted here and there.
It didn’t take long to hit Christmas ornament pay dirt. The artist was very nice, and we were happy that it was mission accomplished.
When you travel to an area that is a hive of tourist activity, and is filled with people determined to obtain your money, you may need a little time to recharge your mental health.
I’m sure when someone developed the Elephant’s Walk Shops at Victoria Falls, they weren’t thinking, some people are socially anxious, we should build a place where they can escape and have some quiet and space to eat or shop, but I’m grateful that The Elephant’s Walk exists for introverts.
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