Zambia - Livingstone

June 14, 2011 - Harare, Zimbabwe

We crossed over the Zambezi leaving Botswana on the Kazangula Ferry. It didn’t take long, after an hour of waiting our two caravan parties boarded along with a large truck. The Zambian border side was chaotic with many runners all in to make a quick buck by facilitating our passage through. Many different buildings and rooms later we emerged having paid carbon tax, road toll tax, counsel tax, visa’s, third party etc. etc. – R2300 for just us Macs to crossover! Money changers tried hard to get a deal done and the uninvited runners of course wanted to be tipped.

We stayed at the Bush Front Camp with it’s friendly staff for 4 nights. Livingstone was fun, lots of new experiences and there was much to do and enjoy as long as we closed our eyes to the cost! The Falls were very full, so full that for the pedestrian there were only a few spots with a partial view. In some places it was like thick fog, whilst in others it was like being in a very heavy downpour, even with a golf umbrella we got THOROUGHLY drenched! Of course there are other ways to see Victoria Falls and this was the absolute highlight of Livingstone - a microlight flight! WOW.....what an experience, completely thrilling and an awesome sight of the gorge that is not at all appreciated from the ground! The best part was when the pilot dipped one wing so you kind of hung out over the Falls. The view was spectacular and you could see the width and depth of the Falls much better.  From the air we also saw elephant, crocodiles and impala – we were so low we could see the crocs mouth was open and the elephant bull was doing his business. The whole trip was 15 minutes from take-off to landing which actually seemed like quite a long time. George had a separate microlight which flew at the same time. This is one thrill we would love to do again and absolutely recommend!

George had his first game of golf with Karl since Cape Town whilst Petra and I went for the lion and cheetah interactions. First it was the lions, a male and a female with 3 lion handlers. The lions could freely move along with us but there was a protocol as to how to approach and interact with them. We had to come from behind and could pat and stroke them but could not touch their ears, paws or tails.  If the lions turned their head towards you then you had to extend the stick supplied towards their mouth so as to distract them and give them something else to chew on. We walked through the bush with the lions, Trust – the female, allowed you to hold onto her tail then. They walked, lay down and walked some more whilst Petra and I enjoyed them....of course with vigilance!

The cheetah’s were much more energetic and friendly, no stick needed! We took three of them for a walk. They each had a harness and leash to stop them taking off. They purred loudly and had tongues that gave a course sand paper lick that made my skin crawl! Back in the pen the harnesses were taken off and we could play with them, they were very energetic first thing in the morning and loved to romp with a soccer ball.

The next day we were back for the elephant ride, it was a busy day all 7 elephants were walked with 3 people on each, one handler and two riders. I was the piggy in the middle and felt a bit like a sardine at times! George and I chose the biggest bull elephant, he towered above the rest! Of course we did not think about what that would do to his girth! Our legs were stretched wide in the saddle on his back and George suffered a bit with cramp. Everybody got off walking a bit strangely! We got to feed our bull, he was greedy and his trunk came up insistently with the tips pinching together to grab whatever was there. Once we had dismounted at the end of the walk we fed the ele’s again, his rough spiky trunk sought out the source of his grub leaving a trail of smelly muddy saliva  -  another skin crawling experience. To close off the day our ele’s gave us their good bye salute -  all 7 simultaneously lifted up their trunks and left front feet.

So it was good-bye to Livingstone as we made our way to Chirundu on the Zimb-Zambia border.

 


Pictures

1 Ferry Crossing-550
2 Victoria Falls - what you could see of it!-550
3 Victoria Falls Rain Forest - Getting drenched!-550
4 View of Zambezi upstream on a less full season.-550
 
 

8 Comments

pippa:
June 14, 2011
Love the photos of the Falls!! Will try and phone soon!!
brigitte parfitt:
June 14, 2011
Oh my goodness, what a most incredible experience this must have been: romping with cheetahs, and walking with the lions. And if that was not enough, riding on an elephant. I have done the last (in Sri Lanka) but in Africa I have yet to see a cheetah in the wild but saw from afar a lion with Kilemanjaro as the backdrop. Vic Falls brought memories of the falls some 39 years ago when I could admire a rainbow in full moon light. Thank you, dear friends, for travelling to these incredible places and let me remember "the days of my youth". May your time in Zim be also filled with lovely memories of your life there, Alice. I am finding out that memories are so very precious. No one can argue them, take away from them or add to them. Each one got their own. May you just enjoy good memories in this time.
Much love, Brigitte
Ellie:
June 15, 2011
Wow. Walking & playing with Elephants, Cheetahs and lions! What a treat. Love the pics of the falls & the microlight flight. How are you otherwise? Trail running season is here and we are spending lots of time in the mountains. Just love it. Have a great day. Ellie
Mary:
June 16, 2011
Hey Alice will try and phone soon as still thinking of joining you. spoke to Peter and Jackie so we do hope to connect with you in Tanzania if the dates work out. Loved your blog of Livingston
Carol Klumper:
June 18, 2011
wow that is sooo cool...my one thing im looking foreward to in the Kingdom is to hug a lion...ummm maybe i could get to do it now hey...or maybe not...haha....such great memories to treasure hey...keep safe, love to you and George...
Ruth Erasmus (Richards):
June 21, 2011
Hey! so glad you enjoyed the falls! we're going next weekend :) I see you also met Bop, the Ellie... apart from his wide girth, he is awesome! And I totally agree with your thoughts on the microlight flight...absolute must and my biggest highlight of all my vic falls tours! Hope the next leg of the journey goes just as well!
Philip du Plessis:
June 21, 2011
Hi Alice and George,
Sorry I have been so quiet. Your blog was written on 14 June and it only reached me late on Wednesday afternoon. Our business being so quiet, they decided to put us on short time and we closed on Friday as Thursday was a public holiday.
A crown of us went to two cottages in Bakoven which is right on the rocks. We had a bit of a storm on Wednesday afternoon leading into the evening resulting in , as the news commented, " a rough sea".
Thursday cleared up and Friday and Saturday turned out to be two of the most beautiful winter's sunny days we could wish for. The break did me well.

But enough of me. Your microlight flight sounds absolutely awesome. What a spectacular view it must have been.
Your trip to the Vic Falls brought back memories when we as a family visited it twice in the old Rhodesia days when I was still at primary school. It goes way back to the old days before the Dead Sea even became ill.

The elle ride must have been something else. But tell me why you guys chose the biggest bull ? I have not seen any recent photos off uncle George. Has he put on a bit of weight at all ?

You have more guts than I have girl. Walking with the lions. I have a friend who had a Cheetah program on his farm in Montague and have interacted with them on numerous occasions. There are 4 tame ones and 2 in the wild in an enclosure. As you said, their purr is something else. And they all love playing with any form of balls.
The best part of that is that there is no recorded report of a cheetah ever attacking a human. They are loners and can't afford to injure themselves so they mostly go for prey smaller than they are.
So between the cat's tongue and the elle saliva you had a bit of the African experience ? Have you eaten any mopani worms yet ? I had the pleasure of having some way back in the 65 - 66's.

Have fun and GOD bless. As always we miss you both lots. Much love and warm regards.
Liza:
June 22, 2011
As I read your blog, it feels as if I am part of your experience- it's wonderfull!!! We are leaving for the Vic Falls the 10th of Jyly. Cant wait!! Stil busy finishing my last chapter of my research. Feel quite relieved for what is finished. Enjoy your trip through Zim. My God bless you in abundance with lovely memories.
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