Livingstone to Lusaka
Good morning. It is a cool, serene morning. A small crocodile is sunning itself on the opposite bank of the river. You can see where the hippos climbed out of the water to graze on the grass further inland. They have left their spoor as calling cards.
Small birds, that look like they have white sides to their faces, then black heads, brown rounded bodies, and long legs, flit around on the bank, seemingly too close to the croc.
A huge water bird, grey or dusky blue, like a heron and perhaps a heron, is fishing not to far away.
As I sit on the restaurant veranda, having juice, yogurt and fruit, there is a tiny (1 and ½“ lizard sunning itself on the railing in front of me. You see them everywhere; so much so that I keep my handbag zipped up for fear that I’ll find one tagging along inside it!
I had a good night’s sleep and woke up at 7:30, so I was all dressed by the time the fellow came to wake me up. There are all sorts of birds and birdsongs. There is also the constant drone, sometimes very loud, of the ultra lights flying back and forth to see the falls. If I had more energy or were more adventuresome, I might try to forget my fear of heights and try it out.
Instead, I’ve wandered around the lodge grounds, to find that there are other types of accommodations here. In addition to the small cottage “chalets” such as the one I’m in, there are tent like structures, as well as actual tents. There was a path behind the tents, but there was also hippo spoor, so I decided not to venture alone into the woods. I’m curious but not foolish.
There are very flat banks along the river in spots, so I can easily imagine that the hippos have no trouble climbing up out of the river. It would have been fun to watch that process.
After my week of training and getting up early, and after having to get up early yesterday morning as well, it is nice to sit here languidly in the shade on my little porch, listening to the breeze through the trees and occasional birdsong.
In my brief wanderings, I discovered that, in addition to the grass and the plantings, the lodge also waters down the parking area (to keep it from getting so dusty, I imagine).
It seems like many adventuring activities here begin very very early, assumably to take advantage of the cooler morning before the hot sun takes over. I asked the woman in the buffet line if it is always so cold in the morning and she said it was very unusual. By this time of year, it is typically hot- and then gets much hotter.
Surprisingly, there isn’t the humidity that we now “enjoy” in Wisconsin. It’s not quite the arid heat you might experience in Arizona, but it’s pretty close. It’s actually very comfortable. It was so cool in the night that my bottle of water stayed cold.
The Zambian people are very welcoming, smiling and saying hello just in passing. That is definitely not the case when passing most other nationalities. Even if I start to say, hello, many just keep on walking. We could learn a lot from the loving nature of the folks who live here.
People come from all over the world to see the Falls. Many carry specialized cameras and binoculars. I really have to learn how to use binoculars. Charles offered his so that I could see various birds and animals, but after unsuccessfully trying to focus them properly and find the desired objects, I gave up. I know that I would enjoy being able to see the birds and animals more clearly,
I’ve heard Spanish, French, Chinese, Australian and English accents. There was a Peruvian family on the cruise. Everyone you meet shares where they are from, which is a fun conversation.
The Zambezi River here seems deceptively placid, with green water plants, probably comparable to our watercress, sometimes extending quite far into the river. There are palm trees, different deciduous trees, baobab trees (the largest in Zambia, according to Charles yesterday), tall dry grasses, and occasional bursts of brilliant orange or yellow or scarlet blossoms or berries of various shapes and sizes.
Surprisingly, and thankfully, I haven’t been bothered by mosquitoes at all during any of my stay here. I suppose that might change when the rainy season starts. It lasts from October to February, maybe April. Then it will pour for an hour or three hours a day and everything will become lush again. The waters will splash over the long length of rock walls at Victoria Falls, sounding like thunder and raising a mist that can be seen from the sky. I don’t have to see it this visit to imagine its awesome splendor.
I haven’t had many occasions in the past six months to simply sit, breathe deeply, and relax without deadlines or obligations. There is no television and no phones. This is pure bliss- and I wish that, somehow, I could share the dappled light and the deep sense of peace that this beautiful place evokes.
My ride back to the Livingstone Airport comes in 2 hours. I’m going to recharge this laptop and sit and read on the porch until then.