Safari Finale

For our penultimate day we planned to visit Victoria Falls, as it was only a couple of hours drive away. We crossed into Zimbabwe at Kazangula which took ages, because we had to list the serial numbers of each camera, each detachable lens, the binoculars, car radio, and so on.

A man came to ask if we would be returning that afternoon. When we said yes, he asked us to buy him some fresh bread and meat. He gave us money, saying they could get nothing at the border.

On the journey through the Zambezi National Park, a large female elephant stepped out on to the road in front of us. She crossed straight to the other side without looking at us. As we drove slowly past, we saw her calf following behind her. Fortunately she did not choose to turn her head during the few brief moment we were between mother and baby.

The Falls were as breathtaking as we remembered. It was not hard to imagine the awe Livingstone must have felt. We walked through the forests, where the bushbuck shyly ran from our gaze, and the monkeys brazenly posed for their photos. We stood as close to the edge as we were allowed, letting our dust-dry skin soak up the moisture from the spray. Rainbows appeared and disappeared in the swirling vapour, every one ending in a pool of liquid blue gold.

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Reluctantly we returned to the town of Victoria Falls where the shops were depressingly empty, even then. We bought provisions for the customs official who waved us through the barrier without any delays.

When we got back to camp, Fiona told us there was a puff adder in our washing basket.

We spent our last day lounging in the sun, leisurely watching the animals and listening to the fish eagles’ cries as they hovered, then swooped down to pluck a tiger fish out of the lazy river. Our children played happily with home-made fishing nets between the crocs and the hippo.

That evening, as we started to pack up, the sun set behind the horizon, casting its blood red spell across the Chobe, and I felt enveloped in the magic of Botswana.

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