Thursday, 13 October 2011

Botswana and Zimbabwe Spring break part III: part C

Walking with the Lions

I literally looked nervous and awkward in every photo

The next day was walking with the lions!  Now this sounds cool, and it was, but it was a bit awkward too.  They told you how to deal with the lions and had us take meter long sticks to distract the lion with if ever they wanted to “play.”  The sticks kind of reminded my and wands from harry potter but in reality they had no real power and it was all the guides controlling the lions.  So we got to see them up close in their sanctuary and walk with them.  They were being raised there to be released to breed and then those babies would be put into the wild to help the dwindling lion population.  So the lions we dealt with would never truly be “wild” but they still kind of were in a sense- the sense that they could rip our faces off and all.  The guides would take your camera and have you walk with the lion.  This meant petting the lion, while walking, while smiling at the camera- awkward.  In many of the pictures I look like I either am as awkward as anything or very distrustful of the lions.  All in all it was pretty cool though. 

Their eyes are enormous!

The Lions were huge!  But it was their eyes that were the best part of them.  They were giant and they looked straight at you.  The guide told us to NOT look away from them and don’t turn away when they’re looking at you.  You have to stand your ground and my confident.  The Male lion was cooler and had spots on him kind of like a leopard.  He also had a mane that was a Mohawk just like teenage Simba.

I am NOT looking to sure about this lion!  in reality i was more nervous of the guides and their photographing strategies

this is the best pic i could get- every other one was even more awkward if you can believe it

It looks like they are stalking their man prey

the Lions got exhausted after a little while- they're nocturnal you know
After this it was time to go home.  I really had so much fun with everyone and will miss both Botswana and Zimbabwe.  At the airport I met up with friends who had gone on different trips and had so much fun (surprisingly I missed these friends- crazy) so I know I’ll be traveling some more, HOPEFULLY!

I literally had so, so much fun!
At least in this one i'm kind of smiling!

Botswana and Zimbabwe Spring break part III: part B

White Water Rafting

I'm either screaming in every single picture or gasping to hold my breath

That pool down below is where it all started

Next day, as usual, we were up before the sun for white water rafting down the Zambezi River.  These rapids ranged from 3-5 level rapids-- 6 is the highest level.  In fact there was a level six but we weren’t allowed on it.  We got out and walked around the cliff ledge and our guide did it solo.  Anyways, we got dropped off at the falls and walked down a bunch of steps, around some cliff ledges, to the bottom of the falls.  It was one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.  Our rafts were tethered at the bottom in a pool of water surrounded by rock walls reaching up to the sky.  Behind the pool were the waterfalls.  We couldn’t take our camera bc it would have gotten soaked but I desperately wish someone had taken a photo.  

AND I'm hooked

The guide taught us how to row together and what his orders meant then we were off to face the rapids.  Let me just say that white water rafting is one of my biggest fears ever.  This concept of putting ourselves in a position to get water thrown in your face is very foreign to me but it was one of the most fun, more accelerating things I’ve ever done.  Our first rapid, The ‘Boiling Pot’, had me white knuckling my oar, but once we were through I was hooked.  Our guide was amazing and got us through every rapid fairly well.  The rapids all had cool names like Stairway to Heaven, The Terminator, Oblivion, The Washing Machine, Judgment Day, Devils Toilet Bowl and Oblivion. On Stairway to Heaven the other raft in our party flipped so our raft went into rescue mission and collected three of the people who were thrown from their boat.  After this my raft thought we could take on the world so we decided to choose the hardest rapid when given the choice- bad idea.  At the ‘Gullivers Travels’ rapid our raft flipped and my face was used as leverage by someone’s shoe for them to get to the surface.  Luckily, when I reached the surface, gasping and crying for air I saw Liz laughing her insane face off.  She grabbed me and the guide pulled us both onto the raft quickly.

Guys this is really stupid

I was right we are all going to die

Yup, I was right- we're dead.

I'm underwater being kicked in the face- not having the best time here

All Hope is Lost.  we are all going to drown in Africa

After this incident I did not like rafting quite as much.  This was a level 5 and then next level five was called the ‘Three Twisted Sisters and the Mother’.  It’s said that if your kind to your mother it will be kind to you but if not you’ll be punished. It took forever to get to this rapid and I nearly cried with the anticipation.  I’m sure I enraged everyone with my cries of anxiety and pleas about us turning back.  Turns out my love for my own mum paid off and it was a fairly easy rapid to get through.  I knew I was my mum’s favorite!

Seriously the longest wait to get to our next level 5. I'm honestly shocked they didn't just throw me out of the boat- I was in quite a tizzy after the guide said we would probably flip again

definitely screaming here and probably begging everyone to turn back

Probably screaming for my mum

MADE IT! love it again!

 It was sad to end the white water rafting.  In the end I loved it.  At one point we were even allowed to jump out on a level 1 rapid and go through it with just our bodies in the water.  It was even sadder to end because we then had to climb 750 (literally) stairs up to the top of the gorge.  We were all exhausted and I’m surprised we all made it up to the top after conquering 19 rapids.  But lunch was delicious and beer was served so def worth it. 

everyone jumping out to swim down a level one rapid and rejoicing that we are all alive

we survived!! we even survived 750 stairs!

Botswana and Zimbabwe Spring break part III: part A

 Victoria Falls

So here’s the finale of my spring break but I promise it wont let you down- like absolutely every tv show ever- let me tell you.  Anyways!  Our final destination was Victoria Falls (one of the seven WONDERS OF THE WORLD!!!)  yes I did feel like that need both capitals and three exclamation marks because it is just that cool. I also realize I need a better, descriptive word than “cool” but I don’t even care a little bit.

SO!  Our final destination was Victoria Falls where we stayed in a place with actual beds.  Believe it or not but I was disappointed to not be sleeping in our tents and got horrible nights sleep hear.  Who knew?  After this trip I can now camp with the greatest of ease!  I don’t know how my spider phobia is doing because I hadn’t spotted one since but I think I’m much more manageable of a person now.  Way to go mokoros.  

                                                                                                                                                                       When we got there they showed us a vid of a bunch of stuff we could sign up to do (extra charge of course) so my group chose white water rafting and walking with lions.  For some reason me, liz (a girl from my program) and Jessie and louie (the two chill boys) initially put our names down with some random lady then paid.  Everyone else just paid with this other boy.  Turns out the four of us were the only ones who got to walk with lions b/c everything bureaucratic in Africa some how gets messed up.  So there was a huge problem over that, which I did not have to deal with a felt great about.

  That afternoon we went to see the water falls which were breath taking.  I missed my siblings a lot though bc it reminded me of a picture of the four of us looking at Niagara falls.  I secretly wanted the group to pose like this for a picture, but it wouldn’t be the same and never voiced it.  On the stroll around the waterfalls we saw a few monkeys and some wart hogs.  The warthogs also would just be trotting around town, same as the monkeys- very surreal.  The falls were honestly magnificent and I can totally see why they are one of the 7 wonders of the world.  At points we got pretty close to the edge to look down the canyon.  With my prior knowledge from mountain hiking I knew I was not afraid of heights and would bound up to the edge and look over- but an unknown woman nearly freaked when we were doing this gasping and choking telling us to please be careful. I suppose this was kind of her but honestly I had had enough of her.  I got her point though b/c when the wind blew the mist would spray us and the rocks would indeed get a bit slippery.

Across the canyon, to where the water actually fell was Zambia.  There you can swim in the “devil’s pool” as one of the tourist attractions.  It looked really cool, but I felt just like the fusspot of a woman because I was very nervous when you could see the people standing up on the ledge of the pool.  Basically it is a weird calm area right at the ledge of the drop with rocks holding you in, but recently someone died trying to save a woman who was going over the ledge so it is pretty dangerous.

The Sunset was my favorite point.  I really liked how absolutely everyone there appreciated it and everyone kept commenting on how beautiful it was.  No one could get over the sights and how lucky we were to be there.  I really wish the pictures could do it justice, but being in person it was so stunning.