Published: January 12th 2008December 16th 2007
Me with cub
This one is about 9months old!
Have just returned from a safari travelling in South Africa and Zimbabwe for 11 days - had the most amazing time!!! There were 21 people on our tour, with a significant percentage of them being Aussies (however, they were actually pretty cool so could have been worse!!!)
We began with a couple of nights at Kruger Park in South Africa and I finally got to see Rhinos - practically right beside our truck! From there we headed up to Messina via Blyde River Canyon. We had some fantastic views on the way, despite the rain. However, when we got to ‘God’s Window’ He had unfortunately shut the curtains so we never got to see what heaven is supposed to look like - maybe someone was trying to tell us something???
From Messina it was across the border to Zimbabwe. The crossing wasn’t as bad as I had expected - it only took us about 2 hours! Our tour guide got us some money changed - I changed 100ZAR (about $30NZ) and ended up with around $15million!!! Was quite excited until I saw the prices of things (I actually paid around $3million for a can of Zambezi Beer - worth every
cent, it’s the best beer I have had in Africa so far!!!).
Once in Zimbabwe we went to the Great Zimbabwe Ruins - amazing views and history (again despite the rain!). Then it was on to Gweru where we stopped in at a supermarket - talk about heartbreaking! There were empty shelves everywhere, the only things you could really get a lot of were alcohol and toothpaste. There were so many shops closed as they couldn’t get any stock and huge queues outside those which had managed to get stuff through. The situation certainly looked desperate for the common people. We had actually been advised to bring things like cooking oil, sugar and maize flour through from South Africa to use for trade in the markets and it was awful to see how desperate people were for such basic commodities.
On the outskirts of Gweru we finally reached Antelope Park - my main reason for booking this tour. After spending a morning walking with lions, playing with lion cubs and watching the lion feeding I felt like I had already had the most amazing day of my life, and I still had an afternoon of swimming with elephants, an elephant
How cute is this???
ride and a night hunt with lions! Unfortunately the night hunt was a bit of a bust (probably just as well, not sure how I would have gone if they had actually killed something!) The lions we went out with had supposedly not been fed for 8 days, but they think the feeding schedule had been mucked up as they weren’t really interested in hunting. (If I had gone that long without being fed I would have been chewing the truck tyres!) The next morning I attended the elephant training where we played fetch and soccer with the elephants - not quite like on ‘George of the Jungle’, but definitely a new experience!
Once they finally tore us away from Antelope Park (we even took half the gate with us!) we headed on to Bulawayo (where the truck broke down!) We had a couple of nights there and got to walk around in a national park where we got terrifyingly close to Rhinos! Then it was off (in a new truck) for our final night in Victoria Falls. I managed to squeeze a lot into the short time I had there, but the highlight was white-water rafting on the Zambezi!! I only got to do the half day, but I think that is just as well because the group from our tour which did the full day really sucked! I think they tipped out at nearly every rapids!! Because I had an afternoon flight out I was picked up from the top of the gorge and taken straight to the airport (where I arrived to check in still dripping wet!!!)
Got back to Kilimanjaro airport absolutely exhausted to find that my pack did not make it with me! Am not panicking yet, but considering how wet and rank some of my stuff was, I hope it shows up soon before it begins growing!!
Anyway, hope all is still good with everyone downunder. Will write again after my next safari with the folks (who arrive this evening - YAY!)
Take care of yourselves and have a great Christmas and New Year!