Now that I have grandchildren, I look forward to “spring break” every year!
Last month, Alexis, Jude, Truman, and I, along with our dear friend, Kevin Sharkey, spent nearly two-weeks on a wildlife safari in Africa. We stayed at several camps, learned about the inland Okavango Delta, and saw a myriad of exotic animals. We also had the opportunity to taste different foods, walk among the Abu elephant herd, and stand just feet away from the majestic and powerful Victoria Falls, a waterfall on the Zambezi River.
I have been to Africa several times, but this, by far, was the most exciting - especially since I was able to tour the area with my grandchildren. In the coming days, I will share some of the best highlights from our trip. Enjoy these first photos and the videos at the bottom. Have you ever been on a safari? Let me know in the comments section below.
Here I am at the Victoria Falls River Lodge on day-one of our journey. I brought several hats and a lot of clothes from various companies such as Columbia Sportswear that were perfect for this trip – cool, loose and comfortable.
I took this quick photo of Alexis, Kevin and Truman while on our boat from the airport to the lodge and to Victoria Falls. We started our adventures right away.
This is Victoria Falls. Victoria Falls, or Mosi-oa-Tunya, is a waterfall in southern Africa on the Zambezi River at the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe.
While it is neither the highest nor the widest waterfall in the world, Victoria Falls is classified as the largest, based on its combined width of 5,604-feet and height of 354-feet, making it the world’s largest curtain of falling water.
Here, it is nearly 75-percent full, but friends who visited about six-months ago, said they saw a very dry Victoria Falls because from September to December the flow of the Zambezi lessens and water levels drop to almost a trickle. We were lucky to see it so full.
Victoria Falls is roughly twice the height of North America’s Niagara Falls. In height and width Victoria Falls is rivaled only by Argentina and Brazil’s Iguazu Falls. The stairs reminded me of those at Niagara.
Jude and Truman loved walking at the Falls – they walked the entire way with no trouble at all.
With all the mist from the Falls, we were strongly encouraged to wear raincoats. Here I am in mine – we were actually soaked by the end of the visit.
Seeing Victoria Falls was very different from what I had originally envisioned it to be. After seeing old movies about Africa, I thought I would be able to ride under the Falls in a riverboat. This was far from reality – all the water here drops into a gorge.
Here are Jude and Truman enjoying the views – they wanted to see as much as possible.
Here, Alexis reads a plaque that talks about Scottish explorer David Livingstone – hailed as one of the most enigmatic explorers of all time, and the first European ever to lay eyes on Victoria Falls.
Livingstone was led to the waterfall in 1855, by the Makalolo tribe in a dug-out canoe, during his travels from Luanda to Sesheke. Livingstone named the Falls after his queen, Victoria.
This post marks the middle of the Falls – Devil’s Cataract.
The rushing waters were mesmerizing.
The noise of Victoria Falls can be heard about 25-miles away, while the spray and mist from the falling water can be seen from about 30-miles away. The local tribes used to call the waterfall Mosi-o-Tunya “The smoke that thunders”.
The whole volume of the river pours into the Victoria Falls Gorges – such a view.
Here is another beautiful view of the Falls as they drop down into the Gorge.
On the Zimbabwean side of the Falls lies The Victoria Falls Rainforest – the only place on earth where it rains all day, everyday; a direct result of the water vapor rising from the Falls.
The Falls are known as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. They join the Great Barrier Reef, the Grand Canyon, the Aurora Borealis, the Paricutin volcano, the Harbor of Rio de Janeiro and Mount Everest.
Every minute, more than 1300-million gallons of water pour over the falls during the wet season cascading hundreds of feet deep.
The Victoria Falls was declared as a World Heritage Site in 1989 for being one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the world.
Of the two sides – Zambia and Zimbabwe, the Zimbabwean side of the Falls is the best place to view the Falls face on.
The Falls and the surrounding rainforest are preserved as a National Park. However, concerns are rising over water quality as more farming practices develop in the area – there are fears of fertilizers and other chemicals washing into the Delta and altering food and vegetation.
Here are Kevin and Marlon du Toit, our guide. Marlon was also my guide during my last trip to Africa to visit Singita in 2010. It was good to see him again – he is a wonderful guide and photographer.
Elephants visit the Falls to feed on grasses and fruits growing along the banks of the river. Lions, Cheetahs, and sometimes Leopards visit the jungles nearby, but they are shy not often seen.
Around mid-April is when peak flood waters occur. The huge volume of water produces a spray that can rise up to 1650-feet into the air.
Jude took this photo of the Falls with her own camera – she is quite a photographer already. I will share many more of her photos in future blogs.
Jude and Truman both had cameras for this trip – they enjoyed capturing their own “special moments”.
This is one of my favorite photos from the trip – my daughter, Alexis, Truman and Jude – hand in hand. Enjoy the videos below of the Victoria Falls.