Friday, August 13, 2010

My Pops’ Visit Part 2

South Luangwa

Next stop on our adventure was South Luangwa.  The plane ride was awesome.  It was a little fifteen seater plane and Pops and I were right at the front.  I could reach out and touch the pilots.  Dad was convinced they had no idea what they were doing.  I loved being able to look at the front window of the plane.


We landed at the Mufwe “International” Airport.  Awesome! Smallest airport I’ve ever been to in the middle of nowhere.


We stayed at Kafunta Lodge…Highly Recommended.  This place was unreal.  Granted we had frogs join us every night but other than that I felt like I was in heaven.  We spent three nights in this glorious haven.  I had to keep asking myself, “Is this for real?”

I love having a schedule and I pretty much think we had the best schedule while we were here.  The morning began with a light knock on our door at 5:30.   At six we were out the door to enjoy a light breakfast.  At 6:30 we piled in a real safari vehicle and headed out to the park.  It was gorgeous in the morning.  Everything seemed so calm and quiet.  We rode around the park for the next two hours encountering all sorts of animals and then we’d take a tea and biscuit break in a very picturesque location.  The safari would continue for another two hours and then we headed back to the lodge.  We’d arrive around 11 and have a 1/2 hr break before lunch (I always took a quick nap during this time).  At exactly 11:30 the drums would play letting us know that our lunch was ready.  We were greeted by the friendly Kafunta Staff that made us feel like we were all related.  The food was amazing.  After lunch we’d have siesta until 3:30.  I’ve decided that a 4 hr siesta in the middle of the day is exactly what everyone needs in life.  I loved it.  I used this time to go for a little jog, use the Internet, and shower.  Dad slept.  At 3:30 the drums would play again and we would meet for a snack and head out on our evening safari.  Again, we’d ride around for a couple of hours, have a tea and biscuit break, watch the sunset and then finish off the last couple of hours in the dark watching the animals movements through a spotlight.  We’d get home at 8 and have a 1/2 hr before dinner.  At 8:30 we would sit on the veranda, eat incredible food, talk with awesome people, and watch and listen to the the hippos grazing in the pasture.  After dinner we’d retire to our lodge and quickly fall asleep with smiles on our faces knowing we got to do it all over again the following day.  Ahhhh…sweet bliss, my friends.


Rene, Pops, and our amazing safari guide Martin


Martin was always telling us some story about an animal that almost attacked him.  He was fascinating and hilarious.


Irma and Rene became our dear friends.  They are from Switzerland and joined us for most of our safari rides.  The trip wouldn’t have been the same without them.


Martin and Anka, the Kafunta owner.  A delightful woman from Germany.


Dad and I enjoying our biscuits.


Our first night out on Safari we encountered a pride of lions.  There were eleven in all.  We saw them all lounging around before it got dark.  Some were laying in the streets and some were laying the bush.  It was awesome to watch them.

This little fella was very obviously the leader of the pride.



After our tea and biscuit break, when the sun was down, we headed back to the lions and watched for the next hour as they hunted a buffalo.  At one point we were between the pride and the buffalo.  It was awesome to watch every move of the lions.  They were all in sync.  They all moved at the same time, turned their heads in the same direction, walked in a formation, with the leader behind.  We heard the lion attack and heard the buffalo get away.  We watched as the lions retreated in defeat.  The next morning we saw the leg of an impala that the lions had killed instead of the buffalo.  Certainly not the buffalo they had wanted but at least they got a kill.  AMAZING!!!


Elephant encounters!  The elephants were out to get us on this trip.  The first day we got in the way of this elephant and he was MAD!!!  I think Martin purposefully cut the elephant off so we could have ourselves a show.  I was terrified so mostly I just hid under the blanket and every once in a while would peek to see how close the elephant was to us. 


Showing us who’s in charge


Down on his knees


Flapping his ears waiting for attack


This elephant is angry


Another too close encounter to an elephant.  I’m once again hiding under the covers while Irma is chanting to me, “If you can’t see the elephant the elephant can’t see you.”  Martin, our safari guide, has now pulled out his camera and is taking pictures, as if he’s never been this close before.  In my head I’m thinking, “Get me out of here, we’re going to die.”


We did have some positive encounters with elephants.  The little babies were adorable.


Birds, birds, and more birds.  I’ve never seen so many incredible birds and so colorful.  My Dad takes amazing pictures.







The landscape…there are not words to describe how incredible African sunrises and sunsets are.  The terrain was spectacular.  Even without the animals this would have all been worth it to see the beautiful landscape.

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Irma loved the hippos.  Every time we’d get close to them she would mimic their sound.  It made me happy.


Reptiles and plenty of them.  I love crocodiles.  They fascinate me.



On our last morning of safari we saw one buffalo off in the distance so we decided to get a little closer.  We pulled up to see three buffalos and just sat there watching them.  Off in the distance we could see a few more buffalos trying to cross the water.  They started to cross the river and following them we watched a herd of 200-300 hundred buffalo cross the river.  I’ve never seen anything like it. 

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South Luangwa became a National Park because of this giraffe.  It’s only found in South Luangwa.





Is that a leopard I see?  Nope!  That would just be the kill of a leopard.  Is that the same thing as actually seeing a leopard?


Fire Ants


Saturday, August 7, 2010

My Pops’ Visit Part 1

My Dad came to visit me in April.  I loved having him here.  I can’t believe he actually got here.  His trip started off with a missed flight in Johannesburg and lost luggage for a few days but the rest of our holiday was fabulous.

Victoria Falls

We met in Livingstone and I was so excited to see him again.  The night before felt like Christmas Eve and I was waiting for Santa to show up.  Show up he did and it sure made me happy.

Day 1:  Fawlty Towers and the Falls –

Good ‘ol Fawlty Towers has really improved their accommodations since I was there last.  It looks great and somewhat clean.  I was a bit worried about Dad staying there but it ended up being great. 


After we dropped some of Dad’s stuff off (his luggage was lost so he didn’t have much with him) we headed over to the falls.  I’ve never been to the falls in April and I was amazed by the amount of water they produced.  The sound of the falls was powerful.  I loved feeling the power of it all.

Dad and I rented raincoats and were drenched within the first 5 minutes of our walk.  Raincoats were pointless.  There was so much water.  It was crazy!



We came back from the falls to find our friends taking a dip in the pool.  Bwalya, Diana, Bridget, Jackie and Liseli joined us in Livingstone.  They loved swimming in the pool.


Day 2: Rhino Walk, little Safari, and lots of rain -

Top priority on Dad’s list was to go on a Rhino Walk.  We left bright and early after a random breakfast (have I ever mentioned how hilarious my Dad is about everything…the whole breakfast thing was so weird and he was so funny about it).  The only problem with our whole Rhino Walk was the rain.  It started raining just as we entered the park.  We attempted getting out of the van a few times to start our Rhino walk in the rain but it was just too wet.  We went back and forth on whether we should just continue to wait it out or cancel and go the next day.  We decided to wait it out and we were not disappointed.  The sun broke through the clouds long enough for us to get a good look at the massive Rhino.  Dad was in heaven!

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Just had to get a picture of our Safari vehicle.  Here they are removing the windows.  I thought they just clipped on and off.  Nope!  Had to pull out the tools for this one.  Pretty top notch if you ask me.


My Dad took some awesome photos of the animals we saw after our Rhino walk.  

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As soon as we got in the car to head back to Fawlty Towers it started pouring  and pretty much rained the rest of the night.  We were all drenched just form walking from the “Safari Van” to the hotel.

Day 3: The Falls again, Helicopter Ride, the zebra and baboons, good food and dear friends -

Just some fun photos of the kids and the team.

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The kids loved the Falls.  They were terrified to go anywhere near the edge.  That’s probably a good thing.

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We snuck into the ritzy Hotel grounds near the falls so we could see the zebras.  Emily and Jackie were fearless and just kept getting closer and closer.

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While Emily was trying to get the zebra to eat out of her hand the baboons were busy stealing her video camera.  I wish I could describe how hilarious this whole thing was.  The story has a happy ending…the camera was returned to the rightful owner.  Those pesky little baboons.  Dad kept chasing them all over the park and the rest of us just ran from them.


Dad forced me to get this close to the zebras.  I was afraid they would flip out and take me out.  


Dad “Keep going girls.  Just a little farther.  One more step back.  Just keep going.”


Sweet little Mackay.


The highlight of my whole Vic Falls experience was the helicopter ride.  First of all, I’ve never been on a helicopter and it just so happens to be on my bucket list.  Secondly, Jackie got to come with us (thanks to my generous Pops) and she was so excited.  Thirdly, the view from the helicopter was SPECTACULAR.  Never seen anything like it before in my life.  Definitely the only way to see the whole falls.  AMAZING!





Later that evening we had dinner at an African restaurant.  I loved being with the team.  Gordon and Betty (pictured below) were so so good to me.  They brought me all sorts of goodies from the states when they came.  I just love them to bits and pieces.


Day 4: Bus ride home.

6 hr drive listening to super loud music and watching super violent shoot ‘em kill ‘em kind of movies with a few pit stops to pee in the bush along the way.  Always glad to have that ride over with.  However, the terrain is beautiful.

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