African Princess and African Queenon December 28, 2013
During October the temperatures climb into the 30s. The days are hot and most of our guests at the Royal Livingstone and Zambezi Sun Hotels lounge around the pools or relax in their rooms during the middle of the day. Few people have the energy to go out and about.
At around 4 o’clock the river cruises depart onto the Zambezi River. This is a wonderful way to bring to a close daylight hours. The river brings cool breezes through the boat and memories of the hot hours disappear.
Our guests will take a cruise on one of two boats – the African Queen or the African Princess. Both are large, lovingly crafted boats with two decks which allow for people to walk around, viewing the river and the wildlife from either side or to chat with friends.
The other day I joined some of our guests on a cruise. Our first encounter was with a lone hippo which had taken to the middle of the river. As we neared Siloka Island, the floodplains within were home to many waterbirds – storks, herons, egrets, ducks and geese. They were all looking for a morsel to eat – a frog, snail or fish. Then, as a special treat, we found an elephant making his way across the river by ‘island hopping’. They often stop for several days on Siloka Island to eat the fresh grass and leaves there.
We then crossed the river to the mainland and the Mosi-oa-Tunya Game Park. Someone said: Look. What are those animals? As we neared the bank we could see a large herd of African buffalo coming to the river to drink. There must have been at least 30 of them – young and old. The boat did not go too close – we did not want to disturb them – but we could see them clearly and we all got some good photographs.
And then it was time for the birds to fly overhead towards their roosting sites. Egrets, ibis and cormorants flew over the river, ibis in V-shaped formation, cormorants flying just above the water.
The cruise always ends with the boat stopping to watch the sunset. The big red ball of fire slowly moved to the horizon and, although we love our sunshine in Livingstone we were grateful for its bedtime that day – not only was it beautiful to watch but we needed a break from its heat until morning.
A fabulous end to another day in Africa!