I was up before dawn today for another game drive. Unfortunately we did not see anything today that we hadn't already seen yesterday. So I won't bore you with anymore animal pictures. We tried to find giraffes but did not find even one. There are over 16,000 giraffes in the park and not even one would come over and say hi.|
We returned to the lodge after the game drive for breakfast and then checked out and drove back to Zimbabwe. We are now at the Victoria Falls hotel. A very nice classic old hotel.
The picture below was taken from the beautiful grounds of the hotel. You can see the mist rising up from the falls. The bridge you see in the photo below connects Zimbabwe with Zambia. They also bungy jump from the bridge.
This afternoon we took a walk around the falls. This is the high season for the falls. There is so much water going through them that they are hard to see through the mist. I did get a couple nice shots at the beginning of the walk. The rainbows were beautiful.
Below is Devil's Cataract.
It was hard to take pictures. The auto focus on the camera would not work because of the mist. I switched to manual focus but did not do much better.
The trail along the falls is over a mile long. About half way through you start to get really wet and you can't see the falls at all through the mist (more like a downpour).
The picture below shows a nice rainbow over the trail.
The trail ends at the bridge to Zambia.
We returned to the hotel after our walk and dried out. We had a cocktail party at 6:30 followed by a nice dinner out on the terrace with African entertainment. It was a very nice evening. This is the first of three nights here at Victoria Falls. I will write more tomorrow.
Happy Zimbabwe Independence Day Everyone!|
Today was a national holiday here in Zimbabwe. I took it kind of easy today and didn't do a whole lot. This morning I did do one of my favorite things though, I took a helicopter flight over Victoria Falls. In the picture below you can see the small town of Victoria Falls. That is my hotel in the lower left hand corner.
We flew over the mighty Zambezi River. Which is the fourth longest river in Africa.
Of course the main attraction was the falls. The view below is directly on top showing the full length of the falls.
We circled the falls several times from different directions giving everyone on the helicopter a good view.
We also saw animals out in the bush from the flight. We saw Elephants and Giraffes. And others saw a zebra but I missed that. We saw a large group of giraffes running, I assume they were startled by the helicopter. Most of the animals I got only on video, but I did get a picture of a single giraffe.
This afternoon I went to an African market and bought a couple wood carvings. You had to bargain with the locals to get them down to a reasonable price. I heard one of the other members of the group say he was going to bring a few of them home and introduce them to the used car industry.
I relaxed around this beautiful hotel this afternoon. It was another beautiful day. Except for the dust storm in Dubai that one day, every day has been great weather. This evening was very interesting. We actually went and had dinner with local families in their homes. We split the group between three different homes. There were five of us in my group. It was a modest little house. Man, wife, three children ages 16-24, and one grandson. We saw their eldest son and grandson but did not see the other children. Below is a picture of Alfred our host.
It was a very interesting dinner. We ate with our fingers as is the local custom. We were served a huge pile of polenta, a thick ground corn paste. It looks like thick mashed potatoes. Small amounts of about a dozen different items were served with the polenta. Beef stew, chicken stew, kale & peanut butter, fried caterpillars and other items I can't remember. We would scoop up some polenta and then dip that in the other items. I have to say I didn't care much for the food, but it was still a fun evening. The people were very nice and welcoming. We would ask them questions about living in Zimbabwe and they would ask us about America. You could hear their neighbors outside singing African music and playing drums. I don't know if that was a regular occurrence or if they were celebrating the holiday. When we arrived it was still light outside and the neighborhoods were full of people outside celebrating the holiday. We were there for a little over two hours.
Tomorrow is going to be a very full day, up at dawn and won't get back until around 9:30 tomorrow night. So I will get to bed now and report on that tomorrow.
Time is going by fast, my vacation is over half over already. It was up early again today. Our first activity of the day was an elephant ride. We first got to meet our elephants and get acquainted with them. Then it was time to hop on. It was a lot longer ride then I expected, about an hour. We saw a couple other critters out in the bush during our ride. The cute little guy you see in the photo below walked right beside me most of the way.|
As we were walking through the jungle the elephants would reach out with their trunks and break off entire limbs of trees and eat them. Even the little guy. Below is a picture of Jock, the elephant I was riding on. He is the patriarch of this family of elephants and is 29 years old. That is me in the back, Karl from Arizona in the middle and our driver up front.
The little guy decided to take a load off after our walk. He also apparently had beans for breakfast.
After the elephant ride we got to meet Sylvester the cheetah. He is almost three years old and fully grown. His mother was chased off by a lion and never returned leaving him and his four siblings abandoned when they were only a couple days old. Wild Horizons rescued the little ones but Sylvester was the only one to survive. Since he was raised by humans he is too tame to be released back into the wild.
Next we visited a local village and met their chief. A very talkative fellow with some very strong beliefs. He is a medicine man by profession. 18 people live in this village with no electricity or running water. There are hundreds of other villages in this area similar to this one.
We got a three hour break back at the hotel between 1:00 and 4:00. At 4:00 we set out on a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River. It was a very nice and peaceful cruise. We saw a crocodile, a hippo and another group of elephants having fun in the water.
It was another beautiful sunset tonight. The sun sets at almost exactly 6:00.
After our cruise we had a bush dinner under the stars on the banks of the Zambezi River within earshot of the falls. The dinner was really delicious. I had buffalo for the first time, it was really good. After the dinner there was traditional African dancing.
It was a really fun day. I am back at the hotel now for my last night in Victoria Falls. We are flying to Kruger National Park tomorrow afternoon, so we don't have to get up very early tomorrow.
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