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A Perfect Day in Victoria Falls

Bushtracks expert safari planner, Samantha (pictured above with Bop the elephant) enjoyed a very non-traditional Thanksgiving Day in Victoria Falls checking out two of our guests’ favorite activities: splashing at the edge of Victoria Falls at Devil’s Pool and going on an elephant safari.

7:30 AM, Livingstone, Zambia

Awoke refreshed at my cottage at Tongabezi Lodge, a privately owned and run luxury safari lodge on the banks of the Zambezi River near Victoria Falls in Livingstone, Zambia. The staff had handled all of the arrangements for my morning boat ride to tiny Livingstone Island, the place where Dr David Livingstone first glimpsed Mosi-oa-Tunya (The Smoke That Thunders).

No hands (and no acrophobia)! Samantha and her guide at Devil’s Pool, Victoria Falls

9:00 AM, Livingstone Island

Took a short Morning Breezer cruise from Tongabezi to Livingstone Island. The highlight was a swim in Devil’s Pool – really fun! That water felt so good in this heat – it’s been in the high 80’s to low 90’s during my visit. Devil’s Pool is a shallow rock pool right at the edge of a 300 foot drop. Guided swims can only take place during the right conditions, generally September through the end of January – another great reason for Zambia safaris this time of year. It really wasn’t frightening to be in the pool at the edge, you don’t feel at all like it would wash you away. The guides were fantastic and very helpful.

Samantha and her guide begin their elephant safari

2:00 PM, Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park

After lunch I was ready for my elephant safari. Because this is something many of our guests are interested in, I wanted to make sure it was an authentic elephant experience and not just an “elephant ride.” I met up with my guide at Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, about 10 km from Livingstone.

Really enjoyable ride and you can learn a lot about elephants from the handlers who have been working with them for many years. My elephant, Bop, is 50 years old and semi retired, but likes to go out once in a while. He’s so big he didn’t fit in the mounting platform, so I had to climb on while he was lying down- still a long way up there! There were 6 adult African elephants, with 2 calves. It was an unexpected surprise when the calves accompanied us on the ride, frolicking the way babies will.

Along with the baby elephants, a photographer followed along to get shots of all the participants and then very quickly puts it all on disks for sale afterwards. The guides on the ground also will take photos with your own camera for free and gladly offer that as well, which is how these photos were taken.

An elephant’s-eye view of one of the calves sticking close on the walk

6:00 PM, Livingstone, Zambia

I’m heading to Toka Leya Camp, where I’ll be staying tonight. Looking forward to a good night’s sleep to prepare for tomorrow morning’s Zambezi River cruise, and a walking tour of Victoria Falls with historian Russell Gammon, who has made a detailed study of the life of explorer David Livingstone, a distant relative by marriage. Russell tells a wonderful story of David Livingstone’s life, and I’m looking forward to hearing it as we walk alongside Victoria Falls.

Discover the Majesty of Victoria Falls for Yourself at considerable savings when you travel now through March

The first version of this article was posted on 2 Dec 2014 at 2:41 PM.


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