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Trip of a Lifetime: Ultimate Africa: Day 17 FINAL DAY!

HEADERNovember 20, 2015

In my seat on Delta Flight 1190 bound first for Akron/Canton.  Our expected take-off time is in 3 minutes.  I’m excited to be home in 1.5 hours but it was sad to say goodbye to Aryn, Kathryn and Judy in Atlanta.  The 16.5 hour flight felt faster than I expected.  I watched some movies but mostly slept.  Hard to believe that yesterday I was in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.  Let me catch you up on that morning’s events.

With our first expected meeting time at 10:15A, Vitalis was happy to tell us that we were all able to sleep in that last morning.  However, Aryn and I were up at 7:00A and met her mom and sister for a buffet breakfast by the pool.  I had a freshly-made ham and cheese omelette with a hearty side of fresh “pawpaw” (papaya) and coffee.

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Trip of a Lifetime: Ultimate Africa: Day 10


November 12, 2015 – 5:48A

Slept great!  Woke up to a beautiful sunrise over the Kafue River as I sat out on our front porch wrapped up in the big white comforter from my bed.  It’s amazing how when you go to bed at night, you hardly need a sheet and when you wake up your pulling the comforter up to your chin.  Very cozy mornings.  As I was watching the sunrise and elephant appeared to my left.  It was walking right through  camp eating whatever tree branches it desired.  LOL.  Too funny.

I love hearing all the various sounds of nature in the early morning.  The shower water was hot and felt great.  Heading to breakfast with Aryn soon.  I enjoy sitting down with everyone around the long community dining table at each lodge. We chat with a hot cup of coffee and whatever breakfast is being served that morning.  OAT has truly done a great job designing this trip.


Breakfast was a made to order omelette, oatmeal with yogurt, fruit and muffins.  My favorite fruit with the oatmeal is the papaya or “pawpaw.”  Brunch was a tasty beef and noodle stir fry.  I make sure I stake my spot at the table so I’m facing the view of the rivers.  It’s just so beautiful and so serene.

The Zambian terrain is different: more trees and they are taller.  There are some different tree species as well, one of which is called the Candelabra Tree.  It’s has a tall trunk that blooms out on top in the form of tall cactus leaves.  Very interesting.

Candelabra Tree

Candelabra Tree in Zambia’s Kafue National Park

As we continued on our morning game drive we spotted two female lions (sisters) walking amongst a grove of trees.  Both our jeeps headed towards the lions.  On our way, we caught a quick glimpse of a massive crocodile moving from the grass into the water.  Our guides pulled both jeeps right up to the female lions, turned off the engines and there we sat for the next half hour, watching these magnificent lionesses relaxing in the shade.  I noticed when we pulled up to the lions it was 8:30A and I thought to myself – if I were back home in Akron right now, I would have been at work for a half hour and my team would just be arriving.  But instead, there I sat – watching two wild lions from just a few feet away on a beautiful clear and warm morning in Zambia, Africa.  Wow!

Female Lioness

Female Lioness


Lioness heading for he shade.

Two Female Lions

Lioness joining her sister in the shade.

Resting Lioness

Look at the size of those paws. Notice the blood stain on the bottom of her front left paw. She had just made a kill.

Just before lunch we all gathered at the entrance of the main lodge to watch a giant elephant headed our way. He had just entered the camp to snack on some grass followed by leaves from a tall palm tree.  It’s amazing how graceful these animals are considering their mammoth size.  I took a brief video but Natasha was quick to step out of her lodge to warn us to step back and some of the men from the staff appeared and shoo’d the elephant away.

Now I’m sitting at the desk in our “tent” looking out at the Kafue River.  It’s a hot day in the sun but cool in the shade.


Resting in our tent to escape the afternoon sun.  I converted my tan Eddie Bauer pants into shorts.  These were a pre-trip purchase btw.  $50 online and shipped in about 8 days.

A puku is walking between trees in the near distance.

The water on the river is shimmering like diamonds.  I may walk to the main lodge soon to enjoy the breeze coming from the water.  I’m also considering taking advantage of the pool (I didn’t think to pack swimming trunks but I can wear my UMASS gym shorts).

I just looked up to see two monkeys staring down at me from one of the trees outside.

“High tea” is at 4:30P today.


During “high tea” Vitalis delivered a very interesting lecture on the history of Zimbabwe.  It was cool to learn that Zimbabwe shares a commonality with the United States as being the only two countries to ever break away from British rule.  The US in 1776 and Zimbabwe in 1980,  Their current president is 91 years old and has been in power since the 1960’s.

I hope I’m not jinxing myself by saying this, but I have yet to see a single mosquito.  I have, however, seen what’s called a tse tse fly.  Although I have yet to get bit by one, I hear they are quite painful.  Fastened to the front of our jeep, by aluminum wire, is an empty paint can.  On this evening’s game drive, our group opted for the local insect repellent: a log of elephant dung placed in the empty paint can and lit on fire.  This gives off a smokey incense that, apparently, repels the tse tse flies and other insects.  I was not only surprised how well it worked but that it emitted a pleasant aroma: similar to citronella.

Elephant Dung Can

Elephant Dung smoking in bucket to ward of the tse tse flies

Our evening game drive went into the night.  It’s called “spot-lighting.”  Our guide tonight was “Boyd.”  We experienced two highlights during this game drive.  One was a parade of elephants that walked right across the road in front of us.  Following along right at their feet were these white birds called cattle egrets.  They never left the parade and walked along with the elephants like they were part of the group.  Very interesting.

Elephants and Egrets

Parade of elephants and the cattle egrets following their footsteps.

Our second highlight was one of the most beautiful sunsets I’ve ever seen in my life with fan palm trees in the foreground.  We joined the other jeep and parked to watch the sunset as we enjoyed our “sundowner” drinks.  The guides always have a wonderful selection of ice cold local beer, wine, soft drinks and water.  I had a local Zambian beer called a Mosi lager.

Palm Tree Sunset

At this point the sun has nearly set

Big Zambian Sun

Another view of the sunset

I really enjoyed our conversations tonight over a steak with potatoes and vegetable dinner.  Tomorrow’s wake-up call is at 6A.  That’s “good good” news that we are able to sleep in a bit longer.

P.S.  Laundry service at these camps has been terrific. We receive our washed & pressed laundry neatly folded and tied up in a bow by a long piece of dried grass.  It is sitting out on our beds waiting for us when we return from dinner.  Everything is smelling fresh and well-pressed – including our socks.  I have never in my life had my socks ironed.  How nice!  Thank you to all the wonderful staff (at all three camps) and all their amazing behind-the-scenes work.

Good night!