As should be expected with travel in Africa, my trip from Gaborone to Victoria Falls was a little more exciting than I would have preferred. First the computer system at the Gaborone Airport was down, so our tickets had to be written by hand. This wouldn’t have been such a problem except for the fact I did not have a direct flight to Zimbabwe. I had to connect in Johannesburg, South Africa which meant when I got there I had to go through customs, exit the airport, pick up my checked bag, reenter the airport and check in separately for my connecting flight, and then go through customs and security again.
Fortunately when I arrived in Zim passport control was expecting us, so those of us here for the UNWTO conference were expedited through customs. I think it was barely five minutes from the time I exited the plane until I was on the shuttle to my hotel. Now that is service!
I’m staying at the host hotel on the Zimbabwe side which is convenient. Not that it makes a huge difference because about half the events are on the Zambia side, plus most of the social events are at other venues. But being at the host hotel is nice because I don’t have to travel off-site for the first three days and I was able to register here.
Unfortunately when I tried to register for the conference there was some confusion over who I am and why I am here. Apparently they forgot they gave me a special permit to attend, and the person who granted me that permission was not here to verify it. Lucky for me, my charming personality went a long way and they quickly gave me credentials. So I am in business.
Meetings start tomorrow which I’m looking forward to, but since I had some free time late this afternoon I wandered around my hotel for a bit. My room overlooks the golf course and I saw there was a walking path, so I figured I would head in that direction. One of the caddies approached me and asked if I wanted him to show me the animals on the course. I figured, why not?
On the course I saw impala and monkeys:
And Waterpaks? At least this is what my friend Vincent called them. I’m still not sure this is the correct name of this animal, but it appears to be a cross between a moose and a deer:
It certainly wasn’t the prettiest golf course I’ve ever seen, but it was reasonable given the environment. Of course, there were additional obstacles here you probably wouldn’t see elsewhere. For instance, the warthogs really like to dig up the grass, so you see these large areas of mud provide golfers with the same challenges as a sand trap, only messier.
And then of course there are the monkeys. I watched this poor guy hit a ball, it landed, and then a monkey ran off with it. Then the guy throws his club on the ground and shouts, “Not again!”
I suppose it could have been worse. There could have been elephants on the course here at the Elephant Hills Hotel.