Lion Mosaic – Antelope Park Zimbabwe

I present to you our 1000 photos from Antelope Park in the form of a photo mosaic.

This was made using the latest pro  version of andreamosaic, an awesome tool and highly recommended, with the DeepZoom option enabled and presented using seadragon AJAX. The Mosaic is 1 Gigapixel and took about 6 hours to create, tile, package, upload and setup on our webserver.

If you like it why not send me a tweet

Sun 24 Apr-Last day at Chimfunshi

Had a nice last day at Chimfunshi today. Went out to Enclosure 1 and 2 for the morning and visited the compound and said hello to the kids. I love their car made out of fence parts.

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The chimps must have known I was going as unusually they were around the fence really early so got to take a few pictures.

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Said my goodbyes to Milla. She’s still loving the chimp ball and hasn’t broken it yet, much to Albert’s amazement.

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After lunch said goodbye to the guys at the enclosure and waved to Patrick as he was looking after visitors.

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Then we headed off the the orphanage for a final bushwalk for me and Helen’s first bushwalk. Dominic stole Sandra’s hairband and then they were all fighting over it and wearing it like a bracelet.

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Tonight I get to back for my long journey home so will be dark for a little bit. It’s been a really great holiday and looking forward to seeing John and Buddy!

Sat 23 Apr-Day at the Orphanage

Last night Stephan took us to a drive to the house that’s being built and it really has a nice view over the river. Was good to get out for a little bit after a short day at the enclosures.

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This morning we headed off to my first day at the Orphanage. Spent a few hours slashing with a really weird tool that I was useless at using. The guys call it a slasher…aptly named. Then I sorted through 3 bags of rotten guavas. It brought back memories of picking up rotten guavas at home when we were kids..they really do smell.

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Got a chance to take a few pictures of some of the chimps at the orphanage before too many guests arrived. Toto to me looks so much like an old man.

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Started entertaining ourselves as they guys were too busy handling visitors to deal with us, so went and looked at the view from the top of the bachelor cage. Apparently they’re going to be letting these guys out into the enclosure for the first time in 6 years next week.

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Fri 22 Apr-Short day at the enclosures

Sandra and I were at 3 and 4 today. There were lots of visitors around today with the Easter weekend. They all waited up top for the chimps to be release while Tom went inside with Berta still running lose to clean the water bowl. He distracted her with lots of guavas.

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Didn’t get a lot of pictures today as they brought us back before they let the chimps out. I’m not as game to get close with Patrick off today and nobody to spot for me. Don’t want to lose my camera..or an arm to Junior  who is quite aggressive but not as scary as Sandy!

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Thu 21 Apr-Day to recover

Decided to hang around camp today as still not feeling great and really not hungry. Got online and chatted to John a bit after he got home from work and polished off The Girl With a Dragon Tattoo. Now I wish I brought the other 2 parts with me. Down to one book that I need to save for the journey home so reading one of Katie’s books while she’s away. Jose left for Ghana today and Katie and Carina were off to Vic Falls. Carina wasn’t well today so gave her half my pills and hope she feels better soon. Having an early night and hoping I’m good to go to the enclosures tomorrow.

Wed 20 Apr-Not well again :(

Not feeling well again. I suspect it must be the food. If it was the water i’d be sick every day. So didn’t do much at the enclosures today other then find as comfortable spot to lie down as possible. Jose leaves tomorrow and Katie and Carina go to Vic Falls for awhile so it’ll be pretty quiet with just Sandra and I here. There’s a new volunteer coming on Saturday so we’ll be up to 3 again.

Tue 19 Apr-Billy the Hippo and Bushwalking

This morning we went on a bushwalk and this time I was feeling well. Had a nurse of Dee Dee at the beginning and then headed into the bush.

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Jose went to get something out of her gumboot and Dee Dee swiped her boot and took it up the tree. Took us awhile to get it back but she eventually let it go. You can just make it out in the picture below.

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I posed for a picture with Dominic and a second later he grabbed my hair and stole my hairband and wore it around like a bracelet.

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We went up the anthill and played with them awhile. We swung Dominic and Sims slept on the branch while the others got groomed or played in the trees.

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We headed back and Dominic was in a cuddly mood. He search all through my clothes in search of more food but also just enjoyed scratches and hugs. Karla let us very close to her baby Kitty and was letting Dee Dee nurse her.

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When we headed back got my first look at Billy (who is actually a girl) the hippo feeding. She is really MASSIVE!

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We headed over to enclosure 1 and 2 and I filled up a few bottles for Milla. She took them and tipped them into the red chimp ball, put her hand over the hole and shook it up and cleaned it out. Then she poured the water over the concrete and used her new blanked to clean it and then washed her hands…such a smart girl.

Mon 18 Apr-Photographing chimps

When we were chatting to Innocent last night he mentioned he wants recent photos of all the chimps. Katie, one of the volunteers is a photography student and I have a decent camera so we made a plan that we’ll move between the enclosures over the next 3 days and get as many as we can.

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Haven’t looked fully at the end result yet but I’m fairly sure we got all of enclosure 4 and most of 3 and did the best we could on Sandy’s cage. He is soooo scary. Gets all puffed up, leaps around and throws lumps of concrete at you. Makes it hard to get a head shot. He reminds me more of a gorilla than a chimp.

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Had fun trying to get pics of Louise and Chiffon as they are always in cages but I think we did ok with one of us distracting them onto one side of the cage while the other stuck the camera through and snapped off a photo.

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Got a cute picture of Bruce who has the most perfect baby chimp face. His mum Barbie seems pretty protective of him so was glad I got this picture. I love the poses and positions you snap them in…so humanlike.

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A new volunteer arrived today and we’re all going on a bushwalk tomorrow. Taking my zoom tomorrow to see if we can get some good head shots of them when we’re in the enclosure with them.

Sun 17 Apr-Dug out canoe

After being locked out of the kitchen supplies last night and having no toilet paper in any of the toilets, this morning we couldn’t make breakfast as we couldn’t get the butter etc. We said goodbye to Phil this morning, and the South African miners and off to enclosure 1 and 2. Milla was acting a bit strange this morning. Normally she’d be wanting to groom you but she kept running inside near the other side of the bars. Finally we worked out she wanted the red chimp ball. She’d have to wait until after the fence checking.

We set off on the fence patrol and Felix offered to take us on a quick canoe ride. We headed to the compound and down to the river where the kids were fishing for bait fish. Felix grabbed the dug out canoe, Katie and I climbed in and off we went.

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We paddled along the Kafue river for awhile and saw the original enclosure fencing. It was so peaceful and quite. We headed back and finished off the fence check.

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When we got back we put some chips and biscuits in the chimp ball and tried to move Milla into the other enclosure. She really didn’t want to move. She’d put half her body through and use her sack to try and grab hold of the ball. Eventually we gave up and let her have the ball. She lay down on her sack so she could hold the ball with her foot and one hand and used the other hand to pry the food out of the ball.

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Some clients turned up just before feeding -  a couple with a little girl from Laidley in Australia who are over here for a few years working. We chatted to them for awhile and then let the chimps in and fed them. After lunch we let them out and gave some of them milk. The impatient chimps use the leftover food to throw at you so they can get your attention if you’re not quick enough with the milk.

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We came to clean the cage Milla was in but she didn’t want to move. We tried putting some water in the next cage but she wouldn’t have a bar of it. We decided to try some chips and biscuits. When she saw me with the biscuits she grabbed the chimp ball and pointed to the hole. We opened the cage but she wouldn’t budge. She tried giving Felix the red ball so we could fill it with the snacks but wouldn’t come through. Our ride arrived so we left with her still in a dirty cage. Hope they managed to move her Sad smile

Sat 16 Apr- Day off

Today we all took our day off. Some South African miners the other guys had met last week were picking us up and taking us for a braae around 10 so got to sleep in a bit. Then got up and chatted to John online for awhile as the timezones overlapped with a good time. After 10 the guys called and had cancelled on us so we were stuck for the day with nowhere to go. Everyone was a bit bummed and lunch for us was very tiny so we made our own fire and cooked up some of the sausages the Aussies left for us.

Later in the afternoon some of the clients from Friday had come back to stay the night so they could do a chimp walk the next day. They’d brought a bunch of food and were going to braae tonight. Dinner was equally as tiny – 1/2 a piece of chicken each and a bit of potato so I was still hungry. Luckily our new friends brought heaps of food and were keen to share with us.  It was sooo yummy and we sat up chatting with them for quite awhile. Trying to work out if we can go visit their mine one day early this week to break it up a bit.

Fri 15 Apr- The chimp ball

Awhile back I bought a behaviour enrichment toy for the chimps from Joe at Aussie Dog. Today we gave it to Milla. She’s a lovely chimps who stays inside because the other pick on her. We put chips and biscuits inside and waited to see what she’d do. She’s pretty smart and got all the food out fairly easily but seemed to enjoy tipping it up and grabbing it out with her fingers. The pics aren’t too crash hot as I was shooting through the bars but I do have some good video I’ll upload once I’m home.

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We played with her awhile and she was quite content grooming Katie’s hair.

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We let the chimps in and fed them. Milla wouldn’t shift cages so we had to let the others in with her. One of the chimps wanted her toy so she used it to beat him up with it. Got this on video aswell but not sure how much you can make out other than the red ball flying through the air with a chimp arm attached.

Once we let them out we had time for some pics while they were eating guavas.

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At 4 nobody came to collect us so we walked back to camp. I wish they’d told us as I only had my gumboots and they are really uncomfortable to walk long distances in. Now have a few blisters after the 6k walk.

Thu 14 Apr- Bushwalk

Today it was off to the orphanage for our bushwalk with the chimps. I was feeling awful so didn’t really interact much but had fun watching the other guys playing with them. We were given food and drink to give them and they riffle through your pockets looking for more. They like sweet things like raisins and biscuits over the chips.

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It was great to see them running around in the bush, leaping from tree to tree to person and to be able to get up close to them outside a cage.

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Karla and her baby are very cute and she’s quite willing to let you touch the baby in exchange for food or some scratches.

It’s amazing how much they are like humans..looking bored and camera shy.

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We all got to meet Sheilla who started it all which was nice but there was no sign of Billy the Hippo anywhere today.

I headed back to camp after this as I wasn’t feeling well and the other went to the enclosures. In the evening I helped innocent set up the wifi and a new printer so now I can catch up on my blogging..yay.

Hoping I feel better tomorrow as I want to test out my chimp toy.

Wed 13 Apr-Day at enclosure 1 and 2

The Aussies were up early and made us all breakfast. Lots of eggs, sausages and toast and then they were headed to the orphanage for a bushwalk with the Chimps and take the others with them. I’m on my own and headed off to Enclosure 1 and 2 for the day. They’d picked up all the expired veges in town yesterday so we spent the morning sorting through the rotting veges and fruit, cutting up some of it for the chimps today and then making some balls for them made from corn, yams and lots of other starches.

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They’d cooked them on the fire into a paste and then had to roll them into balls. Boy are they HOT! Like sticking your hands into hot wax. These guys have hands of steel.

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Afterwards Albert introduces me to Pal…the chimp that started it all. So I grab a few picks of him and some of the other chimps through the wire.

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We get them in, dish out the food and have lunch. Then we fill up the troughs. The guys walk around with 2 20l containers of water..while I have issues moving just 1 easily so they have a good laugh at me. Then it’s cleaning enclosures which doesn’t take long. Apparently I’m very fast at cleaning but they could do with a dustpan to make the job a bit easier.

Once we’re done I sit around chatting until Laddy comes to pick us up. On the way past enclosure 3 one of the chimps throws a rock at the car and i puts a massive crack in the fairly new windscreen. Lucky it wasn’t my head! Back at camp the others haven’t returned from the orphanage yet. I’m determined to get on the internet tonight and get these blog posts up!

Tue 12 Apr-Day at the enclosures

Up early this morning and hear the sounds of roosters crowing. Make myself some toast and do some quick washing before 7am. One of the girls is heading back to Ndola today and the others are heading into Chingola for the day. I’m not keen to spend another day in town and want to get started with the Chimps so I stay behind. Sylvia will be grabbing me and taking me out the the orphanage. Not quite sure if it’s just for the morning or the whole day and need to grab a packed lunch if it is the whole day.

I’m told she wont be long after the others leave just after 7 so I wait. It’s really chilly here and I’m a bit cold even with my flanno on. Sylvia arrives at 10 and sounds like she’s had a busy morning. She drops me off at one of the enclosures and leaves me Patrick. They’ve already done fence checks and food prep this morning so he introduces me to all the chimps while we wait for 11:30 when they take them into the enclosures to feed them.

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While waiting I meet Chrissie who is very cute and likes to hang out on the outside of the cage. I give her a drink and as her little hand grabs my wrist to steady the bottle I’m amazed how strong her grip is.

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As I get closer looks at the chimps it blows my breath away how human like they really are. I’ve read books, seen photos but until you see them for real it’s just not the same. Their hands and eyes could belong to a person. I watch them drinking from a trough and smile as they use empty plastic bottles..fill them up with water and drink from them.

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We get them into the enclosure and dish out the food. Time for my lunch so I sit up on the roof to warm up. Not long before we’re due to let them out a bunch of guys turn up, some are from Australia to check out the chimps. Have to keep explaining this is really my first day so I don’t know a lot Smile

1:30 we let them out and some of them really don’t want to move. Have to keep a couple of the big males inside tonight as their is a food vehicle coming tomorrow and they are known for throwing rocks at cars. After a lot of juggling of cages we clean out a bunch of them and that’s it for the day. Time to sit and chat and look at my photos.

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We walk back 5k’s to the camp and spot a chameleon along the way. When I arrive the place is deserted so I do some reading and wait until everyone arrives. After the other volunteers get back and shower we help ourselves to dinner and while we’re all hanging in the kitchen chatting a car pulls up and a bit later a few heads pop in the door. It’s the clients from earlier in the day. 2 Aussies and a South African who decided to stay the night and had gone into town for supplies. They’ve brought a huge amount of food and drink and plan on a SA bbq. We sit around and chat and I think soon between us Aussies manage up upset all the others who aren’t used to the black Aussie humour and our slang. I’m keen on a steak and boy it is good. First good steak I’ve had since leaving Australia! Had a good chat till quite late, nice bunch of blokes.

Mon 11 Apr-Off to Chimfunshi

This morning I got up pretty early and made sure that people were receiving my sms’s and that they could definitely get through to my room in preparation for sorting out what happened yesterday. I patiently waited (not my strong point) till 9am and called through to African Impact Office and was glad to get hold of Kirsty who had received my email and is on the case for sorting out getting me to where I’m supposed to be. A massive relief to know that they know where I am which is not where I’m supposed to be and I made the right choice staying in town rather than trying to get to the destination on my own.

She calls me back in 10 mins and says they’ve sent a driver to come and pick me up but she’s not sure how long it’ll take them to get to me. Knowing that Chimfunshi is a few hours drive away I relax a little and watch some TV waiting for her to call me back with a better indication of whether I need to get a late checkout from the hotel. At 9:45 there’s a knock at my door and one of the staff says that my phone isn’t working and that a driver will be here soon.

Time to pack up! No sooner has she left than my phone rings and the front desk inform me the driver is here and waiting for me. EEK! Quickly packing up my gear and trying to ensure that in the rush I don’t leave anything behind I rush out the door. The driver grabs by bag and wants to go but I need to check out and pay first. A few minutes later and I’m ready to go but first ask the driver a few questions to console myself that he is indeed here to take me to the right place and off we go at 9:55

After the rush to leave, he wants to stop at a supermarket to get breakfast, and then we fill up the car and then head off. We meet Innocent on the highway/road going the other direction to drop a volunteer at the airport, exchange a few instructions and head off. We drive to Chingola and I get dropped at an office and told to wait there for Mary to pick me up. Mary arrives a little later and we first head to the supermarket, hardware and scrap metal place to get supplies before heading off.

We arrive at Chimfunshi just before 4pm and I’m shown to my room so I can unpack. A little later the other volunteers arrive back from their day at the enclosures. Quick introductions to the 5 others before they all head for the showers and then dinner. I’m starving after not eating since breakfast. We have pasta with a spicy sauce for dinner. Most of the others have previously spent time at Antelope Park so we exchange stories etc. We sit around playing dice and card games while the others take turns on the internet. I figure I can wait till tomorrow.

So off to bed to get up at 6am to have breakfast and get ready before leaving at 7am. Still not clear exactly what happened but sounds like there was some mixup where they thought I’d cancelled or changed to next month due to illness. All I know is I confirmed that I was getting picked up on Sunday at 12:15 in Ndola before I left.

Sun 10 Apr-Stranded at the airport

We were up bright and early to get me on my flight to Ndola. I’d left behind the one credit card I needed – the one I booked this flight with. Luckily John was with me and the card numbers are the same so I was ok to check in. Had a coffee and then said goodbye as I go to Zambia for 2 weeks and John heads home later in the day. Took a good 45 mins to get through security and customs as there weren’t many lanes open which gave less boring sitting around time. We boarded the bus and stood there for a good 20mins and then off to the plane.

It’s a little plane but at least it’s not propellers. They take away a lot of cabin baggage that doesn’t fit but my lowepro bag seemed to be built just for these overhead compartments. It fit perfectly..any bigger and it would have been stowed too. 2 1/2 hours later and we land at Ndola airport then through customs. Had a bit of hassle with my passport as she was convinced that the Australian ones had to have the chip in them. I explained mine was the older version and is still valid and she finally decided it was ok to let me in. My baggage made it fine and my phone gets a signal ok at the moment so sent sms to John to let him know I was ok. So I’m feeling pretty good, ready to start the next part of my holiday.

As I exit customs, I look for the African Impact sign waiting to pick me up…it’s nowhere to be seen. I scan the crowd for my name on a sign maybe…not there either. I’ve gotten out pretty quickly so I figure they’re coming soon so stand and wait. After half and hour there is just the staff, me and a south african guy around. I’m fending off the taxi drivers convincing them..yes..i’m being picked up. I try the numbers i’ve been given. First one rings out..it’s the landline..they must be on their way. The 2nd number is missing a digit…dammit.

After an hour I’ve sat down on my bag waiting….and some of the staff approach me to help. The take me to the airline office and try the number…rings out. I keep trying every 20 mins or so hoping someone will answer and keep scanning the crowd hoping for my lift to arrive. 2 hrs goes by…still nothing. Getting a little concerned now. After 3 hours the last flight of the day has gone and no more are coming in so all the staff are leaving. I don’t want to sit at an empty airport with nobody around for a lift that might never arrive so I have to decide if I want to risk driving all the way to Chimfunshi for nobody to be there or stay the night in town and try and sort out the issue in the morning when the African Impact office is open.

I don’t want to drive into the middle of nowhere and find nobody there and be really stuck..what if my phone doesn’t work there…so the airline staff hook me up with a taxi and recommend a lodge close by that has some internet so I can shoot off a few emails. I get taken to Chabanga Lodges and manage to shoot off an email with my location and hotel phone number.

This place has internet and a restaurant so at least I can have some food and check my mail in the morning to see if anyone has responded. Didn’t look up the currency here before I left as I was expecting to only need US$ so makes ordering dinner fun when you don’t know how much you’re spending. I think 100,000 (whatever the currency name is) is about $22 based on my quick conversion of the room price. They are picky about any imperfections in the notes though so putting everything on the room tab so I can just pay for food and internet in one go tomorrow.So now I guess I wait the night, check my mail in the morning and call the head office and work out what to do next. Not the nicest start to this part of the trip for sure.

I thought travelling along wouldn’t be too bad. I’ve straight away found the bad side. When something goes wrong with your plan you’re all alone.

Sat 9 Apr-Back to J’berg for the night

This morning we did our big pack to leave our nice room at The Kingdom Hotel in Victoria Falls to head to Johannesburg. It’s been a great stay and all the staff have been awesome. We flew out of Zimbabwe and back to South Africa for the night. Picked up our little hire car and found our room for the night. Getting some pizza delivered for dinner and tomorrow I head to Zambia and John heads home.

Fri 8 Apr-Chillaxing

Last full day in Vic Falls so we decided to chillax before John’s trip home and my onward journey to Zambia. Had planned to hang by the pool and go swimming but the temperature today had other ideas. It was too cold for me even to lay by the pool and read. I went in search of postcards but couldn’t find any that I liked so had to settle on actual cards..almost was tempted to tear them in half and make my own postcard.

Ventured out for lunch but couldn’t find the strength or enthusiasm to brave the markets so fingers crossed I see some good souvenirs in Zambia.

For dinner we headed out to the Boma restaurant. It’s a massive buffet with a range of animals you can eat. So I got to eat most of the animals I’d seen the day before like: Guinea Fowl, Impala, Warthog, Crocodile, Ostrich and more. They had dancing displays, fortune tellers, face painters, hair braiders and drumming. The interactive drumming was the big finale for the night and was quite entertaining as they try to teach a whole restaurant of people how to play the african drums.

Thu 7 Apr-Chobe National Park Botswana

Up early this morning for a day trip to Chobe National Park in Botswana. Breakfast in the hotel started too late for us so off on an empty stomach. It was about an hour’s drive to the border and handover point. I’d packed most things but since the kids had stolen my pens that I always keep in my backpack had forgotten to replenish that supply which made filling out our immigration forms fun. The guide had a pen that all 4 of us had to share.

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Once across the border it was off to a safari lodge to go on our boat cruise. It’s the wet season at the moment and the area we’re going along on our boat is usually land in the dry.

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We stuck fairly close to the bank and pulled over as we saw different game like impala so everyone could take some photos.

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We saw lots of game including many pods of hippo,

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Quite a few crocodiles. A lot of them were fairly strong but the guys on our boat were keen to stir up one of the larger ones we parked very close to. Luckily they stopped before it decided to jump in the boat and eat the had they were using to splash water at it.

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There were lots of birds around aswell like the eagle

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and vultures circling overhead presumably after some dead animal.

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This little guy decided to catch a free ride on the boat.

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There was a good collection of water lillies. Always funny to be so far from home and see such familiar plants and animals.

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Back at the lodge it was a buffet lunch and boy was I full at the end. We switched vehicles for our game drive and here we saw elephants which are in over supply and have caused a lot of damage to the tree life in the park.

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There was plenty of warthogs, Impala (or cheeseburgers as we’ve taken to calling them as they’re considered the McDonalds takeaway food of Africa because of their abundance and the M like symbol on there rears), and the massive Kudos.

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There were a few families of giraffe around that just stared at your for awhile before going back to grazing and we came across a massive herd of water buffalo.

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Along the road we passed a lot of turtles varying in size and a few families of baboon.

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On our way out it rained and our guide was on hand to lend us raincoats for the open vehicle. As we were there in the heat of the day we didn’t see any lion or leopard much to the disappointment of the other guys.

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On the way back to Zimbabwe we had to buy another visa as the rules had changed recently. You used to be able to do day trips to Botswana and Zambia on a single entry visa when you weren’t staying overnight. So now if you’re planning any of these activities make sure you get a double entry visa on the way in.

Wed 6 Apr-Victoria Falls

We got up fairly early this morning and decided to head to the falls by ourselves. I’d read the spray this time of year is brutal so we went dressed in our togs. There’s a little path from the back of our hotel to the falls which means we get to avoid walking on the main road. As soon as we got out the back of the hotel we thought it was raining, but was spray from the falls a few ks away…glad i’ve got plastic bags for our gear! As soon as we’re signed out from security the hassle begins, people trying to sell you things and they followed us a good distance. We’d been spoilt in Gweru where nobody bothered us at all.

Over the the rail line and more hassle…people trying to sell us rain coats, emergency ponchos etc. Then into the gate and paid our $30 each to go look at the falls. We get to the far corner and are already getting covered in spray. We have to wait till there’s a bit of a change of wind to quickly take a few snaps and move to the next vantage point.

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The next vantage point we are getting pretty wet but manage to get a few small clear patches and take some photos.

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From here on it was just too wet to even think about using the camera. Over the next couple of k’s it was full on. Imagine the most torrential, drenching rain you’ve ever experienced and that’s what the spray was like. Sometimes we’d have to stay at a vantage point for a few minutes until the spray moved so we could even see the other side. Well worth the walk and was funny to see everyone else in raincoats looking about as wet as us.

After we got back to the hotel, had a nice warm shower and changed into dry clothes we wandered into town for some Pizza Inn and then wandered over to the markets. We were seriously the only tourists there and everyone wants you to look in their shop so we got seriously hassled.

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In the afternoon John was picked up for his helicopter ride over the falls. Luckily he scored a window seat for his 15 minute flight and got a pretty awesome view of the spray that had drenched us earlier in the day.

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For the evening we were dropped at Victoria Falls Safari Lodge to have a few drinks and watch the sunset over the waterhole. As the sun began to go down we watch the animals take their turn at the waterhole and leave before the next group…impala and kudo, vultures, elephants and guinea fowl.

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Tue 5 Apr- Boat cruise on the Zambezi

We had a relaxing morning, with a bit of a sleep in and then booked in some activities for the week: John’s helicopter ride for tomorrow, trip to Chobe Thursday and dinner at the Boma restaurant Fri night and of course a sunset cruise on the Zambezi for this afternoon. We’re planning on wandering around the falls by ourselves tomorrow. When I did the research for the trip you could walk to the Zambian side of the falls and do a day trip to Botswana on a Single Entry Visa but seems that this changed beginning of the year and get hit up for another visa charge and as of 1 April you also have to pay exit fees so makes it a bit expensive which is unfortunate.

Had some pampering and some internet time to catch up on some of our blog posts, mail etc. as the internet here is a lot faster!

We set off on our cruise along the Zambezi and spotted a few animals: Hippos, a tiny crocodile a bunch of birds etc.

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It was an open bar which is pretty lost on me when I only manage to drink two drinks on the whole cruise. It was a nice relaxing ride and we got to watch and of course photograph the African sunset.

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Mon 4 Apr-Off to Victoria Falls

Today we start our journey to Victoria Falls. As we’re leaving at 10am we get one last lion walk in with Lewa.

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We get her all to ourselves and take her on a decent walk finished with a bit of play on the garden furniture.

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There’s 3 groups of people leaving today. First group leaves at 6:30 then at 9 with lots of big farewells. Luckily most people are on activities when we leave so it’s just Jacki and Sherry to say last minute goodbyes to.

I’m going to miss the handler’s saying:“No bite Kitty. You bite you die”. Cracks me up laughing every time.

JB drives us into town and we get onto our fancy coach to Victoria Falls with our chicken dinner from Chicken Inn. Feeling pretty satisfied with our transport choice we set out on our 8 1/2 hour drive. We get to Bullowayo and are offloaded and told we’re switching buses. 45mins later we discover we’re now on a minibus instead of a coach for the rest of the way…bit disappointing but ok by me. Then we discover they’ve booked 26 people on a 22 seater and the trailer is way too small for our luggage. An hour goes by with many heated discussions between many of the passengers who have already got a seat and their luggage is already loaded. Ours is sitting next to the already overflowing trailer. They tell us they’re getting another transport that will bring our luggage separately and travel in convoy. As we pull out we wave goodbye to both our bags of luggage as they’re dragged to the curb thinking we have about a 50/50 chance of ever seeing them again.

Somehow we managed to score the wheel arch seat so it’s a very uncomfortable ride but we eventually get to Rainbow Hotel at Victoria Falls. There’s no sign of our luggage, it’s 7:30pm and pitch black. The driver writes our names on a scrap of paper and the hotel we’re staying at and promises to bring our bags when they arrive as his phone is flat and can’t call the other vehicle.

We jump in a cab and head to our hotel thinking our chances of getting our bags is not good and check in. We’re staying at The Kingdom and is very massive. It’s nice to have a king size bed again! Around 10:30pm John gets a call saying our bags have arrived so he goes down and claims them and all our gear is still inside..bonus! Thanks to Andrew the driver for making sure we got our luggage.

Sun 3 Apr-Last full day at Antelope Park

Today’s our last full day at Antelope Park. So we’re trying to get our last few walks in with the different lions before we have to say goodbye. First up we took out the B’s.

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We tried to drive them towards some zebra and impala but they just weren’t interested. Will miss these boys as they are both very good looking lions and happy to pose for pics.

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After breakfast we had behaviour enrichment with the MKs. John and I made them some cool elephant poo filled toys. They’d been fed recently and it was quite hot so they weren’t particularly playful but once they got hold of our toys they didn’t want to give them back.

After lunch our final bpg session. we were motoring through and then got called to help a man with a cow. A local farmer had a dead cow that the guys had bought to give to the lions and needed help moving into the fridge. First we had to move the existing cow further in to make room. The new cow was massive. Everytime the guys tried to pull it off the ute they pulled the car so I got to sit in the ute with my foot on the brake.

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Last session of the day we had the MKs and we thought we had clients so we didn’t take our cameras. Turned out there were no clients and they were in a posing mood. DOH! Rikki had some space on her camera and took a few pics of us with them at the jetty.

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Had to hurry back for 6pm volleyball game against the staff. These guys were pretty good and very competitive. It was good fun and we’ve left our ball with Evans so they can keep playing.

Sat 2 Apr-Making our own fun

This morning we got to walk Lewa and took her for a pretty decent walk. She’s grown quite a bit in 2 weeks.

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After breakfast we headed out to the orphanage and this week was a lot less intense. We found the bigger kids and played basketball, soccer and Joyce brought some bubbles with her and that kept them entertained for awhile. The others were kept entertained with colouring books and piggy back running races.

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The boys remembered John from last week and were very keen to just spend time with him. Most of the volunteers are female so I think the boys enjoy some male company.

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We had the afternoon off so we decided to make our own fun. While we were in town we bought a volleyball and after lunch Evans helped us make our own net from some string. We had a good session with some of the staff and some volunteers and then caught up on some internet time in the late afternoon.

Fri 1 Apr-Missing Lions

John and I were both on data this morning so were split between MK’s for John and B’s for me. Just as we went to open up for the B’s a message came over the radio “We’re with the MK’s enclosure and there’s no lions…copy…lion’s are gone”. Then we were contacted by and told to leave the B’s, head back to the lounge and close the doors and stay there till the lions are found. So we start heading back wondering how they could have lost the lions? Half way back a message comes over the radio saying what we think is the lions have been found..after a few goes at trying to confirm this is the case the confirmation comes through and we ask if it’s clear to go back. JB radios through to see where they were… “in the enclosure..”. We realise it’s an April Fool’s joke.

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JB, not wanting to be the only one to get caught…calls through to the stables and says the B’s have caught the baby horse and that it’s dead. Poor Sam responds very calmly saying he’ll be straight over. We wait a little while before we call back through and ask him what the date is…

2nd session we have BPG and we clean out the FIV lions. Their enclosure is really bad so good to see the girls get a clean up. We finish up with  a few of the hunting enclosures and head to lunch.

After lunch we scored the cub site with Lewa. She’s in a really bad mood cause she’s hungry. When her 5kg lump of meet finally arrives she’s much happier. I also got to give part of a bottle to the remaining P and then we let her and Lewa play … very supervised. It was a great session.

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After 20mins before the end of our session Matt comes bolting in saying he’s heading out as the elephants have escaped! Well no-one is going to fall for that one so we keep on doing what we’re doing. A bit later someone comes by and says all the lion walks are cancelled as all the staff are out looking for the elephants…nice try…

At 4:40 we finally believe them when no guides are around to take us out. Apparently they got scared by some hunters with dogs and bolted off and they were eventually found in a remote part of the park.