Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Where did that baboon go?

From the balcony
As we turned a corner while jogging
Walking to the falls
In Zambia we stayed at a place called the Zambezi Sun, situated inside an actual heritage listed national park. The advantage of this is that as well as being surrounded by bush, animals were roaming free. Some real 'what the...!' moments included walking back from breakfast and finding 8 zebras munching on the lawn. Also one morning going for a jog we came across a giraffe and baby munching on a tree outside some apartments, and on our last breakfast a baboon had to be chased out of the kitchen by the chef and then led the chef and other staff on a merry chase around the grounds and the roof. When you see a tail hanging down from an eave you can't help but find yourself rooting for the monkey.

A break in the mist of Victoria Falls
We did do some actual touring. Firstly was a tour of Victoria Falls, which the locals call Mosi-oa-Tunya (the smoke that thunders). The name fits as we were there while the river was at its height and all you could mostly see is the rising mist and hear the thunder as the water crashes to the bottom. At one point during the trek we walked across a bridge and the water coming up from the falls would soak you from the bottom and then would rain on you as it came back down. The effect was like a shower from all directions at the same time.
Elizabeth mesmerised (and wet)
The power of the falls was palpable and the thunder deafening. In retrospect not the best time of year to actually see the bottom but you could certainly feel and hear it. You can see the spray from miles away.

The afternoon included a really relaxing boat trip on the Zambezi river on the African Queen, we didn't see that much wildlife but saw the most beatiful sunset (picture below). The next day was the fulfillment of a 30 year bucket list item, an African safari. We crossed into Botswana for a full day in the Chobe National Park. The morning was by boat looking mainly for the birdlife and the hippos, we also saw impala, elephants and a crocodile. The afternoon was by open 4 wheel drive where we saw literally hundreds of elephants in herds with whole families and we were so close we could nearly touch them. I am not sure I could ever go to a zoo again after seeing all these magnificent animals in the wild. I gave the guide the mission to find me some giraffes, which he did with only half an hour to go. We also added water buffalo and warthogs to our list.

On the final morning we walked to the railway bridge that crosses the Zambesi river and you get a spectacular view of where the water from the falls comes out. This was where the current bungie jump operator told us the rope broke for an Australian lady last year, not a good selling point. We needed to get a special pass as the bridge is no man's land between Zambia and Zimbabwe and then get another pass to get back in. Shades of that Tom Hanks movie crossed my mind where if something went wrong then neither side would let us in. Zambia and Botswana will go down as a high point in our trip to Africa, beautiful land, animals and people.

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