A Travellerspoint blog

"🎶 Shave and a haircut.....two bits "

Still on the list

semi-overcast

Funny thing happened on the way to the airport. Before I came to South Africa I heard and read about the corruption ...even in law enforcement. We did not experience any throughout the trip. However....driving from Botswana to Victoria Falls to catch a flight to Joburg, we see the sign to Zambia again and a line of trucks and cars a mile long which Charl explained are people heading to Zambia. There is one ferry. Sometimes it could take weeks to get there.

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We (actually Rick and Daisy) decide to stop for a photo op by the sign. Rick has a T-shirt from a friend that he likes to wear in certain photos, this being one of them. Charl and our driver (Loste) said it's ok, so we stop, snap and all of a sudden...the Botswana cops are on us " like white on rice. ". Loste is talking to the officers and finally opens the door to our vehicle and retrieves some paperwork. I ask him if we are in trouble and in his Zulu - accented English says: "yes", and returns to continue conversing with the officers. Charl decides he needs to step in and goes over and starts to help with the discussion.

Finally both Charl and Loste get back in the vehicle and Charl tells us they wanted a bribe but it's a very tender subject. It needs to be handled very diplomatically. The officers wanted almost $300. After negotiations and some sweat off the brow, they accepted $50.00. Apparently, this goes on all the time. They knew where we were heading and could actually have radioed ahead and continued to do so all the way to our destination and all of these officers could have collected all the way down the line. We were lucky, we got off with a bargain. We contributed to the fine..after all...Rick did get a pretty picture of himself with his t-shirt.

The T-shirt came from a criminal law judge...he may have had something to say about this!

And.....just after leaving Botswana and our wheels were back in Zimbabwe, we are confronted with a congress!

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There was heightened security at our gate at Joburgh due to the Nigerian incident and who knows what else so we went through a pat-down and our carry-on was searched...nobody seemed to mind...better safe than sorry.

And you know the rest of the story (15 hrs to New York, nonstop!)

Posted by Linda Fluckiger 01:59 Archived in South Africa Comments (1)

Rainbow Nation

It truly is....

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They don' t call this country the Rainbow Nation for nothing....the color...of the land, sunsets, the water, the people and their personalities, the culture, the weather, the wildlife, the flora, the history, the experiences, good, bad, ugly ...and everything about it....is like drinking from a fire hydrant....overwhelming, I am in love with every aspect of it. I guess I can call it life-changing...so much to put into words...so many thoughts and feelings...I feel rich and fulfilled in so many ways and yet..still feel a need to return....and I will. This one does not get crossed off the bucket list....

A farewell African BBQ this evening....a little entertainment as well....

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We are up early in the morning again for our last game drive and then off to the airport...

Posted by Linda Fluckiger 11:17 Archived in South Africa Tagged park wild national chose safaris horizons Comments (0)

Into the Wild

Chobe

sunny

The four of us are off to Botswana now to spend the last few days on safari. We cross the border once again, this time into Botswana. All along the way I have been noticing small changes in landscape and again, here in Botswana it is more evident. The kalahari sands...red, the acacia trees...flat, the wildlife...more abundant.

Our lodge and grounds situated along the Chobe River are absolutely lovely. Here we have a beautifully decorated suite with a balcony overlooking the river. The common areas of the lodge are huge...plenty of space to find a quiet spot to relax.

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The safari experience here is wonderfully different than Kruger and anywhere else we've been. Three game drives and a boat cruise provides us with the opportunity to spot so much wildlife. We see large groups of elephants drinking and playing by the river, buffalo, hippo, lions, jackels, giraffes...the list goes on. The bird life and flora...also just amazing.

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We stop mid-day for a snack at a rest spot and then continue on......

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I cannot even post all of the unbelievable photos...too numerous, but you get the idea, I'm sure. We return to the lodge for a dip in the pool and a little relaxation then head out for our sundowner cruise on the Chobe River....

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Did I mention those African sunsets? Wow!

Posted by Linda Fluckiger 11:16 Archived in South Africa Tagged botswana chobe Comments (0)

Izibulo

Zimbabwe to Botswana

sunny

It is a great morning to enjoy a leisurely breakfast at the lodge, take in the beauty of this African landscape and prepare for another adventure...elephant riding.

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When we first arrive, we meet the elephants and receive a welcoming introduction about the center for elephants called Victoria Falls Wildlife Trust. We are then assigned to our elephant and driver. Our elephant is Izibulo and his driver is Sydney. Each elephant is paired with a driver and they stay together as long as man and elephant remain at the center. . The drivers are very dedicated and loyal to their animal. Every elephant prefers their "guy" and may be o.k. paired with another "guy" but....it depends who. (You know how it is). Sydney and some of the other drivers sleep there for weeks to earn an income and return to their families for 6 days after a 45 day absence. Sydney told us that he sleeps right next to Izibulo (Izi) and sometimes Izi's snoring keeps him up at night. (How cute is that....). Sydney loves being home with his family, of course, but misses Izi during that time...and vice versa. Izi usually seems quite playful when Sydney returns. He said some of the elephants are jealous of each other and don't get along and others love each other and like to hang out together. (Just like kids...) Sounds like lots of babysitting going on around here.....

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Once we return from our ride, we are able to give the big guys some treats which they, of course, love. Anything that falls to the ground, the little warthogs who have been patiently waiting come rushing in to clean up. It's really such a great experience. The animals are not the only ones who get fed. We are also served a very nice breakfast: eggs, bacon (or is it warthog?), toast, juice, coffee... and everything on the table is....you guessed it...elephant themed!

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I did buy an actual foot print of Izibulo's foot. She stepped on a nice piece of cloth paper and for $20 I am now the proud owner of her unique
print...just like our fingerprints. Elephant's feet have a thick layer of cartilage which acts as a shock absorber. When placed on the ground in walking, the soles splay out, and when the feet are raised, they shrink. The mosaic pattern on their soles are as individual as a human fingerprint. The work done here is amazing....how can I not....

As we are leaving, we are introduced to Sylvester...a cheetah that had been rescued a few years ago and has since been brought up at the wildlife center. Sylvester never learned how to protect himself so he remains on the premises and has become the Ambassador there.

Beautiful animal...(nice kitty)...

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Oh, and here's an interesting soup recipe....(you'll need a pretty big pot):

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www.vicfallswildlifetrust.org
www.vfapu.com

Another fabulous experience!

Time for the return to the lodge and to say goodbye to the rest of our travelling companions who are returning to the States. Three of us and Charl are going on to Botswana for a few more safari's. Can't seem to get enough....

Posted by Linda Fluckiger 09:30 Archived in South Africa Tagged elephant cheetah riding vicfallswildlifetrust vfapu Comments (0)

Which way to Zimbabwe?

Victoria Falls

semi-overcast

We purchase double entry visas at the border crossing into Zimbabwe. We need one now for Zimbabwe and will need another in a few days to get into Botswana as well. With visa's in hand and passports stamped, we have crossed the border into Zimbabwe and the welcoming committee is here to greet us!

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It feels like a different Africa in this country. The sands are richer, the landscape... flatter, the air..dryer....more "in the bush" feel.

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We also receive a big welcome at the Victoria Falls Safari Lodge. It looks like a beautiful place, thatched roof, large treehouse design overlooking a watering hole where the animals come to drink. Not that all of our accommodations weren't beautiful ... but... I'm loving this!

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A sundowner cruise on the Zambezi River is just what the Dr. ordered....with wine and hors d oeuvers, of course:

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We are here to see the falls...which side? The Zim side or the Zam side? Well, we understand the Zim side is beautiful and to get to Zambia takes a bit of doing...so, the Zim side it is. "Vic Falls" is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The falls are over a mile wide and 351 feet high. This makes them one-and-a-half times as wide and twice as high as Niagara Falls. It is said that you can see Victoria Falls from space....(I'll let you know, a trip to outer space is on my bucket list too!) We are provided with rain gear..."you'll need it"...they say, and with my shower-capped camera, I am ready!

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We are soaked, even with the rain gear.

The Victoria Falls Safari Lodge is part of a conservation program called "Vulture Culture". At 1:00 everyday, the restaurant at the lodge puts meat out to feed the vultures in order to maintain the balance of the cycle of life in the area and beyond..if possible. Between poaching (which is a huge problem in Africa) and poisoning of the vultures and other "varments", one thing affects the other and disrupts the natural balance. Restaurants, hotels and other conservation groups are trying to aid in the fight for conservation. It's a wonderful thing. Through an experience such as this, people can be educated and once that spreads....well, hopefully, only good can become of that. Take a look:

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The death of Cecil, the lion, made headline news. We are going to a lion encounter to walk with lions at the African Lion and Environmental Research Trust. This is the area where Cecil lived and was killed by a person on a hunting expedition. Hunting and poaching is an ongoing problem in the bush and animals are hunted and killed for sport with no thought to wildlife conservation at all. Efforts are being made now and with the growing tourism, education and funding is key in helping these animals survive. Would recommend this experience to everyone...amazing.....

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Off to Boma tonight for an African BBQ and some drumming lessons! I'm ready to go!

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It's been a fun-filled day...and the good news is...we get to sleep in a little tomorrow...7:00 a.m. wakeup...and, it's not over yet! Elephant riding tomorrow and then onto Chobe in Botswana for a few more safari's!

www.lionalert.org
www.africanlionand environmentalresearchtrust.org

Posted by Linda Fluckiger 05:16 Archived in South Africa Tagged victoria culture walk falls zimbabwe lion vulture cecil Comments (0)

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