Monday, November 22, 2010

The Mighty Zambezi

Back to Victoria Falls again! Lots of fun memories already, but now Miki and I were set to explore it all over again. With the falls as the main attraction, everything naturally revolved around them. There was a park surrounding the falls that you could wander through to admire the rushing waters as they tumbled into the waiting gorge below. Helicopters flew overhead to give the well-heeled tourists an aerial view of this magnificent Wonder of the World.  Bungi jumping headlong towards the tumbling waters far below was a favourite pastime of the young and brave at heart. I had already had a taste of the white water rafting that was a huge draw to the area back in December, but this time we had something else in mind.
As Victoria Falls is geared towards action and adventure, Miki and I jumped on board with our paddles at the ready. We spent our first night in Victoria Falls as two single ladies on the town, but first thing the next morning we climbed into a waiting jeep to take us to the river. This experience with the Zambezi River would be a little tamer experience than the white water rafting adventures advertised everywhere. We were headed upriver, to take in the gentler waters of the Zambezi via a canoe trip. Life jackets were still provided and the water got a little splashy in spots, but game viewing was the biggest attraction here.
Miki and I stowed our packs in the waiting jeep and settled in to enjoy the ride into the game park. Our cameras lay at the ready in our laps, as our guide chattered away about the landscape and the animals that lived there. We were not idle for long though. Elephants, impalas and baboons were spied by the throngs, as we paused to take in the natural beauty of the space. It is just an awesome experience to see wild animals in their natural environments; ie. baboons grooming each other (picking lice off companions and eating it – protein anyone?), elephants wandering in family herds ever protective of their young, giraffes eating leaves off the highest trees, impalas milling about munching on grasses until with a start they bound away. It is beautiful and surreal to be allowed these visions and an experience I would highly recommend for anyone.
Before long we arrived at the mighty Zambezi. We transferred to life jackets and canoes to paddle the rest of the way to our camp. Small rapids gave us little thrills, but the magic of the trip lay in the scenery. The warm waters buoyed us along, as we spied a myriad of birds and other animals on the river bank. The sun kissed our smiling faces and Miki and I thrilled to be alive in this incredible  place. No thoughts were cast to the ailing van or our missing travelling companions as we soaked up every moment spent on the glorious Zambezi. Even tales of the Nyaminyami river God weren’t enough to spoil our mood (Nyami Nyami is thought by the Tonga people to be the river God of the Zambezi River that controls life in and on the river – his mighty wrath leads to the river running red!). Our paddle down the river held nothing but joys on this day. A picnic on the river’s edge was wolfed down mid-day, before setting back out into the watercourse again. By late in the day, we reached our camp on the river’s edge where large tents were set up for weary paddlers. Outdoor showers helped to wash away the days travails and a hearty meal filled our rumbly bellies. Sipping beverages around a roaring campfire was a perfect end to an amazing day spent on the mighty Zambezi River. 

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