Don’t ask me why, but getting to Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana required an overnight return to Johannesburg. That meant seeing the little French family a couple times.
Not wanting to admit I had “safari fatigue”, we spent the night at the same Johannesburg hotel, ate the same meals, may have even stayed in the same rooms. But we heard that Botswana, Victoria Falls, and the two Z’s (Zambia and Zimbabwe) were equally excellent safari lands.
The little French family was soon replaced by a tour group of a dozen older ladies from Las Vegas. We ran into them everywhere, at the airports, on the plane, at our lodge, on our cruise of the Zambezi River, and at mealtime. It was a good trade!
Our greatest fear was getting stuck with these ladies through the 5 days in Botswana, and Victoria Falls. Our driver found us, and placed us into a mini bus for about 20 people. But we took off before the ladies arrived, much to our relief. Later, sipping cocktails on the sunset river cruise, they appeared on the boat.
Back to the lodge, Mike and I enjoyed a quiet dinner, until, guess what? The dirty dozen appeared again! We of course, declined joining them for dinner. But the floor show at dinner was simply spectacular. Our lodge sat just above a small lake. At dusk, almost all of the animals show up (see above) for bathing and drinking, even the babies!
Breakfast was uneventful, as we ate early and headed over to Victoria Falls, before a longer ride to the Zambia/Zimbabwe/Namibia/Botswana checkpoint. The Falls are affectionately called, “The smoke that thunders”, and the largest in the world. Lunch was my standard fare of French fries and beer, before another sunset safari.
We were fortunate to see another lion hunt. But the highlight of this safari were the elephants. That is, until we were informed about its over population. The game reserves have been too successful, and the terrain cannot supply enough food for the larger herds.
Surprisingly, we saw exactly what our guide was saying. The larger elephants would knock down the big trees, to eat the greens and bark. Where was the replacement tree? Elephants were either starving, or sold to neighboring countries with better elephant infrastructure. Truly a sad reality.
But dinner that night was most interesting. After five or six safaris, we were able to see everything except the rare white rhino, and the African wild dog. Our mixed grill dinner consisted of all of the edible game, such as the wild boar, gazellles, and the usual fish, chicken, and beef. Obviously, I was feeling better!
BTW, the Vegas ladies* were no longer following us. But all of a sudden, we had hawkers following us on our walk uptown. We did our usual exploring, visited one of their supermarkets, found out Cold Play was their favorite group, and bypassed the overpriced African art stands.
We were “safari’d” out, and hoped to never see the little French family or the Vegas ladies again. We were ready to descend on Barry the V in Cape Town.
*there was one, young cutie in the group, but was 4 months pregnant!!