Caprivi Strip, 2014 Part 31

by david on May 27, 2015

Laid Back / Daredevil

                The shuttle back to the hotel had us a little before 12:00 and in plenty of time for lunch. We briefly thought about walking back to a local place we saw while on the shuttle, but we decided discretion might be the better part of valor and decided to stay with the known of the hotel. “In-da-belly” would have to remain an unknown at least for this trip. After lunch, we parted ways for the afternoon. Janice and I headed downtown. Zoe and Vera headed off to the gorge for their adrenalin fix, and Johann decided to put his feet up at the hotel and do some photography editing on the computer.

The walk to downtown was not bad, probably no more than 6-8 blocks. Aside from one little sketchy area where we were approached by some locals trying to sell us some “one billion” Zimbabwean bank notes. As strange as it sounds, the notes were completely legit. A one-billion-dollar bill was probably worth about $.30 at the time, so the $5.00 price tag was greatly overpriced. I briefly considered a few for souvenirs but quickly changed my mind. With my luck, I would have been charged with currency smuggling even though the Z$ wasn’t even real currency anymore. As much as I like Zim, I did not need to extend my stay due to a misunderstanding. Another block or so, the surroundings had gone from sketchy to first-class. The streets, buildings, and shops were all immaculate. The merchandise ranged from inexpensive to high-dollar name brand. It was quite interesting to see the contrast. We made our way in and out of several little shops and stumbled across our first impulse purchase of the day, a cowbell.

Cowbells had become sort of the running joke of the trip and we thought it would be a perfect reminder of that part of the trip. The local people around Camp Chobe were mostly cattle farmers. Each group of cattle had one cow with a bell. That cow was trained to go each morning from the corral, where the livestock spent the night in relative safety, to the daytime feeding area and back each evening. The other cattle were trained to follow the bell. The whole herd followed the leader to food and water each morning, and then to safety and shelter each evening. The running joke came about due to the fact the constant clanking from the lead cow’s bell interrupted the girls’ sleep on the few days they were allowed to sleep in, and the same clanking interrupted everyone’s sundowners. Even though we were in the middle of nowhere in the African bush, the “clankedy, clank, clank, clankedy, clank, clank” of the cowbells tended to make it seem more like a “dude ranch”. Over the course of the week, Vera had had enough of the bells and vowed to sneak up on a cow and take the bell as a form of “counting coup” and to provide a little peace and quiet. Somehow, we always seemed to get distracted and never got around to hunting a “wild” cowbell before we left Camp Chobe for the last time. The fact that two cowbells were setting front and center of the first shop, we walked into what seemed to be kismet and ended up being our first purchases. One bell was for Vera and the other for Janice. They would be perfect reminders for the trip.

The rest of the shopping was successful and Janice was constantly adding to her bag. I guess that was only fair as I spent the last ten days adding to my bag, so she should be able to add some trophies to hers. While some of you may think the use of the term “trophies” is a little overboard here, I find it helps my state of mind. You see, I hate shopping and really enjoy hunting. If I think of this afternoon’s activities as a hunt compete with the taking of trophies the day goes by quicker and it is not as bad as a regular afternoon of shopping. My only problem with this scenario is my wife is a world class shopper and so much better at collecting her trophies than I am at collecting mine.  As the afternoon progressed, she added a great many trophies to her bag in an uncomfortably short time. There were table runners, charms and other jewelry, clothing and a few more things. The only item on my list remained as allusive as the waterbuck from a few days earlier. I was looking for a pair of leather gators. Johann purchased the pair I had borrowed the previous week in Vic Falls a few years back, and the Courtney Boot Co. hails from Zimbabwe so I figured I stood a good chance of finding some. Despite our best efforts (I consider my wife’s skill in adding to her trophy list far better than my ability to add to mine), the gators proved to be elusive and we went home without them. Oh well, at least that played into one of my better philosophies about Africa. If you do not get a trophy this trip, it is just another reason to come back again.

With our supply of hunting concessions … I mean shops … exhausted, we started the walk back up the hill toward the hotel. The shuttle to our sunset river cruise was to pick us up in about an hour. We got back with about 20 minutes to spare and discovered Vera and Zoe had survived their breath-taking adventures of the afternoon. After a brief conversation, I was surer than ever I had made the correct decision by going with my wife.


"In-Da Belly"  Good, Bad, or indifferent..... we will have to until the next trip to find out. “In-Da Belly” Good, Bad, or indifferent….. we will have to until the next trip to find out.


The infamous cow bell lead cattle.  It was interesting watching them graze among zebra and other wildlife. The infamous cow bell led cattle. It was interesting watching them graze among zebra and other wildlife.


The shops were neat and well stocked.  The shops were neat and well stocked.


Downtown Victoria Falls was clean and well kept.  Downtown Victoria Falls was clean and well kept


One of the shops Janice liked. One of the shops Janice liked.


Friday: Sundowner Cruise

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