High Tea

We knew we could never top the excitement of the previous day, so we took it easy the next day we were in Livingstone.  We lounged by the pool, read, relaxed, and then in mid-afternoon,7 back of Royal Livingstone copy we went out to High Tea at the Royal Livingstone Hotel.  This is a very expensive hotel along the banks of the Zambezi River, above the waterfalls. Here is a view of the back.  We sat on the left verandah, just about below the chimney.  Once 3 Lis with tea closeup copy

seated, the waiter took our tea order – we each had our own pot – Tim had Gunpowder, and I had Citrus Zest (or something like that! – can’t remember, exactly).  Comfy chairs, beautiful china, and a stunning view of the pool, and the river beyond.  Inside, there were two tables of wonderful food – scones, tarts, cakes, quiches, etc.  5 sweet table copyThis is the sweet table, the other table had the savoury.  We were allowed as many trips to the buffet as we wanted – it was difficult to limit ourselves to reasonable portions! We looked at the beautiful view, chatted, had seconds, chatted, watched the swimmers in the pool,1 pool view copy had a second pot of tea, and somehow, the afternoon whiled away!  Reality intruded in a DHL sales convention – more than a hundred people in yellow DHL shirts congregated on the lawn to our left, but we left them out of the picture!!

After tea, we strolled down to the riverfront.  There is a deck overhanging the river under the trees to the left of the above picture.   11 Tim in front of spray better copyHere is Tim on the deck, with the falls in the background – you can just see the mist rising to the right of him.  We hung out here for a while, looking for crocodiles, but didn’t see any!

We strolled back through the hotel lobby, out to our car, and drove around the roundabout to get to the exit road.  18 zebra no mirror copyWe had just left the front of the hotel, when we passed a zebra!  You can see the cobblestones of the driveway – this picture was taken from inside the car.  A wonderful ending to a great get-away holiday!

 

 

 

Mosi Oa Tunya National Park

While Tim and I were walking around Victoria Falls, we ran into Lars and Emily – 2 of the young people working at the hospital this year.  We joined forces for part of our walk around the falls, stopped for ice cream cones for lunch, and then went to find the rhinos!  We had heard that there was a park with rhinos, and that if we entered the park, we could hire a park ranger to take us to the rhinos.  8 impala in clearing copyWe found the Mosi Oa Tunya (“Smoke which Thunders”) National Park and we hired a ranger (named Backstrong), who sat in the truck while Tim drove – Lars, Emily & I sat in the back of the pickup.  It was very, very, very, bumpy, but we were able to get better pictures than if we had been aiming from within the cab. On our way to the rhinos, we saw several herds of impala, wandering through the bush.  As we continued driving, we saw more impala, mingling with 14 zebra copywarthogs.  Around a few more corners were zebras, grazing in the grass. giraffes, guinea fowl (I thought

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they were young peacocks!) , and lots of waterbirds.  We drove and drove, and arrived at a small collection of buildings, where we were looked over by 2 men in camo, with AK-47s.  “Max” said his gun was his “wife and goes everywhere” with him.  A bit scary.  Anyway, Max (tall, strong, shaved head – did I say, scary??!) climbed in the pickup bed with us, & introduced himself and said not to be nervous, he was going to escort us to the rhinos!! 30 rhino and guard copy  Not surprisingly, he refused to be photographed.  Lots more driving – then we parked in the middle of nowhere.  We met 2 more armed, camo’d guards – at that point,  we had 3 armed guards & a ranger with us.  We walked single-file, led by this guard (in pic on right),  through the bush to see the rhinos.  They were BIG. we started getting a bit too close, so the guards escorted us out – there was a momma rhino & baby, plus another 2 adult rhinos.  By the time we got back to the truck, there were 2 more cars there, plus another armed guard, & another ranger.  33 two elephants copyTim spread money around to thank them all – and we drove down the bumpy, bumpy, bumpy, road again.  We saw more giraffe – babies & adults, and headed back to the ranger station.  I had just been thinking about how wonderful it all had been, when we saw ELEPHANTS!!!  A whole heard.  What an ending to an unbelievable day!!!

Livingstone and Victoria Falls

We are in Livingstone – drove down on Friday.  Friday was Women’s Day, so the hospital was “closed” – admin, at least!  There are still patients on the wards, but no surgeries, no office staff, etc.  The drive went well – paved roads, in pretty good shape.  On the other hand, there were lots of big trucks, going very slowly uphill, so Tim did a lot of passing.  6 pigs cross road copyA bit nerve-wracking. Also, about 6 police checkpoints.  And pigs, goats, pedestrians selling everything (beer, fuel, live chickens & doves, baskets, produce, etc).  So not really a “normal” drive!

Checked into our lodge (hotel) & went out for GREAT Italian food – really nice.

On Saturday, we did a few errands (diesel, water, sunscreen), then went to Victoria Falls. We walked past a bunch of small stands, selling baskets, jewelry, textiles, paintings, copper articles, etc.  It looked like the same things we can buy in Lusaka, and I found out later, that many of the same vendors drive up to Lusaka to a Sunday market at one of the shopping centers!

1nitpicking copyWe also passed several baboons in the carpark – a sign of things to come!  We saw more in the park, and there are signs posted to not carry food or picnic – they will steal your food!  Apparently, they gang up on you to get any food you have – some distract you, while the others steal it.  I guess it’s scary, rather than funny – we were happy to not plan a picnic.

We entered the Falls area, passed a statue of Stanley Livingstone.  3statue copyAs we walked down the paths, we saw many people who were soaking wet.  We had heard about 2 places to swim at the Falls – one way down below the waterfalls, called the Boiling Pot, and one at the top of the Falls, called the Devil’s Pool.  We know people who have gone into both – but not at this time of year!  I don’t think either of them were open – there is just oo much water!  We are nearing the end of rainy season, so there is a lot of water in the Zambezi River – sort of like spring runoff in VT.  Anyway, we still didn’t understand just how much water was going over the waterfalls – we assumed that the soaking wet people we saw had done something out of the ordinary.  27 Tim and Lis Falls copyWere we wrong!  It’s unbelievable.  So MUCH water – we got soaked, too, despite foul weather gear jackets!!  The spray rises up, as well as comes down like HEAVY rain – so even though the jackets are waterproof, water came up from below!  We stopped at several lookout points – we were able to catch glimpses of the waterfalls, but mostly, it was like standing in HEAVY rain and mist.

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We walked along across from the Falls, then crossed a bridge, still across from the waterfalls.  There was 2 inches (at least – really – Tim says!!) of water on the path and on the bridge – and buckets of “rain” (= heavy mist & splashes) coming down – we really couldn’t see anything, although it was thrilling to be walking in water from Victoria Falls!

We backtracked to the 40 Tim at top closeup copystatue of Livingston, then we walked then we walked across to the top of Zambezi River.  Right along the edge, it was really wild, with rocks, trapped tree trunks – lots of wave and currents.

 

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A little bit further back from the edge, you can still see the strong current of the water, but you can also see people sitting on the edge, in a slightly protected cove, dangling their feet in the water.  A bit further back from that, a child was swimming – I could hardly bear to watch!

 

Here is a picture of Victoria Falls58 other side mist falls copy on the right, the mist in the middle, and where we walked on the left – the waterfalls are all runoff from the mist!  If you look closely, you can see the bridge we walked across, earlier in this post.  The mist and spray crossed in waves – clearly, we crossed during a period of much heavier spray!

 

“Who has measured the waters in the9 Falls best? copy hollow of his hand and marked off the heavens with a span, enclosed the dust of the earth in a measure and weighed the mountains in scales and the hills in a balance?” Isaiah 40:12