Wednesday, August 28, 2013

A quick shower and a free drink

Right now I am in Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe for the UNWTO General Assembly.  While I do have a pretty packed schedule of meetings, all work and no fun makes for a dull time.  Fortunately, the conference program includes several side trips and extracurricular activities for attendees when meetings are not in session.

On Sunday afternoon before the Opening Ceremony I went to Victoria Falls along with a number of other UNWTO delegates.  It is currently winter, which means it is dry season here in Southern Africa.  As a result Victoria Falls is quite low.  There is still plenty of water flowing over the Falls, but to put in perspective the difference in seasons, during the rainy season about 500 million liters of water fall each minute.  In the dry season the water level drops to 10 million liters per minute.  As an amateur Vic Falls tourist this means absolutely nothing to me, but since I can do math a 50-fold increase between seasons sounds like a lot.  I was very impressed.  I even got a little wet from the spray off the Falls.  But, I may have to schedule another trip back here in high season to see the difference for myself.  Here are a couple of pictures for your viewing enjoyment:


Yesterday I had some free time before our meetings began in the afternoon, so I booked a tour with one of the many tour companies here in town.  It was a game drive through Zambezi National Park followed by a canoe trip down the Zambezi River.  The Zambezi River is the fourth-longest river in Africa behind the Nile, Congo and Niger Rivers.  It flows from eastern Angola into Namibia, through Botswana, along the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, flows over Victoria Falls, then into Mozambique and finally empties into the Indian Ocean.  Here is the Zambezi River with Zimbabwe on the left bank and Zambia on the right bank:

As for the game drive through Zambezi National Park it was great.  I finally saw an elephant, lots of them actually, so I now feel like I’m in Africa.  There were also plenty of giraffes, warthogs, water buffalo, kudu, hyenas and vultures.  The vultures and hyenas were actually feeding on the carcass of a dead buffalo and they made a quick meal of him.  According to our guides the buffalo was killed by a lion and the hyenas and vultures were just finishing him off.  Sadly though we did not see any lions.  Maybe next time.

After the game drive and canoe trip we were departing the park and right as we reached the gate we saw an elephant was blocking the entrance.  We sat there waiting for him to move, which he didn’t for nearly 10 minutes.  The reason he was so hesitant to surrender his real estate was because the park rangers were watering the lawn directly out front.  One of them abandoned the hose and walked away, during which time an elephant wandered up and took advantage of a free drink:

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