Africa - August 25, 2012

Packed up and pulled out of camp at 5:30 a.m. to make our way to the Zimbabwe border. It was a lovely drive filled with sightings of elees, ostrich, baboons, and a tawny eagle.* Set up our tents at the Vic Falls Rest Camp & Lodge, then went down the street to an outfitter to sign up for tomorrow's adventure. Several folks in the group are going whitewater rafting on Class 5 rapids, but Kate and I chose a much more relaxed option - the AM Drift.** We'll be picked up at 7:00 for a guided canoe trip down the Zambezi with a guide noted for his excellent birding skills. Holla!

The entire group also signed up for a two-hour sunset cruise this evening. It's our last shindig together and, even though I'm excited about having privacy and indoor plumbing again, I'm sad to leave these guys behind. Jostling bus rides and toilet hippos are quite the bonding experiences, and it feels like I'm saying goodbye to friends at the end of summer camp.

We saw a double rainbow later!
After paying for our excursions, Gerrit dropped us off at Mosi-oa-Tunya, better known as Victoria Falls. The nagging fear in the back of my mind was that, after years of dreaming, finally seeing the Falls would be anticlimactic. Wrong. I don't know how to put into words what I felt at the first sight of the smoke that thunders, so I'll steal David Livingstone's. "Scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight."

You hear the falls long before you see them, and the force of the water is so great that the spray is pushed back up the full 350 feet in the air, covering you with a fine mist every few minutes. It's so wide that you can't see it in its entirety from any one spot, and you can't see the bottom either.*** When the time came, I couldn't bear to leave because I knew I'd never see anything like this again in my life. That hour at the falls was worth the entire price of the trip.

Brad's footnotes:
* Twan and Natasja, the Dutch couple in our group, saw small giraffes through the trees. Aargh!
** Remember the phrase "much more relaxed option" as you read a later post.
*** And, again, we were seeing the falls when the water is low!

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