Last day of vacationJuly 10, 2017 in Zimbabwe ⋅ 🌙 27 °C
Mom got her hair done in the hotel at 9am while Ken and I went down for breakfast. They offer a breakfast buffet which is not bad. We left at 10am for a lion walk which mom arranged for since they had done it 7 years ago and really enjoyed it. Interestingly, Belmond - who arranged the trip for us - does not support the lion walk and so couldn't arrange it for us. A young woman named Amanda picked us up in an open safari vehicle. We had to stop at their office in town to pay for the excursion. While Ken and mom went inside to pay, dad and I were shooing away individuals trying to sell us bracelets or the, now worthless, Zimbabwean trillion dollar bills which are no longer in circulation. It was a 20 minute ride from there, mostly on bumpy road. Once there, we were greeted in an outdoor 'reception' area and joined by an American tour group. They gave us an orientation that included their conservation efforts and desire to release lions back into the steadily decreasing lion population. All well and good though there was quite a bit of discussion about how they count on us, as tourists, to help fund their endeavors (through the walk, purchasing their lion walk products, buying the video they were going to make of us, etc...)
We broke up into 2 groups and walked with walking sticks which were to help establish some level of dominance with the lions. They brought 2 lions to walk with us, a female and male pair of cousins who were 19 and 21 months. They were playful with each other which was adorable. We walked, in pairs, with the lions through the bush. The walking terrain was quite difficult for mom. Dad appeared to do fine with it. It was actually hard to keep up with the lions as they were pretty fast! There were a couple of guides with us and lion handlers as well - even a gentleman with a rifle. The guide took all of the cameras and took many pictures. After we each walked with the lions, the animals rested in the shade and we each went up (behind them!) to pet their backs and get pictures. We were asked to tip the handlers and that was pretty much that. We went back to the reception area for light snacks and a drink and to watch the videos they wanted to sell us. The whole thing seemed heavy handed, and it wasn't entirely clear to us what the purpose of the business was - to help save lions (though not one has been released back into the wild since the lion walks started over 7 years ago) or to just make money. Still, Ken and I enjoyed the pictures we got (expensive ones though! - $150/person).
We got back to the hotel by 1:15 and left with Yvonne, at 2p, for Ken and me to be able to say we've been to Zambia! She drove us the 4 of us to the check point and across the border. We all met up with a driver (Calvin) who drove us to the Livingstone Hotel - a beautiful 5 star hotel with gorgeous grounds overlooking the Zambezi River. We had a drink outside and had another nice conversation with Yvonne about the state of affairs in Zimbabwe. There is still a bride price here which allows for male ownership of women. If a woman is mistreated by her husband her parents will often encourage her to stay in the marriage because they can't pay back the dowry. Yvonne, herself, is divorced. There is about a 50% divorce rate here.
We discussed the race delineation here including black, white, and colored (child of mixed parents) groups, the latter being a difficult word to accept in my vocabulary but is common place here.
We were able to see a room at the hotel and it was very nice. There were also zebra all over the property which I'm a big fan of. 😁
We drove the 5 minutes back to the border, switched back into Yvonne's vehicle and she took us the 5 minutes back to our hotel. So we've officially been to 4 more African countries!
At 7p, mom, dad, Ken and I had dinner reservations and ate at the Livingstone Room at the hotel. It's their fanciest restaurant. The service was excellent, the food very good and the prices very reasonable for such a nice restaurant. And, of course, the company was great too! It's been a wonderful 2.5 week trip and we always love traveling with my parents. They make it very easy!
Tomorrow we will have breakfast here and leave for the Victoria Falls airport at 11 to catch a British Airways flight to Johannesburg at around 1pm. It's an under 2 hour flight. If all runs on time, we will leave for Atlanta at 8pm and will get in 16 hours later. We will finally get home at around 11.Read more