Kudus, lions, waterbucks, vervet monkeys, hippos, elephants, girafe, zebras, rhinos and the McDonalds of Africa – impalas! Zambia stole my heart almost immediately. Could have something to do with the fact I saw the first real rain since my holiday to Australia at Christmas time or that Zambia truly is a remarkable place.
The first evening at Protea Safari Lodge however I felt like a white colonial settler and that rattled me a little. There was something strange about the whole setting, lush and beautifully green that it was. While we sipped sundowners on the lawn, lions roared in the back ground. It sent shivers up my spine and kicked into reality that we were in Africa. Being there with family only made it more wonderful.
Day two was even more remarkable. Flying to Livingstone we caught our first glimpse thespectacular Victoria Falls and then we arrived at what could only be called paradise on the Zambezi River. Sussi & Chuma Sanctuary delivered up a hideaway from life with Chuma 2 (the house we called home for 3 nights). With a guide, waitress, cook and housekeeper it was pure bliss and because of lighting taking out the router a week before it was quiet and very peaceful.
We took an amazing afternoon river cruise, the next day a helicopter ride over the falls and through the gorge, a walk around Victoria falls (which was like walking in pouring rain), a safari, a visit to a community village, walks with lions and cheetahs; and had a silver service lunch on an island in the middle Zambezi.
It is almost impossible to describe the whole experience. The afternoon river cruise found me in awe of the awesome power of the water. It seemed to move in countless directions and bubbling up in places and swirling whirlpools in others. As the sun dipped behind the bank over on the Zimbabwean side of the river I was feeling peaceful and so grateful to be able to feel and live this experience. The power of the waterfall and the spray whipping around you turning you into a drowned rat. The guy that was strolling around in his bathers had the right idea.
The children at the village have kept a piece of my heart even if they don’t know it. Walking around they all want to hold your hand and get their pictures taken. But it was the little boys scooting along on plastic coke bottles like they were little cars that touched my heart. The level of poverty is plainly evident but the eyes reveal happiness does not come from the latest iPod or wii, it comes from inside. It reinforced my beliefs that the spiritual is more important than the material. I get the irony that I live in an iconic building and have the freedom to travel but even when I was a student on limited funds I was still extremely grateful for my spirituality.
The shock thing from Zambia however was that it reminded me of home. Okay so the animals were completely different and the people were from a different culture but the red dirt and green grass along the roads felt so familiar. The buildings looked like they could be in any rural Australian town. The more I travel the more I learn about myself and where I come from. And that my friends gives me zest for life! To smile, laugh, play and dance. But for now its back to earth and back to training and eating healthy getting ready for the next adventure…..whatever that might be!