Caprivi Strip, 2014 Part 32

by david on May 29, 2015

  Sundowner Cruise

                The shuttle was right on time and we were soon weaving our way through the back roads of Vic Falls to a dock somewhere on the Zambezi River. I was most interested in comparing this sundowner cruise to the ones on the Chobe River at the start of the trip. It turns out the sundowner cruises were big business and our boat was one of about a dozen. We were lucky in that ours was one of the smaller boats. She was two stories tall with room for about 60 guests. The upper deck filled up before we boarded and that suited me just fine. The sun was still out and beating down unmercifully on the water. I felt sure if I was on the upper deck I would have ended up looking like a boiled lobster, and that would not have been good. The lower deck was completely shaded for the moment, but as the sun was setting, that would change. We five found a table about two rows back from the bow and settled back for the cruise to start. It took another few minutes for the boat to fill up and we were on our way.

The bar was well stocked and soon everyone had their favorite cocktail in hand. Zoe even had her drink of the trip a “summer shandy” (sans beer). I am not really sure what is in it, but it is some concoction of lemonade, grenadine, and a few more ingredients. I am not a fan of anything sour, so I sort of quit listening after the lemonade part. After we were all seated with our drinks, the wait staff started coming around with trays of hors d’oeuvres. They were all good. Everything was good. I found it difficult to pace myself and constantly had to remind myself that our last dinner with the Veldsmans was only an hour or so away. I finally succeeded in reigning myself in and was content with sipping my drink and enjoying the conversation and scenery.

I know I have mentioned it before and hate to beat a dead horse but I was amazed at the oohs and aahs over seeing a single animal. During the cruise we saw two elephants, one small croc, two hippos, and three birds. I thought the dang boat was going to capsize as everyone else ran to the side closest to the animal! I was beginning to feel sorry for these folks. In the previous two weeks I had seen dozens of crocs, over a hundred hippos, and literally thousands of elephants and tens of thousands of birds. I don’t want to imply seeing Africa’s game is old hat, but I hardly felt like rushing to the side of the boat for a single animal. Sunsets are another matter entirely, especially sunsets on the water. I never get tired of them. They are all different in some way and todays were no different. Todays were special as they were the last of this trip with the Veldsmans and the end of our safari. I was content to sit and enjoy the views and spend time with my bride and friends.

We were unsure if we wanted to have dinner at the hotel again on our last night so we hopped in the car for a quick reconnoiter, and I am glad we did. We ended up at the Grand Historic Victoria Falls Hotel. The hotel itself was right out of Victorian England with its exposed timbers and walls made from stone or mortar. It was very upscale. People were in the dining room in coat and tie, and I sort of felt out of place. Johann led us through the dining area and on to the buffet area in the rear of the hotel. It was a separate more casual venue complete with entertainment. This turned out to be a great decision as the buffet had just about everything one could imagine. There was: sushi, egg rolls, green salad, pasta salad, lamb, crocodile, fish, filet mignon, (cooked to order), fresh veggies, soup, bread, and on and on. I am not even going to try to describe the desert bar but, needless to say, it was just as extraordinary. All that was left was to add a few bottles of South African Pinot Noir and we ate like kings. It was a wonderful end to a magnificent day and a phenomenal trip.

On a side note here, we thought about staying at the Vic Falls Hotel when we planned the trip. We decided against it when we found the other hotel was half the cost. Next time, cost be damned – I will stay at the Vic Falls. It was that nice. I may also consider adding one more day. We did everything we wanted to do but an extra day would ease up on the pace a little.

My very good friends and traveling companions for this adventure, Johann. Vera, and Zoe Veldsman. My very good friends and traveling companions for this adventure, Johann. Vera, and Zoe Veldsman.

 

Our last sunset on the Zambezi.  Our last sunset on the Zambezi.

 

Yours truly and my lovely bride of 30 years. Yours truly and my lovely bride of 30 years.

 

 Monday: Headed Home

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