The second morning we woke early, Jean getting up early enough to capture sunrise. We packed and went on a small guided nature walk before breakfast. Sam, our guide, showed us archeological evidence of both the early native bushmen, and immigrating Bantu tribes; clay dishes and pots, iron ore, cave paintings. We scrambled up solid granite and down sandy paths in the brush, and saw Darcies, and birds.
After a delicious breakfast of toast and honey, eggs, sausages, bacon and drinks, we shoved off for a second day of driving. We made good time, though leaving late meant we stopped for a quick sandwich of cold cuts and cheese, which we’d brought from home, on the side of the road. We were keeping an eye out for the Painted Dog Conservancy, though not spotting it, we continued on. Stopping for fuel at a Total station when Jean was on fumes, Jean mentioned her steering had been squirrely for last hour or more, and at last had made a horrible noise as she pulled in. We checked it out and Jean discovered that the left tie rod had come loose, a cotter pin shearing off and allowing the securing nut to unscrew and pop off. We passed a few tense minutes while the gas station attendant looked for a nut. Fortunately he quickly found one and reassembled the steering system! We even bought a spare nut and paid the mechanic and attendants for their heroism.
We continued on to Jafuta Lodge, some 10km outside of Victoria Falls, did a quick check-in, and hopped in the cars again to get a late afternoon viewing of the falls.
After parking and waving off the touts, we quickly paid our entry fee and entered the park, the late afternoon sun winking at us through the lush foliage lining the slick sidewalk. We made our way to the various lookout points, walking a couple kilometers altogether. The falls, though not at their highest volume, it being the beginning of rainy season, were spectacular. We took photos, videos, spotted a rainbow, and got misted on a lot. It was marvelous.
We left, passed up on the “sunset prices” the vendors offered in the parking lot, and made our way back to Jafuta Lodge. Braving the mosquitos, we dined outdoors. The food, while not a five star restaurant, was adequate and filling. Butternut squash seems to be a specialty in this country, perhaps because it grows so well here. Retiring to our lodges, we bedded down, the girls sharing a cabin with Laura and Lucas with us. My parents, much to their delight I’m sure, were on their own. Jean and I shared a twin bed, quite a feat when you consider there was also a mosquito net. The animals at the watering hole made no noises that kept us up…