Fascination with Place

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Above: Victoria Falls in the dry season. Water tumbles over most of the cliff during wet seasons.

Below: Walkway at Toka Leya lodge.

All good journeys must have an end, and the time had come to head to the Livingstone airport to head for home, but one more wildlife treat awaited us.  As we drove out of the lodge through Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park, a White Rhino (left) was spotted ambling along the roadside.  We all grabbed photos of this spectacular beast, and then it was into town, out to the airport, and off on the journey home.

We arrived at Toka Leya and found comfortable accommodations quite similar to the lodges in Botswana – but since we were close to town and on the electric grid, there were a few extra amenities – such as the espresso machine behind the bar!  I immediately strolled the boardwalk that leads from room to room, discovering a few birds and enjoying views of the river.  During our time at the lodge I saw quite a bit of wildlife, including a Hippo wandering around in the evening, a Small-spotted Genet at dusk, and a mother and young Vervet Monkey on my front porch at dawn (left).

We paid a visit to Victoria Falls, whose splendor is hard to describe.  We were here at a low water season, and part of the mile-wide falls was dry, but the falls were still spectacular, and the gorge below the falls we breathtakingly beautiful.  We saw a bit of wildlife near the falls, include a few Bushbucks (right), but this was mostly a stop for the scenery.

We also took a tour around the small Zambian village of Sinde (below), where donations from the lodge and its guests had constructed a well for the villagers.  Previously they needed to hike to the river for their water needs.  The elementary school teacher served as our guide, and small children of the village latched onto their guests; we spent much of our time here walking hand-in-hand with these enthusiastic kids.

For me, however, the highlight of our time in Zambia was a boat trip on the Zambezi River.  The birding was spectacular!  First came a group of Rock Pratincoles resting on river rocks.  Soon we ticked off Lesser Jacana, Giant Kingfisher, Water Thick-knee, African Darter, Common Sandpiper, Hadada Ibis, Black Heron, and to my great delight, several great looks at the secretive African Finfoot.  One dirt bank was riddled with holes, and as our boat drew close, we saw dozens of White-fronted Bee-eaters on the bank.  Those holes were dug by the Bee-eaters for their nests.  Add a few Crocodiles and Waterbucks to the sightings list, and this boat trip far exceeded my expectations.

Above: Lesser Jacana.  Below left: Crocodile on the banks of the Zambezi River. Below right: White-fronted Bee-eaters.

White-fronted Bee-eaters