Sunday, July 11, 2010

Southern Cross

We spent the last 3 days along the banks of the lower Zambezi River in
ZambiaWeTher Zambezi is a mighty river- spanning across at least a few
miles, with Zambia on one side and Zimbabwe on the other. It is fast
flowing at 12km/hr and abundant with wildlife. We camped for 1 night,
and had the pleasure of staying at a very hospitable lodge on the
river bank called Mvuu Lodge for the next 2 nights.

The river is home to many animals; the largest of which are crocodile,
elephant, & hippopotamus. Hippos are fascinating creatures and we
enjoyed spotting them. They are usually submerged but we were
fortunate enough to get glimpses of them out of water and of one
opening it's mouth. They can be dangerous if provoked, so we needed to
keep our distance. At night, they come out of the water to graze and
their calls can be heard. We enjoyed falling asleep to their noises
and have gotten pretty good at imitating it (which is pretty funny).

We spent time on the river by taking a sunset cruise one day and a
canoe trip the next. Canoeing was interesting as we were warned not to
put any part of our body in the water (so be careful not to tip I
guess?). We only had a problem at the end of our canoe trip when we
had to disembark. We missed our landing by about 20 meters and had to
get out of the canoes on a steep bank. Paddling upstream was
impossible as the river flows too fast. The river bank we stopped at
appeared ankle deep, however once we exited the canoes we quickly sank
to our thighs in quicksand-like mud and got stuck in the water. Full
of mud now - we laughed it off but were thanking heaven there were no
crocs nearby as we were floundering in the water trying to get ashore.

What made these days even more special was how remote it was. The best
way to get to Mvuu was by boat as there are no paved roads closeby. A
2hr boatride down the river could easily take all day by land to go
the same distance. There was no electricity, but the lodge had a
generator that ran during the day to charge battery operated
appliances. We were able to watch 1 half of the Spain v Germany World
Cup semifinal game before the TV battery power cut out. No electricity
though means no lights at night. The night sky was amazing and I was
able to see the Southern Cross and other constillations for the first
time (the Scorpion constillation is another favorite of mine). I look
for the Southern Cross nightly now. The accommodations at Mvuu were
platform tents each with an outdoor bathroom. Sounds rustic, and it
was - but it was also very comfortable (beds) and put us in synch with
the amazing environment around us.

Next - we are stopping in Lusaka (the capital and the largest city in
Zambia) for supplies before driving off grid again to South Luwanga
game park. Also, Julia and I have made friends with a couple on our
tour from Australia (John & Edwina). Doing activities with them has
definitely added to the fun- we are a team.

Picture is of sunrise over the Zambezi River.

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