Porcupyn's Blog

August 4, 2018

South Africa Trip – Day Eleven (Ziplining and Zambezi River Cruise, Vic Falls)

Filed under: Family,Travel — Porcupyn @ 3:05 pm

And just like that, we were on our final day in Africa. The plan for the morning was for Mrs. Porcupyn and the kids to do a canopy zip lining tour. This kind of thing is just too much for chicken me, so I abstained. I decided to take photos of the scenery and them ziplining. For the afternoon, we had purchased tickets for a Zambezi River cruise. For both of these excursions, we would be picked up right outside our accommodation.

At about 8:30 in the morning, a van came over to pick all of us up from our lodge. We drove for about ten minutes to the Lookout Cafe, which was quite close to the entrance to the Victoria Falls National park.


Lookout Cafe overlooking the Zambezi River Gorge


The layout of the place was quite interesting. We soon had a guide show up who took the rest of the family under his wing and fitted them out with belts and harnesses, as well as helmets. I got to play photographer 🙂


Shop with souvenirs and curios


After they were suitably attired, the guides (one more member of the staff showed up) took us on a short walk from where the ziplining would commence. I had already been informed that I could only come up to the first stop, from where all of them would zipline from station to station, nine ziplines in all, then walk back to the first stop. The entire thing, they told us, would probably take around an hour and a half. I was willing to wait – this is a zoomed in photo of the group in front of ours


As I watched my family, I caught sight of this dude also pensively staring into the gorge. Though I had been warned of monkeys, I didn’t realize I would be able to see one so close by.


Little did I realize that there was a whole family (or more) of monkeys right by me. They were so quiet that I hadn’t even noticed them. It was only after I saw the monkey in the previous photo that I looked around and spotted them!


Once everyone came back from the ziplining (everyone had high praises for the guides who were very friendly and even took photos with Baab’s camera), we hung around the area watching folks participating in bungee jumping and other activities.


This specific activity – the Flying Fox!


Some local signboards …


We then had tea at the Lookout Cafe, enjoying the nice weather and taking in the scenery

It was about noon or so when we finally informed the local staff that we were ready for our ride back. We could’ve walked, I guess, but it was hot and, we thought that others would be riding the minibus with us. In any event, we were the only ones on the bus. I requested the driver to drop me off on the way, as I had seen a post office near the railway station. I figured I would purchase a few local stamps. But when I got to the post office, I was disappointed – it was Saturday and they had closed just about half an hour before I got there. I then trudged back to our lodge all alone. In a couple of hours, we would be back out for our final excursion in Africa on this trip.

Right around the quoted time (it was either 3:00 pm or 3:30 pm), a minivan came by to pick us up for the Zambezi River cruise. At this point, we were happy that we had done everything we had planned to do – for the most part – on the African segment of the trip. Mrs. Porcupyn and the kids had really enjoyed the ziplining activity of the morning. So, the Zambezi river cruise was just a bonus, the way we looked at it.

I don’t know what made me think that the cruise was going to be happening downstream of Victoria Falls. Probably because I thought it was going to be closer to Lake Kariba which was – per my understanding – a quiet lake? I was disabused of that notion as soon as the ride got underway. Our driver informed us that downstream of the falls are a series of rapids and there is no way you could cruise through that (and I guess Kariba was not really that close anyway). She also told us that at night, there are regular sightings of elephants on the road that we were driving along to get to the cast off point on the river.

It seemed to us that the Africans (Zimbabweans to be precise) were learning from the Disneys of the world. As we got out of the minivan and about to step on the little cruise boat, there was a local dude (un)dressed in tribal garb singing some ditty. Some of the folks on the minivan gave him a tip; others didn’t! The captain of the boat launched into his spiel on what there was to see and what the plan was. The boat we were on had a limited dinner (as opposed to the buffet option), but it came with unlimited drinks/beverages. We had read about vegetarians having had issues with dinner cruises, so had tried to get the no food option; however, the sales lady attached to our lodge managed to convince us to go with the food option, lowering the fare a tad bit to keep our business! This is one where I don’t have a clue if we got a good deal or not. Mr. Porcupyn was trying to negotiate with the lady that she had read the fare as being two thirds of what was being quoted. In the end, we got about a 15% reduction – I never bothered to go back and do any post research on it 🙂

We had a great cruise – Mrs. Porcupyn was the only one in our group who did justice to the drink option (and even she got just one drink). The three (others) of us got a Fanta apiece. As for the wildlife, we saw a few hippopotamuses (or hippopotami, however you want to dice it), a crocodile, a few ducks, and – just as we were returning – two elephants out for a drink, very close to where we were about to dock. Unfortunately for us, by the time we docked, they had decamped. We did have a really nice sunset. Without further ado, here are the photos:


Getting started on the cruise


Two HippopotAmi!


Trigger happy paparazi


A zoomed in view


Per our unofficial guide aka fellow passenger (a Serbian who has relocated to Zambia), these are hippopotamus tracks


Competitors to our boat came in all shapes, sizes, colours and decors. And yes, some of these had the on-board barbecue, all-you-would-want-to-stuff-yourself buffets etc


He was lying there like a log, but we all knew who he was!!


Thirsty elephants

– ziplining in the morning
– afternoon River Zambezi cruise

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