We are now heading to Hwange National Park. It’s been 17 years since I was last here and l always remember the day we were at a water hole in our 4×4 when 240 elephants walked up surrounding us, but they were not interested in us, just the water.
The British has set up the system of bores and pumps to keep Hwange’s water holes full. Now, the pumps are smaller and solar panels keep them running all day.
We have reached our lodge for the next two nights. Robins Camp, the site we are on, was first opened as a cattle ranch back in 1934. As the cattle were moved in, word spread through the animal kingdom and prides of lions decided to take part in the smorgasbord.
After the last of the cattle were slaughtered and eaten by the lions it was decided that having a cattle ranch next to a lion’s den was not a good idea.
Now, years later, big electric fences are in place and very comfortable chalets have been built including pool and dining areas.
Today we are on a full day’s game drive; Hwange covers a huge area and we spot many different animals and birds.
For lunch, we stop at a fenced-off hide overlooking a big water hole. At first, there are only a few hippopotamus, then some elephants turn up, then some more and they keep coming. Finally, we count 130 elephants with many babies.
They have all come to drink the water. Our guide says the elephants seem to know that the drought is making water scarce and even though the solar pump is bringing water to the surface they are not splashing the water about, instead just taking what they need and saving the rest for another day.
We have arrived at our final destination, Victoria Falls. This is the third time I have been here over the years and I never fail to visit the grand Victoria Falls Hotel. If you are not staying there visitors are welcome, it’s interesting to wander around the old building and the views over the lawns and the bridge across the Zambezi River make great pictures. They also run a high tea each afternoon, which is a must-do.
Cutting through the serenity is the constant sound of helicopters flying tourists over the falls. It’s a must-do if this is your first visit and the falls are described by the locals as ‘the smoke that thunders’. Even with the drought, Victoria Falls is still mighty impressive.
This afternoon we are going on a sunset cruise on the Zambezi. There are lots of boats that offer the service but we are doing it a little differently; our boat is a wooden yacht, complete with a single huge sail, much like those on the feluccas of Egypt.
We motor out, then hoist the sail and glide across the mighty Zambezi. It’s so quiet and peaceful and there are many animals and birds to view on the banks of the river. But the big one is the stunning sunset, and as the sun goes down it’s time to say goodbye for yet another time to Africa and Victoria Falls.
I would like to thank David Brown, my Travel Manager, and Adventure Destinations/Jenman Safaris for arranging everything. Special thanks to our expert tour guide Thoulani for his great knowledge of all three countries we travelled through and to our driver Roy who took us safely over 4400 kilometres on this African adventurer.