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23rd Nov 12’ Victoria Falls/Zambezi River Safari, Zambia

November 28, 2012

For a change, a lie in this morning, waking just in time for my all inclusive English breakfast whilst the thatched roof was removed from above. It had come to the end of its ten year life and the proprietor was taking the opportunity to replace during the off peak season. As it goes, Im the only one here at the Bush Front campsite. I like it that way, it’s peaceful and I receive lots of attention when I need something. For the price and location, I recommend it as a good travellers stop over. It even has a pool but keep your valuables out of site from the cheeky monkeys.

I see Livingstone as the heart of Africa because of it geographical location bordering three countries, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana. It’s as if the people here, yearn for the colonial times. The city is peaceful and spread out with lots of tourist attractions revolving around Victoria Falls.

I called at DHL to ship some documents back to the UK then made my way to the second natural wonder of the world “Victoria Falls”. There I was welcomed by drums being played by an aging local dressed in traditional animal skin skirt and hat with thick beads around his neck.

The weather was refreshingly cloudy with the occasional light shower which kept the temperature down throughout the day.

I paid 100,000 Zambian to enter the falls and opted for the Eastern Cateran ridge walk and wow! What a magnificent sight, another emotional moment for me and wished my wife was here to share it. Surprisingly, the rainy season has only just begun here in Zambia which means low volume of water falling from the Zambezi above, down across the jagged cliff face and in to the emerald green pools below. The minimal flow of water allowed me to see the awe inspiring falls iin there natural beauty. Normally, the flow is so great, creating clouds of mist rising from below which hides the enormity and depth of the falls.

I spend just a couple of hours there as my taxis waiting but could spend all day, sitting, watching and thinking about my journey here.

I return back to the camp site and book to sail down the Zambezi  on a river sunset safari this eyeing which i located nearby at the water front next door to the David Livingstone Hotel.

I check Livingstone’s oil level which is fine then wash quickly to make the 1615 sailing.

At the water front, I’m again welcomed by more drums and this beautiful black and white painted ferry boat named the “African Queen” which has open decks. On-board, a small green mamba snake causes havoc amongst the passengers. I brave man skilfully catches it by holding its head between his fingers and releases it in to the bush, we all relax.

We set sail, well start the engines and drift slowly down the wide open, almost still, Zambezi River. The pre-recorded tape begins to play which kind of ruins the atmosphere and reminds me of the tatty river cruises sailing up and down the Thames.

The boat stops together with the tape and within minutes we see Hippopotamus rising from the water by just its head and nostrils. The bull of the family opens his mouth wide showing his powerful jaws and omnivorous teeth. The Captain says warns we must move on as his yawn is an indication he’s about to attack if we don’t move from his territory. Hippopotamus are feared throughout Africa as being the biggest killer of humans, not crocodiles as some people thinks.

Further upstream, I notice a crocodile basking in the under the now sunny sky. Impala graze in the bush land behind unknowing of the crocs presence.

On board were served snacks and drinks which are included in the 380,000 Zambian price. The staffs are welcoming, hospitable and always on hand for any questions regarding the wildlife.

There are Hippo’s all along the banks in the shallow waters, though some venture out by disappearing in the deeper water and presumably wallow along the muddy bottom until rising nearer the boat.

Along the side, monkeys and baboons inquisitively swing in the tree trying to keep level with our boat almost as if wanting to come aboard.

After an hours sail we arrive at a fork I the river, it’s here the Zambezi divides Zambia from Zimbabwe. We set anchor as other smaller bats congregate to admire the prettiest sun set I have ever seen. The sun sets quickly behind the scattered clouds creating an orange glowing outline of each cloud until finally disappearing in to the waters horizon.

I am sure you will agree, another special special day.