“If you can visit only two continents in your life visit Africa twice.” –R. Elliott
South Africa, Zimbabwe & Botswana
Capetown is indeed one of the world’s most unique cities. It is sheltered beneath the dramatic shape of Tabletop Mountain. I saw a penguin colony at Simon’s Town along the majestic coastline along False Bay. My time spent in Hluhluwe allowed me to stay at a special lodge and get to know some locals while experiencing tribal dancing, spear making and a ceremony of beer drinking. Encompassing some of the most stunning and diverse terrain I spent time in the world famous Kruger National Park. Here is where my addiction to game drives began. It is an excursion for people with patience. If you are uptight, anxious, have a small bladder or are demanding it might not be the best activity for you. Go in expecting nothing and be amazed after at what you were able see. I do not have a death wish but I was hoping for a mommy elephant to pick up my safari jeep and flip us over. Unfortunately this did not happen to my jeep, but three days later I read in the news and watched on YouTube a vehicle from my same tour company was flipped over by an elephant and everyone was safe. I was kind of pissed off that I did not get that same experience, but everything happens for a reason and I guess I was meant to write about wanting it to happen to me rather than it actually happening to me. I am hopeful for my next game drive! I mentioned small bladder- why? You are on a game drive for hours and there are no bathrooms and you cannot get out of the vehicle unless you want to be eaten by a wild animal. Well, not always will you be a snack for the animals. I witnessed a situation where a girl who urinated in the bush survived. I had a great driver and of course I was right up front with him asking a million questions and wanting to know the scariest things he witnessed with his own eyes. He told a terribly horrific story of seeing a tourist get devoured by a lioness. This story concluded around the same time my friend said she had to urinate or she was going to pee on herself and deal with it later. The driver seemed hesitant to let her out, but ultimately gave in. He turned off of the main path and found a spot for her to jump out, pee and get right back into the vehicle. Well, if you know game drives cars follow each other thinking you have spotted an animal so we were followed and unfortunately had to disappoint many thinking we found something great. My friend relieved herself and got back in the vehicle and as we drove away our vehicle began to slow down because we noticed lion tracks. He said lions were just here, but we did not see anything. We continued our turn around to get back on the main path and right behind the rock where my friend went to the bathroom we spotted a lion! We all were in disbelief and grateful at the same time that she was not devoured by a lion. This is something we still talk about today even though our next journey was out of this world.
I traveled to Zimbabwe and arrived at Victoria Falls. This is often described as the “Eight Wonder of the World.” Flight of angels is a helicopter trip that enables you to view the whole of Victoria Falls from the air. It is a magnificent view of some of unspoiled Africa. This was a thrilling activity. I felt like I was in my glory over the falls even though I had a constant feeling of nausea from the helicopter ride. People might wonder why I do all of these intense activities if I suffer in some ways from them, but that’s just me and nothing will keep me from adventure. I witnessed a beautiful sunset from a boat in Zimbabwe and once I exited my boat the escapades began. Remember my wish about the elephant flipping my safari vehicle? Well this was just as good. I got off the boat ride and my tour guide along with a few other local people were yelling at me and my friends to walk straight to our car fast and not stop. I could not understand what was going on until I turned to my left and saw wild elephants fighting! I kid you not- it was happening in front of my own eyes. There were six elephants in a line and two were fighting. They were massive and the fight seemed intricate. Obviously we got into our car and I lived to tell about what I witnessed, but for a moment it was really frightening. I love elephants. I think they are wise and loyal creatures. They are huge, strong and gorgeous. Many African cultures revere the African Elephant as a symbol for strength and power and I would agree.
I crossed the border into Botswana and spent time in Chobe National Park. Chobe boasts one of the largest populations of elephants in the world! They are accurate by saying this. One day I decided to relax and count the number of elephants I saw. Once I reached 100 I stopped counting. It was impressive and I could not believe my eyes. I watched them cross a river while on a boat and they link together and rather than swim they just bounce up and down as a result of their massive size. It is unbelievable. Chobe National Park is a destination you should visit at least once in your lifetime. My memories of Botswana are nothing less than amazing and one particular event that is hilarious. That would be the day I got caught on a ladder climbing into my safari jeep and split my pants! Oh yes, you read that correctly. I split my pants from the top of my waist in the back across to the side so it looked like a flap was supposed to be there that would expose my right butt cheek. It was something I will never forget and I think I laughed for days about it until I felt sad because I really liked those pants. I was grateful for the timing of this event since Botswana was my last country on this tour and I would not have to worry about not having pants for the rest of my trip. What did I do? I laughed, turned to my friend and asked her to take a picture [after reminding her about peeing in Kruger National Park], then I tied my sweater around my waist and felt much cooler for the rest of my time in Botswana until I had to exit my vehicle to physically cross the border back into Zimbabwe.