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.

_____________________________________

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

An elephant taking a drink from the river.  For more photos…Please click here.

Part 3…2018, “Year in Review” with favorite photos…They’re back!!!…Six years ago today…Itinerary re-post from one year ago.

We so excited to see the kudus and other wildlife returning to our garden as the holiday crowds dissipate.  

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

One of our two favorite frogs took up residence in this cute little decorative basket near the pool on the veranda.

This morning, two bushbucks, one duiker,  five zebras, and three warthogs stopped by at the same time.  Last night before the pelting rain began, 12 kudus and three warthogs stopped by for a snack.  We couldn’t toss the pellets quickly enough.  

Notice the pellet crumbs on her nose.  Often, there are lots of crumbs in the huge bags of pellets.  Most of the wildlife are happy to lap up the crumbs if we place them on the tile steps.  See more here at this link.

We’re so excited the animals have begun to return to our garden.  After all, that’s why we’re here…the wildlife and the people.  They’re all wonderful and have made this past year fly by in a flurry of activity.

We couldn’t believe our eyes when we spotted this elephant digging a hole to access water in the ground below.  Please take a moment to watch our video at the top of the page.  See this link here for more.

The now working aircon in our main floor bedroom provided us with a good night’s sleep along with the fact the power stayed on for the past 36 hours.  Add the fact that today, for the first time in days, the temperature is cool and comfortable at 21C, (70F) and surprisingly doesn’t feel as humid as it had over the past several days.  What a welcomed relief!

Louise and Danie joined us for dinner that night at Kambaku, the popular restaurant at the golf course in Komatipoort, as we celebrated their belated birthdays.  We couldn’t be more grateful for all they’ve done for us.  See this link here for more.

Today, we’ll complete this three-part series of 2018, “Year in Review” and return tomorrow with our regular posts and all new photos as we see more and more wildlife each day as the holidaymakers have begun to drift away.

Our photo of the blood moon taken on July 27, 2018.  See this link here for more.

Holiday times are different in South Africa than many other countries. In the US, kids return to school the first day after the end of New Year’s Day.  But here, the return to school varies from public schools to private schools but may be as late as the middle of January.  This fact determines when many of the holidaymakers leave Marloth Park.

Not a night passes without an opportunity to watch these adorable bushbabies enjoy the yogurt we place on their little stand.  See this link here for more.
However, as we’ve seen from the gradual return of the wildlife to our garden, many may have left right after New Year’s Day.  At this point, we’ll see how it transpires over the next week or two.

What an animal!  We feel fortunate to have been able to get lion photos.  See this link for more.

This morning when Tom was reviewing past posts, he mentioned it was exactly six years ago today that we boarded our first cruise.  See here for the link. (At that time, we didn’t post many photos and didn’t do a post daily). In 80 days, we’ll be boarding our 24th cruise in Santiago Chile, ending in San Diego California.  

Mom and baby love.  See this link here for more.

It’s even hard for us to believe how many cruises we’ve experienced in this short period of time and other than a four-day back to back cruise in 2013, in the Mediterranean, we’ve loved every one of them.  

Every piece of art at WayiWayi Art Studio & Gallery was representative of Zambian culture.  See this link here for more.

The four-day cruise was during spring break and was crowed with highly inebriated, loud, demanding and pushing and shoving passengers.  It couldn’t have ended quickly enough for us.  

We were excited to get a view of the leopard’s face after waiting for a considerable period while Samson, our guide in Chobe National Paek in Botswana kept moving the vehicle for better shots.  Upon careful inspection of this photo, you can see the pads of the feet of her kill in the tree near her head.  See this link here for more.

Below included in our “one year ago today” feature we posted the itinerary which we’d included on today’s date in 2018.  Certain aspects of our itinerary have changed, including the first year that has since passed.  In the next few months, as we add more bookings, we’ll be updating the itinerary and post it here.  

Based on our position in the line-up of vehicles in Kruger our photo taking advantage was limited.  See this link here for more.

As the years have passed, we don’t feel the sense of urgency to fill in the blanks and extend the itinerary beyond two years.  Its less about being lazy and more about feeling comfortable that all of it will work out as we go along.

Stunning female lion – as a part of the Ridiculous Nine we spotted in a game drive in Marloth Park with friends Lois and Tom who visited for three weeks.  See this link here for more.

Tonight, we’ll be visiting Rita and Gerhard at their second condo at Ngwenya where they’re staying until tomorrow.  Then, much to their delight, they’re moving back to the Hornbill house where they lived the first month they were here and will stay until sometime in March when they’ll be leaving Marloth Park.

Tom, Lois, Kerry (our guide) me and Tom after a highly successful game drive in Kruger.  See this link here for more.

We’re hoping to see them in this New Year when they’ll come to visit us in Ireland during our three-month stay beginning in May.  We’re also looking forward to Kathy and Don visiting us in Ireland as well.  How fortunate we are to have made such fine friends.

We encountered this stunning scene of zebras and wildebeest from the fence at Marloth Park. One reason zebras and wildebeest hang out together is that zebras love to eat the taller grass and wildebeest the shorter grass – it’s a type of symbiosis. There is no competition regarding food.  Also, wildebeests have a better sense of hearing, while zebras can see very well. It’s always great to have an ally to warn of any impending danger.  Another reason is zebras and wildebeest prefer to be in the open savannahs…the concept of safety in numbers comes into play.  See this link here for more.

Then upcoming on January 14, friend Linda and Ken will stay here with us for a week.  They arrive from Johannesburg on the day that we’re having a birthday dinner party for Rita. Such good times with friends…we are so grateful.

We’ve so enjoyed spending time with new friends Rita and Gerhard who came to Marloth Park after reading our posts years ago.  Through our site, they found the holiday home they’ve rented and also found Louise to help them get situated.  They’ll be here in Marloth until March.  We look forward to many more exciting times together.  See this link here for more.

That’s it for today, folks.  We’ll be back with more tomorrow. 

May you find your day to be fulfilling and meaningful!

___________________________________



Photo from one year ago today, January 3, 2018:

One year ago today, we posted the upcoming itinerary that included a total of 852 days, which is now down to 486 days since the first year of this itinerary has passed. Since that date, we’ve had a few modifications which we’ll include next time we update and post the itinerary. For details, please click here.


 Location 
Days
 Dates 
 Buenos Aires, AR – Prodeo Hotel 
20
 1/2/2018 -1/23/2018 
 Ushuaia, AR – Ushuaia, AR – Antarctica Cruise 
16
 1/23/2018 – 2/8/2018 
 Buenos Aires, AR – Prodeo Hotel 
2
 2/8/2018 – 2/10/2018 
 Marloth Park, South Africa – Bush home selected
89
2/11/2018 – 5/11/2018
  Zambezi River Cruise – Victoria Falls 
8
5/11/2018 – 5/19/2018
 Marloth Park, South Africa – Rent a bush home
89
5/19/2018 – 8/16/2018
 Uganda – See gorillas and the “Cradle of Mankind” 
7
8/16/2018 – 8/23/2018
 Marloth Park, South Africa – Rent a bush home
89
 8/23/2018 -11/20/2018 
 Mozambique, Africa (get visa stamped) 
1
 11/20/2018 -11/21/2018 
 Marloth Park, South Africa – Rent a bush home
89
 11/21/2019 – 2/17/2019 
 Valparaiso, Chile – Rent vacation home or hotel
36
 2/17/2019 – 3/24/2019 
 Cruise – San Antonio, Chile – San Diego 
14
 3/24/2019 – 4/8/2019 
 San Diego, CA – Fly to Minneapolis, MN – Family visit
13
 4/8/2019 – 4/21/2019 
 Cruise – Fort Lauderdale, FL- Dublin, Ire (1-day hotel stay) 
15
 4/21/2019 – 5/6/2019 
 Ireland – Rent country house – Research Tom’s ancestry 
90
 5/6/2019 – 8/1/2019 
 Amsterdam, NLD – Hotel stay 
11
 8/1/2019 – 8/11/2019 
 Cruise, Baltic – Amsterdam, NLD – Amsterdam, NLD 
12
 8/11/2019 – 8/23/2019 
 England – Rent country home
62
 8/23/2019 – 10/24/2019 
 Southampton, UK – Fort Lauderdale, FL
15
  10/24/2019 – 11/8/2019 
 Henderson/Las Vegas, NV – Los Angeles, CA -Scottsdale, AZ 
25
 11/8/2019 – 12/3/2019 
 Ecuador – Galapagos – Rent vacation homes on islands
89
 12/3/2019 – 3/1/2020 
 Peru – Machu Picchu – Rent vacation homes, visit site 
30
 3/1/2020 –  3/31/2020 
 The Pantanal/Amazon River Cruise – Brazil (2 cruises)
30
 3/31/2020 – 4/30/2020 
 Number of days  
852

Part 2…2018, “Year in Review” with favorite photos…An important decision has been made…

Two female rhinos on the trail of a nearby male.  See this link here for more.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

We were hopeful on Monday when we had 13 kudus in the garden, thinking perhaps the traffic in Marloth Park was thinning out.  Today, we’ve had several kudus, bushbucks and the warthog mom and four babies.

Yesterday was another hot and humid day, leaving us soaked in sweat throughout the day.  Today, it continues.  Luckily, the power didn’t go out and we slept in one of the upstairs bedrooms with working aircon.

Linda, me and Kathy.  It was these two thoughtful friends that took me to lunch on my birthday, four years ago.  Now, we’ll all be together again to celebrate my 70th.  Wow!  See this link here for more.

We’re hopeful, the repair guy will come today and repair the aircon in our main floor bedroom where we have a dust-mite-free mattress, pillows, and covers.  The bed upstairs is a double and although we’ve slept in double beds throughout the world, a queen-sized bed is much more comfortable, especially when we both have a tendency to hog the center of the mattress.

Ken, Tom and Don making big faces for the camera!  See this link here for more.

We’re looking forward to aircon comfort in our main floor bedroom, hopefully, available by this evening.  From there, we hope the power stays on as it has for the past 24 hours.

We’ll always remember this birthday as a special event for both of us; celebrated life, health, our experiences and the fine friends we’ve made along the way.  See this link here for more.

This morning, it’ rained, a nice soaking rain needed in the bush at this point.  We were discussing the frustration many holidaymakers must be feeling after they came to the bush with lots of expectations, only to be sorely disappointed by some events that transpired.

While in Kruger, we spotted a rhino mom and her baby, born this season and still closely attached to the mother. See this link here for more.

It’s been outrageously hot, humid and there have been more power outages than we can count.  Kruger National Park has been difficult to enter with the crowds going as far as making reservations for a fee, to enter.  Once inside, they’ve had to deal with all the vehicles blocking the roads during a sighting.

This was a “tower” or “journey” of the eight giraffes who made their way to the only paved road in Marloth.  Note the eighth giraffe is to the far right in this photo.  See this link here for more.

On top of that, there has been less wildlife visiting the properties over the past several weeks due to the added number of people and vehicles in Marloth Park, certainly adding to the frustrations.

When “capturing” the Black Mamba it is imperative to immobilize the head close to the ground and raise the tail.  Tom managed to do this while it was desperately attempting to escape during his snake handling experience at Snake School.  The Black Mamba is the fastest snake on the planet.  See this link here for more.

As we often drive around Marloth Park for two hour periods, almost every day, we see few animals in the gardens of holiday homes, other than an occasional kudu or warthog.  

At a distance, they saw Dad coming their way.  The chick’s pace picked up the moment she spotted him.  Look at the far end of the dirt road to see him coming!  His feathers are dark.  See this link here for more.

We can only imagine the frustration of the holidaymakers dealing with these issues, as well as property owners and managers, dealing with the renter’s demands as a result of their frustrations.  It hasn’t been an easy situation. Some tourists have left earlier than they’d planned.

 I awoke Tom when this thing was walking on me.  With the light from my phone, I saw it and must admit, a little scream escaped my lips as I shooed it off my shoulder.  Yucky!  Look at those spiky legs!  Tom captured it in this plastic container and released it outside.  See this link here for more.

Today, we continue on with Part 2…2018, “Year in Review.”  In yesterday’s post, found here, we covered our cruise to Antarctica and the many stunning photos we captured along the way.  It was exciting for us, once again, reviewing each post for favorite photos to share in the post.

This was a common sight in Marloth Park a holiday weekend in April.  It’s packed with tourists sitting in the back of a “bakkie” which is Afrikaans for “pickup truck.”  Very dangerous.  See this link here for more.

Today, we’re including photos and links from the first half of the year up to and including June 2018.  Tomorrow, we’ll add a Part 3 which with so many photos, we found to be necessary.

Adorable baby Danie with his loving and attentive mom, Okey Dokey, our friend and driver from 2013 when she and her husband and baby came to visit.  He never stopped smiling and laughing the entire time they were visiting.  See this link here for more.

Of course, we want to “save” some favorite photos to share on the last few days of our one year stay in Marloth Park, including all the year’s expenses which we’ll include on the last day, February 14, 2019.  On that date, we’ll depart the park to spend the night in a hotel in Nelspruit, close to the airport for our early morning flight to Kenya.

This gorgeous feta, onion and lettuce salad served by dear friends Louise and Danie when they invited us for dinner was enhanced with edible flowers indicative of the attention to detail and creativity these two fine hosts possess. See this link here for more.

We made a very important decision in the past few days…we will return to Capetown, South Africa via a cruise on December 2, 2020.  However, we’ll fly to Namibia from there where we’ll spend three months and then return to Marloth Park.  

Alas, we arrived in Zambia to see the magical splendor of Victoria Falls, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.  Later that day we also went to Zimbabwe to see the falls from that country.  See this link here for more.

By then, the holiday season in Marloth will have passed and we can avoid or at least diminish some of our own frustrations during the holiday season.  No doubt, Namibia will have some challenges but we’ll have an entirely different set of expectations of our own.

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

As for yesterday and today’s photos, many of our long-term readers certainly have seen them in past posts.  However, we always have a new influx of readers and encourage them to click on the links we’ve provided along the way.

Check out those teeth on a croc we spotted while on the Zambezi River cruise. Crocs are able to replace each of their 80 teeth, up to 50 times in their 35 to 75-year lifespan.  See this link here for more.

It’s been a fantastic year, as we mentioned in yesterday’s post and we continued to smile when we reviewed the year’s posts and see all that we’ve accomplished and experienced along the way.

The harsh realities of the bush – This is a Bovine Tuberculosis infected kudu we spotted only the day after we were educated on this dreadful disease impacting mainly kudus in Marloth Park.  See this link here for more.

And, there’s so much more yet to come in the New Year.  Please stay with us as we continue on our exciting world journey.


 This video will remain as one of our favorites in years to come clearly illustrating the intelligence of elephants during a human intervention in “their world.”  Watch and you’ll see why.  See this link here for more.


Have a spectacular second day of the New Year!

___________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, January 2, 2018:

We set up the tripod to take this photo of us in Costa Rica on October 31, 2017, the five year anniversary of our world travels which was posted in Part 2, our 2017 “Year in Review.”  For more, please click here.

Part 1…2018, “Year in Review” with favorite photos…

It was fun to hold up our US flag on the ice floe in Antarctica. See the link here for more.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Perhaps the holidaymaker’s are beginning to leave the park when yesterday we had no less than 20 kudus stop by throughout the day, including this adorable young male.

This has been one of the best years of my life.  The adventures were many the challenges endless, and the opportunity to see parts of the world we only dreamt of.

A one or two-year-old Rock Hopper Penguin on New Island in the Falkland Islands yet to grow his full plumage.  See this link for more.

Tom always says, “The best year of my life is yet to come.”  OK, I’ll go along with that premise as well.  

  Closer view of King Penguin with a chick.  See this link here for more.

But, how in the world can we possibly top this past year visiting Argentina, Antarctica, spending a year in Marloth Park, and twice traveling to Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe…Chobe River, Chobe National Park, Victoria Falls and cruising on the Zambezi River?  (More photos will follow in Part 2 tomorrow).

Tom certainly got it right when he captured this Black Browed Albatross chick with what appears
to be a smile. See this link here for more.

Today, included in our photos is a focus on our Antarctica cruise, surely one of the highlights of both of our lives.  We left Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina, on January 23, 2018, to head to Ushuaia, Argentina, the most southerly city in the world, to board the ship, the Ponant Le Soleal.

It was stunning to see all these Albatross atop these pods in their massive nesting grounds.

When the cruise ended on February 8, 2019, we returned to Palermo for two more days before we flew to Marloth Park on February 11, 2018, to begin this year-long stay, ending on February 14, 2019, in a mere 44 days.

This elephant seal on Steeple Jason Island didn’t care for our photo taking antics.  See the link here for more.

Going from the cold and ice of Antarctica to the heat and dust of Africa was quite an experience in itself.  But, in no time at all, we adapted to our new life for the year to come.  And, its been a grand year we’ll always treasure.

This is unreal…the Black Browed Albatross on Steeple Jason Island, remove tall grass from these massive “pod-like” structures, adding mud and vegetation to make it a free-standing pod on which they can nest. Here’s a young chick making a little noise while atop her/his elevated nest.  That’s amazing!  See the link here for more..

By far, that cruise was the most expensive cruise or venue we’ve experienced in our six-plus years of world travel.  We doubt we’ll embark on such a costly expedition in years to come.  It proved to be well worth the expense and we have no regrets.

Standing among the King Penguins was an experience we’ll always remember.  See this link here for more.

Last night we brought in the New Year at Royal Kruger Lodge, a four-star safari resort and spa here in Marloth Park.  Our host, Flo, and JJ did an exceptional job at making us feel welcomed. We been to several social events with Flo and JJ over the past year and found them to be a very special couple, with three children, teenage daughter, and a son and, a college-age daughter, all of whom attended the party.

This has got to be one of our favorite Antarctic photos, a Chinstrap Penguin lying on the rocks for a short rest with what looks like a winsome smile on his face.  See this link here for more.

Louise and Danie, longtime close friends of theirs ensured we had an invitation, along with Rita and Gerhard.  We couldn’t have had a more enjoyable New Year’s Eve.

We had to keep our distance from this delicate structure which would be a disaster for us in the small boat, where it to collapse near us.  See this link here for more.

Also, we knew a number of other guests in attendance of the party of 30 to 40 guests, staged poolside, at their stunning property, surely one of the most beautiful resorts/game lodges in Marloth Park.

There we were, sitting on a Zodiac boat in Pleneau Bay sipping on French champagne.  Was that ever fun!  See this link here for more.

We returned to the house at 1:00 am but didn’t fall asleep until after 2:00 am.  Fortunately, we both managed to get some sleep even without working aircon which hopefully will be repaired in days to come.  Also, we were thrilled to find we had power and could at least use the portable fan.

Both of us raising a glass in celebration of this special occasion.  The ships staff created an ice bar on a small ice floe.  We used the Zodiac boat to arrive at the floe, all set for French champagne.  See the link here for more.

Today, we’ll lay low and have a nice dinner on the veranda, hoping we’ll see as many visitors as we did yesterday before we left for the party close to 1900 hours, (7:00 pm).  

Both of us holding the “I crossed the Polar Circle” sign.  See this link here for more.

We had no less than 20 kudus stop by; Little and his best friend; warthog friends Mike and Joe;  numerous bushbucks, and both female and male duikers.  Even Frank and the Mrs. made an appearance.  We hadn’t seen either of them in over a week.  I suppose holiday traffic has an impact on francolins (birds).

A face only a mother could love.  See this link here for more of our favorite photos from the  Antarctica cruise.

We’re wishing every one of our worldwide readers has an exceptional New Year, filled with the riches of life that even money can’t buy…the joys of nature and our surroundings, free for the taking, fulfilling in many ways.

Happy New Year to each of YOU!

___________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, January 1, 2018:

Us, one year ago at the boutique hotel in Palermo, Buenos Aires, Argentina where we awaited the Antarctica cruise beginning on January 23, 2018.  For more details, please click here.


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

Three Egyptian geese on the shore of the Chobe River.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bar seating area surrounded by a Koi pond.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Huge bright pink rose.

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

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

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


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

Yellow hibiscus on the ground of the hotel.

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

We especially connected with our taxi driver Matthew who is a kind and generous man who is very chatty, offering a wealth of information on the area along with many local cultural morsels of wisdom.  Matthew may be reached at matthewsmoyo44@gmail.com.  If you plan to come to Zambia, he’s the guy to call for local transportation.

Pretty orange bloom.

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

Have a glorious weekend!

________________________________________________

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


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

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

A small but substantially packed ferry arriving in Zambia from Botswana while we waited.  This reminded us of the ferry boat when we arrive in Mombasa, Kenya in September 2013.  Click here for that post.

Riding the ferry is free for people but not for vehicles between Zambia and Botswana but, to disembark it requires removing one’s shoes and walking in the water.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alfred, our BushTracks guide from Botswana.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A troop of baboons in a tree.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A pair of giraffes at a distance.

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

Monitor Lizard on the shore of the river.

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

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

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

Elephant skull on the side of the dirt road.

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

Please check back for more and more and more…

______________________________________

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

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

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

 “Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

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

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

This is when he started digging his mud hole for the mud bath.

After he dug a decent sized mud hole, he decided to try to lay on his side.  Digging the hole must have been exhausting for this big fellow in the heat of the sun.
For me, my top five events include; Petra, Jordan; Masai Mara, Kenya; Marloth Park, South Africa, Antarctica cruise and now Chobe safari and Chobe River cruise in a small boat.

Finally, he was lying sideways in his mud hole.  We couldn’t stop laughing and smiling.  It was if he was putting on a show for us.  But, the best part was yet to begin.


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


Video #1
Video #2

Video #3
Video #4

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

Nothing was stopping him now.

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

We were so close we barely used any zoom to get these shots.  However, Albert was mindful of ensuring we didn’t get too close and disturb his swim.

If you “gotta go, you gotta go.”  Tom took this photo not aware of what was transpiring.  Notice him using his trunk like a snorkel.

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

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

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

Soon, his huge feet were no longer touching the river bottom and he was buoyant.

At this point, the playful swimming commenced which can be seen in more detail in the above short videos.
We wonder how many more African countries we’ll have the opportunity to visit during our continuing travels.  In reviewing a map of Africa we realize there are many countries we’ll never visit due to a high safety and security risks for tourists.  We’re not foolhardy.

We couldn’t believe our eyes when he was totally submerged, then rising for a breath.
After 10 to 15 minutes, he decided he’d had enough and headed for shore.
Then again, we’re definitely not on a particular mission to see a certain number of countries in the world.  We’re simply in awe of how many we’ve visited and how many more we’d love to see in the future.

As he approached his mud hole, he checked it out wondering if he should play a little more.
He dug around in the mud hole a little.
There’s so much more to share then that which we’ve posted here today.  Over the next week or so, we’ll continue with more details and an endless stream of stunning photos of our week in Zambia.

And, he couldn’t resist a little more play.  Thank you, Mr. Elephant, for a wonderful show!
Thanks to all of our readers for your patience in our oft-odd upload times.  Once we return to South Africa we’ll be back to our usual more consistent posting times.

Tom’s getting great at taking photos.  Luckily, we now have two cameras.  This ensures we don’t miss a shot.  Wait until you see what’s coming up tomorrow!
Tom took this candid shot of me in my funny BugsAway safari hat.
Today, we’re dealing with our photos, deciding where we’ll dine tonight and looking forward to tomorrow’s Zambezi River sunset cruise.  Since we came to Africa in 2013, I’ve longed to cruise on the Zambezi River for reasons I cannot explain.  By Thursday, we’ll be able to share “the why.”  Please stay tuned.
Happy day to all!
                         ______________________________________

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

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

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

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A variety of statues were for sale near the railroad tracks in the town of Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

Africa has a wide array of colorful jewelry and clothing they sell in tourists areas.

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

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

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

US dollars are almost exactly 10% of kwacha in Zambia.  Thus, my glass of red wine was US $2 and Tom’s mixed cocktail was US $1.35!

We considered ordering a bun-less croc burger but decided against it.  We were both hungry and preferred to order something we thought we’d like.  Note the Kudu Burger…there’s no way we’ll eat kudu.  We love kudus and have no plans to eat them.

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

My Tom, smiling as usual. 

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

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

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

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

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

My plate of spinach and aubergine was flavorful.

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

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

Have a fabulous day and evening!

_________________________________________________

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

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

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

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

 “Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Breathtaking views!

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

Henry Morton Stanley 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!

 __________________________________


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

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

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

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

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

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

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

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

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

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

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

The power of the roaring water is breathtaking.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Clay model, display of Victoria Falls.

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

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

Have a spectacular weekend!

__________________________________


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


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