Monthly Archives: November 2006

Zimbabwe: Mana Pools–Dispatch 1

As our plane’s toothpick-sized land gear was about to touch tire to dirt strip our young pilot gave it some gas (so to speak) and we took off again. Why? Because the resident jackal pack was unwilling to cede the runway. Looking down we could see our greeters dashing down the hardpacked strip flapping their hands and waving their arms. By the time we’d made a wide circle and returned for another attempt the jackals had made a desultory exit to a nearby shade tree.

All of this was more commotion than I needed, what with the mighty Zambezi and three days canoeing through Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park awaiting. We would be paddling down Africa’s fourth longest river, past riverine islands, sandbanks, canals and pools flanked by forests of mahogany, wild figs, ebonies and baobabs. I am neither a canoe-ist nor a kayaker and while I can swim to save my life, that statement about says it in a nutshell. I will deal with water when I have to, but you will not find me throwing myself into the surf to ride a wave on a boogy-board.


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Zambia: Walking Safari–Dispatch 1

In South Luangwa National Park we spent five days bushwalking and rarely saw another white soul. What we did see were resident elephant families from year-old infant to pregnant Mom, the local pride of lions and their cubs, a leopard in a treetop making one with the spotty shadows, the usual leering spotted hyenas, wondrous bird life and that magical sun, setting like a peach flambé behind a lacy curtain of acacia trees.

Then again, thank goodness I talked myself out of my usual isolationist stance when it came to Victoria Falls. This is one place one simply must see and, like everyone else, get drenched in the heavy mist rising from the mighty Zambezi as it flows from its wide, island-dotted bed, thundering into a narrow, twisting gorge below.


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