The tours have ended…Lots of photos to share…Tomorrow, our final expenses and back to Marloth Park…

The sun is setting on the horizon.

We have completed the last of our land and river adventures and are now spending our last day and night at the hotel in Livingstone. Tomorrow afternoon we fly back to Marloth Park, hopefully getting a new 90-day visa stamp and be able to relax for the next three months until we fly to Seychelles for a one-week cruise of the islands.

The upper deck of the Lion king sunset cruise boat.

This has been one of the most enjoyable times we’ve spent on a “visa run,” having planned many activities that kept us busy a part of each day. Of course, all of this costs money. But not nearly as much as we’d spend living in countries other than South Africa as our current base. By early June, we’ll be leaving South Africa for quite a while to explore other countries we’re considering.

There were only a few hippo photo ops during the cruise on the Zambezi River.

Most countries only allow us to stay for 90 days, many for less, so visa issues are always a consideration when we’d like to stay  for an extended period. The pandemic has changed everything for our world travel, but increased costs and lack of availability have made traveling freely more difficult.

Little plates were served on the boat, along with drinks. I ate the chicken leg, and Tom tried the rest.

Even this morning, when we entered the dining room for breakfast at this Marriott Hotel, we were told we had to wear masks while dining. We didn’t bring our masks after checking and discovering they weren’t required in the countries we were visiting on this trip. When we couldn’t eat breakfast without masks, and thus, we requested them from the front desk.

A crocodile is lounging on the Zambezi River bank.

Right now, we are sitting in our hotel room waiting for the cleaner to do our room since neither of us wants to wear a mask to sit in the lobby and work on today’s post. So we will sit here until the cleaner arrives and head out to the lobby wearing the masks.

There were many homes and resorts on the river.

We had a fantastic day yesterday. Chris picked us up at the resort by 11:30 am to make the drive back to Livingstone. There was much monkeying around to wrap up our exit visa for Botswana and entrance visa back into Zambia. But Chris was persistent, and eventually, we were on our way.  He dropped us at the Protea by Marriott in Livingstone, where we promptly checked in.

This appeared to be a setup for a wedding.

We were thrilled to see how warmly we were welcomed. Most of the staff remembered us from past visits and made a point of making us feel special. This is the fourth time we’ve stayed at this hotel. When we entered our room on the ground level, we were surprised by the noise coming from the room next door that was being renovated. There was a loud, ear-splitting drill that continued for a few hours.

This is a new luxury resort that will be opening soon.

We asked to be moved to another room but didn’t have time to pack up when the tour operator for the Lion King boat ride on the Zambezi River was coming to get us at 4:00 pm. The hotel manager approached me while we waited for our ride to explain they had stopped the construction work for the time we were here. That was so nice to hear and appreciated. Otherwise, we’d have been quite annoyed by this time today. Now, it’s as quiet as a mouse.

Our outdoor dining table at the Royal Livingstone Hotel at the Old Drift restaurant. We are returning tonight for another dinner.

The Lion King sunset cruise on the Zambezi River was packed. The last time we had done this cruise, we had the entire upper deck to ourselves. But, we were entertained by the antics of the other guests, mostly young tourists from Scandinavian countries, devouring the included drinks and having the time of their lives. It was actually as fun to watch them as it was to watch the scenery.

The savory, not sweet, crackers reminded us of Christmas sugar cookies. Tom ate all of them with delicious garlic butter.

We didn’t see much in the way of wildlife, a few crocs on the river banks and a few gurgling hippos surfacing from time to time. But the live African music was a treat, and as always, Tom and I enjoyed ourselves whatever we may do. When the boat ride ended, a driver took us to the Royal Livingstone Hotel for our dinner reservation. Oh, my goodness, was that ever fun!

This was my side salad.
Tom enjoyed this pumpkin soup as a starter. Tomorrow, I will post a photo of Tom’s main dish. The image was too blurry to post.

It felt like a romantic date when we swooned over one another, as we often do, reveling in past experiences and hopes for the future. We laughed, we teased as we dined on the finest of gourmet foods in a fantastic atmosphere. It was dark dining outdoors, but the lighting was inviting, the seating comfortable, and the service over the top. While we sat at our outdoor table, we spotted three zebras and three warthogs wandering around the exquisite grounds of the luxury resort.

We’d had a long busy day and were content to be seated for a relaxing fine dinner.
My left eye is puffy from the headache and facial pain I’m still feeling. Maybe it’s an allergy.

Last night, we decided that the next time we come to Zambia, we’ll bite the bullet and spend a few nights at the expensive resort. The food was over-the-top, as shown in today’s photos. As planned, we’ll incorporate more food photos into our final post tomorrow when we add the final expenses. However, we still have many photos we’ve yet to share and will continue to post them in days to come.

This was an eggplant dish I ordered. The orange drops are mashed butternut squash. It was delicious, although it had small potato chunks, which I offered to Tom.

We’re returning to the Royal Livingstone Hotel for one more dinner tonight. We have lots of kwacha left that we need to spend, so what better way to spend it on than a repeat of last night’s outrageously wonderful dinner?

My prawn dish was also delicious.

We’ll be back with more tomorrow. As much fun as we’ve had on this trip, we’re not dreading its end. It is delightful to return to Marloth Park for more unique experiences in the bush with our animal and human friends. We couldn’t ask for more.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, August 26, 2021:

Old Man wasn’t looking his best. For more photos, please click here.

We arrived in Chennai…Food issues…Another long travel day with a few worrisome moments…

This blind priest prays in this position all day, standing outside the  Eklingi Temple. As a functioning temple, no photos are allowed. Silver was used in embellishing the interior, and it was stunning.

Yesterday at 1:00 pm, our driver, Vishnu, picked us at the hotel in Udaipur to begin the harrowing drive to the airport for our 4:00 pm flight on Indigo Air with an expected arrival time Chennai after changing planes in Bangalore.

The first flight was relatively smooth. No food is served on Indigo Air unless pre-ordered and paid for online, although the flight attendants will serve coffee/tea and nuts for a fee during the flight.
We’re always in awe of the detailed carvings, many of which require decades of diligent work to complete.

Since my breakfasts are somewhat skimpy due to a lack of foods I can eat other than eggs in one form or another, I was hungry and thirsty by 5:00 pm when the flight was in the air, and the flight attendants began serving.

I ordered a small bag of almonds and a cup of green tea, enough to hold me for a few hours until we’d expect to arrive at our hotel in Chennai, sometime after 9:30 pm. There’s nothing I can eat at the airport stands that are available after we’ve gone through security.
Every carving has a special meaning.

No doubt, food has been an issue for both of us in India. Don’t get me wrong, I love Indian food, although most dishes are laden with thickened sauces, lentils, and potatoes, none of which works for my way of eating.

Sacred cows were kept safely on the grounds of the temple.

Tom, on the other hand, is struggling more than I am. He won’t even try most Indian dishes when his taste buds don’t allow for heavily seasoned or spicy foods. If spices are left out of most words, they become bland.

Generally, there are other visitors when we visit temples.

He doesn’t eat dark meat. For example, he’s ordered plain chicken, but pieces of dark meat are often cut into smaller pieces with the bones. The chicken appears to be boiled and, without the Indian sauces and spices, doesn’t appeal even to my less picky tastes. 

Nagda Temple is not a functioning temple, but the Gods contained therein are attended to daily. They are symbolically brought food, flower offerings, and bathed each day. No visitors are allowed when the Gods are sleeping.

We’ve yet to see white chicken breast offered as the main dish option. We’ve asked, but they don’t seem to know what that is. It’s a cultural thing. We keep reminding ourselves we are in a unique culture and what they eat is different from what we know.

Many Gods are represented in artfully crafted stone and marble.

Vegetarian dishes are out for Tom, although he’s ordered vegetarian fried rice and potatoes on several occasions. The reality is, we are making the best of it, somehow not starving and filling up on foods that do work for us.

I order omelets for breakfast each day. Tom has eggs and toast, enough of each to fill him up. There’s no bacon, no ham, no meat side dish of some type. Dinners are challenging when most are buffets with literally nothing I can eat and nothing Tom will eat.
A ceiling in one of the temples.

Anyway, when our first flight was 30 minutes late taking off, we were worried we wouldn’t make the second flight with only a one-hour layover. We checked out flights online only to discover there were no flights from Bangalore to Chennai after our scheduled flight at 7:30 pm. 

If we missed the connecting flight, we’d have to spend the night at the airport until the first flight in the morning. What a dreadful thought that was. As we rushed to our gate at the second airport, having to take a bus from the plane to the terminal, we thought we were going to miss it.
Many God sculptures in temples have been pillaged over the centuries. And yet, the Hindu people still treat the temple with the same symbolism and respect, as if they were still there.

As it turned out, when we arrived at the appropriate gate, we discovered the connecting flight was delayed by 45 minutes. Relief! We could sit back and relax until it was time to go.

Once in Chennai, our new driver Raj explained he would be with us on all tours and road trips until March 29th. He sleeps in the nicely appointed SUV, which, much to our delight, even has WiFi, which will be great on the long road trips. 
Tom takes a photo of me taking a photo of one of several beautiful temples.

We couldn’t believe Raj sleeps in the car, but apparently, other drivers and guides in India do the same. I’ve yet to ask him where he’ll shower and do his laundry. I assure you I will ask and report back here.

The temple structures were made of marble which is abundant in India, but over the years, the white color has changed to this light brown coloring.

When we arrived in Chennai at the most peculiar hotel, the Ibis City Centre, at 9:30, it made no sense to have dinner that late. Tom wasn’t hungry. I was starved. He explained he’d sit with me if I wanted dinner. There was nothing on the menu that appealed to me. Thus, I passed on eating and went to bed in our (as stated above), the most peculiar hotel.

These massive pillars remain along with these 400-year-old temples.

As for the peculiar hotel, it’s clean, friendly, and ultra-modern, circa the 1990s, with lots of colorful molded chairs and black lacquered tables. There isn’t a single bit of evidence that we’re are in India, anywhere in the entire facility. It has the fastest WiFi signal we’ve had anywhere in India, so that helps.
We’ll leave again tomorrow for another road trip to our following location, which we’ll share once we arrive. Tomorrow, March 7th, will be our 25th wedding anniversary, and we’re excited to spend it overlooking the sea in a gorgeous traditional Indian hotel.

We met this lovely French woman, Stephanie, a yoga instructor who’d come to India with many of her students. After chatting across tables at dinner, we invited her to sit with us, and a lively conversation ensued. We are always so delighted to meet beautiful people like Stephanie in our travels.

This morning we visited some temples, unlike anything we’d seen so far, reminding us of our visit to Singapore in 2016. More on that tomorrow while we prepare the day’s post in the WiFi-enabled vehicle on our way to the following location.

This is such a good experience for us, unlike anything we’ve done in the past almost 7½ years, which we’ll carry with us into the future, God willing, a long and healthy lot… For YOU, too!

Photo from one year ago today, March 6, 2019:

Little came looking for me, wondering why I hadn’t been sitting outdoors after the primary surgery as I’d usually done. Oh, Little, you put such a smile on my face. For more photos, please click here.

Amritsar…Many treasures to behold…The Golden Temple…

The Golden Temple is seen through a decorative archway on the religious grounds of the historic Sikh location.

Yesterday morning, our highly competent Amritsar guide Amit met us at our hotel to begin a walking tour of the historic city focusing on the world-famous Golden Temple of the Sikh people.

India’s Sikh population is approximately 24 million, only 1.72% of the country’s total population. Out of the total Sikhs in India, 77% are concentrated in Punjab, where we are now located.

We didn’t go inside the Golden Temple when the queue could easily have resulted in waiting in the line for four hours. This photo is only a tiny portion of the queue.
Sikhism may be found predominantly in the Punjab state of India. Still, Sikh communities exist on every inhabited continent, with the largest emigrant population being in the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom.
Please click here for a comprehensive view of the Sikh principles, too detailed for us to include. We were fascinated when Amit explained the Sikh ideology, so far removed from the perceptions many possess about this and other religions of the world.
Many rules surround the reading of the Holy Book, one of which includes, once the lesson begins, it cannot be stopped until completed. There is a 17-year waiting list to receive a copy of the sacred book. This and many other priests sit quietly day after day reading the sacred text written in a language few Sikhs can translate.

There are so many aspects to this faith. We could spend years attempting to explain. However, the purpose of our posts is to share our travel and daily life experiences, leaving little time or space to elaborate. The web provides millions of entries to explain details further and answer questions curious readers may possess.

In any case, Amit provided us with an overview that undoubtedly enhanced our experience of seeing the Golden Temple, its people, and its exquisite surroundings.
Shoes are not allowed in the temple area, and women must wear scarves, and men must wear some form of a turban.

Below, we’ve included the history of the Golden Temple, which may appeal to those fascinated with religious history.

From this site: “Sri Harmandir Sahib, also known as Sri Darbar Sahib or Golden Temple, (on account of its scenic beauty and golden coating for English speaking world), is named after Hari (God), the temple of God. The Sikhs worldwide wish to pay a visit to Sri Amritsar and pay obeisance at Sri Harmandir Sahib in their Ardas.

Amit helped Tom fashion a turban. I thought he looked good with it!
Guru Arjan Sahib, the Fifth Nanak, conceived the idea of creating a central place of worship for the Sikhs, and he designed the architecture of Sri Harmandir Sahib. The planning to excavate the holy tank (Amritsar or Amrit Sarovar) was chalked out by Guru Amardas Sahib, the Third Nanak. Still, it was executed by Guru Ramdas Sahib under the supervision of Baba Budha ji. The land for the site was acquired by the earlier Guru Sahibs on payment or free of cost from the Zamindars (landlords) of native villages. The plan to establish a town settlement was also made. Therefore, the construction work on the Sarovar (the tank) and the town started simultaneously in 1570. The work on both projects was completed in 1577 A.D.

The land for the site was bought by the Guru Ram Das Sahib on payment from the Zamindars (landlords) of native villages.

This building is being renovated on the grounds of the Golden Temple.

Guru Arjan Sahib got its foundation laid by a Muslim saint Hazrat Mian Mir ji of Lahore on the 1st of Magh, 1645 Bikrmi Samvat (December 1588). The construction work was directly supervised by Guru Arjan Sahib himself. He was assisted by prominent Sikh personalities like Baba Budha ji, Bhai Gurdas ji, Bhai Sahlo ji, and many other devoted Sikhs.

Unlike erecting the structure on the higher level (a tradition in Hindu Temple architecture), Guru Arjan Sahib got it built on the lower level. Unlike Hindu Temples having only one gate for the entrance and exit, Guru Sahib got it open from four sides. Thus he created a symbol of the new faith, Sikhism. Guru Sahib made it accessible to everyone without distinction of caste, creed, sex, and religion.

Two Sikh men were standing at the edge of the holy body of water. Men and women bathe separately in this man-made lake for its healing powers.

The building work was completed in 1601 A.D. on Bhadoon Sudi 1st, 1661 Bikrmi Samvat (August/September 1604). Guru Arjan Sahib installed the newly created Guru Granth Sahib in Sri Harmandir Sahib and appointed Baba Budha ji as its first Granthi, i.e., the reader of Guru Granth Sahib. After this event, it attained the status of ‘Ath Sath Tirath.’ Now the Sikh Nation had their own Tirath, a pilgrimage center.

Sri Harmandir Sahib is built on a 67ft. square platform in the centre of the Sarovar (tank). The temple itself is 40.5ft. square. It has a door each on the East, West, North, and South. The Darshani Deori (an arch) stands at the shore end of the causeway. The door frame of the arch is about 10ft in height and 8ft 6inches in breath. The door panes are decorated with artistic style. It opens onto the causeway or bridge that leads to the main building of Sri Harmandir Sahib. It is 202 feet in length and 21 feet in width.

During the year but especially during the heat of the summer months, metal glasses are used to serve tap water to visitors. The glasses are washed by these women using a trough of ash, not water.

The bridge is connected with the 13 feet wide ‘Pardakshna’ (circumambulatory path). It runs around the main shrine, leading to the ‘Har ki Paure’ (steps of God). On the first floor of “Har Ki Pauri,” there is continuous reading of Guru Granth Sahib.

The main structure of Sri Harmandir Sahib, functionally as well as technically, is a three-storied one. The front, which faces the bridge, is decorated with repeated cusped arches, and the roof of the first floor is at the height of 26 feet and 9 inches.

As we walked down a road toward the temple.

At the top of the first floor, 4 feet high parapet rises on all the sides, which also has four ‘Mamtees’ on the four corners, and precisely on the top of the central hall of the main sanctuary rises the third story. It is a small square room and has three gates. A regular recitation of Guru Granth Sahib is also held there.

On the top of this room stands the low fluted ‘Gumbaz’ (dome) having lotus petal motif in relief at the base inverted lotus at the top which supports the “Kalash” having a beautiful “Chhatri” at the end.

We walked through the old part of the town of Amritsar on our return to the hotel.

Its architecture represents a unique harmony between the Muslims and the Hindu’s way of construction work, and this is considered the best architectural specimen of the world. It is often quoted that this architecture has created an independent Sikh school of architecture in the history of art in India.”

Of course, we’re excited to share photos we’d taken at the temple. Excessive photo taking is frowned upon, and thus we were discriminating in choosing what appealed to us most. 
Although not maintained, many of these old apartments are still occupied a few centuries after being built.
Our few hours at the palace were enhanced by the knowledge and expertise of our guide, who works extensively with visitors of the US Embassy. We were truly honored to have him to ourselves for the day.
After the Golden Temple, he walked us through back roads and narrow alleyways to further enhance the scope of our experiences. Seeing famous landmarks is undoubtedly a huge plus, but the ins and outs of “where the people live and interact” are equally important.
We were fascinated by the historic architecture.
In the early afternoon, we took a short break from the tour to allow us time to prepare and upload yesterday’s post. By 2:15, Prince, our driver, arrived. He and Amit took us to our next adventure, witnessing the closing ceremony of the equivalent of the “changing of the guard” and the nightly closing of the gates at the India and Pakistan border. Fascinating! We’ll be back with photos and stories in tomorrow’s post.
Tomorrow morning, we’re heading for the airport for a full travel day with two flights and a 2¼ hour layover in between. We don’t expect to arrive at our hotel, the Hotel Ganges Grand in Varanasi, until after 7:00 pm, where we’ll stay until February 20th when we’ll fly once again Khajuraho. More on that later.
Back on the busy street, we reveled in the strong cultural influences.
We had a fantastic day yesterday, and we’re enjoying a quiet day off today to work on our zillions of photos for today’s and tomorrow’s posts. 
Have a spectacular day, dear readers!

Busy weekend…India plans are set…

In Marloth Park on this day in 2013. This male zebra stood under the carport for quite some time, watching over the other males. For more photos, please click here.

It’s Sunday morning. Richard and Tom are watching the Minnesota Vikings football game using Tom’s NFL Gamepass app. The game wasn’t broadcast here in Nevada.

In a few minutes, I’ll make a breakfast of scrambled eggs with sauteed onions, bacon, and sausage and we’ll eat in front of the big flat screen watching the game.

When the game ends, we’ll bundle up in warm clothing for the hockey arena and head to the Las Vegas Strip to the T-Mobile Arena to watch the Vegas Golden Knights play today’s 4:00 pm game. The temperature in the arena is about 60F (15.6C). We’ll dress accordingly.

Yesterday, after I’d made the two pies in the early morning, I packed a container with broccoli salad and the fresh-from-the-oven pie in the rental car, carefully placing them on the floor in the front seat. 

On the way to Susan’s house, I stopped at Chipotle and purchased two burritos for her and her ex-husband Tom who’s been helping her these past few years.

She had married the boy next door when we were growing up in Long Beach California many moons ago. I’ve known Tom since I was in early grade school. The fact that he’s been helping Susan is very special when they’ve been divorced for over 40 years.

On Friday evening, we wrapped up the 55-day private tour through the country of India beginning on February 8th, immediately after the end of the Maharajas Express Train ride from Mumbai to Dehli.

It will be a whirlwind of activity, but it’s the best way for us to tour India when we know so little about the country. Also, the fact this is a private tour means we’ll be able to go at our own pace if changes need to be made in the itinerary to accommodate our needs.

Initially, when we considered this option, there were too many activities to suit our needs. We didn’t want to be on the go non-stop for 55 days, especially when we’d want to carve out time to prepare and upload our posts and, if time allows,  relax a little.

Subsequently, we asked the rep to cut down on the number of activities. Most tourists don’t book such long tours. Based on the length of our tour, it was practical to leave us with some downtime. We don’t want to be run ragged, although we will be very busy during this period.

Now that I’ve been given the OK to tour at this pace, we feel more at ease and are excited about this unusually lengthy tour of India. Of course, there will be obstacles along the way, most likely regarding the food.

Tom doesn’t like spicy, heavily seasoned food. Hopefully, the restaurants in the hotels will have other options for him. Based on the fact the hotels are all 4 stars or higher, most likely their restaurants will offer more international cuisine, not necessarily limited to the strong flavors of Indian food.

The challenge for me will revolve around being able to order foods without starch or grains. But, we’re confident somehow we’ll make it all work. They consume lots of chicken in India, which added to a portion of vegetables made without starch will work for me. I’m sure once we’re there we’ll figure out several suitable options for both of us.

As the time nears, we’ll share more details on our itinerary and of course, be writing and posting photos each day during the upcoming train excursion. Our new phones may be used as hotspots, allowing us an adequate signal from most locations.

That’s it for today folks. May your Sunday be rewarding and fulfilling.

Photo from one year ago today, December 8, 2018:

This bushbuck family comes to visit daily. They always stand at the foot of the veranda steps to be away from other wildlife that “steal” their pellets and veg. For more photos, please click here.

Another pie day…Favorite dishes…

Penguin statues were everywhere in the adorable town of Penguin, Tasmania. For more photos, please click here.

There’s a hard reality I feel I must face when I say goodbye to my sister Susan today. With our plans to leave Nevada on Monday, this will be the last time I see her before we depart. This may be the last time I ever see her. Her health is failing daily.

Tomorrow, we have plans with Richard all day, including the brunch I’ll be making during the Vikings football game; attending the Vegas Golden Knight hockey game at 3:00 pm, followed by dinner on the strip around 7:00 pm.

I certainly hope Tom is feeling better by tomorrow. On top of it all, he pulled a muscle in his back and now he’s even more miserable. He’s taking Tylenol (Paracetamol), cough medicine and again laying low today. 

This morning, awakening at 5:30 am, it dawned on me that I wanted to make my sister’s favorite dessert in the world; our mother’s recipe for cheese pie (not cheesecake which often includes flour which is not the case here).

Oddly, last night Richard mentioned that Cheesecake Factory has a low carb cheese pie and this thought stuck in my mind overnight. I also wanted to make him a low carb cheese pie (my low carb version of my mother’s fabulous pie) that we can all have for dessert tonight.

I bolted out of bed at 6:15 am, showered and dressed for the day and was on my way to Smith’s Market in no time at all. As I write here now, Susan’s pie is out of the oven, cooling so I can add the topping and the low carb pie is baking after I had to first,  pre-bake the almond flour crust.

Waiting for the crust to cool, I made the low carb filling and was able to get the pie into the oven to bake in plenty of time. Now I’m timing the low carb pie until it’s done. After I remove it from the oven, I’ll have to let it also cool enough to add the sweet vanilla-flavored sour cream topping.

This morning I found Madagascar vanilla at Smith’s, some of the finest vanilla extract in the world. It’s unreal how easily I can find the proper ingredients in markets in the US. When we’re outside the US it’s a constant challenge trying to figure out alternatives for some of our favorite recipes. Then again, that is a part of the adaptation we so much enjoy.

Yesterday, I made another of Susan’s favorites, that delicious broccoli salad we all love with almonds and raisins. I will be bringing a good-sized portion for her while leaving plenty for tonight’s dinner. I plan to stop on the way to her assisted living facility and get her a Chipotle burrito, which should go well with the salad for a special dinner for her tonight.

Many people find great comfort in favorite dishes, often bringing up memories from our youth or other periods in our lives. With Susan lying in bed 24/7 with COPD and a variety of other conditions, at this point, she’s less concerned about her diet and instead focusing on getting through each day. These treats mean a lot to her.

This may be the last time I see her. When I saw her on Thursday, I assured her, we will be together again in a feeble attempt to dismiss the prospect of her not living much longer. It breaks my heart.

Isn’t this the case with many of our loved ones, as we age, we’ll lose many along the way? Any love and comfort we can provide our loved ones during the waning years of their lives are never time lost or wasted. All these seven years of world travel, I have stayed in close touch with her and will do so as we continue on.

Speaking of continuing on… Yesterday, we fully booked our two-month gap in India. We’re excited to share the details in tomorrow’s post.

Have a fantastic Saturday!


Photo from one year ago today, December 7, 2018:

Yesterday, no less than 10 warthogs waded in our cement pond including mom and four piglets.  The animals are feeling the heat as well as us humans. For more photos, please click here.

Part 2…Artistry, talent and taboos…A cultural goldmine in Livingstone…WayiWayi Art Studio and Gallery…

One wonders what would have precipitated this taboo.  t could go back thousands of years with the origination unknown. This and the other taboo paintings were done by Agness, director of WayWayi Art Studio & Gallery,

“Sighting of the Day in Zambia”

Should I reconsider serving Tom three eggs and bacon, upping it to four or reducing it to two?

There were more Zambian taboos than we can possibly list here in one post. Here’s a link we found with a few more taboos, commonly observed by both local people and hopefully, respected by visitors to this astounding culture.

Every piece of art at WayiWayi Art Studio & Gallery was representative of Zambian culture.

We’d hope to find a more comprehensive resource on Zambian taboos online with limited success. These taboos are so ingrained in the culture their significance is carried on from generation to generation, more by word of mouth than posted online.

Agness had made many exquisites paintings of a wide variety of taboos in Zambian culture.
They are fascinating!

Visiting WayiWayi Art Studio & Gallery as described in yesterday’s Part 1 gave us an opportunity to peek inside the gentle and loving nature of these special people who honor family, spirituality, and work at the foundation of their beliefs. For yesterday’s post, in the event you missed it, please click here.

Shaking hands with in-laws in not appropriate.  More so, a humble bow would be more appropriate.

Today, we’re sharing the balance of our photos including some of the exquisite pieces Agness Buya had personally crafted with her fascination and knowledge of traditional Zambian taboos and customs. 

Gorgeous wall hangings.

As Agness escorted us from room to room in her large studio/residence we were continually in awe of her work, her husband Lawrence’s work, and the works of students over the years.  

The meaning of this piece is that people often complain out loud, wanting the government to solve their problems rather than find solutions on their own.

Both trained as art teachers/instructors it’s evident their vast knowledge and expertise become an integral part of the education of students, young and old, and various artists in residence.

Some of their services include (from their brochure):

  • Free WiFi
  • All major credit cards
  • Self-catering facilities
  • Check-in/out 24 hours
  • Artists workspace available
  • Electrical kiln, potters wheel, printing press, a small collection of art books for research
A busy workspace and storage area.
To contact WayiWayi Art Studio & Gallery, call 260 977 325 799 or 260 966 559 101 or email:  
Their Facebook page is:
Many arts and art history books are available for the students to use while attending classes.
Now, continuing on with our itinerary over the next few days. Tomorrow morning we’ll be picked up at 7:00 am at the Protea Hotel in Livingstone for a two-day, one overnight, safari adventure, both in Chobe National Park and again on the Chobe River.
The power of the messages in each item is breathtaking.
Last time we were in Zambia we’d participated in these two types of safaris but for shorter periods. In this case, we’ll have two full days to see more of this wildlife-rich area on land in a safari vehicle and in a boat on the Chobe River.
The biggest draw for tourists to travel to Livingstone is Victoria Falls, seen from one or both sides of the Zambezi River. When we were here three months ago, we spent an entire day seeing the falls from both countries, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  
We’ll always remember this special day with Agness at WayiWayi Art Studio & Gallery.
It was an extraordinary experience which we posted at this link and also Part 2 at this link. The reality is there are only so many tourist attractions in this area, most of which we’ve already experienced.  
This artistic piece, made by Agness was made with hundreds of scratch-off tickets.

Based on the fact we needed to return to Zambia for another 90-day visa extension, we decided to return to Chobe after the exceptional previous experience. Most likely the route we travel will be the same or similar to the previous route we traveled in Chobe National Park.  

However, like visiting Kruger as we often do once a week, each time it is unique and exciting even if we travel on the same exact roads on each occasion.
Could this be represented as cultural changes over the years, the woman in front as more modern, the woman behind here in more traditional roles?
Subsequently, we’ll be gone all day tomorrow and the following day which will result in two short posts for those two days with more photos from Zambia. Once we’re back at the hotel, on Wednesday we’ll begin posting the Chobe National Park and Chobe River photos.
Children playing in the sand at the art school.
Again, thank you to the wonderful Agness Buya for making our trip to Zambia all the more important and exciting.
We’ll be back tomorrow with more!
Have a fantastic day!
 Photo from one year ago today, August 19, 2017:
The mountains impeded our view of the sunset in Atenas, Costa Rice but got gorgeous colors in the process. For more details, please click here.

Part 1…Artistry, talent and taboos…A cultural goldmine in Livingstone…WayiWayi Art Studio and Gallery…

This is talented and dedicated Agness Buya, who has made art, apprenticeships, and education at the core of her very existence. We were honored to have met her and for the time she took sharing this cultural center with the two of us.  Agness created this magnificent creation using tea bags!

“Sighting of the Day in Zambia”

Work and providing for one’s family is a part of the marriage commitment ceremony. This statue and other’s similar to this, bear no arms and legs, indicating there’s no place for “lazy” individuals who refuse to work.

Today and tomorrow we’ll be sharing photos of a fabulous cultural experience from yesterday’s tour of the city of Livingstone, Zambia. The highlight of our day was our private tour of WayiWayi Art Studio and Gallery.

The dirt road to the WayiWayi Art Studio and Gallery.

When one is on holiday in a tourist town with the intent of visiting an art gallery what visions come to mind? The glass storefront, a pristine and impeccable decor allowing for highlighting the art as opposed to the facility itself?

The sign upon entry onto the grounds.

One envisions expensive art offering including paintings with a wide array of techniques and styles, sculptures, glassworks, and a plethora of handmade creative wall, floor, and table pieces, each stunning, pricey and unique.

This building serves as both an art center and residence for owner/manager Agness and her artist husband Lawrence. Sharing art with their community is truly the essence of their lives.

Well, dear readers, one may find such places in many tourist locations throughout the world, but not here in Livingstone, Zambia. Throughout our almost six years of non-stop world travel, homeless and unencumbered with stuff art only provides us with a finite appreciation of the work and craft of highly dedicated and talented individuals.  

The grounds are near the art school and art classrooms.

We don’t own a wall, a floor, or a table to hold or display such an artistic piece of the work of these creative talents. Nor do we have a storage place to hold such works for future use should we ever stop traveling.

Display of children’s work in one of the classrooms in the adjacent building.

Although Livingstone with its World Heritage Victoria Falls is one of the world’s most desired tourist attractions, the culture is very different here than one might find in many other popular tourist destinations. 

Artist in residence honing his skills.

Subsequently, we were literally “over the moon” traveling over yet another bumpy dirt road (quite a familiar experience for us in rough-roaded Marloth Park) and we approached the most quaint and charming WayiWayi Art Studio and Gallery, located at Plot #2613/392 Kalukuluku Street (off Airport Road) in Livingstone, Zambia.  

Artist in residence working in one of the several workrooms with children learning from the experiences.

To reach Agness, contact her on their Facebook page here or she can be reached by email at this link. No reservation to tour the center is required during normal business hours but since the property is also hers and her husband’s residence, it’s best to contact Agness outside any regular hours.

Opportunities for both youth and adults to enhance their skills.

Should any of our readers travel to this exceptional country to visit Victoria Falls, a stop at this culturally fascinating facility is an absolute must, especially if cultural experiences fit well into your travel plans.

Art supplies and storage area.

As soon as we exited the taxi, Agness immediately approached us, hand outstretched to warmly greet us, two strangers. Little did she know we’d be writing a story with many photos about her outstanding artistic endeavors.  

A separate room dedicated to marriage rites and customs. This pattern on the floor is for the engaged couple to walk on tiptoes together symbolizing their ability to work as a couple.

As far as she knew we were typical tourists/shoppers interested in purchasing a few items to bring “home” for ourselves, family members, and friends as a reminder of a tour of Livingstone, Zambia.

Agness’ husband Lawrence painted this beautiful piece indicating the family’s unity and involvement in the marriage.

In only a matter of moments, Agness understood how committed we are to sharing “her” story in words and photos and possibly attracting the attention of art enthusiasts and future shoppers whose purchases help to support the continuation of such a fine educational and creative center for children and adults.

A collage of photos of the many stages of preparation for the upcoming marriage.

From the simple one-page brochure we’re sharing their words on services offered (as an important adjunct to our two-day story as follows):

1.  Produce, display, and sell high-quality Zambian arts, crafts, and design.
2.  Organize workshops and art exhibitions locally and nationwide.
3.  Provide apprenticeship opportunities for emerging artists.
4.  Empowering women’s groups and youth with skills training in the visual arts.
5.  Offer hands-on arts and crafts to children aged one and a half to six-month and above.
6.  Showcase the Mbusa cultural traditions (pottery, wall paintings, and artifacts used in the traditional Bemba marriage ceremony).  For detail on these traditions, please click here).
7.  Face/body paintings for various functions for all age groups.
8.  Resource Centre for visual art in Zambia’s Southern province.
9.  Provide studio space and Residency opportunities for local and foreign artists, in all areas of art.
10. To stock and supply a variety of art and craft materials for use by local schools and community programs.

Music, wall hangings, artifacts, and pottery are an integral part of the traditional Bemba marriage ceremony and rituals.

We will say this today and then repeat it tomorrow: “Thank you Agness Buya for adding such a rich texture to our ongoing experiences in your fine country and for all the care and support you provide for your artistic community.”

This wall mural contains many sections representing different aspects of life for the Zambian couple as they prepare for marriage, a lifetime commitment in this culture.

Tomorrow we’ll be back with Part 2 with a focus on many of the taboos commonly observed in Zambian culture. Please stop back.

 Photo from one year ago today, August 18, 2017:
Our friend Louise, whom we met in Kauai Hawaii identified this bird as a Hoffmann’s Woodpecker. Thanks, Louise, we appreciated the information. I took this photo while seated on the sofa on the veranda while working on the day’s post while in Atenas, Costa Rica. For more photos, please click here.

Booking for the future…St. Petersburg…Hard to imagine life beyond the bush…

When capturing this hippo and cattle egret in the bright sun from quite a distance, we didn’t realize there was a croc in the photo until we loaded the photo on my laptop. 

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

A new warthog visitor with an injured left wart. He’s since been back a few times in the past two days. It didn’t appear to be bleeding or oozing. There are several ways this injury could have transpired.

Today, we’d tentatively planned to go to Kruger. Still, when deciding on what to cook for tonight’s dinner, I realized a trip to Komatipoort to shop was more critical when we ran out of fresh vegetables and other household goods.

Instead, weather permitting, we’ll head to Kruger tomorrow after getting a head start on the day’s post early in the morning. That’s the magic of this life we lead…we can do whatever we’d like, whenever we’d like, and change plans at the last minute if we’d like. 

Mom and baby are on the banks of the Crocodile River with the remainder of their parade nearby.

But changing BIG plans in this life presents several obstacles, mainly due to money with deposits (or full fares) paid for holiday homes, flights, hotels, and cruises we’ve already booked.

Having control over the smaller daily plans is a beautiful part of being retired and free. Often, we awake with a project in mind we’d discussed the previous day or evening to find ourselves simply “not in the mood” to do what we’d discussed. 

Elephants are frequently found by the river when viewing from Marloth Park.

Fortunately, neither of us minds the other suggestions. We change plans for the day, even for no reason at all, if we so choose. Of course, we don’t change the social plans we’ve made with friends, always adhering strictly to the date, time, and location.

As we look to the future, we realize it’s imperative we make plans for several time slots and events arising after we left Kenya in March 2019. This sounds like a long time away, but in fact, it’s only a mere eight months from now. 

This giraffe was on the opposite side of the river, far from view without zooming in or viewing through Tom’s binoculars.

The two of us are always counting on our fingers to figure out how long it is until the next adventure, not because we want the time to fly quickly but more to gain a perspective of how much time we have left wherever we are at any given time.

Recently, when Tom was perusing, which he does quite frequently, he noticed a posting from a booked passenger for the Baltic cruise we’d booked for August 11, 2019, from Amsterdam to Amsterdam on Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas.

Two waterbucks on a sandbar in the river.

The passenger couple sought participants for an upcoming two-day tour (not overnight) when in port overnight in St. Petersburg, Russia. We’ll sleep on the ship but head out each of two days for the nine-hour tours both days of the majestic city.

We jumped at the opportunity to participate in the tours, which will include a maximum of 16 people, which is a lot better and less costly than the tours offered by the cruise line. 

A short time later, an elephant leisurely walks past the two waterbucks.

Most cruise-line-arranged tours are on huge buses, often with as many as 60 passengers per bus, hardly our cup-of-tea making this smaller group option much more appealing.

We committed to participating in the two-day tour from what appears to be a highly reputable company based on reviews, telling the passenger/organizer to let us know when and how to pay the combined around ZAR 7994 (US $600) plus tips for the tour guide.

Zooming in for this scene with many elephants on the river.

After conducting some of our research, we felt this pricing was reasonable for the two nine-hour tours, especially after reviewing the itinerary on the tour company’s website here

Here’s the itinerary for the St. Petersburg Russia tour:

2-day Deluxe Tour

16 person max or private | 19hrs. with guide and driver | Includes two lunches | Very active
Our most popular tour–and the most comprehensive tour at the most competitive price on the Baltic–the 2-day Deluxe Tour in St. Petersburg includes two full days of visits to the most sought-after sites, traditional Russian lunches, and an expert but also a personal presentation of the city. This tour is for those who want to make the most of their two days in St. Petersburg.

Guided Visits:

Hermitage Museum (Winter Palace) – Enjoy a guided tour of the museum’s most famous halls, including major highlights such as the Jordan Staircase, the Raphael Loggias, the Pavilion Hall with the famous Peacock clock, and many others, along with the world-class collection of artworks. Our tour is designed to give you a thorough introduction to truly one of the most excellent museums in the world.
Church of our Saviour on the Spilled Blood – The iconic Orthodox church where Alexander II was fatally wounded, the richly decorated exterior, and the exquisite mosaic interior are a must-see for any visitor to St. Petersburg.
St. Isaac’s Cathedral – This is the largest cathedral in St. Petersburg and the fourth largest in the world. This is an awe-inspiring structure from the outside and the inside.
Peter & Paul Fortress and Cathedral – First established in 1703, the original timber fortress was one of the first structures erected in the city. This area has since played an essential role in the history of the town and the country, not only for its military significance but also as a political prison and the burial site of the Russian Tzars.
Peterhof Fountain Park and Gardens – The summer residence of Peter the Great, this estate features meticulously maintained gardens and a collection of gold statued fountains that is unlike anywhere else in the world. The Grand Cascade (the park’s centerpiece) contains 64 sprays alone, with the Samson statue at its center shooting a powerful jet 20 meters into the sky.
**Catherine’s Palace with Amber Room – This Rococo palace was once the summer residence of the Russian Tzars and represented the peak of imperial opulence. A visit wouldn’t be complete without seeing the Amber Room, which has been completed reconstructed in great detail, some say even more exquisitely than the original.
Yusupov Palace – Although not of royal lineage, the Yusupov family was exceptionally wealthy and had significant influence in Russia. Their residence, seated on the bank of the Moyka River, showcases ornately designed rooms, stairwells, and a stunning private theatre. A visit to the room where Rasputin was murdered is also included on tour.

We’re excited about seeing all of these venues but also in having this arranged in advance by a generous passenger who’s chosen to take on the task of organizing it, instead of trying to figure out tours during the cruise itself when WiFi is sketchy and many of the best options are sold out.  

The mom to the right climbed atop a big rock, and the baby tried to follow suit.

In this case, we wouldn’t care to venture off on our own, as we often do, taking a taxi or finding a driver. Also, it’s an excellent opportunity to meet other passengers we may not have met on this 2500 passenger ship.

Mom and baby crossing the shallow water in the river.

We do realize we need to spend more time fine-tuning our itinerary for 2019-2020 and are conducting some online research now. But, it’s pretty hard to tear ourselves away from living in the moment, thoroughly treasuring the gifts Mother Nature presents to us each day.

Another mom and baby as they reached the river bank.

May you experience those gifts of nature as well, whether it be a bird, a flower, or a sunset.

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

Dust storm gathering in the desert in Las Vegas. For more photos, please click here.

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

The Victoria Falls Bridge was crossing the Zambezi River from Zambia to Zimbabwe. We drove across this bridge and were 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 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 to strapping people into a harness and suspending them for a photo op kwacha 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 worldwide, vendors are 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, to continue to serve visitors with such grace, kindness, and dignity. Sure, there’s a high crime rate, but it’s 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 sold handmade wooden masks, a popular tourist purchase.

For logical safety concerns, we don’t walk the streets after dark in any city. 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 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 area 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. It’s 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 were both hungry and preferred to order something we thought we’d like. We considered ordering a bun-less croc burger but decided against it. 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. 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 pleased when he traded his salad and veg for my chips to enjoy with his beef tenderloin espetada.

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 espetada. 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 and comments as to dining at this establishment. There’s so much more to share in these few days.

Today’s tour beginning at 7:00 am, will undoubtedly 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.