Africa Day 11

Hi Everyone

How is the connected world? Am in Zimbabwe and the internet is terrible. Great. I have hoped that the internet would be terrible. My wish was granted. What do you expect with the internet in Zimbabwe? Will catch everyone up when I return home.

Our final game drive in the Okavango Delta of Botswana started at 6:15 AM. We heard lions all night so we decided to try and find them. We only had until 8:30 since our bush plane was leaving at 11:30 for Victoria Falls Zimbabwe. Our guides tracked the lions for about an hour and they were finally found. This was the same Pride as yesterday. There were two males, two females and four cubs. The guides told us there used to be five cubs, but one was taken away by another male lion and probably killed. We found one of the males and followed him until he sat down. He started to make roaring sounds that were responded to be the other male lion in this Pride. They were protecting and warning any other animals and lions not to harm their cubs. We then found the four cubs. They were playing in the vegetation climbing branches. They then moved past us to a termite mound where they all sat down. Two faced us and the other two faced the opposite direction. This was an unbelievable photo opportunity. I couldn’t believe my eyes. I have said that numerous times before and will probably say it numerous more times in the future. The four cubs all sitting on a termite mound. I wanted to stay there all day. Andy finally had us drive up to a ledge to take pictures of the sunrise. What a sunrise it was. One of my favorites all time. The oranges, reds and yellows seemed to pop out that created a beautiful mosaic of the sky. We then found some hippos in the water and took some great shots of the light appearing over the water and the hippos head and ears.

We arrived back at the Camp to pack up and have breakfast. Our luggage was put on a truck and we took two safari vehicles to the dirt airstrip for our flight north to Victoria Falls.

I have found the people of Botswana that I met, talked and laughed with to be very friendly and gentle people. They showed me the true beauty of Africa and got Africa back into my blood. For that I will always be thankful to them.Visiting Botswana is all about the animals and the people. Whenever I travel to a country, I always want to meet and experience the people. That is my prime objective wherever I travel. Botswana was different. You also get to know the animals and live in their world for a brief time. As I have previously said, you are the visitor and nature, with the help of the wildlife and people, are your hosts. Now onto the animals. Zoos around the world do not capture wild animals anymore for their zoo. The zoo animals have been and continue to be bred for that purpose. I don’t think I could ever go to a zoo again. How can I see a lion in a cage when I have seen the lions I have in their natural surroundings? The serene and spectacular beauty that I experienced can never be captured with my photography. I have become convinced that the only way you can experience Botswana and the African Bush is to take a chance and live outside your comfort zone.

Our bush plane took off at around 11:45 for a one hour flight to Kansane Airport in Botswana. We were then met by a bus and driven to the border with Zimbabwe. We first stopped at the immigration station leaving Botswana to have our passports stamped. We then were further driven to the border. There is a dead zone between the borders of Botswana and Zimbabwe. This is a small stretch of land between the two borders. People were walking and we were being driven between the border posts. What a scene this was. A small building with lots of people. Andy took care of our visas. I needed a dual visa for Zambia and Zimbabwe since I was going microlighting and the microlight starts in Zambia. Our luggage was not checked nor inspected. We crossed the border and was picked up by another bus for the hour ride to Victoria Falls.

The drive took an hour. Some baboons and monkeys crossed the road. Let’s talk a little about Zimbabwe. The population is about fourteen million. The leader was a dictator up until four months ago. He ruled for forty years. People pay tuition for their children to go to school from first grade on. The currency is US dollars. Rampant inflation occurred when the local currency was used. When people work, they get paid in US dollars. The problem is that the US dollar is
scarce. No ATM machines. People do not get paid what they earn, but less since there are not enough US dollars. They are given a credit card with the remainder of their salary on it that they can use to purchase items of necessity. Practicing a mostly cashless economy.

Victoria Falls borders four countries. Angola, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia. Their borders all meet here.

We finally arrived at our hotel. The hotel is named the “Ilala Lodge” it is decorated as an old style colonial type of place. There are pictures of people taken many years ago. Old maps and sketches adorn the walls. There were antique guns hanging from the wall in back of the reception desk.  I was told to keep my sliding glass door locked since baboons are known to come in and trash the place.

At 3:30 we all boarded a bus for a drive to the Zambezi River for an afternoon sunset boat ride. The Zambezi flows into Victoria Falls and then eventually into the Indian Ocean. David Livingstone was the first foreigner to see and travel on the Zambezi. He was on his way home to the United Kingdom, when he died near Victoria Falls from malaria. He had visited Africa five times. In his day, this was not an all night flight, but a long and perilous journey. More on David Livingstone later. There were lots of hippos in the water. Took some pictures of hippos with their mouths fully open yawning then the sunset arrived. Quite beautiful. To see the sunrise in Botswana and the sunset in Zimbabwe was special.

Onto microliter tomorrow. Hope I survive


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