Thursday, July 9, 2009

the mighty zambezi

Some of you said you'd like to hear more of Africa, in that case I hope you like what I have planned now... are you ready for the next adventure? Great! Because today we are going to be dodging Hippo's and Croc's down the Zambezi a canoe...!

Today's a beautiful day for a paddle, the sun's shining and the wind's died down now that it's 3 o'clock in the afternoon. We are here on the bank of the Zambezi with five others, 2 guides and 3 Australian's and we're all about to get our safety talk before we embark...

Our excellent guide, Tendai, tells us the five dangers. #1 ~ the sun. yes, it is dangerous out here. You will get burned without protection, so sunscreen and a hat are a must. #2 ~ stumps. Hit one and you'll spill your canoe, so they are to be avoided at all costs. #3 ~ Hippo's. yeah. no explanation needed. #4 ~ Crocodiles. Same as Hippo's. and #5 ~ dehydration! it's very important to drink water. The Aussie's asked if Gin & Tonic's were OK. ;)

Here are our guides now, Tendai on the left and trainee Graham on the right. Now if you look very carefully to the left of Grahams shoulder you will see two very large Elephants on the bank opposite us. Ahem. Hello Ellie's! They seemed alot closer now that were not in a vehicle..

We've all got our p.d.f.'s on and we're ready to go! We were three in our canoe, Tendai in the rear, Chuck in the middle, and me up front! The boat behind us had Graham and Mia, and finally the last one was powered by the Australian's Nickolas and Jeff. Now here is something interesting, neither had paddled a canoe before. No wonder they kept talking about G & T's...

The temperature was in the 80's or 90's. Sweat was dripping off us, oh and here is one more rule I forgot to mention. We were to keep our hands in the canoe (and anything else you wanted to keep), no matter how refreshing the water seemed. Oh. okay. comes our camp up on the right. I was looking for my sister, I wanted to wave and smile and show her I'm alright, she was so worried about me. See, it's okay Lindy, here we are in this little tiny canoe with Crocodiles and Hippos lurking right under the water. And on the banks. Just about everywhere. But it's fun! hahaheehee, oh dear. But now LOOK how gorgeous this is. You can see even by these standard photos the incredible beauty that is Zimbabwe. Canoeing is a perfect way to see this area, drifting quietly sometimes so close to the river bank I could almost touch it. The only sounds are the snorting and grumping of the nearby hippos...

...she wasn't there, she's already left on a game drive... will feel like your really there... :)

...heh there, hello hippo, don't mind us...

... i drape my scarf over my head and pretend I'm an African queen, with my own personal paddler and photographer, haha!... never know what lies on these grassy banks, until you come right up to it!...

SPLASH. I said oh! there's a crocodile. Tendai said there's one approximately every few metres. OH.

So, we were drifting along taking it all in, the water,the sky, the wildlife when we hear a shout!


We turned to see the Australian, Nickolas thrashing around in his boat. A fish, a tilapia, had jumped into the canoe, hit him on the chest and fell to the bottom of the boat where it was flipping and flopping madly. Jeff was laughing so hard he was shaking the boat further. Poor Nickolas was yelling what do i do? Tendai called " Throw it out".

And he did, but while they were doing this their canoe turned all the way around and now they were going backward. We went to the rescue and got them sorted.
For the moment.

After their canoe went backwards, it also went sideways and then got altogether stuck. They had to get out of the boat, all the guys, and help push them off. I was doing my best to keep watch.

And not laugh. we were nearing this small sandbar in the middle of the river, Tendai guided our boat to it and said " We are stopping here" and we did.

And then we all climbed out of our boats to this temporary little sandbar and had Gin & Tonic's, wine and beer and toasted our good fortune and amazing adventure.

..."Be careful where you step" I was warned as I stood back for a photo...

Sundowners on the Zambezi

Thank you honey for this...My husband truly gives me the world

Hippo were here, notice their four very cute toes...

...time to continue down the river, see how casually Tendai strolls through the water to push us off? Every time I gasped, he laughed. Lord have mercy.

...if you don't care for crocodiles you may not like this canoeing activity so much...

...or hippo's...snort snort grumph bluph...grunt grunt grunt...

from my journal again:

"at the end of our paddle all of us came close together, three boats side by side. Paddles were put down and we drifted in silence ~ taking it all in. One big collective sigh...

SUDDENLY...we noticed one large solitary male hippo take notice of us. The rest happened so quickly it's all a blur, but the hippo got angry, then snorted loudly and then began


And all three of our boats shot forward. Chuck said he shoved one boat away from us so we could paddle quickly. Well, luckily it was a mock charge and the big grump went away. We all laughed so hard again, the image of how funny we looked playing through our heads. And then the nerves racing through us, makes you giddy."

It was the perfect ending.

...hi hippo's we still see you :)...

we paddled our boats up to the waiting Land Rover and now we were going on a night game drive. It had been so hot on the river, so hot, but now the temps dropped and even my down jacket was not enough to keep warm...

No matter, we were out in the beautiful evening and we saw three hyenas, a civet, a genet, two giant Eagle owls !! ellies, antelope, waterbuck...

and a group of lights?

We were driving along in the pitch dark when in the distance we saw all these twinkly lights hanging from trees, on poles, and tables...

Tendai turned around and smiled "Welcome to dinner!"

The camp had made a special bush dinner for all of us, my sister was already there

and there was Clia, Caro and Nikita, the lovely girls who work at Ruckomechi,

"How was your Safari, they smiled?"


...where do I begin?...

Love, Lori


  1. Oh Lori, thank you so much for this! I feel as if I have travelled in Africa myself, and I didn't even have to get on a plane!
    Lovely photos and videos...I love the sound the hippos make although it seems mighty scary to have one come charging at you! (Jumping fish are kind of bewildering too!)

  2. hippos!! love 'em! although i'm not sure how much love i would have had if one was charging at me - haha! i really liked the videos. they even got Rich curious as he heard all kind of grunting coming my laptop. :)

  3. aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh - heaven!!!
    I love Chuck for bringing you to Africa again
    I'm thriving on your adventures
    one day soooooooon


  4. awwww...brings back so many memories when i was a teeny lil gal traipsing after my father...spent many many hours on that river in a little tin boat with a cheap chinese engine which kept breaking down and freaking my ma those days there weren;t any was during the the cookie had to stand on the banks with a lamp so we wouldn;t miss the camp and go floating down to, ouf, mozambique? its a very special place, the zambezi river..childhood hazy jane dreams..thanks for sharin'! XXX j

  5. My heart is only now leaving my mouth! ARGH!!!!!!! Too scary for a sookie la,la like me. OH. MY. GOB!!!!
    Bye! Oops, wait - xx♥.

  6. Dear Lori,

    Thank you for beautiful comments, they touched me.

    I love your adventure, it's like "Out of Africa" on wheels. You make me miss it

  7. Lori such a long time! Am finally I'm able to comment after 3 wks of not being able to!

    Actually now that I think of it, there are many who won't be happy about that....

  8. Lori,Your posts are always so interesting.Thanks for taking us along and really enjoyed the trip with you.Nice images.

  9. Dear Lori, everytime I come here I am amazed by the photographs and the beautiful text.
    You look so beautiful in this African landscape!
    Thank you for sharing your time with us! Take care and have a wonderful weekend.


  10. Gosh! Lori, I'm jiggling up and down in my chair in wild excitement. I HEARD A HIPPO! Yes, right here, sitting at my desk on a cloudly day in England...I HEARD A HIPPO!

    Lori, the clips and photos are astounding...they give such a sense of place....and time (the long afternoon shadows), and movement, too. Not just the video clips, there is also the shot of the croc splash which is beautifully captured.

    Oh, and it goes on....I didn't see that other column at first - oh wow, wow, wow - more hippo talk! God, that brings back so many memories.

    Just the most wonderful post, Lori, I'm going to come back time and again to retake this canoe safari with you!

  11. Lori, how magnificent. I laughed so hard when you told the story of the fish hitting that guys chest. har har

    Beautiful picture of you and your husband.

    Love Renee

  12. What can I say Lori Ann. Whenever I think you cannot out do yourself with your African Updates, you prove me wrong. And for that I am eternally grateful. The colours seem so much more vivid. The skies are so blue! There are so many favourite choices to choose from. The imagery, the live contact with the Hippos and the film clips were all very captivating. But the shots I like the best I think, are the ones at dusk. There is such serenity and tranquility in them that all I can do is sigh! The evening meal spread looked very inviting indeed. Thank you so much for sharing. And on behalf of everybody here, I would just like to say......MORE...MORE...MORE!

  13. Wow I feel as if I were there, you describe everything so well, and the pictures are amazing. I'm glad he wasn't a "hungry hippo"!

  14. Once again Lori I've had a wonderful time with you in Africa.
    My 5yr old also thoroughly enjoyed your adventure.
    I love the life you have created for yourself Lori and am grateful for all that you share.

    thank you
    best wishes

  15. An amazing, amazing adventure. LOVE those hippo tracks and the tilapia story. Is the sky always that blue? You and the hubby make a lovely couple.

  16. awesome tale and photos! really felt i was there in one of the canoes - probably the one going backwards though :-) beware jumping fish! i lost a pair of sunnies that way xx

  17. Well that we very nice thank you. I feel much better now I was so bored clearing out the kids wardrobes but a trip down the Zambizi was just what I needed!

  18. This was so beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing. You are the reason I now would like to visit Africa. I ran a travel immunization clinic for a few years and after seeing the amount of vaccines, I had decided to forgo Africa. You have changed my mind, dear Lori. Thanks for that.

  19. WOW!!!!!
    the Zambezie, hippos, crocodiles as sunday lunch is cooking .... unbelievable!

  20. I see changes in your set up! I loved reading this and I can't wait to hear more LIVE...

    Big sister hugs,
    Lola xx

  21. Oh wow that looks fantastic.

  22. Fantastic! I do feel like I was there - minus the sweat rolling off my face, minus charging hippos and crocs every few meters. Yikes!

    Also minus the gin and tonics, but oh well.

  23. Tulsa,

    It was!! the hippo was terrifiying! but really fun...

    the grunting is so comical, it goes on all day and all night, I love it! hope Rich liked it?

    you'll be there sooner than we will, and that's what i always tell him too!

    if you'd only write a book...thankfully there aren't many camps still, only three i think? I love your memories.

    now come on, you would do it, right? it's not that scary, not really. Maybe?
    Dear Clarity,

    Love Out of Africa, It's time for another classic to be made on that continent. Oh, and you are so welcome. Thank you.
    ♥ Braja,

    SOOO glad you are feeling better and are out and about. I have had so many problems with I.E. and just now getting back to you through Firefox. Take good care.
    Nature Stop,

    Thank you and the feeling is mutual. I really appreciate your comment.

    you are so sweet! thank you for such kind words. I am so glad you enjoyed this post.

    hahaha! you are so cute, of course i knew you'd love this, how many memories it must bring back to you. It was seriously hard to video with my teeny camera, but you get the idea, i'm so glad!

    haha! we laughed too, it was a great tension breaker though. It was thrilling to canoe if a little scary. Oh and thank you dear.

    Thank you sir for such a lovely comment. I could talk about africa forever(but i won't!)so thanks for enjoying, I am really glad.

    oh my so were we! I would not want to know what that would feel like, being tipped over by a hippo! thank you for the kind compliment.

    Thank you for telling me that! I love to picture your little boy sitting on your lap looking at the fabulous animals. That's so great. Thank youfor the always kind words.
    Thank you Pat,

    yes, to answer your question, i think the sky is blue like that most of the time. And thank you for the lovely compliment.

    well, i'm glad the fish didn't flop onto me, i would have had a heartattack not knowing that could happen. We had the guide with us (thank god) so we'd only be going backwards if he wanted to! haha!

    heehee, funny, that's what i'm doing now! we can't ALWAYS be floating on the river ☺

    That is so exciting! You know then vacinnes vary from country to country. You might choose one that has a few less requirements. You might want to check out a book we were part of called On Safari, a comprehensive source for travel in africa.

    i know! that's how i feel now that i'm home. it's so fun to look back.

    get back to your vacation sweetheart!! what set up? oh, i do hope for this week...

    No amount of my writing or photography can show how amazing this was.

    I know it's hard to imagine,picture yourself drinking wine then! good grief it was great.
    Thanks again everyone for taking the time to read and comment, taking you along has meant so much to me.
    xoxo lori

  24. Thank you for sharing the world he gives you with us, Lori. Just beautiful.


xoxo lori