Sunday, April 03, 2016

Sunday 3rd April 2016.....Gob smacked!!!!

You will have to Google that phrase if you are not familiar with it!!!

So I got to sleep in today my pick up this morning was not till 10 am.....Annie in the kitchen cooked me a lovely plate of scrambled eggs and toast and my taxi driver was here on time and off we went on today's adventure......the destination was the very swanky 5 star Livingstone Hotel
The hotel setting is quite wonderful in a game reserve and on the banks of the Zambezi river.....after you enter the gated compound you drive through the park to the hotel and as we were driving we were flagged down by one of the workers on the side of the road...he came to my side of the car and told me to follow him and off he went into the bush..I looked at the taxi driver smiled and got out and followed him for about 20 feet which is when I became Gob smacked!!!!!

Come on hands up many of you had a selfie with 2 giraffes this morning?????
I thanked the worker and gave him a tip got back in the car and went to the entrance......this really is not my style of travelling but the hotel was wonderfully laid out, the art and carvings quite stunning and all the staff in immaculate uniforms..oh by the way the cost of a room starts at 800 US dollars per night!!!

Some history for you because I am off to Livingstone Island!!

Livingstone Discovers

Victoria Falls, 1855

Born in Scotland, David Livingstone arrived in Africa in 1840 at the age of 27 as a missionary and physician. He spent most of the remainder of his life on the continent, his exploits making him the most famous explorer of the century. An encounter with a lion in 1843 cost Livingstone the use of 
David Livingstone
his left arm. Undeterred, Livingstone continued his exploration of the African interior, particularly the Zambezi River area in 1852-1856. It was during this expedition that he became the first European to witness the magnificence of Victoria Falls.
In 1866, Livingstone set out at the head of an expedition charged with the task of finding the headwaters of the Nile River. His lack of contact with the outside world over a period of four years raised concerns for his welfare and prompted the New York Herald to send Henry Stanley to find Livingstone. Stanley achieved his goal on November 10, 1871 approaching the explorer in an African village with the immortal words "Dr. Livingstone I presume" (seeStanley Finds Livingstone, 1871) Years in the wilderness took their toll however, and David Livingstone died in Africa in April 1873 at age sixty.
A Scene "Gazed Upon by Angels in Their Flight"
In early November 1855, Livingstone traveled down the Zambezi River to see for himself the area the natives called "smoke that thunders." Approaching the spot in canoes, the party could see the columns of spray and hear the thunderous roar of water miles away from the falls:
"After twenty minutes' sail from Kalai we came in sight, for the first time, of the columns of vapor appropriately called 'smoke,' rising at a distance of five or six miles, exactly as when large tracts of grass are burned in Africa. Five columns now arose, and, bending in the direction of the wind, they seemed placed against a low ridge covered with trees; the tops of the columns at this distance appeared to mingle with the clouds. They were white below, and higher up became dark, so as to simulate smoke very closely. The whole scene was extremely beautiful; the banks and islands dotted over the river are adorned with sylvan vegetation of great variety of color and form…no one can imagine the beauty of the view from any thing witnessed in England. It had never been seen before by European eyes; but scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight. The only want felt is that of mountains in the background. The falls are bounded on three sides by ridges 300 or 400 feet in height, which are covered with forest, with the red soil appearing among the trees.
When about half a mile from the falls, I left the canoe by which we had come down thus far, and embarked in a lighter one, with men well acquainted with the rapids, who, by passing down the centre of the stream in the eddies and still places caused by many jutting rocks, brought me to an island situated in the middle of the river, and on the edge of the lip over which the water rolls. In coming hither there was danger of being swept down by the streams which rushed along on each side of the island; but the river was now low, and we sailed where it is totally impossible to go when the water is high. But, though we had reached the island, and were within a few yards of the spot, a view from which would solve the whole problem, I believe that no one could perceive where the vast body of water went; it seemed to lose itself in the earth, the opposite lip of the fissure into which it disappeared being only 80 feet distant. At least I did not comprehend it until, creeping with awe to the verge, I peered down into a large rent which had been made from bank to bank of the broadZambesi, and saw that a stream of a thousand yards broad leaped down a hundred feet, and then became suddenly compressed into a space of fifteen or twenty yards.
The entire falls are simply a crack made in a hard basaltic rock from the right to the left bank of the Zambesi, and then prolonged from the left bank away through thirty or forty miles of hills. If one imagines the Thames filled with low, tree-covered hills immediately beyond the tunnel, extending as far as Gravesend, the bed of black basaltic rock instead of London mud, and a fissure made therein from one end of the tunnel to the other down through the keystones of the arch, and prolonged from the left end of the tunnel through thirty miles of hills, the pathway being 100 feet down from the bed of the river instead of what it is, with the lips of the fissure from 80 to 100 feet apart, then fancy the Thames leaping bodily into the gulf, and forced there to change its direction, and flow from the right to the left bank, and then rush boiling and roaring through the hills, he may have some idea of what takes place at this, the most wonderful sight I had witnessed in Africa.

There were 5 of us in the group and we took a three minute boat ride over to the island

The island is in the middle with the mighty spray behind.....this was all a first class tour and when we got off the boat we were greeted by a lady with a tray with glasses of some kind of coconut drink to toast our arrival!!
We had two guides who gave us a very strict safety talk as we were on the edge of the falls and then the adventure begins...wanna come along???  OK come on...

What other words can I use apart from breath taking, awesome, fantastic to describe this..please read the inscription on the above photo......
Now we get to the fun part the guide takes each of us one at a time and holds us as we peak over the edge of the falls...

The adrenaline rush is out of this world!!!!!
Next he takes us over to sit on the log and pose!!!

Then the real fun begins we are going to swim in the small rapids on the edge of the out ladies lots of skin in these!!!!!

Even looking at the photos now I cannot believe I did this!!!!!
We then went to a nice area to get dry and then shown to this lovely table
Where we served eggs Benedict, warm scones and juice!!!!
Then the boat back to the hotel...I think I was in a trance and I went and found a lounge chair by the edge of the pool looking out of the river and just thought about what I had just done and then I tried to envisage seeing Dr.Livingstone coming down this river in a was a thrill of a lifetime.
I had arranged for my taxi driver to come back for me at 2.00 pm but he was a no show so I happily walked to the main gate and  at the main road  waited for a passing taxi but after 30 seconds a car came out of the hotel gate and the man driving asked me if I wanted a ride to town and I jumped in..he was the local bank manager and a really nice man...he dropped me off close to home and I walked up the hill to be back in time for a great live soccer game from England!!!
After the game went and did some lounging by the pool......
Tonight I checked out my plans for the next week as I fly out tomorrow afternoon back to South Africa
at Nelspruit and then pick up my hire car and drive about 80 km to Hectorspruit where I am booked into a private residence for one night...I will wait tomorrow till you what happens after have had enough excitement for one day.
I really enjoyed Zambia felt completely safe...the local people are happy and very friendly and the falls were a dream come true!!!!!
Yashi Kochi!!!!


glenna said...

WOW...what an adventure your are having. Thanks for sharing. glenna and rod

mexicokid said...

it is quite wonderful hope you and Blackie are doing well best wishes les

Indigo Blue said...

Thrilling, absolutely thrilling!

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