Friday, June 21, 2013

Victoria Falls from Zambia and the Air

We were supposed to catch the bus back to Lusaka early this morning, but earlier Isaac decided he'd rather spend a little extra money for us to fly back so we could have another day at the Falls.  He also decided that he wanted to make sure he captured pictures of the Fall from every angle, so we took a helicopter flight this morning!

The folks at UACZam were fabulous!  Their base is next to a huge, old baobab tree, and I love these things. From their porch, the mist from the Falls rises above the gorge, often creating rainbows from the sun.  Our pilot was a South African named Tammy.  She was awesome and maneuvered the pitch and roll so that we could get the best views of Victoria Falls.  This wasn't a flight for those with weak stomachs, so I was super happy!  We even saw three elephants crossing the Zambezi and a couple of hippos munching breakfast.  I couldn't help but think that Isaac's brother Jacob would have been figuring out a way to rent a plane/helo to do his own flying over the Falls.  Hopefully he can come with us next time.

We then spent the rest of the day in the Mosi Oa Tunya National Park on the Zambian side of the Falls.  We hiked to a place called Boiling Pot because the water rushing from the Falls into the gorge and another stream meet and make quite the eddy.  There's no getting out of that thing.  It's beautiful.  From the bottom at Boiling Pot, we looked up.  On one side of the gorge it's rainforest and the other side is mostly savanna.  Since it's the dry season, the savanna part that doesn't receive the constant mists from the Falls is so incredibly brown and crunchy looking.  It's amazing.  We also hiked Knife Bridge and the little island that it connects to the mainland.  Water shoes and raincoats/ponchos are pretty much a requirement this time of year.  The mists are like a constant rainstorm from the Falls.  The day was hot enough that it felt great!

The baboons are all over the park.  They don't sell food in the park because of this.  On the way back from Boiling Pot, we watched two mamas and their babies in a tree for a bit.  They ran off, and we found them blocking the trail a bit further up.  I wasn't about to try to pass two baboons bigger than large breed dogs with their babies, so we let them entertain us until they decided to scamper somewhere else.

If I learned one thing these four days it's that Apartheid may be over in South Africa, but racism is not.  We were both shocked at the rudeness and hostility of so many of the white South Africans  we met this week towards the blacks from whichever country.  I know new mentalities take a while to settle in place, but wow.  I know there are nice, kind ones out there, and I've met some of them, but what we witnessed in Livingstone makes the racism of the Deep South look like child's play.  We're both still reeling from this. 

The flight back was great, and I really think that this is how we'll travel between Lusaka and Livingstone from now on.  Proflight is now offering round trip tickets for about $60.  That can't be beat and it saves so much time!  It's like a little regional plane or American Eagle.  We had a fabulous time in Livingstone, but it was great to get back to House of Moses!

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