Southern Africa - Zambia
August 24 to 26, 2012
Friday - August 26, 2012
After flying to Kasane, Botswana, we flew on to Livingstone, Zambia.
The flight over the Zambezi River was interesting but we were not able to fly over Victoria Falls because of heavy air traffic. We
arrived in Livingstone around 1:45 PM.
After clearing customs were driven to the Royal Livingstone Hotel, a five star hotel located
near Victoria Falls. The hotel is on the banks of the Zambezi River and is upstream of the mighty cataract where it thunders into
the Batoka Gorge. The falls are one of the natural wonders of the world (not so much in the dry season!). It is located in Mosi-oa-Tunya
National Park (native for "The Smoke That Thunders"). Our room was in one of the lodges overlooking the river.
Our Room at the Royal Livingstone
We enjoyed sitting on our private first floor veranda.
The room air conditioning, decorating, and amenities were WONDERFUL. We were away from the hustle and bustle
of the main reception/dining area of the hotel which consists of thatch-roofed buildings and incorporates the lounge, restaurant, and
bar.....all decorated with period style nick knacks and motifs. Chauffeured golf carts were available for travel to and from the main
buildings and our lodge. Each lodge had its own butler to take care of our needs.
We met in the bar area of the hotel for a late lunch (getting our food took forever).
Royal Livingstone - Bar
At 4:00 PM the group left
to bird and walk from the hotel to the falls. We had good looks at a Reed Cormorant, a White-throated Bee-eater, and a Scarlet-chested
Sunbird. My bird of the afternoon walk was a Trumpeter Hornbill with its large casque. We walked along the eastern cataract on the
Zambian side and over the Knife-edge bridge.
From the falls, Brad and I took a golf cart to the Zambezi Sun Hotel and then caught a mini-van
to the Livingstone followed by a golf cart ride to our lodge. The group met at 7:00 PM for a mini-van ride to the Zambezi Sun where
we enjoyed a buffet style dinner (faster than eating at the Livingstone). Back in our room by 9:00 PM. Bed at 10:00 PM.
Saturday - August 25, 2012
Up at 5:20 AM with a light breakfast in the hotel's lounge area at 6:00 AM. Took a safari vehicle from the hotel to a different entrance
to Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. Board the African Queen (a small covered boat) for a morning of birding and big game viewing along the
park's Zambezi River shoreline in both Zambia and Zimbabwe.
African Queen River Cruise
We had excellent views of a White-fronted Bee-Eater colony along the shoreline.
The African Finfoot, Water Thick-Knee, White-crowned Lapwing, Collared Palm-Thrush, Lizard Buzzard (Zimbabwe), Rock Pratincole (Zimbabwe),
and White-browed Coucal (Zimbabwe) were other species of interest that we saw. Our boat was 'bumped' by a large hippo. Fortunately, the
crew quickly got us away before any damage was done or anyone ended up in the water. Landed on an island in a slow moving
area of the Zambezi river. Birded the island, followed by morning tea from 9:20-9:40 AM. By 9:45 AM we were back on the Zambezi and moving through
the rapids and fast moving water as it flowed to the falls. Landed at our hotel, The Royal Livingstone, which is located near the falls
and disembarked. Brad and I along with our VENT guide, Geoff, birded the hotel grounds near the river. from 10:00-11:00 AM. Other members of
the group elected to hit the market area near the falls to look for African art and crafts. The group met for lunch in the bar area at noon.
Spent over an hour waiting for our food. I took advantage of this time by shopping in the hotel's stores. Returned to our room for an
afternoon nap with time to relax on our veranda. At 2:50 PM we boarded a safari vehicle and drove to a different entrance to Mosi-oa-Tunya
National Park for a late afternoon birding and big game viewing expedition. Highlights included an African Palm Swift, Hooded Vulture,
Chacma Baboons, Warthogs, and a family (mother, father, and juvenile) of White Rhinos.
White (Square-lipped) Rhinoceros
Returned to the hotel at sunset. Buffet dinner at the
Zambezi Sun at 7:15. Brad and I opted to have the chef prepare us freshly made Asian food. Return to the Livingstone Hotel and to our
room by 8:30. Pack and got to bed by 10:00 PM.
Sunday - August 26, 2012
Brad and I slept in and then had a leisurely breakfast. We enjoyed sitting in the outdoor area of the hotel's restaurant watching the
river, birds and ever present Vervet Monkeys get into mischief. (The rest of the group was out early birding.) After breakfast, we
spent the remainder of our time finishing our packing and relaxing on our veranda until our 11:00 AM departure for the airport.
Joanne watching Vervet monkeys
I spent some of my time sharing our veranda with Vervet Monkey....and watching a troop of monkeys play on a nearby hammock.