Two days and counting…Favorite photos from Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe…Chobe National Park, Victoria Falls,

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”

Kudus stopping by for a little breakfast.

Gosh, it’s hard to believe it was a year ago that we left South Africa for Zambia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe for sightseeing and a possible visa extension.  In order to get a visa extension, travelers must depart to a country that isn’t bordering South Africa at any point.  

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.
Zambia was a perfect choice and from there we visited Zimbabwe and Botswana.  We had the opportunity to see Victoria Falls from both Zambia and Zimbabwe which were two entirely different scenarios.  We enjoyed every moment finally being able to see the famous waterfalls.
I was happy to see Tom safely return from climbing to the top of the wet slippery bridge which he tackled without me.  I’m not quite as surefooted as he is.  It was slipperythe 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.
From this siteWhile 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.) and height of 108 meters (354 ft.), resulting in the world’s largest sheet of falling water.”


Also, we’d heard so much about Chobe National Park and the Chobe River.  For years, I’d longed to do a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River and as it turned it, we did it all, thrilled we had an opportunity to see so much.
The sights and sounds of Victoria Falls from both the Zambia and Zimbabwe sides were unlike anything we’ve seen in the past.

We spent a week on these trips, details and more of which may be found in the archives beginning on May 12, 2018, and continuing for several days.  Please check out the links for more exciting photos and adventures during this fantastic trip.

After this elephant 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 four stunning videos of him swimming in the Chobe River, please click here and scroll down to the videos.

As it turned out, once again we needed a visa extension and we returned in August for more exciting tours.  More on this later.  In any case, it was fun to see other African countries.  To date, we’ve been to nine countries on the African continent which is nothing compared to its total of 54.  


There are no less than a dozen countries in Africa it’s unlikely we’ll ever visit which present huge risks for tourists.  We’ve thoroughly enjoyed being in Africa but don’t want to take any unnecessary risks.  






The best snorkeling apparatus on the planet…his trunk. His huge feet were no longer touching the river bottom and he was buoyant.

We’re often asked if we’ll return to Africa and that’s definitely on our itinerary, especially when we’ve booked a cruise to Cape Town in two years. However, what will transpire at immigration in Johannesburg will determine when we’ll be allowed to re-enter the country. We’ll see how that goes and report back during our upcoming lengthy travel day.

During our sunset cruise on the Zambezi River, we spotted these bee-eaters making nests and burrows into holes they made in the river bank.

As for posting on our upcoming long travel day, Saturday, May 11th, we will upload a post in the morning before we depart for the airport in Nelspruit.  We’ll arrive in Connemara on Sunday afternoon and if time allows, we’ll upload a short post indicating we’ve arrived.  

Sunset on the Zambezi River.

If you don’t see a post on Sunday, it will be due to an arrival later than we’d expected and we’ll wait until the following day.  At that point, we’ll have been traveling for 24 hours or more and may simply be too tired to do so.

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.

I’m going from recuperating in a mostly lying down position to a 24-hour travel day. I have no idea how well I’ll feel when we arrive.  But, please rest assured that after some rest and one night’s sleep, we’ll be right back here writing to all of you.


Of course, I’d be lying if I said I was totally at ease in anticipation of this long travel day.  My number one objective will be to walk every hour on the various flights except when fully reclined in my business class seat in the middle of the night.

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

Ah, let’s hope it all goes smoothly.  There’s only a 90-minute layover in Johannesburg and that’s where we’ll have to deal with immigration.  If the process is lengthy, we could miss the flight.  My being in a wheelchair will hopefully speed up the waiting time in the lines at immigration.


That’s it for today folks.  We’re hoping you all have a peaceful and stress-free day!


Note:  Due to some type of WiFi signal issue this morning, the line and paragraph spacing is “off” preventing me from correcting the situation.

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Photo from one year ago today, May 9, 2018:

An elephant taking a drink from the river.  For more photos…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 meet 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 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 land masses in the middle of the river, immediately upstream from the falls near the Zambian shore. Livingstone named his discovery in honour 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 metres (5,604 ft), at a height of 108 metres (354 ft), resulting in the world’s largest sheet of falling water. Victoria Falls is roughly 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 rivalled 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 kilometres 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 metres (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 metres (260 ft) at its western end to 108 metres (354 ft) in the centre. The only outlet to the First Gorge is a 110-metre (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 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 metres (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 in flow 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!

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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!

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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.

Two days and counting…Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana…Here we come!…

 
An ostrich by himself walking along the road near the river.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

There’s a round fenced in area in the driveway filled with a variety of vegetation.  The intent was to keep the monkeys out but they always find a way inside.  It’s fall now in this part of the world.  Leaves are rapidly falling from the tree and only a few forms of vegetation are changing color such as this palm frond.

In two days, we’ll make the 90-minute drive to Nelspruit to the airport to fly to Livingstone, Zambia for our one-week getaway.  Seeing Victoria Falls has always been a goal of ours since our first visit to Africa over four years ago.

When we were here in 2013-2014, we’d hoped to see the falls but once we became entrenched in life in Marloth Park, we couldn’t bring ourselves to leave when we loved it so much.

It’s always such a joy to see elephants on our local drives.

Now, with our 90-day visas ready to expire in a few days, it was time to make this important trip which includes a stay in a hotel near the falls and embark on a variety of tours we’ve already booked for the week away.  We’ll be returning on May 18th.

The elephant’s trunk is comparable to a human’s hand in its dexterity.

I wish I could say we’re excited about leaving and I’m certain once we arrive in Livingstone, we’ll be thrilled to be there.  But, this blissful routine we’ve established in Marloth Park isn’t all that easy to leave.

Only this morning, we’ve had kudu, bushbuck, Frank and a band of mongoose and who knows what the remainder of the day will bring our way? Oddly, we haven’t seen Scar Face in a number of days and I’m concerned something has happened to him.

Taking a drink.

Last night, we stayed outdoors extra late while several other warthogs came to call but not Scar Face.  The mating season is stirring up a lot of interesting behavior patterns between the males and females which we’re especially enjoying but without Scar Face it just isn’t quite the same.  Hopefully, he’ll appear in the next two day before we have to leave.

Another elephant was heading down to the Crocodile River.

Yesterday afternoon, we made our usual every-other-day drive through the park.  The quiet and the lack of other vehicles was definitely noticeable.  We may have encountered only three or four other vehicles as we drove along the Crocodile River, checking out the action.

It was a gorgeous sunny day as most have been these past few weeks now that the fall season is upon us.  This morning, as is the case most mornings now, we have to add extra layers of clothing to stay comfortable outdoors.  By 9:00 or 10:00 am, it begins to warm up to ideal conditions suitable for shorts and tee shirts.

“Elephants may spend 12-18 hours a day feeding. Adult elephants can eat between 200-600 pounds of food a day. As herbivores, elephants consume grasses, tree foliage, bark, twigs, and other vegetation daily. Elephants can also drink up to 50 gallons of water a day about as much as a standard bathtub holds.”

As chilly as it may be in the mornings and evenings, we’re thrilled with the coolness and are grateful we kept a few warmer items to wear during these cooler periods.

Yesterday Josiah, our pool, veranda, and yard maintenance man spent a few hours raking the leaves that have accumulated in the dirt (no lawn here) that had fallen from the trees.  This way, when we feed the wildlife they don’t have to dig through piles of leaves to find the pellets and vegetables.

Little Wart Face was sniffing one of the two moms who come by each day with their two fast-growing piglets.  He was making the train-like noise while sniffing but she was having nothing to do with him.  Mating season is upon us.

Now, as we sit here on the veranda on this perfect day, the leaves are falling in big swooshes as each gust of balmy wind wafts through the yard.  The bush is a mixture of green and brown and in itself isn’t particularly pretty.  Few flowers or colorful blooms are visible this time of year.

The often “raining” leaves create a scene that is enchanting in its own way as we anticipate the coming of winter in this part of the world, never cold enough for snow although we can see our breath some mornings.

Young male visit stopped by in the dark to see what we had for him.  We complied with pellets, apples, carrots, and lettuce.

It’s hard for us to believe three months have passed since we arrived on February 11th, most definitely some of the most pleasurable months in our world travels.

Coming off the trip to Antarctica could have been a big letdown.  As Tom always says, we came from seeing elephant seals to seeing elephants in less than one week.  What more could we ask for?

Today, I’ll pack for the trip.  Tom prefers to wait until the day prior to leaving.  We each have our preferred packing routine with neither of us putting on any pressure for the other to do it any differently.  The only thing I help Tom with is folding his shirts.  Tom lifts and carries the bags for me.  It works.

Such handsome animals.  We welcome them almost every day.

We won’t be posting any final expenses for South Africa since we’ll be coming back.  At the end of the upcoming week, we’ll post the expenses for the trip.  We’re hearing the Wi-Fi at the hotel is good and we’re hoping to post each day, although we have a few all-day safaris and excursions that may prevent us from doing so on those days.  In any case, we’ll let you know.

The next few days until we depart we’ll be staying in, getting things done, packing, making nice meals before we depart and then by this time in two days, we’ll already be at the tiny Mpumalanga Nelspruit Kruger International Airport, getting ready to board the non-stop flight to Zambia.

Stay tuned, folks.  Lots more is yet to come. 

Have a pleasant day!

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Photo from one year ago today, May 9, 2017:

A view of Honolulu from the ship as we made our way back to mainland USA.  For more details, please click here.