Monday, February 8, 2010

Vacation Part II

  • Zimbabwe police whether corrupt or actually interested in searching for weapons, stopped our car at least 7 times en route to Mlibizi.
  • Our campsite in Mlibizi, perched on the Zambezi River, had a massive “Beware of Crocodiles” sign hanging on a nearby tree. A Dalmatian had been eaten by a 4m long croc the week before.
  • The 24 hour long Lake Kariba ferry that we took was to run for the first time in 7 years. Talk about good luck!
  • Our sole pot pulled a “reverse Michael Jackson.” Once bright and shiny, the thing now looks like a witch’s cauldron that has been subjected to a10 year inferno.

Part II: All you need in life is a pot, a little fork, and a massive tent

It’s true. Well, kind of. Like I said before, we really didn’t do the whole “prepare” thing. I insisted on bringing a pot more out of novelty than anything else. And the tent, the massive tent, was a money saver and a bicep exercise. We found the plastic fork at some fast food store – it lives today, but in a more deformed state. It became apparent soon after we left Victoria Falls that our pot and our tent would become our 5th and 6th companions on our trip.

We hitched a ride across the border into Botswana, and were immediately greeted by wilderness. No fences, very few people, and lots and lots of animals. We flagged down the first mini-taxi we saw, and courtesy of a little Hooter linguistical magic, arrived at our next home 20 minutes and $4 later. We set up our tent for the first time – a 6 person behemoth, and got to work making our very first one-pot meal (little did we know that 20 days later we would be reminiscing about the multitude of one-pot meals a family of four could cook). After a game of “Most likely to…” the four of us fell asleep under the Setswana stars- our first safari was kicking off at 5am.

Through a Jurassic Park style entrance (yes, this is how my brain works), our elevated four-wheel drive vehicle entered the world famous Chobe National Park, home to over 60,000 elephants, and some other crazy statistics of African wildlife that I can’t remember for the life of me. On the edge of my seat, camera in hand, and my mouth ready to make my now infamous “ooooooohhhhhhhh ______! (fill in the blank with an equally as girly animal)” squeal? I was ready.

The next three hours were impressive to say the least. We saw numerous antelope, many species of birds, cape buffalo, jackals, mongoose, monkeys, baboons, deer, hippos, crocodiles, elephants, and LIONS. All at extremely close range as well. The three lions we were lucky enough to see (apparently they are rarely spotted at Chobe) were hidden beneath a tree – our driver drove off the road around the tree, and we got a great glimpse at the two juveniles with their mother.

We headed back to our site, took a little dip at the nearby pool, and then jumped into a cruise boat for a sunset tour of the same park. Cocktails in hand the four of us basked in the sun on the Chobe River, with Botswana on our left and Namibia on our right. It was one of those “I bet you didn’t think you would be doing this a year ago” moments followed by a “please don’t let the boat break like it did on the Zambezi- there are hundreds of crocodiles and hippos in every direction.” Anyway, the memory ingrained in my brain from the cruise was dozens of elephants playing in the water with the sunset setting in the background. Incredible.

We came home that night and hit the sack after resorting to a lodge-cooked meal – the one-pot meal could wait until the next day, and the next, and the next. In the morning we hitched back to the border, and were retrieved by the same gentleman who drove us to Bots two days early. After stopping back in Victoria Falls briefly for supplies, he took us the 5 hours to Mlibizsi, Zimbabwe, where we were catching a 24 hour ferry the next morning that would take us up Lake Kariba to the town of Kariba in northern Zimbabwe.

Until next time!

Sunrise on the boat.

Baby lion!



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