15 July 2010

Places I have been #5

I've been looking through our ancient slides and have actually got some fabulous slides taken during our trip around Rhodesia (or Zimbabwe, as it's called today). When I manage to scan them onto my computer I promise to show you some of the best ones. In the meantime, I will have to use links to share our adventures with you.

We did as much as we could in the three weeks we drove around Rhodesia in 1973. We got to visit some remote ruins and took in as much 'rock art' as we possibly could. Much of it has blurred into the background, it was so very long ago... We sat in the car from early in the morning until late at night as we drove through the diverse countryside. I drank Coca Cola because I couldn't drink the water... it couldn't have done my developing son's nervous system too much good, but we didn't know about things like that in those days. (He seems quite alright, but didn't sleep through until he was a 'big boy.') I needed 'liquid'. Needless to say I put on a huge amount of weight and my doctor was absolutely horrified when I got onto the scale!!! A diet of Coca Cola, cashew nuts, dried fruit, dates and prunes is guaranteed to do that.

Eventually, we made our way over to the Victoria Falls, which are every bit as awesome as you might imagine them. We spotted the 'mist' from miles away and stopped to take some photos. I know we have an amazing slide taken through a glass bottle.

We booked in at the local game park and stayed in one of their cottages that came complete with a resident cook who would have done us proud if we'd had any food with us.  We hadn't anticipated doing any cooking, didn't have any supplies and the shops were closed by the time we realised we might be going hungry that night. Needless to say, we were feeling pretty disgusted by that stage so we decided to go for a walk through the 'rain forest'

It was late afternoon, we didn't have a brolly or a raincoat, but we did enjoy our walk through the spray.  We got pretty wet, but it was all so spectacular we didn't mind.  Standing on the edge of the cliff, admiring the view, we turned to remark on it to the couple standing next to us and were absolutely gobsmacked to realise we knew them.  Very well, in fact.  My dad's older sister and her husband were staying only a few doors down from us! None of us knew the others were even in the country! (This has happened a few times in our travels.)

Wonders never cease!  When they realised we were going to have to go to bed hungry that night they invited us over for dinner!  Way to go aunt!

Now, I don't remember what we ate.  It's hardly relevant.  What I do remember is standing in the kitchen with my aunt and hearing what sounded like rocks falling on the zinc roof.  We rushed outside to see what was happening and joined our men on the verandah where they were watching a herd of elephants in 'the garden' next to the cottage.  They were that close!  A huge male had his tusks on either side of the Maroola tree that had long branches overhanging the kitchen and we watched, enthralled as he looped his long trunk around the tree and proceeded to 'rock' the tree until it dropped its fruit at their feet. Maroola (or Marula as it's sometimes called) fruit is made into a potent liquor today.

That wasn't the only close encounter we had while we stayed there.  My man walked down to the river's edge one lunchtime and after he was gone I felt bad about lazing in the cottage so I took myself off to find him (totally stupid thing to do!!!).  Just as I spotted him I was practically rushed off my feet as a small croc made its way over my feet and back to the water.  A total 'townie' in those days, I got the most awful ear bashing... we'd both got an awful shock!

Today, you can visit the falls in style.  The hotel has been refurbished and we have family who have stayed there recently and rave about it.  There are lots of 'things to do' and you can fly in and fly out.

The Victoria Falls are one of the seven wonders of the world.  A must see if you ever get the opportunity.

April Blackbird


ChickieChirps said...

It sounds absolutely amazing... I would so love to go one day. : )


Anonymous said...

What a great story-teller you are. I would love to go to this incredible country and experience it and see the tears well up in my husband's eyes as he returns for the first time since leaving.
I doubt I would be much more river-wise when it comes to the unusual and rather more inquisitive fauna that resides in Africa!
We do wonder about how restricted our travel should be with a small person and the dangers o Malaria. I'm currently researching!

Lovely stories.


Anonymous said...

Malaria is a very SERIOUS complication. One of our friend's and his three kids accompanied my man and his crowd on a tour of Botswana (I didn't go on that particular trip). She was rigid about giving the kids both forms of anti-malarial drugs that were recommended at that time. Despite her best efforts, her middle child contracted celebral malaria and landed up in hospital, a very, very sick little boy.

You have to start them long before your trip and keep taking them for the entire prescribed period after you return.


* Spray your tent (I hate spray, but it has to be used in this instance) before you put yourselves to bed (leave enough time for the tent to air out.
* Keep your tent tightly shut up at all times
* Don't leave a light on in your tent (not that that will really help, but any little 'extra' you can do...)
* Burn citronella candles
* Spray yourselves with 'anti-mozzie' - be sure not to forget necks, ears etc
* Wear a beanie while you're out and about at night
* Try to keep socks on (feet are nearly as delicious as necks and ears)
* Drink Vitamin B and lots of citrus drinks
* Spray your car! Do you know it is possible to contract malaria from mosquitoes that have been brought 'home' in your neighbours cars?
* Make sure you use a net on your bub's cot

April Blackbird

PS Glad you like my stories... they bring back such vivid memories for me