On Safari (Part 1)
African friends explained to us that going on “safari” was as simple as going on a trip into the bush. It didn’t need to be organized or done with a group. We went on our first safari after visiting the Victoria Falls.
We crossed over into Rhodesia and then drove along a track, looking for the border into Botswana. After driving for about half an hour, we came upon a wire gate stretched across the road. We thought that we had somehow found ourselves at a farmer’s gate, and got out to investigate. We were just about to retrace our route when an African man, dressed in the uniform of a border agent, came running out of the bush. It was the border into Botswana!
We drove through Botswana for a couple of hours and then arrived at the Chobe Game Reserve. This was the place where Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton got married for the second time. The reserve is famous for its wildlife and we had lunch at the lodge which had magnificent views of the Zambesi River and the five countries which came together at that point.
The Caprivi Strip in Namibia, Angola, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia could all be seen from the window and we were scheduled to take a ferry across the river, about twenty miles downstream.
In Canada, we have ferries that look like this.
But this is what we saw coming toward us across the river.
The Zambesi River is home to crocodiles and hippos and a number of animals that could end our safari right there. I was about five months pregnant and was terrified, but I got in the car and we drove onto the Kazungula Pontoon.
The pontoon had two outboard motors, ones on each side, and the two men operating it called instructions to each other across the deck.
We arrived on the Zambian side of the river and drove several miles before we came to a traditional African building which turned out to be the border control site.
The agent had been sitting on a chair reading the Bible and came over to process us. It was good to be back in Zambia.
On our trip we saw chimpanzees, lions, zebras, giraffes, impalas, kudus, elands, rhinos, and hippos. We never saw elephants in Africa, and I think they are even more rare now than they were in the mid-60s.
Our next safari was a trip from Lusaka to Mongu in the Western Province of Zambia. But it will have to wait for another day.
Thanks for reading and have an adventuresome day. – Maureen