by Nat Parsons
My 70th birthday gift from my daughter was a four-day guided tour of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
We did a blissful forty five-minute Zambezi River sunset cruise. The shy hippopotami showed just a wee bit of face. Blowing water at cruisers passing by may have been their personal opinion of those who traverse the water in that style!
The resplendent African sunset across the water, is amazing to behold! The cruise includes bottomless drinks and a tray of delicious nibbles. It is the bush-lover’s and photographer’s paradise.
“A ’Zambesi River Lodge”, is luxury-in-the-wilds. Their breath-taking man-made façade is in keeping with the general theme of the African bush. Spectacular! Other hotels presented old world luxury.
Then there was the memorable early-morning elephant ride! Will I repeat the ride? The jury is still out on that. Took this septuagenarian a few days for her hips to forgive her. For forty five minutes that elephant sauntered over terrain its huge, flexible soles took in their stride. Elephant paraded regally, easily carrying handler, daughter and yours truly.
Dry, stony river beds, rocky inclines, and rutted declines Elephant traversed effortlessly. Left to browse at will, we witnessed up close the extent of its appetite.
Afterwards we were more than ready for breakfast: boiled, braaied and fried.
On offer were prints of a sole of your elephant.
The overseas tourists were ecstatic.
The crocodile reserve is what nightmares are made of! Fortunately there is no chance of the monsters escaping. Feeding times are staged for the benefit of tourists, otherwise they’re fed in private. For the truly courageous “A ‘Zambesi River Lodge” offers specially-bred crocodile on their menu.
Victoria Falls? Well… she’s still falling. Spectacular is an understatement. There may be bigger and better around the world, I haven’t been there… yet. A huge statue of David Livingstone greets you at the entrance. Provided are waterproof ponchos for the spray along the solid walkway soaks to the skin. Lianas, shrubs, trees, grasses, flowering plants, vines… a nature lover’s veritable paradise.
The Falls enclosure houses an interesting variety of animal species. Interesting was seeing monkeys consuming marula fruit. The fermented fruit actually intoxicates. Rainbows, enormous and bright, snuggled way down in the verdant, spray-filled gorges…
The tour guides are an invaluable resource.
Victoria Falls, a piece of paradise in the bush. Wild animal species roam unhindered… warthogs, monkeys, baboons, and deer in a busy shopping area…
“The Boma”. What a heady experience! On arrival a pretty, traditional wrapper is knotted over visitors’ shoulders. Saleable traditional commodities form a fantasy-land, a tunnel-like passageway to the dining area. Cloth, metals, wood, one is spoilt for choice. Sculptures of every description.
Ah-h-h… “Boma” cuisine! A variety of species, including traditional meats; vegetables and breads, starches and stews, boils and braais… desserts to diet for.
The brave bolt down a mopani worm, a local staple, and are awarded a certificate!
Bongo drums are handed out. Hilarity! The mega energetic performing artists entertain well!
…I shall be back.
Nat Parsons is a retired school teacher from South African. He loves to write and lives in Ramsgate in ZwaZulu-Natal Province.