Elephant safaris and a case of cabin fever

Trip Start Dec 16, 2005
Trip End Jun 12, 2006

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Flag of Zimbabwe  ,
Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Signed up for a safari on top of an elephant this morning. Not a huge amount of game. Giraffe, impala, waterbuck, warthog and some nice red billed hornbills. The highlight really was the ride on the elephant.

My elephant was called Jock, who weighted in at 2.5 tones and had 24 year of age. After the safari we had them eating out of our hands, an interesting feeling to have their sucker grabbing hold of your hand!

After the ride we also had to sit though the obligatory photos and DVD that they tried to sell to us. Every activity around Vic Falls does this and I really can't think of anything worse than showing your friends a video of yourself with 20 strangers marching around the bush! I was amazed how quickly they put these videos together though, the editing was great and looked very professional for something that took them about 30 minutes.

In the afternoon I went to see the falls from the Zimbabwe side. You can only actually see about a quarter of the falls from the Zambia side and in the summer they totally dry up on the Zam side.

Victoria Falls are so impressive, I love them and they have to be one of the highlights of my trip so far. The amount of water coming over them is immense, just to give you some idea at this time of year over 3 times the amount of water of Niagara Falls comes over them.

Livingstone Point was my favourite spot, from here you can look all the way down the chasm, well as far as the mist will allow, into which the falls flow. The gap between the falls across the chasm from where I was stood was mighty narrow, about 25m at it's closest points!

I'm always surprised how long some people spend at the falls, I'd watch people come up to the viewpoints, look over the edge and move on. Other people would even look, they would wait for their partner to take the 10m walk down to the viewpoint before deciding whether it was worth the trip themselves!

Walking back to town, about a 500m walk, I looked to the left and saw a rather large elephant staring at me from the bushes. I stopped and stared, but one he started flapping he ears, a sure sign of agitation, I thought it best to move quietly on!

Walking back though Vic Falls town I thought how much it reminded me of Banff. It really was just a clean, little town catering for tourists, with lot of souvenir shops and tour agencies. They even had a Wimpy - I though these guys had gone bust in England a long time ago!

Had my first communal dinner with the truck that evening. A whole BBQ came out and Moses cooked steaks, vegetable stew and maize flour with soup as a starter. I hadn't eaten so much since leaving England - pretty good really.

Watched Arsenal beat Villa Real that night in the Champions League while trying the local brews. Zambezi, Lion and Bolinger. None of them would win any awards, but I haven't decided on a favourite yet. A little more taste testing is in order first!

Next day was a quiet one and all I wanted to do was get out of Vic Falls before cabin fever set in and while I still had a little money left in my pocket. For some reason my trip with Overland Club was already getting delayed by a day, but nobody had an answer as to why.

Despite the fact I would be another expensive activity I decided to book another flight for the next morning over the falls, this time on a Tiger Moth. The range of activities in the Vic Falls area really is fantastic, but each one will easily set you back at least $100 - it's easy to blow a wad of cash.

4 of the guys went fishing that afternoon and came back with a good catch of 5 or 6 bream and a catfish. Nobody wanted to cook them, so I volunteered myself and BBQ'd them. It was a very tasty, soft, moist fish with not half as many bones as I expected. The rest of the crew headed out to some nightclub that evening, I, on the other hand took it easy and was in bed by 11:30.
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