The bush continues to deliver…They’re back but not all of them…

We returned on Friday evening.  These were our visitors on Saturday afternoon.  We’re back!

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

This morning, Miss Kudu was on the road by our house after a pleasant visit after which she wandered down our driveway.  What a glorious morning!

It appears we’ve exhausted sharing our photos of Victoria Falls, Chobe National Park, Chobe River and the Zambezi River.  What a fabulous experience, we’ll always treasure.  Not only did we love every moment but we had such fun together with never a dull moment.

My favorite, “Miss Kudu” didn’t waste any time stopping to see us.

Now, back in Marloth Park, we’ve had an opportunity to see some friends and more social gatherings will follow soon.  Yesterday afternoon we visited Gail and Mark at their home along the Crocodile River. 

It took a few days for the mongoose to realize we’d returned.  Of course, scrambled eggs were on the menu.

We’d written a post about Gail’s heroic experience with an abandoned chimpanzee in Liberia and subsequently had written a book “Her Name is Missy” which is available for purchase here.   They’d joined us for dinner last month and we look forward to spending more time with both of them.

This afternoon we’re visiting a new couple we met this morning who are both Marloth Park Honorary Rangers.  We’ll be preparing an interesting story we’ll share in tomorrow’s post after we interview them further.

The two “boys” are back with “Little Wart Face” in the background.

This morning, Louise stopped by to bring me a choice of a variety of tea strainers to use for the delicious loose tea we’d purchased at the Livingstone Airport from the new little shop as mentioned in a post of a few days ago which can be found here.  Of course, I couldn’t let her leave without sharing some of my outstanding tea for her to take home.

Tom favorite “Little Girl” bushbuck came to see us the first morning we were back from Zambia.

This magical place is a plethora of fascinating people each with their own unique stories to tell.  Over these next few months we’ll be adding more stories and photos about local citizens and their individual contributions to Marloth Park, it’s wildlife and it’s surroundings. 

Kudus along the side of the road on our way to the little market.
We feel fortunate to have the opportunity to meet so many wonderful people and hear about their lives and, their motivation for living in this magical place.  Tom always asks the question, “How did you discover or hear about Marloth Park?
All zebras have those black spots on the inside of their legs.  This spot is naturally callused so when they’re lying down they can place their sharp hooves on this spot and prevent from injuring themselves.  Nature…amazing!

 The answers are varied and ultimately interesting.  No two stories are alike.  “And how did we find it?” we’ve been asked. 

In 2012, shortly after we decided to travel the world I sat in a chair in our family room for nearly 12 hours each day searching for where we’d live in Africa, my dream continent to explore.  It was via a photo Louise had posted on her website as shown below. 

Warthog in the kitchen doing “crumb patrol.”  See this post from the day we originally posted this photo.

This photo so bespeaks what triggered our passion to be here.  Those of you who’ve followed us for years surely understand.  Speaking of warthogs, sadly we have not seen Scar Face in over two weeks. We’d heard a warthog with a huge hole in his face had been “culled” while we were gone.  My heart sank. He was doing so much better, we thought.

But, now after speaking with several locals, they say there were two warthogs with holes in their faces, one large and one small.  The larger of the two was culled.  Scar Face was small so we’re hoping it wasn’t him.

This bushbuck mom and her baby have been visiting for months.  The baby certainly has grown, hasn’t she?

This morning we spoke to the above mentioned Honorary Rangers and they stated they’d seen a small warthog with such an injury in the past week that appeared to be healing.  We hope he’ll return and we have the opportunity to see him again.

It’s so easy to get wrapped up with certain animals here in the bush.  It’s funny how many of us get the same “visitors” and we each have our own names for them.  We’ve been able to interact with many of our “regulars” since we’ve returned but not Scar Face, Wart Face or Frank so far.

Last night after dark, “Mom, Two Piglets and Auntie” came back to see us along with another boy group of four zebras.

 We’ll be sitting outdoors day and night waiting for them to appear, except for the few times we leave to tour the park or go shopping.  We’ll post updates and photos here, of course.

That’s all for today folks!  Please check back tomorrow for our new story as mentioned above.

Have a meaningful Monday!


Photo from one year ago today, May 21, 2017:

Photos don’t do Hubbard Glacier justice.  It was stunning. It’s hard to believe we were there a year ago today! For more photos, please click here.

A Royal Wedding watching party in the bush…Close encounters of the elephant kind…

Albert our guide in Chobe National Park and on the Chobe River had pulled the safari vehicle close to the river so we could check out some crocs near the end of this post regarding this story).

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Impalas are very skittish around humans making it difficult to take photos of them when they rarely visit.  This male was moderately interested in a few pellets.  But, when he heard a noise in the bush he took off.  When fighting for dominance during mating season, they bark like a  crazed dog, the weirdest sound we’ve heard in the bush.

Today, we’re sharing two stories, one an unreal elephant encounter in Chobe National Park and another, yesterday’s Royal Wedding viewing party I attended on Saturday at Jabula Lodge.

I sat at this table with Gail, Leslie, Pat, and Jeanine.

I’d hesitated to commit to attending the party when the invitation was posted on Facebook several days ago.  My concern was we’d be preparing to leave South Africa if and when our passports didn’t get stamped for another 90 days and the last thing on my mind would have been the Royal Wedding.

As it turned out, for those of you who may not have seen yesterday’s post (please click here), we were able to have our passports stamped for another glorious 90 days we’re able to stay in South Africa…in Marloth Park.  We couldn’t have been more thrilled.

Also, included in our viewing group Gail, Danelle and Rhona.

Thus, I kept my RSVP intact and joined the lovely women after I’d completed and uploaded yesterday’s post.  I was exhausted from lack of sleep the prior night, our first night back in Marloth since I kept awakening wanting to see if any visitors were stopping by. 

Dawn, Felix and Lynn (behind the bar).  

“Settle down,” I reminded myself, “They’ll be plenty of time for visitors.” But, sleep alluded me and I was awake from 3:00 am on.  Last night, I did better after a great homemade meal on the braai and managed to sleep a full eight hours, only awakening from time to time.  It’s amazing how a good night’s sleep makes us feel the next day.

Dawn, the owner of Jabula, had arranged a beautiful spread for the ladies.  She’d offered to make something for me but I wasn’t hungry.

The party was fun.  I knew a few of the women in attendance and had the opportunity to meet several others.  The food, the champagne, the decorations and the festivities were totally delightful. 

Three baby elephants were off at a distance and the moms were angry they’d wandered off.  They started calling for them and they came running.  This happened so quickly we had no time to react and take a video.  When the babies returned it appeared the moms were scolding them as they kicked up sand while bellowing.

Although there wasn’t food suitable for my way of eating, Dawn offered to have the kitchen prepare a few items for me but I politely declined.  I wasn’t hungry and eating was the last thing on my mind.

They were so close to us we didn’t need to use any zoom on the camera.

I didn’t have much interest in the Royal Wedding but it was fun to see her dress and the hats and clothing worn by the guests…such a wide array of colors,, styles and personalities. 

The huge matriarch came from a short distance and ran toward the herd to see what was going on.

The chatter around the table was entertaining and interesting and I was never bored for a moment.  With my short attention span, a true personality flaw, I always make every effort to stay engaged and connected whether in a group or one-on-one.  It was no problem yesterday with the playfulness and banter between the women.

A few stragglers who’d been grazing followed suit.

By 2:00 pm, Tom stopped in to pick me up, taking a few minutes to meet everyone and then we were on our way back “home.”  I hesitate to use the word “home” when we truly are homeless nomads but here in the bush, it feels like a home not so much due to the house, but as to our comfort in living in this environment.

As for the second part of today’s story, we are still reeling from last week’s exceptional elephant encounter in Chobe National Park.  I don’t need to write much about it here today.  

 One baby insisted on suckling after all of the action.

By following the photos and the captions, the story will be clearly told.  All I can add is that it was unlike any elephant encounter we’ve had in the past, one we’ll always remember.  What a spectacular week we had!

Things started to settle down.

Today, we’ll embark upon our usual drive through Marloth Park to see what we can find.  However, after yesterday’s rainy day and predictions for more rain today, we may have to postpone for another day.

Finally, they decided to wander off.

We’ve only had a handful of visitors today; one guinea fowl, one female bushbuck and one male impala as shown in the above photo.  

Weekends tend to be quieter in the bush when there are more tourists and subsequently more cars in the park.  We always look forward to Mondays for that very reason.

The worry exhibited by the moms was heartwarming to witness.  We were grateful to have witnessed such an event.
And, another calf began suckling.
Have a peaceful and meaningful Sunday, wherever you may be.

Photo from one year ago today, May 20,2017:

In each of the ports of call in Alaska, we’ve noticed several fur shops including this shop in Juneau.  For more details, please click here.

We’re back in Marloth Park…Immigration shocker!…Recap of Victoria Falls…All new photos…

There were endless openings at Victoria Falls that excellent allowed viewing.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

We shot this photo on the Chobe River.  We’d have preferred a better view of the inside of the hippo’s mouth.  Hippos open their mouths wide, to show how mean and powerful they are.  No doubt, we were spotted and told to take off.

It was a dark and dreary night as we drove to Jabula for dinner after arriving back in Marloth Park around 6:00 pm.  On the way, we encountered three giraffes, two zebras, two bush bucks and one dead puff adder snake on the paved road.  We were “home.”

The rushing water came up to the edge of the viewing area.

After weeks of me worrying about our immigration issue of having used all of the 90-days allowed in our visa and the possibility of not being let back into the country other than to pack and leave, no words can describe our elation when we arrived in Nelspruit/Mpumalanga airport and received a new 90-day stamp in our passports…no questions asked.

One might think that leaving the country for a week to a country that is not bordering South Africa, would be a sure bet we could return.  But, after considerable research, we discovered leaving to visit a non-bordering country doesn’t ensure a new 90-day visa.

Rainbows from the spray.

We could easily have been refused the visa and told we had to return to our “home country” in order to return to South Africa for another 90-days.  Arriving in Nelspruit helped.  Had we traveled through Johannesburg, there’s a strong possibility we’d have been refused.  The law states they can give us seven days to “clear out.”

In checking the cost of returning to the US, it would have been over ZAR 127,714, (US $10,000) to return to Minnesota, including round trip airfare between South Africa and the USA, a cheap hotel and a rental car for a paltry nine days.  During that period, we’d still have been paying for the house in Marloth Park. 

Adding in the cost of meals and expensive miscellaneous items in Minnesota and we’d have been looking at quite a chunk of money.  At this point, we have plans including cruises to take us back to the US in 2019 which ultimately is a lot less expensive.

The power of the falls left us is awe.

Our other option was considerably less expensive which was to fly to New York, stay two nights in a hotel and turn around and fly right back to South Africa.  We could have accomplished this for around  ZAR 38,314, (US $3,000) which we may have to consider in three or six months in the event we’re asked to leave.

The sound of the rushing water was deafening. 

In the meantime, we have the next 89-days to revel in our busy and happy lives in Marloth Park with the amazing wildlife and our equally amazing human friends, many of whom are coming back and forth from homes in other parts of the world.

When we arrived at the airport after the pleasant flight from Zambia, to head directly to the only immigration officer on duty, my heart was in my throat.  Tom was a cool as a cucumber not even slightly concerned.  Usually, it’s the other way around.

The magnificence of Victoria Falls.

But, I was the one that spent almost three hours in the middle of the night, reading everything I could find on South Africa’s immigration laws.  Based on our situation, the outcome didn’t look good.  It appeared we’d have to leave, return to the US and then, return to South Africa, not a good option.


Well, we have been approved to re-enter and we practically skipped to the rental car desk to get yet another long-term rental car that will see us through until August 15th, when the visa period ends once again.

We’re aren’t certain where we’ll go next time but most certainly it will be a non-bordering country on the continent of Africa.  We have a few ideas and will share them once we make a decision and book the next trip.

There were many rainbows at the falls.

Hertz gave us a free upgrade and we got a slightly larger car, a VW something, that has power door locks and windows.  What a treat that is!  The tires look good, the AC works well and it even has a clock.  (Some of the cheap cars we rent have none of the above). 

The return drive to Marloth Park was long when we encountered a bad accident in Malelane that tied up traffic for no less than 30-minutes.  Also, there were many trucks on the single lane N4 (highway) and Tom’s who’s an inpatient driver, insisted on passing every truck in our path.  It was great to get back into Marloth Park at the security gate and head to our bush home.

The charming shop is Big Hippo Love located at the Livingstone, Zambia airport.

While we were gone, Louise had arranged for a deep cleaning of the house.  When we walked in the door to find the TV working, lights left on for us and the house has been totally “spring cleaned” and beautifully “detailed” we couldn’t have been more appreciative.

One thing we’d like to mention is a wonderful experience we had with two lovely shopkeepers at a newly built tea shop at the Livingstone Zambia airport where we were able to sit comfortably while I sipped on exquisite organic herbal tea. (Tom surprised me and purchased two packages of the tea I loved, enough to last for a few months).

The girls were so kind and thoughtful.

We chatted with the two adorable shopkeepers and had a fabulous time.  If you ever get to Zambia, stop by and say hello for us.  We’ve included a few photos of our visit to the shop.

Soon, at around 11:00 am Tom will drop me off at Jabula for a special women’s “tea” event to watch the Royal Wedding on TV.  There will be about 12 of us girls in attendance and it should be fun.  I can’t recall the last time I did a “girls only” get together. 

Not only do they carry delicious healthful teas but also a wide array of interesting African inspired merchandise.

Tonight, just the two of us will do a braai while we set up our nighttime routine in hopes of seeing more visitors.  Since we’ve been gone a week it may take a few days for our usual group of visitors to realize we’ve returned.  Although so far this morning we’ve had two kudus, two bushbucks stop by and an ostrich walking down the dirt road. We’ll wait patiently.

Tomorrow, we’ll continue sharing more photos we’ve yet to present here from our outstanding trip to Zambia. 

Have a happy weekend!


Photo from one year ago today, May 19, 2017:

The Ketchikan sign over the boulevard as we wandered about the historic city.  For more Alaskan photos, please click here

Final expenses for Zambia trip…Heading back to Marloth Park…Hotel and other photos….

Three Egyptian geese on the shore of the Chobe River.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Bird’s nest at the  Protea Hotel by Marriott, Livingstone.

It was an exceptional trip and we’re so happy we had the opportunity to experience these three countries in Africa: Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana.  Each is unique in its own way and in each case, we felt welcomed, safe and in good hands as we embarked on our various tours.

Another aspect of this trip we’d failed to mention which greatly enhanced the experience in Zambia has been our seven-night stay at the Protea Hotel by Marriott, Livingstone.

The beautiful restaurant and bar at the Livingstone hotel at night.

Rated as a four-star hotel by various booking sites, we were thrilled to be able to stay in this convenient location with services and amenities befitting our criteria for comfortable travel.

Although the king room was typical for most mid-range hotels, the bed and bedding were of a good quality, the room amenities satisfactory including a hot kettle with supplies for coffee or tea, excellent air con, and much to our liking, windows that open with screens, an amenity rarely found in hotels.  Plus, good quality, complimentary Wi-Fi is included in the rooms and common areas.

The walkway from the guest rooms toward the lobby/entrance of the  Protea Hotel by Marriott, Livingstone.

Breakfast was included in our package which we purchased through Expedia on our website.  The complimentary meal was available beginning at 6:30 am, until 9:30 am with times changing on weekends from 6:30 am to 10:00 am. 

The food is hot, fresh and well prepared in a pleasing buffet with many options and special orders for eggs cooked to perfection. Most mornings, Tom had fried eggs and I had poached, except yesterday when I ordered an excellent omelet. 
The coffee and tea is served table side at no extra charge and many juices and water with lemon and orange slices is available at breakfast and throughout the day.

We dined at the hotel in this area during our seven-night stay.  The food and service were good.

On a few evenings, we dined at the hotel when we preferred to eat in. The food is good, although not necessarily exotic and can fulfill the needs of most tourists.  Preferring to experience a more authentic Zambian meal we ventured out on five of our seven nights.

Last night, we returned for a second time to the restaurant the locals consider #1 in Livingstone, listed on TripAdvisor as #4, Café Zambezi, a definitely exotic and inviting restaurant filled with local charm and culture.  Again, our meal was spectacular.

Bar seating area surrounded by a Koi pond.

The Protea Hotel by Marriott, Livingstone provides some of the most impeccable services we’ve seen in hotels during our years of world travel.  The staff is ultra friendly but in a genuinely kind and caring manner. 

They proved to respond to each request with the utmost of attention and detail.  Management staff is readily available often stopping by to say hello and asking of there was anything we needed. 

We highly recommend this hotel to any travelers seeking a pleasant, easy environment whether they’re in Zambia conducting business or visiting to see the many wonders in the area.  Most of the tours are within a 45-minute drive from the hotel.

We enjoyed a few drinks in this bar on a few evening. 

The hotel can arrange transportation to and from the airport and all of the tours through their highly competent concierge staff.  We had the fine opportunity to work with Mapoma Chipasha who went over-the-top to help in many ways in helping us with a few details. 

He’s highly competent and knowledgeable in arranging tours and may be reached at  Yesterday, he provided me with a list of the events we engaged in during our seven-night stay. 

For kwacha 9550.92 (ZAR 11,826.34, US $944) a visitor can ask Mapoma to arrange all the same tours that made our experience in Zambia exceptional which includes:

1.  Round trip to the airport from the hotel
2.  Victoria Falls on the Zambia side with a private guide
3.  Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side with a private guide
4.  Chobe National Park safari with guide
5.  Chobe River safari with guide
6.  Lunch at Chobe Safari Lodge between the above two safaris
7.  Sunset cruise on the Zambezi River on the Lion King, appetizers, and all drinks included.
8.  Transportation and taxes are included in each of the above experiences.

Many other tours are available including many high adventures including white water rafting, bungee jumping, ziplining, parasailing, ultralights, helicopter rides (too expensive for our budget right now) and many more.

Huge bright pink rose.

Although we were very happy with our tour arranger, Chris Tours, many hotel guests feel more comfortable booking tours through their hotel.  No doubt, either option is highly satisfactory, most likely using the same companies and guides included in these popular local events.

Following is our usual final expenses, including figures also calculated for the South African Rand (ZAR):

 Expense   US Dollar   South African Rand (ZAR) 
 Hotel & Flights (rt) 7 nights   $                  2,730.22  $                      34,138.42
 Tours   $                     759.01  $                        9,490.59
 Taxi   $                        71.78  $                            897.53
 Dining Out   $                     131.00  $                        1,638.01
 Tip  $                     114.66  $                        1,433.70
 Visa (Zambia Immigration)   $                     100.00  $                        1,250.39
 Pharmacy & Misc.   $                        42.08  $                            526.16
 Total   $                  3,948.75  $                      49,374.80
 Avg Daily Cost    $                     564.11  $                        7,053.58

This morning, we’re off to the airport at 11:00 am.  Our flight is at 1:35 pm and we should be back in Marloth Park by 6:00 pm, considering the long drive from Nelspruit/Mpumalanga.

Yellow hibiscus on the ground of the hotel.

Our thanks to the hotel staff, our tour operator Chris Tours, Alec our tour driver, and all of the fine support staff that made this week-long experience one we’ll always cherish as one of the highlights of our world travels. 

We especially connected with our taxi driver Matthew who is a kind and generous man who is very chatty, offering a wealth of information on the area along with many local cultural morsels of wisdom.  Matthew may be reached at  If you plan to come to Zambia, he’s the guy to call for local transportation.

Pretty orange bloom.

Next time you hear from us, we’ll be back in Marloth Park sitting on the veranda while waiting for our “friends” to stop by for some pellets.  We were out of carrots and apples when we left, but I assure you, we’ll be heading to the market very soon.  Of course, we’re looking forward to seeing our human friends, too!

Have a glorious weekend!


Photo from one year ago today, May 18, 2017:

The waning sun creates an impressive beam of light of the sea from the deck of the Celebrity Solstice in Alaska.  For more photos, please click here.

Sunset Cruise on the Zambezi River…A dream fulfilled…A romantic night we’ll always remember…

Of all the boats available for a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River, we chose the Lion King which had the highest reviews of all the options.  We thoroughly loved the experience.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

We could heat the loud bellows from the hippos but most of them were tucked away under the vegetation along the banks of the Zambezi River.

Today is our last full day in Zambia.  Tomorrow at 11:00 am Alec will pick us up for the ride to the airport for our return flight to Nelspruit, South Africa.  Of course, we’re excited at the prospect of returning to Marloth Park, South Africa.

We boarded the Lion King by 4:00 pm and were back at the hotel by 6:30 pm.

Always a happy reality of our world travels…we never feel we have to end our holiday/vacation to go “home” to return to work, tend to piles of snail mail, or handle piles of dirty laundry. No doubt, Marta will insist on helping us get our clothes washed, on the clothesline and neatly folded.

Bee Eaters make nests and burrow into holes they create in the river bank.

We’ll unpack, sort the dirty laundry for washing, put away the toiletries and in no time at all our stunning routine will be firmly back in place.  A quick trip to Komatipoort for groceries sometime over the weekend and we’ll be set.  Most likely, tomorrow night, we’ll dine at Jabula or stop at Hamilton’s in Malelane on the way from Nelspruit to Marloth Park.

Somehow the bee eaters know how high they should build their burrows above water level.

Last night’s sunset cruise on the Zambezi River was a perfect end to our amazing tours while staying in Zambia.  We couldn’t have been more thrilled with the boat, the gorgeous weather, the staff, the included food and drinks, the views along the river and the fabulous live music played on the “marimba” a popular African instrument.  See here for details.

The boat staff on another cruise, the African Queen was relaxed with so few passengers on board their boat. The Lion King carries 105 passengers but there was only 10 of us.  Tom and I had the entire upper deck to ourselves during the two-hour cruise.

With the entire upper deck to ourselves, along with a few staff members, we were really able to freely enjoy ourselves, being silly and playful, moving around the deck as we pleased when taking photos without anyone’s heads in our way.  It couldn’t have been more perfect.

Last night, we spotted this resting crocodile on the banks of the Zambezi River.

The average cost for the Lion King, which includes basic appetizers, wine, beer, and cocktails were kwacha 702 (US $70) per person and was well worth it.  Overall, the cost of the tours was not cheap. 

Check out those teeth! Crocs are able to replace each of their 80 teeth, up to 50 times in their 35 to 75-year lifespan.

One can plan to spend close to kwacha 10,030 (US $1,000) for quality tours in Zambia.  We write more on this in tomorrow’s post when we list our total final expenses, including tours, dining out, hotel bill, taxis, taxes, and tips. 

“Photo op over, humans! I’m outta here!” he said.

We paid a little less by booking through Chris Tours than we would have through the hotel but when booking through the hotel, the traveler can put the cost of the tours on the hotel bill and subsequent credit card, whereby we had to pay in cash as mentioned in earlier post. 

The friendly staff served us drinks and snack included, most of which I couldn’t eat.  As usual, Tom ate mine and I had a bite back at the hotel, later in the evening.

But, if paying in cash is not an inconvenience it may be worth saving about kwacha 1,003 (US $100).  In the end, it all worked out well for us.  Some travelers prefer to work through the hotel since they feel more comfortable knowing the hotel will stand behind the quality of the tour. 

Enjoying the sunset over the Zambezi River was a special treat and a great end to our time in Zambia.

In our case, we lucked out in several ways; in finally getting the cash from an ATM;  in getting the ATM card back from the bank where the machine “ate it” on Saturday morning and in having great service from Chris Tours in coordinating all of our activities.  Safari luck, again.

It was surprising how many boats were on the river for sunset.

Now, as we sit in the restaurant, preparing today’s post on another perfect weather day, we can’t stop smiling over the fabulous time we’ve had.  Not only was last night’s sunset cruise, a delightful experience but we’re continuing to revel over the other tours we’ve done during our time in Zambia.

And soon, the sun started to wane.

We leave tomorrow with the utmost respect and admiration for the Zambian people, many of whom make a living in the tourist industry and handle their clientele with the utmost of dignity and care. 

We moved about the upper deck we had to ourselves several times while taking photos.

Today, we’ll start working on tomorrow post’s final expenses and the review of the hotel.  We still have many other reviews to complete at TripAdvisor for restaurants, tours, and venues we’ve experienced during our time in Zambia.  We hope to complete all of this in the next 24 hours.

Some cloud cover helps create a stunning sunset.

By the time we leave tomorrow, we’d like to have completed all of these necessary components including updating our spreadsheets with the figures.  Thus, when we return to Marloth Park, we can focus on getting back into the groove of our wonderful life with the animals and humans, living in the glorious bush!

And then, it was gone and our boat, the Lion King headed back to the starting point.

May your day bring a smile to your face to see you through the day and evening.

The evening ended too quickly.  We had such a great time on the peaceful cruise but continued our good time back at the hotel.

Photo from one year ago today, May 17, 2017: 

It wasn’t cold outside on the decks as we cruised to Alaska on the inside passage as one might think.  We wandered outdoors without jackets and it was cool but comfortable.  For more photos, please click here.

Part 2…Chobe National Park safari and Chobe River cruise…Interesting geography, culture and much more…

A small but substantially packed ferry arriving in Zambia from Botswana while we waited.  This reminded us of the ferry boat when we arrive in Mombasa, Kenya in September 2013.  Click here for that post.
Riding the ferry is free for people but not for vehicles between Zambia and Botswana but, to disembark it requires removing one’s shoes and walking in the water.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

A kingfisher and his catch-of-the-day.  Not a perfect shot but we were thrilled to get this while on the move.

At the moment, as I begin today’s post, I’m sitting alone outdoors at the hotel restaurant while Tom has gone with Matthew, our regular taxi driver, to the bank where one of our debit cards was swallowed by the ATM on Saturday.

This is where we stood and waited for the little boat to take us across the Zambezi River.  A bridge is being built to accommodate the crossing which could be completed by the end of 2019.

Yesterday our free day, Matthew drove us to the bank only to find the bank manager, the only person who can release the card, was out and none of the staff knew when he’d return.  We couldn’t wait around all day for him to return.  We returned to the hotel.

Alec told us this truck broke down on the cement ramp on the river bank.  It was shoved off into the river two years ago to get it out of the way and still remains in this spot.

Matthew and the hotel concierge got to work to try and reach the bank manager and a few minutes ago, Tom left to head back to the bank where the manager was finally available.  There’s no guaranty he’ll return the card to Tom as explained by a bank official.  It’s entirely up to the manager’s discretion.

These locals, situated on the side of the road were selling cold beverages.

Humm…what about Tom will determine whether or not he is credible enough to get his card back?  He’s wearing a nice shirt and shorts but then again, so are all the locals and tourists we see.  I guess we’ll find out soon enough when he returns which, when he does, I’ll include the result here as I continue to work on today’s post.

Alfred, our BushTracks guide from Botswana.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, we don’t hold this against Zambia in any manner.  We’re in Africa and like many other parts of the world, there are clean-cut appearing scammers coming up with the most unbelievable means of scamming people and institutions.  I suppose they’re just following protocol.

Locals walking on the road from Zambia to the ferry to head to Botswana.

Yes, we know, we can order a new card from our bank in the US but the inconvenience of collecting the card by snail mail is frustrating and time-consuming. We’ll see how it goes soon enough.

Anyway, on to today’s photos and stories which include a variety of scenes from the trip to Botswana.  First, Alec, our trusty driver and tour guide inside of Zambian border (with Chris Tours) picked us up at the hotel at 7:00 am for the 45-minute drive to the Zambia immigration office near a busy pier on the Zambezi River where four countries intersect as follows:

“There is a place called Kazungula, at the intersection of the Zambezi and Chobe Rivers, where four countries meet. Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and a tiny strip of Namibia all come together in one spot.” 

These women around this table all looked up at me and smiled and gave the thumbs up.  What this meant, I’m not certain but I responded with a big smile and thumbs up as well

That’s interesting,” we both commented simultaneously.  In reviewing the map below, we started out in Zambia and crossed the Zambezi River.  Once we were on the other side we were in Botswana.  Here’s a map showing these points:

“African “Quadripoint” Only Place on the Earth, Where Four Distinct Territories’ are Touched.” 

(Tom just returned from the bank. He got the card back! Matthew went inside the bank with Tom as his local advocate and a short time later he and Tom walked out of the bank with Tom’s debit card safely back in his wallet. Whew! Tom generously “thanked” Matthew when they returned to the hotel).

At every border, vendors promote their wares by asking for purchases multiple times.  We say, “No, thank you.”

Once of passports were stamped indicating we were leaving Zambia, Alec walked us to a makeshift pier area where we’d have to walk over piles of pier-related construction materials toward the cement ramp where we’d board a little boat to cross the river. 

A very large hornbill, one of our favorite birds in South Africa.

Alec stayed behind in Zambia for the entire day awaiting our return at 4:10 pm.  We felt empathetic about his long day of waiting but he said he manages to busy himself while he waits for his customers to return after the Chobe day trip.

A troop of baboons in a tree.

Crossing from Zambia into Botswana isn’t as easy as showing a passport while crossing the border in a vehicle. Alec took our passports when exiting and again when returning, to the Zambian immigration office to get them stamped.

Albert, our guide with Bush Tracks Safari company, who drove us in the safari vehicle through the Chobe National Park and later drove the boat on the Chobe River, handled our passport stamps at the Botswana immigration office.

We saw no less a dozen crocodiles during our busy day.

When we were finally leaving Botswana at the end of the day we had to make a personal appearance at immigration.  Back in Zambia, as mentioned above, Alec again handled our passport stamps as he’d done upon entry. 

All of this takes time but somehow we breezed through most of it, while we were in the good hands of our guides.  Our four safari mates were interesting to talk to and we easily entertained ourselves while we waited.

Friend Louise in Kauai, Hawaii identified this bird as an African Darter.  Thanks, Louise!

Once on the Botswana side of the Zambezi River, Albert greeted us and told us a great story (while we waited for the four other guests) of how, when he was 12 years old, he became lost in the bush in Botswana. 

Female giraffes have hair at the top of their ossicones (horns).  Males have worn off the hair from fighting for dominance.  “The ossicones are what distinguishes the male and female from one another. Stereotypically, the female giraffe has tufts of hair on the top of her horns, while the males are bald on top. Some males develop calcium deposits on top of their heads, which creates the illusion of the animal having more than two horns.”

His grandfather had taught him valuable bush survival skills which came into use during his three-day ordeal when he was finally found by his family and a search party. He translated this experience into his masterful skills as a safari guide, both on land and on the river.  He provided an exceptional experience for all of us.

Another beautiful bird that is actually included in the “Ugly 5.”  It didn’t look so ugly to us.  Thanks to friend Louise in Kauai, Hawaii and niece Kari for identifying this bird.

Once the four others arrived we all jumped into the safari vehicle and began the short drive toward Chobe National Park.  Shortly before we entered the park, Alfred stopped the vehicle and set up “tea time” with coffee,  a variety of teas and homemade muffins.  I sipped on Rooisbos tea, the caffeine-free popular local tea, while Tom had coffee and a muffin. 

Albert prepared our “tea time” before we entered the Chobe National Park.

This pleasant tea time reminded us of when we had breakfast in the Masai Mara when our guide Anderson, set up breakfast in the savannah where the animals roamed around us. 

The photo from our breakfast in the savannah in the Masai Mara on October 2013.  See the post from that date, here. 

We can’t believe we’ll be back in the Masai Mara in February, this time with a new guide since Anderson now works in Uganda with the gorilla tours.  We’ll see him when we do that tour in the future.

Check out the muscles on the front quarters of this giraffe.

After tea and coffee, we headed directly into Chobe National Park to begin our land safari which would last less than three hours.  Our expectations were low during such a short period. 

A pair of giraffes at a distance.
Giraffes seldom bend down other than to drink water.  This position makes them vulnerable to attack by predators.
As typical during most safaris, the dirt roads were uneven and passengers must expect to bounce around as if on a ride at an amusement park.  But, this is way more exciting than a man-made ride.  This was nature at its finest.

Monitor Lizard on the shore of the river.

During the first 45 minutes we didn’t see much more than we were used to seeing in Marloth Park; impalas, warthogs and some pretty birds.  Then, the magic began as safari luck kicked in, as usual.  When we hadn’t seen much I was tempted to tell our safari-mates, “No worries.  We have safari luck.  We’ll see something soon!”  But, I kept quiet, not wanting to disappoint anyone if it didn’t happen.

An elderly group of four were stuck in the sand in their rental car.  There is no way they’d have extricated themselves from this situation.  Alfred used a tow strap/rope from another vehicle stuck behind this car and towed them out.  They insisted on trying to go through the sand again but Alfred discouraged them, telling them to turn around and go back. We don’t know what ultimately transpired for this group of four seniors. Can you imagine being stuck in such a location overnight, stranded in a vehicle?

And safari luck indeed transpired as hoped as we had a spectacular morning in Chobe National Park.  Over the next several days, we’ll continue to share photos from both the land and Chobe River safaris.

Elephant skull on the side of the dirt road.

Today at 3:30 pm, we’ll be picked up by yet another tour company to take us on a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River on the beautiful, newer “Lion King” catamaran where drinks and appetizers will be served.  It will be fun to meet more travelers while we all share the remarkable stories of our time in this special part of the world.

Please check back for more and more and more…


Photo from one year ago today, May 16, 2017:
Vancouver is comparable to many cities with lots of skyscrapers and business centers but is impeccably clean and friendly.  We boarded the Celebrity Solstice to Alaska later in the day.  Please click here for details.

Part 1…Chobe National Park safari and Chobe River cruise…Short breathtaking videos… Please watch for the magic!

None of the six of us or our guide Alfred could believe our eyes as we watched this male elephant build his mud pool in Chobe National Park.  We’ve seen a lot of elephants in Africa but this was a rare sighting for us.

 “Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

While on safari in Chobe National Park we spotted this male impala with only one antler, most likely lost in a fight for dominance during the mating season.

Yesterday will be emblazoned into our hearts and minds as one of the most special days in our five years and seven months of world travel.  Only a few prior experiences are held in such high esteem.

This is when he started digging his mud hole for the mud bath.
After he dug a decent sized mud hole, he decided to try to lay on his side.  Digging the hole must have been exhausting for this big fellow in the heat of the sun.
For me, my top five events include; Petra, Jordan; Masai Mara, Kenya; Marloth Park, South Africa, Antarctica cruise and now Chobe safari and Chobe River cruise in a small boat.
Finally, he was lying sideways in his mud hole.  We couldn’t stop laughing and smiling.  It was if he was putting on a show for us.  But, the best part was yet to begin.

For Tom, his top five events include Panama Canal cruise; Animals of Africa (including Chobe); lava flow on Big Island, Hawaii; Antarctica cruise and like Tom always says, “Everything upcoming in the future.

Video #1
Video #2

Video #3
Video #4

Sure, its easy to get caught up in the enthusiasm of a most recent experience.  You know, kind of comparable to “love the one you’re with” mentality.  However, yesterday was truly one of those special times, we couldn’t wipe the smiles off of our faces.

Upon arising from his mud bath, he decided to clean up in the river, so we thought.

As we’ve often mentioned, the endorphin rush from seeing and engaging in wildlife is indescribable, especially to those who have little interest in nature and wildlife.  They just may not get it.  And we understand.  We may not become excited about certain adventures others find life-changing.  Its all a matter of personal preferences and interests. 

He turned and headed out into the river. Alfred maneuvered the boat to ensure we were in a good position for taking photos.

I could go into lengthy descriptions of the three hours we spent in the morning in Chobe National Park, the borders we crossed, the immigration processes that incurred, the lovely four others travelers with whom we spent the day in the safari vehicle, at lunch at the resort, and in the small boat on the Chobe River in the afternoon.

At one point, he appeared to want to head back to the shore.

For now, our intent is to share our photos and videos and later, we’ll go into more detail about the experiences.  Most of the sighting that transpired is forefront in our minds which will be clearly illustrated in our photos, videos, and captions below them.

But then, he marched full on into the river in a determined stride.

We’re grateful we have this time off today, to begin working on the hundreds of photos, and multiple videos uploaded on YouTube.  The Wi-Fi is slow at the hotel today so we apologize for it taking so long to upload today’s post.

Nothing was stopping him now.

Last night, when we returned to the hotel, after a very long and fruitful day, we changed out of our typical “safari clothing tan and khaki “Bugs Away” shirts, pants and hats and showered and dressed for the evening.

We were so close we barely used any zoom to get these shots.  However, Albert was mindful of ensuring we didn’t get too close and disturb his swim.
If you “gotta go, you gotta go.”  Tom took this photo not aware of what was transpiring.  Notice him using his trunk like a snorkel.

As we relaxed at the hotel’s inviting lounge, we toasted one another (as always) making intense eye contact while giggling over Tom’s repeated phrase on today’s included videos he’d made on the Chobe River, “Who would have thunk it?”

After his potty break, he was back on the move, getting into deeper and deeper water.

How did this happen to us?  How did we ever end up having traveled to eight African countries (a paltry amount compared to the 54 countries on the continent) which now include:  Egypt, Kenya, South Africa, Morocco, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana.  We’ve visited some of these countries on multiple occasions. 

Soon, his huge feet were no longer touching the river bottom and he was buoyant.
At this point, the playful swimming commenced which can be seen in more detail in the above short videos.
We wonder how many more African countries we’ll have the opportunity to visit during our continuing travels.  In reviewing a map of Africa we realize there are many countries we’ll never visit due to a high safety and security risks for tourists.  We’re not foolhardy.
We couldn’t believe our eyes when he was totally submerged, then rising for a breath.
After 10 to 15 minutes, he decided he’d had enough and headed for shore.
Then again, we’re definitely not on a particular mission to see a certain number of countries in the world.  We’re simply in awe of how many we’ve visited and how many more we’d love to see in the future.
As he approached his mud hole, he checked it out wondering if he should play a little more.
He dug around in the mud hole a little.
There’s so much more to share then that which we’ve posted here today.  Over the next week or so, we’ll continue with more details and an endless stream of stunning photos of our week in Zambia.
And, he couldn’t resist a little more play.  Thank you, Mr. Elephant, for a wonderful show!
Thanks to all of our readers for your patience in our oft-odd upload times.  Once we return to South Africa we’ll be back to our usual more consistent posting times.
Tom’s getting great at taking photos.  Luckily, we now have two cameras.  This ensures we don’t miss a shot.  Wait until you see what’s coming up tomorrow!
Tom took this candid shot of me in my funny BugsAway safari hat.
Today, we’re dealing with our photos, deciding where we’ll dine tonight and looking forward to tomorrow’s Zambezi River sunset cruise.  Since we came to Africa in 2013, I’ve longed to cruise on the Zambezi River for reasons I cannot explain.  By Thursday, we’ll be able to share “the why.”  Please stay tuned.
Happy day to all!

Photo from one year ago today, May 15, 2017:
Tom and I in Vancouver, British Columbia with our friend /reader Sheila, a Vancouver resident.  For more on this story, please click here.

Week in Zambia continues with many surprises…Dinner at a popular local pub…The local culture…

The Victoria Falls Bridge crossing the Zambezi River from Zambia to Zimbabwe.  We drove across this bridge and was mesmerized by its beauty.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Many baboons surrounded the immigration area in Zambia.  They didn’t hesitate to approach visitors for food.

Today’s photos are a collection of various places we’ve seen in the past three days since we arrived in Zambia on May 11th.  As we perused them, we’re amazed as to how the culture in these countries we’re visiting has remained etched in many years of history.

When Tom reached the end of the trail on the Zimbabwe side of the falls. He shot a few photos of this platform for use as a means strapping people into a harness and suspending them for a photo op for kwanha 100 (US $10) a customer.

The people are friendly and accommodating.  After all, we’re in a tourist business area where most of the working locals are involved in the tourism business in one way or another. 

As expected at many tourist destinations throughout the world, there are vendors hawking their wares, approaching cars and pleading for a sale.

We’re amazed by the hard working people who continue after many years and possibly generations, continue to serve visitors with such grace, kindness and dignity.  Sure, there’s a high crime rate but its certainly not as high as in many other African nations or other nations throughout the world.  See this chart for details.

Upon entering Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe, a vendor was selling handmade wooden masks, a popular tourist purchase.

For logical safety concerns we don’t walk the streets after dark in any city and with reasonable taxi fares at about kwacha 100 (US $10) roundtrip we can go just about anywhere in the town of Livingstone, Zambia, population under 140,000.

A variety of statues were for sale near the railroad tracks in the town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
Africa has a wide array of colorful jewelry and clothing they sell in tourists areas.

We feel safe here but never take that feeling for granted wherever we may travel. And Saturday night, when we entered the most unusual restaurant we’ve visited in a long time, Zest Bar & Restaurant, rated #10 out of 25 and well reviewed at TripAdvisor at this link, we were a little stunned. 

With only 1% of the population of Zambia as caucasian, it wasn’t surprising to find the entire clientele at Zest Bar & Restaurant last night filled with black customers.

The restaurant is primarily outdoors. One must walk through a modest entry area which is unappealing for dining.  We walked around the back of the entry are to the general grounds of the property which is covered in loose rock.  The bar area appears to be a platform placed atop the rocks and is partially indoors.  But, there are no doors, no windows.  Its hard to explain. 

US dollars are almost exactly 10% of kwacha in Zambia.  Thus, my glass of red wine was US $2 and Tom’s mixed cocktail was US $1.35!
We considered ordering a bun-less croc burger but decided against it.  We were both hungry and preferred to order something we thought we’d like.  Note the Kudu Burger…there’s no way we’ll eat kudu.  We love kudus and have no plans to eat them.

We could have chosen to eat at picnic tables and chairs placed on the rocks or dine at a table in an area in the bar.  We opted for the bar which was packed with locals, drinking, watching sports and having a generally great time.  When we arrived at about 6:30 pm, I was the only female in the entire establishment.

My Tom, smiling as usual. 

Was I worried?  Not at all.  As a matter of fact, we felt right at home.  The lively atmosphere was friendly, the service welcoming, the food smelled great and the prices on the menu were outrageously reasonable. 

Tom was especially happy when he traded his salad and veg for my chips to enjoy with his beef tenderloin  espatada.

As shown in the photos, we were served plenty of hot, fresh, made to order food we both thoroughly enjoyed.  I had two small glasses of red wine and Tom had a few cocktails.  The bill for everything including tax and tip was under kwacha 290 (US $29). 

The lighting was poor but this was my boneless chicken thigh espitada.  It was delicious with lots of peppers and onions between the perfectly cooked pieces of chicken.

We’d return one more time to Zest but with many other great restaurants on TripAdvisor’s top ten list, and only four more nights to dine out (possibly five nights) we’d prefer to work our way toward the top of the list if possible.  (We aren’t sure yet about the food served on Wednesday’s Zambezi River sunset cruise but we’ll find out soon).

My plate of spinach and aubergine was flavorful.

Last night, we dined at another popular local restaurant, Café Zambezi, rated #4 on TripAdvisor’s list.  In the next few days, we’ll post photos along with comments as to dining at this establishment as well.  There’s so much more to share in these few days.

Today’s tour beginning at 7:00 am, will certainly match the excitement of our visit to Victoria Falls on both the Zambia and Zimbabwe sides.  We’re looking forward to sharing photos and the details of today’s adventures with all of you in tomorrow’s post.

Have a fabulous day and evening!


Photo from one year ago today, May 14, 2017:

Tom’s photo of this unreal scene of sailboats in Seattle.  Wow!  From Seattle we took a private shuttle to Vancouver to board the ship to Alaska.  For more details, please click here.

“Doctor Livingstone, I presume”…Entering Zimbabwe…Cash issue resolved…Happy Mother’s Day to all!

The tourists were gathered close to the edge of the falls to take photos of this rainbow. We managed to squeeze in for this photo.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Of course, we’d see elephants crossing the road on our way to see the Victoria Falls town in Zimbabwe. (Photo was taken from the rear window of Webster’s van).

We had a busy Sunday morning. After a pleasant buffet breakfast in the Protea Marriot’s main dining room, we decided we needed to tackle the “getting cash” issue. 

Crossing the border from Zambia to Zimbabwe was a little cumbersome but to be expected.

We decided to give another ATM a try, not the machine that “ate” our debit card but another at the same bank.  Yes, we’d lost one debit card but we have another and hoped to be able to get more cash today after yesterday’s paltry kwacha 800 (US $80.82) which is almost gone after paying for taxi fares, entrance fees to the falls, and tips.

Attendants managed the people and vehicles crossing the single lane Victoria Falls Bridge,

The hotel’s concierge arranged a taxi and off we went to a local strip mall. Another stop we needed to make was to find sunglasses for me after my only pair had developed such scratches in the plastic lenses, I couldn’t see a thing.

 We entered the Victoria Falls Zimbabwe National Park at this entrance.

I should have thought of this before we left South Africa but when I realized how bad they were but we didn’t feel like making the long round trip drive to Komatipoort for a pair of sunglasses.

At the same ATM, for some odd reason, we were able to take out kwacha 8000 (US $808.16) in two separate transactions. What a relief! Now, we can pay Chris for the balance of our tours and have cash left for more taxis and tips over the remaining five days in Zambia until we return to South Africa.

Breathtaking views!

Thanks to this morning’s good taxi driver, he took us to a nearby pharmacy he knew was open by 9:00 am on Sunday and alas, I found a pair of sunglasses for kwacha 199, US $20.10, that weren’t the best quality or the look I’d prefer but I wasn’t picky at this point. 

Henry Morton Stanley meets Dr. David Livingstone and supposedly says,” Dr. Livingstone, I presume.” That story remains here in Livingstone, Zambia, and Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. Photo from this site.
Tomorrow, we’ll be outdoors all day boating and on safari and although I don’t wear sunglasses when taking wildlife photos, I’ll certainly wear them in between. Thus, we were thrilled with this morning’s successful taxi ride.
The sights and sounds were unlike anything we’ve seen in the past.

There’s so much history regarding Victoria Falls, we could spend days writing the equivalent of historical essays.  But, we’ve found not all of our readers prefer a history lesson when reading our posts. We continue to provide plenty of links for that purpose. There’s no point in redundancy.

I told Tom he looked like a Teletubbie.  Cute, eh?

Instead, we’ll continue to post links and a few morsels of the history, geography, and geology of Victoria Falls while we’re here in this region. Please let us know if you’d prefer more details on these topics within the body of our posts as opposed to clicking on links. 

We’ve never seen so many rainbows in one day!

We attempt to provide a reasonable mix of our lives of world travel coupled with details of places we visit along the way. If you’d like to see something different, we’d be thrilled to hear from you.

This sign may be read by zooming in. 

Here are a few facts about Dr. David Livingstone and his discovery of Victoria Falls from this site:
David Livingstone, the Scottish missionary and explorer, is believed to have been the first European to view Victoria Falls on 16 November 1855, from what is now known as Livingstone Island, one of two landmasses in the middle of the river, immediately upstream from the falls near the Zambian shore. Livingstone named his discovery in honor of Queen Victoria of Britain, but the indigenous Tonga name, Mosi-oa-Tunya—”The Smoke That Thunders”—continues in common usage as well. The World Heritage List officially recognizes both names. Livingstone also cites an older name, Seongo or Chongwe, which means “The Place of the Rainbow” as a result of the constant spray.  The nearby national park in Zambia is named Mosi-oa-Tunya, whereas the national park and town on the Zimbabwean shore are both named Victoria Falls.

While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls is classified as the largest, based on its combined width of 1,708 meters (5,604 ft), at a height of 108 meters (354 ft), resulting in the world’s largest sheet of falling water. Victoria Falls is rough twice the height of North America’s Niagara Falls and well over twice the width of its Horseshoe Falls. In height and width, Victoria Falls is rivaled only by Argentina and Brazil’s Iguazu Falls.

I was happy to see Tom safely return from climbing to the top on the wet slippery bridge. Tom tackled this wet bridge without me. I’m not quite as surefooted as he is. It was slippery, the visibility was poor and I wouldn’t have been able to take photos in the heavy mist so I stayed behind with Alec while we awaited his return. I was getting worried when he’d been gone a long time.  Seeing him in his yellow poncho made me sigh with relief.

For a considerable distance upstream from the falls, the Zambezi flows over a level sheet of basalt, in a shallow valley, bounded by low and distant sandstone hills. The river’s course is dotted with numerous tree-covered islands, which increase in number as the river approaches the falls. There are no mountains, escarpments, or deep valleys; only a flat plateau extending hundreds of kilometers in all directions.

The falls are formed as the full width of the river plummets in a single vertical drop into a transverse chasm 1708 meters (5604 ft) wide, carved by its waters along a fracture zone in the basalt plateau. The depth of the chasm, called the First Gorge, varies from 80 meters (260 ft) at its western end to 108 meters (354 ft) in the center. The only outlet to the First Gorge is a 110-meter (360 ft) wide gap about two-thirds of the way across the width of the falls from the western end. The whole volume of the river pours into the Victoria Falls gorges from this narrow cleft.

Tom returning from crossing the Knife Edge Bridge to the highest peak in the falls.  He was soaked and a few of his photos came out when taken through the plastic bag.

There are two islands on the crest of the falls that are large enough to divide the curtain of water even at full flood: Boaruka Island (or Cataract Island) near the western bank, and Livingstone Island near the middle—the point from which Livingstone first viewed the falls. At less than a full flood, additional islets divide the curtain of water into separate parallel streams. The main streams are named, in order from Zimbabwe (west) to Zambia (east): Devil’s Cataract (called Leaping Water by some), Main Falls, Rainbow Falls (the highest), and the Eastern Cataract.

The Zambezi river, upstream from the falls, experiences a rainy season from late November to early April, and a dry season the rest of the year. The river’s annual flood season is February to May with a peak in April,[10] The spray from the falls typically rises to a height of over 400 meters (1,300 ft), and sometimes even twice as high, and is visible from up to 48 km (30 mi) away. At full moon, a “moonbow” can be seen in the spray instead of the usual daylight rainbow. During the flood season, however, it is impossible to see the foot of the falls and most of its face, and the walks along the cliff opposite it are in a constant shower and shrouded in mist. Close to the edge of the cliff, spray shoots upward like inverted rain, especially at Zambia’s Knife-Edge Bridge.

The spray was so intense we had to leave the camera in a plastic bag, resulting in this blurry photo of me dressed in a pink plastic poncho.

As the dry season takes effect, the islets on the crest become wider and more numerous, and in September to January up to half of the rocky face of the falls may become dry and the bottom of the First Gorge can be seen along most of its length. At this time it becomes possible (though not necessarily safe) to walk across some stretches of the river at the crest. It is also possible to walk to the bottom of the First Gorge at the Zimbabwean side. The minimum flow, which occurs in November, is around a tenth of the April figure; this variation inflow is greater than that of other major falls, and causes Victoria Falls’ annual average flow rate to be lower than might be expected based on the maximum flow.

Should you desire additional information please click this link as mentioned above.

Another exquisite rainbow. 

Today will be a low-key day now that we’ve settled our cash issue. It’s already 1:00 pm and we’re content to be a little lazy today. Since it’s Sunday, the center of town is quiet so we’ll reserve our exploration on foot for another day. 

Tom with his back to Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side.

We arranged all of our tours for every other day to ensure we’d have times in between to sort through our zillions of photos and prepare posts consistently for each of the seven days of this trip.

Tomorrow, we’ll share the story and photos of last night’s dinner in a local pub…very interesting. Being entrenched with the locals always adds so much to our experiences and we plan to dine at popular local spots as opposed to some of the typical tourist’s establishments.

There were countless rainbows over the falls.

We’ll be back tomorrow with a new post which we’re preparing today. Tomorrow, beginning at 7:00 am we’ll be off for an exciting full-day tour which we’ll be excited to post on Tuesday. We’ll keep the photos and stories coming!

Another stunning view of Victoria Falls in its full beauty.  May proved to be an excellent month to see the falls at the end of the rainy season.

To all the moms out there, may you have a spectacular Mother’s Day. We hope your loved ones make this a very special day you’ll always remember!

Photo from one year ago today, May 13, 2017:

A reminder of cannibalism in the South Pacific.  For more island photos, please click here.

Part 1, Victoria Falls, from Zambia and Zimbabwe…Two totally unique experiences…ATM issues…

Alas, we arrived at the magical splendor of Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

These pointed rocks are along the land bordering the falls in the shallower areas to keep the elephants from crossing from Zimbabwe to Zambia.

It’s Saturday around 5:30 pm.  A few hours ago we returned from our almost all day visit to Victoria Falls from both the Zambia and Zimbabwe sides, each very different from the other.

As we drove along the two lane highway toward Victoria Falls National Park, we were able to spot the spray at a distance.  Wow!

We’d certainly recommend visitors to this awe-inspiring site, one of the Seven Wonders of the World, to experience the views from both countries. One would definitely be missing out to only see the falls from one of the two countries.

At the beginning of our long hike, the views continued to grow in their magnitude, the further along we progressed.

It was a tremendous amount of walking, up steep, hilly and rocky areas, particularly from the Zambian side.  Later, when we entered Zimbabwe, which is a much easier hike, we were grateful we’d decided on seeing the falls from both countries. 

The power of the roaring water is breathtaking.

Our tour guide on the Zambia side is Alec from Chris Tours who’d also collected us from the airport yesterday afternoon.  Based on visa requirements he was unable to accompany us in Zimbabwe but will be handling our transportation for our remaining tours.

In the shallow area of the Victoria Falls, we were gifted with a rainbow but this was the first of many we saw throughout the day.

After we completed the falls tour in Zambia Alec drove us the short distance (basically across the Zambezi River) to Zimbabwe.  Although we’d already paid and received visas for entrance into Zimbabwe, we still had to go to the immigration office at the border in order to get our passports stamped for the entry and then again, later when we departed.

As we continued on the path with many steps and rocky surfaces, we look forward to the upcoming big expanse of the falls and yet enjoyed these sightings along the way.

This process was somewhat disorganized but after all, we always say, as others do, “This in Africa.”  Things aren’t necessarily as organized or as seamless as they may on other continents, in other countries.  We just go with the flow, no whining or complaining and working our way through the process, the best way we can.

This morning, we had an incident that reminded us that “This is Africa” when we went to an ATM to get cash to pay for our tours.  We’d paid a 25% deposit when we’d originally booked the tours with the intent of paying the balance when we arrived in Zambia, via getting Zambian kwacha from an ATM once we arrived.  The tour company doesn’t accept credit cards, per se (see below for explanation)

Dr. David Livingstone’s presence is felt everywhere in the massive national park.  There will be more on him in stories to come.

This should have been an easy process, right?  When Alec drove us to a local ATM early this morning, Tom got out and approached the machine at a bank.  It “ate” his card claiming the process “had timed out.”  Tom already knew how many kwacha he needed to get to account for the balance we owed at around ZAR 7003 (US $572). 

There are numerous signs throughout the park explaining a myriad of historical, geological and geographical facts.

There was no reason, on our end, for this to occur.  Alec drove us back to the hotel to get my ATM card which was locked in the safe.  Tom quickly ran inside and grabbed the card.  We headed to another ATM. 

Alas, once we entered the card, we discovered we can’t get more than 800 kwacha from the machine per day which is only ZAR 989.47 (US $80.82).  We’d have to find another seven ATMs to use to get enough cash to pay Chris.  Now, we had a measly 800 kwacha. 

At this point, we weren’t too wet.  Future photos will show us soaked to the gills.

We later discovered that ATMs in Zambia don’t dispense large sums of cash due to security reasons.  We’d encountered this same scenario while we were in Buenos Aires, where we could hardly get any cash at one time.  This has nothing to do with our bank or our card.  It’s predicated by the ATM and the banks decisions.

Chris trusts we’ll pay but we won’t be able to pay him until Tuesday since we’ll be out on tours all day on Monday when we can do what we’d done in paying a deposit…signed a credit card authorization form which he can take to his bank and get the cash. 

The sounds of the falls are near deafening but music to our ears as we reveled in the beauty of this magnificent place.

It is inconvenient for him (and for us) but when a company doesn’t accept direct credit card processing for payment, this is what may transpire.  Most tourists coming to Africa and other countries obtain cash from their “home” banks and bring it with them. 

Well, folks, we can’t walk into our US bank and walk away with cash we’d need to visit a particular country.  That’s one of the many realities of traveling the world.  It’s not always fun and exciting.

Clay model, display of Victoria Falls.

However, once on our way, we had an exceptional experience at Victoria Falls in Zambia and tomorrow, we’ll share the outstanding experience with Webster, our guide in Zimbabwe.  He can be reached at this link or via this email address.

We look forward to sharing many more photos from our two tours of Victoria Falls.  Please check back tomorrow.  Soon, we’re heading out to dinner at one of TripAdvisor’s top rated restaurants in Zambia and over this week, we’ll share food photos and dining experiences as well.

Have a spectacular weekend!


Photo from one year ago today, May 12, 2017:

It’s imperative to stay within the white Royal Caribbean logo on the blue platform to avoid the risk of injury from hitting the sides, so say the Flow Rider Experts as shown in this post one year ago.  For more details, please click here.