Sunday, June 17, 2018

Victoria Falls + Chobe Safari

You know how when you live next door to McDonald's, you probably don't eat there very often?? That's us with Victoria Falls and safaris. We have been TONS of times to the Falls, and Blu's been on tons of safaris (I've been on just 2 in Botswana but several in Zambia). Our kids, however, haven't been to the Falls as a family since 2010, and they've never done the Botswana safari, so we promised them we'd do it before we head back to the USA (45 days from today...yikes.) Mom and Dad hadn't done the Falls or safari in years, so we made a family trip of it on our mid-term break weekend!

First stop - Italian food at Olga's for lunch to carb up for our hike!

We started with the Boiling Pot hike, which Mom, Dad, and Caedmon had never done! (Every time I do it, I swear it's the last time. This time, I mean it! I think.)

Down we go!

They love each other...sometimes..

This is why it's called the boiling pot - the Falls empties into it and it swirls and swirls like boiling water!

We made it!

Blu had an interesting exchange with a baboon...

Gorgeous!

Caedmon

Cambree

Dad & Blu

Cason

Our family

Blu stayed with Mama Dee on the way back up to make sure she made it!

It is such a pretty hike! Mom loved it!

I took some pics using the portrait effect on my phone!

Hiking..together..:)

Blu :)

At the bottom! The kids made it way faster than some of us..

The girls!

Whew! Done!

We then went over to the trails to see the Falls and check out this baobab tree!

Our last time to see the Falls together....for awhile, at least!

Raincoats..that didn't help AT ALL.

Dr. Livingstone, I presume! He named Victoria Falls after the British Queen, while the locals called it Mosi-oo-Tunya - "The Smoke that Thunders."

So beautiful!

After all that activity, time for some shrimp!

On Saturday morning, we headed to the Botswana border to take the ferry across for our full day safari in Chobe National Park! It was much easier than 2 months ago since we didn't have to take our vehicle across!

The first half of the safari is a boat cruise!

Gorgeous cape buffalo, one of the Big Five!

Caedmon probably loved the safari the most! (Well, not more than Mama Dee..)

Cambree was excited!

Cason was ready! He's not playing his iPad here - he's getting it ready to take pictures for a photo contest he wants to enter in the USA!

Lots of crocs!

We loved this "Dragon" tree!

So. many. elephants.

Hippos. Ugh.

Mom & Dad had a blast!

I love this tree!

After a lunch at the lodge, (where Cambree ordered nshima...again...), we loaded into the truck for the land part of the safari!

They might have all made fun of me when I started taking pictures of an airplane! ;) It was close to us!!

We were REALLY close to elephants.

Giraffes!

When we had about an hour left, our guide told us leopards had been spotted, but it was in a distant part of the park and would take awhile to get there, get back, and we'd have trouble getting to the border on time. He asked if we wanted to try, and we said YES! So he said he would have to drive "Formula One" to get us there! When we got there, there were safari vehicles all surrounding a tree, and we finally saw it!!! Two baby leopard cubs and one mama!! The mama and one cub were in the tree, and one cub was on the ground. It was AWESOME!!!

Another pretty tree! (I might like trees more than animals...)

Fun fun!

So after the leopard sighting, we really had to haul tail to get back to the border in time, so we were FLYING through the park. Dad was bouncing around everywhere and we were very wind/sand blown! And then...our driver hit a hornbill bird. (Zazu from The Lion King!) The bird hit the windshield and flipped up into the truck and hit Blu in the side of the head (his ear!) It was HILARIOUS. No, really. HILARIOUS.

Blu laughing in the aftermath as we all relived it!

Trying REALLY hard not to use the bathroom on myself!

There it is!

Even Jack, our driver, was freaked out!

Nobody could stop laughing!

Blu showed me the pictures he'd taken of me at the end of the day! Y'all, I do not like safaris. Or animals, really. Or confined places with no bathrooms (i.e. boats, jeeps in a national park, etc.) So this safari was really pushing me out of my comfort zone! As you can see by my faces...

After all of that, we ended our evening with some Black Forest cake. What a weekend!