Steve and I have been in Zambia, Africa this week, and our trip culminated with a trip to Victoria Falls in Livingstone, one of the seven natural wonders of the world (I am sometimes in awe of the incredible opportunities that come my way, thus the title of this blog post).
We stayed three nights in a lovely resort hotel within a five-minute walk of the Falls. Our first morning there, both of us got up early to see the Falls in our own special way—Steve through the lens of a camera, and I, through the eyes of a runner. I had told Steve on the way to Livingstone that one of my dreams would be to run in the near proximity of the Falls. I never dreamed that we would be close enough for me to really do that! Of course, it is a stretch to call what I did “running,” as I kept stopping to snap a picture and to just take in the beauty and fully appreciate where I was. Here is one small clip that I recorded along with a brief commentary by me:
Victoria Falls in dry season
Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall in the world. It is over a mile wide and is on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe. We happened to be there during the dry season, and so to the natives, it is considered rather unimpressive this time of the year. However, I loved it! I would like to go back during the wet season, but I am told that it is near impossible to see the Falls at that time because of the mist created by the torrential Falls.
This was my first trip to Zambia, but not to Africa. I love that continent! One of my favorite things there is the exotic wildlife. I am like a child when it comes to seeing elephants, giraffes, zebras, monkeys, etc. We saw all of these—and more—in the wildon this trip. Again, I am in awe…
I have always considered the exotic animals a particular testimony to the creativity of God. The unique design of the zebra, the slow (almost awkward) amble of the giraffe, the giant flopping ears of the elephant, the humor of the monkeys–all these things make me think that God just wanted to try something different (and creative) when He created these creatures. I truly appreciate that!
Late mornings, the wildlife started to make an appearance around the hotel. Here is a shot that Steve snapped of me near one of eight zebras that happened to be feeding on the grounds when we were out and about. Obviously, these animals are used to people, nevertheless, they are wild (in the sense that they are not fed or cared for by anyone; they just take advantage of the lush grounds, and so adapt to all the camera-toting humans in order to enjoy this feast). Right after this picture was taken, I had to be rescued from the thorn tree that I am standing by, as it latched on to me, and I could not get loose by myself! Oh well, small price to pay to get that close to a zebra.
Of all the sights that I saw, one of the most memorable and most endearing, was an interaction that I observed between a mother baboon and her baby. Baboons were prolific around the resort and on the trails around the Falls, and so after the first dozen or so, they were kind of “old hat.” However, as with any species, the babies are always worth stopping and enjoying. As you might guess, baby baboons are very playful. We watched a couple wrestle with one another, we observed as they would hop on mom’s back and ride around piggy-back for awhile, and then we watched as a mom spontaneously picked up her baby, lifted it skyward and looked into its eyes, lower it to kiss it on the cheek, and then lift it upwards again. Absolutely precious! The Zambians that I shared this experience with had never seen anything like it. I felt very privileged to see this firsthand. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a video of the interaction, so you can’t see the kiss, but you can see “the lift” in the picture.