Zambezi Valley


If the average person was asked about the Zambezi Valley, how many
would actually have anything to say? From all the places I have been in the
world, the Zambezi Valley stands out most in my mind. The mighty Zambezi River
forms the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia as they lie on the maps in our
libraries. Few people have been graced the opportunity to be in the presence of
this majestic silver python as it carves away at the crust of our earth. There
is no better way to experience this natural wonder than by organizing an
expedition and venturing into the unknown wilderness of the "Dark Continent" for
memories that will last you a lifetime. Unfortunately these days you have to do
it through a Safari company that will charge you an arm and a leg for a week
long tour, only skimming the surface and not taking you into the darkest of
Africa of which you have read in so many adventure novels. Traveling is a very
stimulating hobby, but Africa is part of me.
Darkness overcame all as Mother Earth turned her back on the center of
our solar system. In the heart of Africa everything is sleeping, or so you are
meant to think. The ruler of that kingdom is patrolling his territory in
absolute silence. His bushy black mane casts a shadow in the pale moonlight.
Eyes like those of an eagle penetrate the darkest shadows of the bush. The soft
gray pads of his paws tread along the game path barely leaving any evidence of
his presence. The great beast strides graciously along before disappearing into
black night. He will soon find either a dense thicket or some tall Buffalo
grass swaying back and forth on the rhythm of the early morning breeze where he
can lay his giant body down and get some rest. Stars begin to fade as a
mysterious yellow glow takes their place in the East. The bush is coming to
life. Birds are singing their songs of joy and hippos are snorting out of pure
pleasure for a new day has come. This will be a day where the fight for survival
takes over like an uncontrollable urge, nevertheless, little is known as to who
should be feared. Should it be the predators lurking around, wanting to fill
their own stomachs, or will it be the natives searching for food in the land on
which they have lived for thousands of years. Remember that this is done in an
effort to rise above the ever present poverty. It is with a heavy heart that one
is forced to judge who poaches for food and who poaches for pleasure and other
earthly rewards. Taking life to feed your cubs, is just as important as taking
life and feeding your starving children in a third world country where
corruption determines survival.
I the distance a deafening roar overwhelms all the timid sounds produced
by the creatures of the bush. As you approach this seemingly out of place low
frequency humming sound, it transforms into a eardrum banging thunder. It makes
you think the god of thunder has gone angry, very angry. Here the dry
landscape is transformed into a tropical wonderland resembling that of an
equatorial rain forest. Rising above this evergreen mass is what looks like a
cloud of smoke the size of a small skyscraper. Upon further investigation one
realizes that it is not smoke, but a very fine mist carried by the breeze to
nourish the forest. Right there before you lies the almighty Victoria Falls.
The mile wide river suddenly plunges down several hundred feet into a crack in
the earth that it has been carving since the beginning of time. The Victoria
Falls are remarkable. In many ways it defies description. So vast are these
Falls that it is difficult to grasp their true grandeur and, for this reason,
they are perhaps best see from the air - a privilege not granted to everyone.
Downstream from the great Victoria Falls is Lake Kariba. Kariba is a
unique place with outstanding beauty. A great inland sea, nestled amongst the
mountains, guarded by enormous reserves of game, and made beautiful and savage
by sun and storm, earth and water, life and death. It is unforgettable on a
dust-tasting, hazy-blue September day to watch the game treading its daily
course to the edge of the lake\'s vast waters, or in the rainy season when the
air is crystal clear and the images razor sharp, to watch the wet-skinned
elephants slowly