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The Westcoast Connection Blog

Life Changing Experiences

Eating Dinner While Watching Giant Hippos Across the River – Community Service Africa

The lastest from Africa!

The Westcoast Blogger

Many apologies for the long time without any updates. Community Service Africa has been constantly on the move and our access to phones and internet has been extremely limited.

Our few days spent in Botswana were quite remarkable. We went on a boat cruise down the Chobe River, where we were able to see many different animals. We got very close to crocodiles, hippos and elephants galore. The group was lucky enough to see many elephants crossing the river, drinking water and have a whole group of them walk right by the boat. Sydney was able to take many amazing pictures with her great camera. That afternoon on our first game drive through Chobe National Park the group was lucky enough to have several elephants walk right by the truck, see giraffes bending down to eat and monkeys playing all around us. To end it all there was a perfect sunset with a giraffe posing for us in the background, a perfect Kodak moment.

Zambia is full of sunshine and our first day here we visited the wonderful Victoria Falls. The mist can be seen from far away and the group got drenched as they made their way down the paths to get a closer look. A funny sight to see everyone smiling and taking pictures in their wet clothes with the beauty of the falls behind them. The group also got to experience the excitement and fast-paced action of trading and bargaining at the local market where the kids were quickly swept up with the thrill of trading their socks or t-shirts for hand carved animals and African souvenirs. The Livingstone Safari Lodge was a true African Bush Lodge and we were treated to a drum and dance show by some of the locals after dinner.

Our Zambian adventure continued with more service at Ebenezer Orphanage in Livingstone. The children welcomed us with warm smiles and sang a few songs as they introduced themselves. The group played with children outside in the bright sun. Doug and Jakson played king of the hill basketball, while Rachel and Alex worked on a puzzle with a group of children. Kelly helped cook the sausages we prepared for lunch for the kids. It was a wonderful day filled with laughter, and fun. It was also one of the first scorcher days that showed us what the African sun is capable of. Many of the tour members are now sporting elegant farmer tans!

The next day the group visited Ebenezer school which holds over 300 children. Here the group taught the older children how to sew beads onto placemats and carve vegetable Ivory. They were also able to enter some of the classrooms where there was a great exchange of games, songs and learning between both groups. Andrew taught several games to a large group of grade 2, 3 and 4 students as well as some basic geography including some important landmarks of the United States!

Later that night we all boarded a double decker river boat for our dinner cruise across the Zambezi River, where we ate our dinner while watching the giant hippos across the river. One was especially exciting to see as he opened his giant mouth for a few yawns. Floating on the river and watching the beautiful African sunset was a great and relaxing way to end a very positive day.

We had an early morning wake up for our exciting Jet Boating experience. Travelling through several rural African villages then up to the cable car that overlooked the gorge we would be boating in. Like riding a rollercoaster, the thrill of the speed and spins of the jet boat had kids screaming with enjoyment. It was Kirsten’s birthday and so to celebrate we all went out for a posh meal at Squires, a steak house at one of the Victoria Falls resorts. Jason bought a bag of balloons and with the help of the others decorated the restaurant while Natalie strategically delayed Kirsten’s arrival. The evening ended back at the hotel with a big cake and a special song written by Jason and Jakson.

This morning we were treated to an early morning drive in an overlander truck to the launch spot for our 16 km canoe ride down the mighty Zambezi River. Some trip members chose to ride in a large raft while others paired up in inflatable canoes. As we paddled down the river we got quite close to large groups of hippos that snorted and splashed around as we paddled past. We also saw crocs sliding off the banks and elephants drinking in the shallow waters. As we approached the Victoria Falls the current increased and the rapids became bigger! After 3 hours of paddling we ate lunch and then climbed into open safari trucks for an afternoon game drive during which we were fortunate to see giraffes, zebras, rhinos and warthog.

To mark the end of our stay in Zambia we had dinner at a traditional African restaurant. Carter, Doug and Isaac, being adventurous had crocodile steaks and many other tour members tried fried worms as a starter. After a long day everyone tumbled into bed in anticipation for an early start tomorrow when we will cross back into Botswana and began our adventure into the Salt Pans.

Stand by for our next update when we return to South Africa!