Two days were spent preparing and loading the equipment for this great adventure, and then we were off to Namibia, a country on the southwestern tip of Africa. The final touches were done, the chase vehicle and all six motorcycles were finally ready.
The grey Lowry’s woke me early with their distinctive calls from high in the trees, a sound that screams gowaaay goowaaay, a bird the size of a blue jay with vocals that seem better suited to a bird the size of an ostrich. Thank goodness for Duncan, our chase vehicle driver, cook and mechanic who already had coffee brewing and was getting breakfast underway.
As the group started filtering into the cook tent in various stages of undress, I realized it would be another couple of hours till we were underway, some of the group had descended on Africa in the wee hours of the morning, now still living on Australian time.
Breakfast, showers, route orientation and Bulawayo now in our review mirrors we were underway heading west to Victoria Falls, once described by Dr. David Livingstone as “scenes so lovely could have only been gazed upon by angels in their flight”.
This group was not quite so eloquent, they were going to white water raft below the falls, bungee jump off the bridge and zip tie across the gorge, they were of course Australians. I recall standing at a viewing area called devil’s cataract, looking up at the mighty falls surrounded by the group and it was evident all were in awe with such magnificent beauty, almost to no one I said have you ever seen anything like it, I had only one reply, “no mate but I know a plumber who can fix it”.
After our walking tour and picnic lunch on the edge of the falls we made our way to Victoria Falls airport where I had chartered a light aircraft for a scenic flight over the falls, just to confirm what the angels would have seen. I had personally flown this flight a number of times and yet it was always as exciting as the first.
I had completed my pre-flight, obtained clearance from the tower, and we lifted off heading towards the ever present plume of mist hanging over these majestic falls. It was later in the day and I took the liberty to fly the path along the Zambezi watching the multitude of wildlife making their way to the river banks to drink. Over the drone of the continental engine I could hear the cameras clattering away and not much else, even the usually loud Brendan was in awe with the breathtaking scene unfolding below us and we had not even reached the falls.
The river was moving fast as it approached the one hundred and eleven metre drop to the bottom of the falls, and I banked east over the rain forest making my way inland and then turning west, dropping altitude and flying the entire length of the falls. The sounds of amazement filled the cabin as it invariably does when people see such splendor. I lost more altitude and chased the water as it snaked its way through Batoka gorge.
Two hours later, we were putting lazily down the Zambezi on a river cruise. Sipping cocktails and partaking in a barbeque as we watched the sun setting over this great river. Listening to the water lapping on the hull and the distant boom of the falls, this is where the African name for this mighty falls makes sense, “Mosi O Tunya”, the smoke that thunders.
Meaford resident Gary Clegg is the founder and proprietor of the company, African Safari Consultant, established in 2004. Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Africa, he has spent most of his professional life working in the safari industry. Gary also has a degree in Conservation and Wildlife preservation, a commercial multi engine pilot’s license and is an EMT. Gary is also fluent in a couple of local African languages. For more information, please visit his website: www.africansafariconsultant.com
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