Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Canoe Adventure in Lower Zambezi

We boarded our canoes at the entrance to the park and floated down a side channel of the river.  The silence was so calming it felt like a meditation session.  We passed elephants grazing in the shore, floated past bee eater nests in the red clay river bank, and watched a fish eagle hunt. The shore featured magnificent green 100 foot cibo and sausage trees with a mountain range in the background.  The big excitement came when the channel narrowed and a 15 foot monster crocodile slid off the beach and into the water heading our direction.  Our guide said croc attacks are rare but let me tell you when you see a giant reptile coming your way it gets your heart rate going.  

Needless to say we picked up the pace of paddling and around the bend was a pod of hippos.  The hippos waited until we were within 30 feet and then submerged in the water.  You could read the ripples to see where they were hiding. Again, our guide, BBasake, said hippo attacks were rare...hmmm.  Starting to see a pattern here. Once safely past the hippos we entered a narrow channel and were met by about 7 grazing elephants which turned in our direction and spread out their ears in warning.  We passed peacefully under their watch and finished our journey about 2 miles downstream where we reconnected with the main river.  Our land rovers were waiting for us with the traditional "sundowner cocktail" which we felt we earned.

Then it was a night drive back to camp where we were fortunate to see a solitary male black lion, 2 porcupine, several white tail mongoose, a few elephants, and a hippo heading towards the grass to feed.  When we arrived back at the Royal Zambezi lodge the staff had a surprise in store for us.  We we're ushered onto the larger motor boats and taken across to a sandy island in the middle of the river where lanterns were placed in a semi circle around a huge crackling fire.  We were treated to a fabulous meal out under the stars featuring butter nut squash soup, garlic bread, vegetable skewers, sautéed spinach in squash, and various grilled meats such as tasty lamb cutlets.  My fellow travelers shared their stories.  A European couple living in Zambia for a 4 year contract had come down to bid farewell to their favorite camp before moving on to their next contract job in Liberia.  Another couple from NY were a Dean of Economics and the former head of the ACLU who both new several of our past Blue Odyssey guests - small world.  Now I am back in bed listening to the hippos serenade me as I head of to sleep on my first night on safari...a blissful day all around and I feel blessed.

No comments:

Post a Comment