19/04/13, 3rd restday in Livingstone

Great today! It started with waking up really refreshed. I mainly took a hotel room for the night to make use of its bathtub, but the soft bed with clean soft sheets was pretty good as well 🙂 I went to bed around 0800 (on a friday night) and only got up at around 0700. I then had a bit of a dip in my hapiness, as it turned out that a bunch of ants had decided to build a nest in one of my shoes (which I had left outside). I only found out when I was about to stick my foot in. The shoe was occupied by hundreds of ants who had dragged in all sorts of materials (gras, leaves, etc) to make themselves comfortable. A bit itchy by the whole thing I took the shoe out to the balcony and threw it in the corner. It just exploded with ants! Once they had dispersed I picked up the shoe and threw it to the other side of the balcony and it exploded again. I repeated this till most ants had gone. I then took the shoe to the bathroom and rinsed out any remaining ants underneath the tab. Once I was sure that all ants were gone I put on my wet shoe…
After that hapiness levels increased again due to pancake and muffin breakfast, and hapiness levels would only keep increasing from that moment onwards. I decided to go and see the falls from the Zimbabwe side so I rode my bike to the border post. On the way there I cam accross Zebras and Baboons hanging out on the side of the road, which was just great 🙂 It’s just exciting to come accross wildlife while being on the bike 🙂
After reaching the border I checked out of Zambia and crossed the bridge to Zimbabwe, while watching the falls. On the other side of the bridge I checked in into former Rhodesia and got the Zimbabwe visum and stamp 🙂 Before I went to see the falls I had tea at the Victoria Falls hotel, which was built in 1904, at the same time as the bridge, when Rhodesia was still a British colony. It’s like time stood still there and from the terrace you have a great view at the bridge and the mist of the falls! There is also a plaque showing the distances to Cairo and Cape Town, as the hotel is near to railline that Rhodes ones envisioned to connect Cairo and Capetown. The railroad was never completed though.
After hanging out at the hotel I went to see the falls, which again were stunning. Some say that the Zimbabwe side is better than the Zambian side, but for me it was just different, with additional nice views to the nice views of the falls that I’d already had when I saw them on the Zambian side 🙂 By seeing both sides I did get to experience the shear size of the falls though, which I think impressed me the most. 1,7k of falling water is massive!
After my visit to the falls I went back to our lodge, meaning I checked out of Zimbabwe again and checked back in into Zambia, meaning two more stamps in my pasport 🙂 At camp I had lunch, and after that it was time for a walking safari on which we went to look for rhinos! I’ve seen rhinos in the Ngorongoro crater, but they were very very very very very very very very very very very very very far away, meaning that they were hard to see. When I arrived to our camp last wednesday on my bike, a Scottish lady expressed her admiration for our venture to me and in turn I asked her what would be really nice to do and she mentioned this walking safari!
So this afternoon I ended up walking through the bush with 6 other non TDA people and two guides. We were dropped of on a dirtroad and just started walking. The guide showed us a number of animal tracks: impala, warthog, zebra, giraffe, hippo, elephant. And then there was a rhino footprint. First an old one, a little later a relatively fresh one. The guide guessed that the rhinos had been here earlier in the morning. And so we started following their track. Footprints. Places where they grazed. Places where they had lain down. Places where they had rubbed against trees. Places where they had pooped. We walked for about an hour, criss cross through the bush, because that’s how the rhinos had moved. And after an hour of anticipation the guide halted us and told us to stay close together. And then there they were. 5 of the 9 southern white rhinos living in this area. Walking in single file. Walking and eating. Moving criss cross through the bush.
It’s just amazing. Four adults and a younger one. Immense animals, with amazing horns. Thick grey lobby skin. Looking like they ware moving slowly, but while we tried to follow them we found out that they were quite fast. And if all of this was not yet impressive and satisfying enough, they came accross a pool of water where they stopped to have a drink, so that we could have a good look at them! When they left we followed them for another 15 minutes or so. After that it was time to say goodby, but on our way out of the bush we came accross some zebras, giraffes and on our way back to camp we saw an elephant in the distance…
So today was really a perfect day. I expect that it doesn’t get any better than this, even though there is still plenty that awaits us. For now I’m just really very happy and I feel very spoilt 🙂

Zebras on the side of the road!

And baboons 🙂 

TheVictoria Falls hotel.

Great view on the smoke that thunders!

Almost there! We take a bit of a detour though…

Like the time stood still…

Amazing Victorian architecture though…

Amazing. Again!

The falls really make a very dense mist…

Land before time!

Nice view on the bridge…

View on the falls from the bridge.

Walking through the bush, looking for rhinos! So exciting!

And we found them! And had a great view on them!

Some Maribu storks…

Ending the day with dinner at our neighboring lodge…

Again a great sunset over the river! What a perfect day!

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