Going Places: Tales from the road: Postcards from Africa

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By Todd Krieger

July 24: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

To Jo'burg or not to Jo'burg was the question. Between Lonely Planet's insistence that I would be mugged and the 19-degree temp in this South African city, it seemed clear that some other locale was in order. Hyper-efficient airline moments later, I was on my way to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe to meet Monique Stauder, my comrade for this digital documentary. Whetting my appetite for adventure, I listened in on her tales of the previous two weeks crisscrossing the country on safari.

Between sips of a South African wine called Pinotage, the magic of Africa came alive--from the playful canoeing through Mana Pools to the beautifully horrific vision of watching wild dogs (which have a 90 percent kill rate) eviscerate an impala.

Postcards from Africa
Whetting an appetite for adventure
Wildlife abounds in Africa's Bumi Hills, on the south shores of Lake Kariba
The highlight reel spun on for hours, and I listened raptly as she recounted being mock-charged by an elephant bull and watching a deranged hippo torment a herd of water buffalo by Lake Kariba. And all the while, the national symphony of these creatures--hippos, hyenas, lions, and birds of all feathers--filled the nighttime skies with their moonlight serenade.

Through the skeletal hills of the Matusadona region (at this point in the tale I learned that rhinos sound more like mewing kittens than the beasts they are) and on to luxury safari digs on the southern shoreline of man-made Lake Kariba, at one time the site of the largest dam in the world. My eyes grew wide as I listened to tales of stone-cold beauty in the African hinterland, elephants, zebras, impalas, and waterbucks at play beneath the cerulean sky.

As the night lit up ("Look, the Southern Cross...") and the chill of African winter settled in, I was filled with anticipation of big adventure.

NEXT: Big old Falls, jamming the Zambezi

©2000, Mariah Media Inc.

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