Africa — On Safari — Take a Break at Victoria Falls
Many of you might remember the famous line: “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?” According to the 1939 movie, “Stanley and Livingstone,” Sir Henry Stanley uttered those words when he met Dr. David Livingstone in Africa.
Historians credit officially Livingstone as the first white man to “discover” Victoria Falls while he explored Africa as a missionary for the Scottish Congregational church.
After taking off from the dirt strip at Shinde, we once again assembled our four Cessna Skylanes into a loose ship formation and headed out for the next leg of our safari. After a brief stop at Kasane, Botswana, to refuel and clear customs and immigration outbound, we hopped in the planes and crossed into the country of Zimbabwe.
I gave up the left seat to Peter, our tour escort, so I could more easily manipulate my Canon EOS-60D and telephoto lens. When we could see the water vapors from the falls, Peter radioed into the Zimbabwe/Zambia air traffic control system and received permission for our flight of four to make a couple circuits around the falls for photography.
The Zambezi River has, over more than one millennia, carved out tremendous gorges below the falls. The following NASA photo was taken in 2003 from the International Space Station as it flew over the falls at an altitude of 236 miles.
These are my pictures taken from a mere 1,000 feet above the falls.
Because my back had been bothering me for the past couple days, I elected to forego the trip to the bridge and a walk through the perpetual rain-forest created by the falls in favor of a short trek into Victoria Falls Town and a brief shopping spree for souvenirs.
In describing the hotel and surrounding grounds, the word POSH comes first to mind. If two words were needed for a description, I’d vote for First Class; although it would have been nice to have an elevator to take me to my third floor room.
I took a bunch of pictures around the hotel with my #2 camera, a Canon SD750, a tidy pocket-size point-and-shooter. Unfortunately, somewhere during the last couple or three days of the trip, the camera disappeared. Like a dope, I didn’t bother downloading the files daily — lesson learned.
In any case, I couldn’t compete with the pix at: http://tinyurl.com/llvllrq
The hotel is a bit labyrinthian with halls and stairs heading off every which way. I discovered no less than three routes between my room and the Stanley Restaurant located on a north terrace of the hotel proper. The view from there looks out over a broad lawn sloping gently towards the falls in the background.
A family of warthogs, a few baboons, and some lively monkeys wander freely across the lawn. The monkeys can be pests when they decide to join hotel guests at their tables to snatch sugar packets from the condiments dish.
I recommend the ‘burger and fries for lunch.
A popular restaurant for the evening turned out to be Jungle Junction. This outdoor facility sports a buffet that I estimate to be at least thirty feet long, maybe even forty. The fare includes enough selections to easily make a five-course meal. By the way, the Tanqueray Martinis there are great.
The Jungle Junction presents nightly live shows. On this evening the entertainment was native dancers.
Tomorrow we pack up, leave the luxury behind, and head back into the bush. Next stop, refuel in Francistown, Botswana, and then on to Mashatu Camp in the Northern Tuli Game Preserve.