A Travellerspoint blog

May 2013

LIVINGSTONE, ZAMBIA

Livingstone, Victoria Falls, Lion Encounter, Elephant-back Safari, and Mosi-ao-Tunya National Park. April 2nd -7th, 2013

sunny 30 °C

I began my 3 week journey through Africa in Livingstone, Zambia. I stayed at the Chrismar Hotel for 5 nights. The hotel was fantastic. Free breakfast & wifi were included. There was a nice pool area with a swim-up bar.
My zebra-printed room
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The bathroom
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Outdoor breakfast area
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Pool area
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My hotel was only about a 10min drive to Africa's largest & most powerful waterfall ... Victoria Falls! It cost $20US for admission. I went alone, and felt completely safe. There were lots of tourists, and well marked paths. You cant get lost.
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There were raincoats to rent for $1US
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I didnt actually get wet though. There are definitely lookout spots where you can get soaked if thats what you want, but if you are like me and hate water and are carrying an expensive camera, there are ways to stay completey dry as well.
Just dont cross this bridge if you want to stay dry! Theres SO much mist its like being in a shower! It was actually too much mist, and blocked most of the waterfall. I was actually a tad disappointed cuz there really wasnt too much to see, except mist. Beyond this bridge is the falls, but you cant even see them :( The waterfall is 5604ft wide, but you really only see 1/8 of it.
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There was another bridge that spanned the gorge. People were bungee jumping from it. The left side is Zambia, and the right side is Zimbabwe.
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Even though it was spring time in Canada, it was autumn in Zambia :)
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People had told me there would be baboons everywhere, but I didnt see any for the first 2hrs. I remember thinking "I havent seen a single baboon yet!", and then I happened upon this one sleeping right on the path!! No sooner had I thought that, and a troop of baboons came out of the bushes all around me! They can be quite aggressive if you have food, so just keep all your snacks in your bag until you leave the area ... unless you wanna be mugged by a baboon, lol!
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Cheeky baboon :)
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Baboon chillin' on a bench. He wasnt moving. He owned this bench, lol!
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Afterwards I went to the Royal Livingstone Hotel for lunch. The views were beautiful of the Zambezi River, looking across to Zimbabwe. The mist in the background is where the river drops 354ft and becomes Victoria Falls! If you like fancy food & high prices, then its a nice place to stop for lunch. If not, dont bother stopping there as everything is over-priced!
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My next adventure was at Lion Encounter ... I walked with lions!! I booked the Lion Walk and an Elephant-back Safari as a pkg through Jollyboys for $263US. Expensive, but worth the experience! The price included pickup & dropoff at my hotel, and juice\coffee\tea & biscuits.
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Lion Encounter rehabilitates wounded and orphaned lions and eventually releases them back into the wild. Before the walk we were given a saftey\rules briefing. The lions arent tame, but they arent completely wild either. So everyone was given a stick, which was to be used as an extension of the arm. Not to hit the lions with, but to distract them with if they walk your way ... you just tap it on the ground in front of the lion and they swat at it instead of your face!
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The lions are free to roam around Mosi-ao-Tunya National Park. No cages. 5min of walking and we came across 3 lions. Two 1yr old cubs, and a young male not old enough to have a mane yet. The 2 young ones were so adorable to watch play and wrestle! One would bite his brother's tail, so then the brother would bite the other's ear, lol! And then they'd roll around wrestling.
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Sluuuurp!!
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There were 4 guides accompanying us ... one in front, one behind, and one on each side.
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Later the same day I went on the Elephant-back Safari.
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Me and my elephant, Mashumbi
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It was incredible standing face to face with such a massive animal!
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Giving Mashumbi treats
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The 'safari' was more just an elephant ride than an actual safari, cuz I only saw 1 giraffe veeeeeeeeeeeery far away. It was also incredibly uncomfortable \ border-line painful. Even though you sit on padding, after 15min your legs hurt from straddling a huge elephant, and your butt hurts, and you get a never-ending wedgie, lol! I wouldnt do it again because of that, but I'm very glad I did do it. How many times do you get to ride an African Elephant?! After the ride Mashumbi knelt down for me to sit on her knee. I was to get my photo taken, and then feed her treats, but she was impatient and wanted her treats right away. Heres a photo of her trying to get her trunk into my treat bag, and me peeking over her trunk for my photo op, lol!
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And then ducking under for another photo! This is my fave photo from the day :)
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My last day in Zambia I had time for an early morning game drive in Mosi-ao-Tunya National Park before flying to Johannesburg, South Africa.
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The park is very small. The safari was only about 2hrs long. There was quite a wide variety of wildlife, but the animals were all a bit too far away for decent photos. If you only have a few days in Livingstone, I would recommend a day trip, or overnight trip to Chobe National Park in Botswana, which is only 40min away from Livingstone. The quantity & quality of the animal sightings there are phenomenal! But that will be a whole other blog post :)

The park runs along the Zambezi River.
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That 'cloud' is not a cloud. It is the mist from Victoria Falls! The mist could be seen from nearly anywhere in town.
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Family of ellies :)
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Herd of buffalo on the road
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Baby bufflao
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Baboon in the morning light.
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Zebras, my fave animal :)
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Nile Croocdile on the riverbank
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My very first rhino sighting ... ever! I was in Kenya 2yrs ago and didnt see any at all! So I was quite excited to see this guy!!
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While staying in Zambia I spent 2 days on a camping safari across the border in Botswana, but that will be in the next blog post :)

Posted by ChantelleS 13:59 Archived in Zambia Tagged wildlife elephant waterfall africa zambia lion Comments (0)

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