After tracking the Big 5 in South Africa, we set our sights on one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.
This led to an interesting encounter that took a bit of nerve — more about that later. This area of Africa is at the cross section of 4 countries: Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia.
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
You’ve probably seen Niagra Falls – an enormous waterfall that borders the USA and Canada. Victoria Falls, bordering Zimbabwe and Zambia has been billed as the greatest falling curtain of water on this planet, making it one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
It is enormous and awe-inspiring. There are some small pools of water at the edge of the falls and we saw people swimming right up to the edge of the falls, we did not have time to do that but it would have been incredible.
Zambezi River Sunset Cruise
The Zambezi River feeds Victoria Falls and we took a sunset cruise along the banks of the river. It’s all you-can-drink as you meander down the river. Arriving at the launch point, we saw warthogs grazing on the property.
It’s interesting that they take a kneeled posture to get closer to the ground as they graze. You can see that a lot of the grass has been cleared by their efforts.
In South Africa, elephants eluded us until our last day and were the last of the Big 5 we spotted. On the sunset cruise, it took all of 5 minutes to spot an elephant drinking from the river.
We also saw a hippo family with a baby hippo following close behind.
As we floated quietly down the river, we saw a tower of giraffes feeding. The guide said that it is not an everyday occasion to see a giraffe. As we cruised down the river, sipped on cocktails and took in the view, we discovered how unencumbered wildlife is in Africa.
Earlier, I mentioned that we did something that takes a bit of nerve. Just outside of Victoria Falls is an active conservation program called Lion Encounter. Here, you can get up close and personal with lions.
These lions are actually cubs – 19 months old. They were born in this conservation park and will eventually be put into the wild. Lion Encounter was started to raise money to conserve lions and to prevent poaching.
Are these lions tame? No, they are wild animals and they hunt game right in the conservation park. The rangers told us that this pair recently killed a baboon and zebra. However, they’ve become accustomed to people and aren’t likely to attack. In our group, there was a ranger with a gun (just in case), nicknamed Rambo!
During your visit, you can walk with the lions. You must carry a stick because in the unlikely event they get unruly, it takes their mind off attacking you if you dangle the stick in front of them.
It was a treat to spend time with these magnificent beasts and to learn about the conservation efforts to prevent them from becoming extinct.
Would you have the nerve to walk with them?
Chobe Game Reserve in Botswana
Just a 2-hour drive from Victoria Falls is a game reserve called Chobe. It’s unique in that it offers a river and land safari so you get to see wildlife in their native habitat from boat and land cruiser. We started our adventure by boat and as we cruised out to the Zambezi River, you immediately appreciate the scenery.
Pictures don’t do justice to how pretty this place is. You see all kinds of wildlife, like the Cape Buffalo grazing below.
Crocodiles and hippos bask in the sun and you see more birds than you can easily recognize.
As we meandered down the river, we saw a heard of elephant crossing the river ahead. They don’t seem fazed by the depth of the water, they just swim until they reach the other side.
The younger elephants stop on the other side to play in the mud, using their trunk to stream mud and water onto their back.
As you cruise down the river, you cross over from Botswana to Namibia. As you cruise the river, you see hard-to-reach villas lining the shore.
There is even a bar and restaurant called “The Raft” that is only accessible by boat.
Many of the locals live along the shore and take a water taxi to get to the mainland each day.
After the water safari, we boarded a land cruiser and continued our journey. Not as impressive as the water safari but it does offer a different view.
Along the way, we saw giraffe, monkeys, impala, and kudu.
Giraffes are built to eat from the tree tops, it is funny to watch them try to graze on grass.
I hope you enjoyed this post on our trip to Africa. We also visited Cape Town, South Africa, a beautiful port side city, we will chronicle that trip in a few weeks.
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I’ll leave you with a final picture of the view we had from the Chobe Marine water safari, couldn’t you imagine hanging out here for a while?