Kent in the Lion's Den!

Kent in the Lion's Den!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

8th Post - Victoria Falls, Botswana and Chobe National Park

Victoria Falls is not normally a part of my South Africa tours, but after this trip it may become more so! We flew to Livingstone, Zambia for 3 nights. The waterfall is divided between Zambia and Zimbabwe. The first afternoon we walked in the downpour (mist from the falls!) on the Zambia side and were grateful for our rented ponchos!
Thursday we spent the full day in Botswana and it was way beyond our expectations! A game drive in the morning in Chobe National Park was a great 'dot on the i' for our animals. We saw lots of elephants, giraffe, antelope, buffalo, and a pride of NINE lions, including the big male. In the afternoon we did  a lovely boat ride on the Chobe River and saw an amazing amount of wildlife on the shore and in the river!
Friday morning we went into Zimbabwe and walked the larger part of the falls. It's just plain bigger than life! Then Gaylene decided she had to do the Gorge Swing and stepped off into space above the Zambezi River! Wow!
After coffee and a bit to eat at the historic Victoria Falls Hotel we headed back to Zambia and enjoyed a lovely farewell sunset cruise on the Zambezi River.

Statue of Explore David Livingstone

First View of Victoria Falls, Zambia

We needed these raincoats for walking in the heavy mist from the Falls!

Vaughn turns from the deluge.

The Victoria Falls Bridge and Gorge

Looking toward the Zimbabwe side

Gaylene and Chloe are getting a kick out of something!

Lone fisherman at the top of the Falls
Four countries come together here: Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe.
We cross by boat from Zambia to Botswana.

Ready to go!

Chobe River as we start our game drive

Southern Ground Hornbill

Our first herd of elephants

A beautiful lilac-breasted Roller poses for us.

Huge herd of buffalo

Pride of NINE Lions!
4 cubs, 2 juveniles, 2 adult females, and one Big Male!
the Cubs

The big Male

Giraffes are necking (fighting!)

More elephants and another baby

Water monitor

Crocodile with his mouth open

Watching from our boat as the elephants come to the river to drink

They really had fun in the water

Big hippo out of the water in broad daylight

African Fish Eagle

and I caught him flying away

Beautiful sky and one Elephant

Water Lilies

The Zimbabwe side of the Falls. Devil's Cataract

The main body of the falls

Chloe can swing like Tarzan!


Native singers and dancers

They invited Ruth to join them.

Gaylene gets ready to step off the edge, over the Zambezi River.

There she goes! Ahhhhhhhhhhh!

Climbing back up to the platform

The Historic Victoria Falls Hotel

The Smoke that Thunders from the Victoria Falls Hotel

The hotel and the platform where Gaylene did her jump over the river

Last good view of the Falls from the bridge

The mist from the falls as we head out on a boat ride.

Private little boat for us and six other people. Nice!

Nice views from atop the boat

And one last elephant along the shore to bid us farewell!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

7th Post - Walk with the Lions and back to Johannesburg

It's a beautiful drive from Kapama northwest into the more tropical zone of Tzaneen and then up onto the Highveld near Polokwane. We stayed at the Protea Hotel Ranch Resort / Nature Conservancy.
Monday afternoon we visited the animals they raise and rescue. We got to pet young cheetahs and they just purred like kittens! The white Kalahari Lions were the most beautiful - wow!
But of course the highlight was the next morning when we got to walk with the lions! We got to walk with three tan ones and one white one. These are not tame lions - they are just accustomed to walking with people, but we had to follow strict guidelines from the rangers!
Back in Johannesburg, we visited a small pre-school at the edge of a shanty town. We brought them some school supplies and learned about this very worthwhile project.

Ruth in front of some of the lush vegetation of the Protea Ranch Hotel

Pool area at our hotel

Scenic view from our hotel

Twila loves the cheetahs!

Cindy enjoys petting them as well.

This cheetah decided to lick my head!

Two Kalahari lions and a more normal brown one

The young cubs watch us interact with the big boys.

The lions can jump!

The big white male Kalahari Lion is spectacular!

He doesn't seem quite as excited to see us as we are to see him!


And then out into the bush to walk with the lions! The lions noticed a big antelope (eland) and the female took off on the hunt! The rangers had quite the time getting her back, but it just showed we were really in the bush and these are not 'tame' lions!

Gaylene walks with the lion.

Cindy gets to pose with one of the male lions.

The white lion is beautiful but to skittish for us to walk with or pose with.

Two at once!

Lest you think they are always well-behaved!

Oooooh! Vaughn, be careful!!

Just a morning stroll with my hand on a lion's back!

Then we transitioned to the pre-school, "Build the Future."
A very appropriate name.

The kids crowd in tightly to see Vaughn's pictures on her IPad.

They love seeing their own photos.

Teacher Elizabeth is thrilled with all the school supplies.

Gaylene could happily stay here with the kids.

Chloe gives a photography lesson.

Our group with teachers Elizabeth and Eva, and Penny, who organized the visit.

Farewell African sunset on our last evening in South Africa.
Tomorrow we fly north to Livingstone, Zambia for 3 nights, where we will visit Victoria Falls and do an Elephant Safari in Botswana.