We drive to the border post - having drunk 3 cups of coffee to wake me up this morning for my early start I need the loo. No toilet seat, no cistern lid, no toilet paper, no soap, no hand towel - it really is just a loo. Big boy should have been called "Silver Tongue" as we are through the border check in no time despite the queue. I am scrutinized and stamped and then directed to leave Zimbabwe and enter Botswana - en route I have to walk through a tray of chemicals to kill foot and mouth and wonder if my "Cajun Shrimp" pedicure would survive - it was not fazed and I arrived pink toed in Chobe.
We were delivered to out boat for the river safari and introduced to Captain O - by now I am beginning to feel as if I am in an episode of Sesame Street with a myriad of characters with comical names.. Off we set to our boat - I say 'our' because there are now 3 of us. I am joined by 2 young American graduates on a trip of a lifetime and enjoying every moment.Perfect company for me.
Captain O explains that we can't all sit on One side of the boat and suggests that I sit on the opposite side to them - I try not to be offended that I was now the counter balance for two 50 K, leggy, tanned and gorgeous Miss USAs. I tell them that I am likely to run to their side of the boat when I see a good photo opportunity and capsize us into the hippo water. They agree that if they see me heading their way, they will sprint to my side of the boat and save us - I love them already!
It wAs great to share this enthusiasm for life and Africa - they were called Allissa and Jessica - and we were off. We had been on the water all of 30 seconds and we spotted hippo ears showing above the water. Alissa shrieked with delight - it disappeared. We saw a 10 meter crocodile on the bank and she shrieked with fear. She had a seizure of happiness when she saw an elephant in the distance and CaptainO was forced to issue a no shrieking order if we were going to get close to the animals. I shared the story of my granddaughter being encouraged to express her delight and save her parent's hearing, by using a silent scream. Problem solved. Allissa spent most of the afternoon with her mouth In an O shape with her hand clasped loosely over it.
Ellie's, buffalo, hippo, giraffe, every kind of antelope including one I had never seen before - a sable. Goliath Heron, Fish eagles and spoon billed stork all seen from the deck of our little craft.
Lunch was welcome and I discovered how much two skinny girls on a back packing holiday can eat when a buffet is on offer.
We were in a game vehicle for the afternoon with .....await for it ..... Brilliant Dube who told us he had a brother called Clever and one called Limited - this time I shrieked and Allissa game me a stern look. Brilliant was brilliant and very knowledgeable as he pointed out different game and birds - the colorful rollers and bee eaters not forgetting a five legged elephant !!!
I was sad to part company with my two new friends but we agreed to swap photos via email and in true Sesame Street style, we had a group hug and I was delivered back to Big Boy and Zimbabwe.
I am really impressed by the Zimbabwe people - well educated, well articulated, happy, energetic and positive. On our way back to my lodge, Big Boy spoke eloquently of his passion for nature and the bush. He is a qualified safari guide and has worked all over Africa including SA and Shamwari. He decided he needed to settle back in Zim as he missed his family too too much and told me with pride of his lovely wife and two children. He now does local tour guiding and transfers to be near them - I think Big Boy has a Big Heart!
I loved today - a day to file i under A for awesome - a day to remember. Chobe! I WILL be back.