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I leave my house for work and get called over by two village women awaiting their chance to do business with the chief. The first smiles...

Monday, July 03, 2017

Wildlife and Waterfall: 5 Days in Victoria Falls

My friend and fellow PCVL, Catie, and I are walking down a road chatting away and scoping out Baobab trees. When we had been closer to the river, I had startled Catie by pretending I saw a giant crocodile approaching, causing her to scream. Suddenly, glancing past her, I stopped short...instead of jumping her, I whisper, "Holy crap! That's an elephant."

Because I had jumped her earlier, Catie didn't believe me. But once I convinced her her to glance to our left, she too saw the giant back end of an elephant, not thirty feet away from us. We didn't even pause for photos, too nervous about being that close to an elephant without the protection of a car. We speed walked away whispering jokes that ultimately led to our Instagram hashtag of the trip: #HowWeDiedToday.

Catie and I spent our first few days in Victoria Falls avoiding the town's namesake. We spent far more time checking out wildlife than the falls.

We went to a private resort to watch vultures dining...
Just a hundred vulture friends pushing each other around for a scrap of cow.

We enjoyed a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River upstream from the falls...
A hippo yawn is an impressive sight!

We went to Botswana for a land and "sea" game drive combo...
Fun fact, really young elephants cannot use their trunks to drink water as they will accidentally choke themselves while
trying to suck up just the right quantity before pouring it into their mouth. As a result, they face plant to drink water! 
We enjoyed high tea at a local hotel that seemed like something from the era of Out of Africa...

High tea for high class ladies

Finally, we visited the falls from both the Zimbabwe and Zambia sides. Although the baboon was too fast for photos, Catie really did almost die at the hands of a giant baboon. He managed a sneak attack while she was distracted by her conversation with the immigration representative. Tearing through the plastic bag she carried, the large dog-sized baboon grabbed an apple and then made a run for it. With little ado, the Zambian immigration agent just handed Catie another bag. We walked a little faster whenever we saw the baboons after that moment!

"Better be ready to get soaked" everyone said any time we walked in the direction of Victoria Falls. Visiting at peak water
flow made for a completely drenching experience. For my mariner friends, think about forward lookout or furling a headsail during a squall. Water pelted us from every direction, especially below. It was the veritable definition of awe-inspiring.

A post shared by Catie Wheat (@catiewheat) on

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