Posted by: christine on Tuesday, February 26th, 2008 at 4:08 am
tagged boat safari, Botswana, choebe national park, kasane, kudu and Zambia
We left Livingstone, Zambia and took a ferry across to Botswana. From there we headed to Kasane, which is the nearest entry point into Chobe National Park. When we turned up at the gate, they asked us if we had a 4×4 as it was 7km to the lodge. We had to laugh, considering the 75km off-road we did at Mana Pools in Zimbabwe. Without any difficulty we made our way to the lodge, and even took in some kudu and hippos along the way.
Upon arriving we were shuffled onto a skimmer boat safari– looking at water monitors, baby crocodiles and miscellaneous birds in the water. We also observed chacma baboons, warthogs, elephants and impalas all enjoying the same watering hole. It was interesting to see the interaction between the animals–an elephant flapping its ears, stomping and trumpeting in response to the pesky baboons, the warthogs completely ignoring the situation, and the often-frightened impalas waiting their turn to drink from the water. A few minutes later, several families of elephants emerged from the bush to cool down from the heat of the afternoon sun.
As we continued on our way, we could see lightning in the distance. It was brilliant, and some bursts of lightning not only lit up the sky, but looked like it was bursting into fire itself. Rather than head back to the safari lodge, our guide continued on our way. The flash storm caught up to us; the rain coming down in sheets, creating waves in the once still river waters. The rocking of the boat from the wind forced us to beach the boat. Once our guide, Kelly tied down the boat, she ran up a hill and we thought she was abandoning us, but then we realized she “popped a squat” behind a bush. We all had quite a laugh about that! We waited on the boat for the rain to pass– we couldn’t drive the boat for fear of tipping, and we couldn’t walk for fear of the animals. Finally after 45 minutes, a safari vehicle showed up to rescue us. All 13 of us hopped on to the truck completely drenched and shivering. It was also kind of funny, as we all had those orange life jackets on sitting in the truck.
Posted by: christine on Monday, February 25th, 2008 at 7:36 am
tagged microlight, unesco, victoria falls, zambezi river and Zambia
Here I am on a microlight flight above Victoria Falls (you can see the mist coming up from the falls behind me). I like this photo because you can see the zig-zag of the Zambezi River, and how deeply the gorge runs through the land.
Posted by: mike on Sunday, February 24th, 2008 at 12:21 pm
|This is Anthony …
||and this is his sworn enemy, the Vervet Monkey
The Royal Livingston Lodge employs Anthony to keep the vervet monkeys away from the Lodge. As Christine can attest, these monkeys have no fear, and will go after anything. They will go into your room, steal food from your table or run off with your car keys. They look absolutely adorable, but these guys can be true pests. Ala Bill Murray in Caddyshack, Anthony, armed with his trusty slingshot and a few pebbles, faces a never ending battle between man and beast. We haven’t seen Anthony actually hit one yet. In fact half of the time they see him coming and he just snaps the slingshot and they run away. Not a big fan of the vervet monkey, maybe tomorrow Christine will slip him a few bucks for a shot at one.
Posted by: christine on Sunday, February 24th, 2008 at 11:35 am
tagged livingstone, rainbow, seven natural wonders, unesco, victoria falls, waterfalls, zambezi river and Zambia
“The Smoke that Thunders” is the Kololo name for Victoria Falls. We spent 3 days enjoying the falls viewing it from the town of Livingstone on the Zambian-side. We walked to the Knife Edge, which requires us to cross a footbridge and get soaked by the mist. The rains in the north flowing down the Zambezi River kept the waterfalls full and bursting, and a beautiful sight to behold.
Posted by: christine on Saturday, February 23rd, 2008 at 11:33 am
tagged border crossings, harare, running out of petrol, Zambia and Zimbabwe
After a difficult border crossing with the Zimbabwean customs agents telling us we did not have the proper paperwork for our Sani, we finally made it into Zambia. My guess is that they were trying to find something to charge us for, but eventually gave up and just let us go. We set off into Zambia with a sigh of relief to be out of Zimbabwe. It hasn’t all been bad in Zimbabwe, the people seem very friendly. In fact, on our way into the country, we met a Zimbawean also crossing the border who helped us at customs and gave us his phone number in Harare, offering to show us around. For the most part, it’s hard to criticize the Zimbabweans for what they have to resort to in order to make money. It must be difficult to live under a government where corruption is not only condoned, it’s rewarded. I don’t imagine most people want to use deception to make money, but it’s the only way.
Well, we thought we were free and clear in Zambia, knowing we could get gas anytime we want, little did we know…Thirty km or so after the border crossing, the truck wasn’t running very well–not accelerating over the hills, and sputtering. Another 5km pass, and on the way up a hill, the engine cuts off, and we roll back down onto a bridge that is a construction site. By this time we realize that we are out of gas, which doesn’t seem possible considering the 80L we just put in at the border should take us about 600km. I can’t confirm this, but it’s likely we paid $140 and didn’t get any gas in Zimbabwe. The construction workers come to see why we are stopping on their worksite. And Mike learns that the nearest town is about 8km. He hitches a ride with a jerry can in hand. Only about 6 cars pass before someone is willing to give him a lift. According to Mike, he got in and they cranked up the radio, and didn’t say a word. He returned an hour later with gas, and we were on our way, again.
Posted by: christine on Friday, February 22nd, 2008 at 11:45 am
tagged mana pools national park, Mutare, unesco, Zambia and Zimbabwe
We had no intention of spending more than one night in Zimbabwe(which we did at the Holiday Inn at Mutare), but then at the last minute we decided to detour to Mana Pools National Park, where there are no fences between you and the animals. It’s noted for it’s great beauty, and therefore a UNESCO World Heritage site. The park is off the main highway and one of the last stops before the border of Zambia. We arrived at the park office around 5:30pm, and received approval to head to the gate and into the park (the gate usually closes at 3:30pm). Once we arrived at the gate, we were told it was another 30km on a potholed dirt road to the checkpoint. After an hour we arrived, and were told to continue on another 45km to the campsite. Looking at the fuel gauge, we figured we had enough to get to the campsite and back with just a little to spare.
By this time it’s dark out with still the last 20km to go, we run into an elephant bull in the middle of the road side. Rather than move back into the bush, the elephant decides to walk towards us, and keep walking towards us. Mike backs the car up, but he keeps following us. His ears are flapping, and is aggressively shaking his trunk. He backs us up about 1km, and by this time we decide we need to take action, as this elephant won’t give up. At one point, the elephant is slightly off to the side of the road and we decide this is our chance to get past. As we inch forward, the rogue elephant moves its body back into the road. Mike guns the engine, but forgets to shift gears, so the engine is roaring, and the elephant rears on its hind legs and jumps right into the bush. We were scared,and so was the elephant who went tearing into the bush. (It was kind of funny in the end, and I felt sorry for the elephant, too).
Initially we planned to camp, as they said there were no cabins available, but when we arrived, it was pitch black(and not possible to make camp), so we were offered lodging in a chalet. The guide told us the price, but said for us he would give the South African rate (which was half price). The way he gave us the offer Mike and I both knew he planned to pocket the money. It’s off-season at Mana Pools, and we were the only guests in the entire park. Eventhough we had a thatched chalet, the accommodations were rundown — the door was a gate, the windows had no glass, only chicken wire and a screen. Giant spiders lived inside. No running water. I slept in a twin bed, suffocating from the heat of the night with the mosquito net tucked under the mattress. All night we heard an orchestra of sounds– peacocks cackling, monkeys calling each other, hippos grunting, and an elephant trumpeting.
The next morning we woke up to birds chirping softly and viewed the beauty of Mana Pools, so different during the day than at night.