African Safari - 2023
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Victoria Falls is one of the world's largest waterfalls at over a mile wide. It was named by David Livingstone to honor Queen Victoria. A more traditional name is Mosi-oa-Tunya which translates to "the smoke that thunders," a much more fitting name. When it's flowing at maximum, it so fills the area with mist that you can only hear the falls.
We crossed the border into Zimbabwe to see it from the side with the stronger flow. Note the palm trees in the upper left corner for scale.
The water falls into a long narrow chasm, making it impossible to capture its breadth from the ground. Our photos show just a couple of segments from our hour-and-a-half stroll along the edge of the chasm. For an aerial view, see the photo on the Wikipedia page.
The mist from the more active part of the falls creates a rainforest microclimate in stark contrast to the more arid surroundings. On the Zimbabwe side, we were barely able to see the falls during breaks in the thick mist.
Just a short distance farther toward Zambia, the terrain is completely different. We were there at a perfect time after a recent rainstorm (which soaked us on our first game drive), so the Zambia side of the falls was flowing, which is not always the case.
Chobe River Cruise, Botswana
Departing Toka Leya in Zambia, we said good-bye to James, crossed the border into Botswana, and spent a couple of hours touring the Chobe river.
Prior to this, we had never seen hippos out of the water. Hippos float around in the water to stay cool during the day and graze at night. It was fun to see them out grazing during the day.
This buffalo was chest deep in a depression in the grasses along the river, munching away, accompanied by an entourage of birds feasting on the bugs being flushed by the buffalo's browsing.
A wide variety of birds was a big feature of the grassy areas around, and the island within, the river.
We stopped for lunch near a little islet to watch the African skimmers that were also working on lunch.
It was a surprise to us when our lunch was interrupted by a herd of elephants silently emerging from the trees to visit the river, but probably was not a surprise to Ona. He knew where to expect things to happen so he could set up these opportunities.
We had seen a few elephants in the distance near the Zambezi river, but this was our first encounter close enough to photograph. The babies are so cute!
Elephants like playing in and with the water.
Just after we took off from Kasane International Airport headed to the next camp, we saw a nice view of the Chobe River area we had just toured.
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