Thursday, January 27, 2011

Zambezi River Cruise [Part 5 of Victoria Falls Trip]

Sunset cruise on the mighty Zambezi River...
I have been a bit later than I'd originally intended with uploading this post covering our sunset cruise on the Zambezi River.  I was waiting to have access to these pictures, which are the property of my son.   He took all the 'stills' while my husband was filming the cruise. Once again, I've had some difficulty limiting myself to a small selection of the very many he took.  Even now, I'm sure I haven't managed to select nearly as wide a representative sample as I'd wanted, but I'm hoping these will give you a fairly good feel for what you'd see, cruising slowly up and down the river for a few hours. A plentiful supply of tasty snacks and drinks was on offer throughout the trip and our guide was highly knowledgable about the birds and animals we saw, giving us an entertaining and informative talk at regular intervals.  We all had a wonderful time and were returned to shore soon after the sun had finally set.
Please click the read more button below to continue this post...
Several tour operators are available from which to choose your cruise of preference, some fairly basic while others are a lot more luxurious.
Notice the spray from the falls in the centre of this photograph.
There are numerous little islets and inlets along the reach of the river, with the largest island (Livingstone) quite well centred, slap bang in the middle.

Larger and smaller ferries travel up and down, backwards and forwards, the whole time, filled with eager tourists hoping to spot some wildlife.
One of the larger ferries.

We saw plenty of hippos.  The ferry pilot had to cut the motor, so as not to frighten or alarm these animals.  They are notoriously aggressive and can become extremely vicious when they feel threatened.  They have been known to attack and even capsize smaller boats when angered and will kill anything that happens to get between their baby and themselves.
I certainly wouldn't like to see those teeth any closer than this!

They can remain submerged for quite some time, but then need to surface for air.  Like this, one can be fooled into thinking they are placid.  This is absolutely not the case.  They are considered to be one of the most dangerous animals and this becomes most apparent when they have young, which most of the hippos we saw, did!  They are ultra-protective mothers and will not tolerate any interference with their calves.

When they do this, it is accompanied by a deep-throated 'bark', very loud and quite alarming if you aren't expecting it.
It's their way of saying, 'Back off!  You've come too close and I'm not at all pleased!'

Thought I'd better move you away from there to calm your nerves a bit...
And here we have a double-decker ferry.  There were quite a few of these on the river.

Looking across at Livingstone Island.
This fellow lives on the large island with his family.

They are such regal giants, quietly going about their business...however, you definitely don't want to come too close, because they are also very protective of their young and are territorial. 

It was such a treat watching them.  We sat here for ages, with the motor just quietly turning over.

If you look carefully on the bank, you'll spot a vervet monkey with her baby.  A whole troop was playing about at this spot, but moved off as we drew in closer.

Last look at the elephants...they all slowly moved off into the densely forested area of the island once they'd done with grazing along the bank.

We saw many different species of bird - this Egyptian goose had chicks that she'd shepherded to safety as we drew in closer.
I think this is a type of Plover.

Where there's water, there will be waterlilies :)

A cormorant catching some sun while taking in the view.

And what have we here!  This croc was snoozing on the bank with his mouth open.

He snapped it shut when he sensed our approach.  You definitely do not want to go splashing about in these waters!  Viewing from a safe distance in the ferry is the only sensible approach.  My son was using his zoom on all of these animal shots!

Yes, now you know there are crocodiles and hippos lurking in these waters and on these banks, so don't be lulled into thinking it's a placid environment.
It was magical watching the clouds turn almost every shade of pink, purple and violet as the setting sun made its slow descent!

One of several ferry 'ports' along the river, we were slowly but surely returning to berth at ours.

Along with our helicopter flight, this river cruise was one of the highlights of our stay at the Victoria Falls.


  1. is always a pleasure to come here......what a post !!!

  2. No matter that your blog is new...YOU are off to a whopping good start! This is probably the only way I will ever come to know anything about Africa...I think we ALL come from Africa don't we?
    Wish I could remember it...(I'm teasing...but how wonderful would that be?) I mean if we had memory chips from all our ancestors?

    It's getting late..perhaps I'm getting tired. LOL


  3. Those hippos are so cute! I know they're really dangerous but wow, so sweet looking! Such beautiful sunset pics Des, really well taken. Lovely!

  4. Ria:

    Always lovely to have you visit :)


    Yes, the anthropologists do maintain we all originated from Africa and yes, I agree that being able to carry some memories with us of that time would be interesting (but only the good ones...none where we're munched by wild animals!) I'm so pleased you're enjoying these posts. Armchair travel is the next best thing to being there in the flesh, isn't it? Well, I think so, anyway :)


    Didn't your mother teach you not to judge a book by its cover?

    I'll tell my son you were impressed with his sunsets ;)

  5. Oh, I've been wondering when this next post was coming! I've just been loving this whole series about your trip. I've been on fake zoo safaris looking at wild animals in artificial environments. From the looks of these pictures, it was nothing like the real thing.

    Love those elephants, and the sunset photos!

  6. Morning wonderful person with a wonderful blog! I adore your photographs. They'd make the most brilliant screen savers. Well I had to come by to get my fix. As you know the greyer it is here the more I vist you! Thank you for your lovely comment(s) on my blog. I too am going Award free now. I completely agree with what you said. I'd just decided to become an award free zone and then all of these awards turned up in the space of a few days. I too just appreciate people like you visiting and enjoying their visits. I certainly enjoy mine here. And now I must drag myself back to the gloom. Thank you for the moment of peace and beauty.

  7. Hi Carol:

    Please feel free to pop over any time for a bit of colour and warmth, albeit only 'virtual' ;)

    Thanks for your lovely comment :) always greatly appreciated!

  8. Wow, that was an exhilarating cruise. The animals so exotic for us. Fine photos by your son.

  9. Your son's photos capture the beauty of the flora, fauna, water, and sky so well! I don't expect to make it to your part of the world, so am excited to experience it in this way.

  10. I'd always assumed that hippos were one of Africa's more 'tame' creatures until quite recently, when I read about how vicious they can be. Those teeth certainly back up my new outlook on them.

    Perhaps Mr Crocodile sleeps with his mouth open in the vague hope that an early evening snack might wander in by accident.

    Absolutely stunning pictures. Very impressive.


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