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I hope you will join in my adventures here in Humboldt County and elsewhere as I explore nature & people.



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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sussi & Chuma Lodge on the Zambezi River

The last part of our Africa trip to Zambia was booked specifically to see Victoria Falls and wildlife along the Zambezi river.

Upon arrival at the airport near the northern border of Botswana we were met by a polite African gentelman and driven by cab to the rivers edge. Along the way we passed hundreds of large transport trucks waiting in line to cross the border.

Our driver explained that sometimes the wait was several days or over a week. This is because there are only two ferries and they can take only one semi trailer at a time.

We were told there is huge problem of prostitution with the truckers while they wait to cross the border.

Our connections were impeccable as we were met within 5 minutes by the person who would take us to the other side and crossed the river into Zambia by small motor craft.
The walk from the boat was over uneven terrain requiring at least a moderate amount of agility to get to the mobile office where our passports were checked taking only a few minutes and then proceeded to ride in a Van to our lodge.

We would stay two more nights at Sussi & chuma lodge on the banks of the Zambezi River.

We were greeted once again by very friendly and smiling hosts who led us along a platform walkway built on stilts to our room overlooking the river.
The entire lodge except the dining area was built on stilts to prevent flooding and to minimize the impact on the environment below.


Our room was at the end of the walkway and once inside it looked like this.
The view from our room was amazing and for the next two days we would soak up every moment. Looking out from our deck was a powerful humid ambiance showcasing the beauty of the Zambezi and it's richly diverse riparian sounds. We listened with reverence while the birds, insects and Hippos serenaded us to the tune of a swollen river as we soaked in this once in a lifetime experience .

It didn't take long for us to grab our binoculars and walk out on our deck to view the area and look for birds. There were many and one fine example was this beautiful little Bee-eater.
White-Fronted Bee-Eater (Merops bullockoides)
My faithful companion and fellow adventurer always with binoculars ready for anything that moves, crawls or flies.

She found a frog in our bathroom and we eventually released it to the outside and photographed it on the deck railing. Perhaps someone who knows African amphibians can identify it for us?
The first afternoon we chose to take a boat ride on the Zambezi where we encountered a family of Hippos that greeted us with disdain for our intrusion upon their space.
The Hippopotamus is one of the most dangerous animals in Africa and very territorial when in the water. They put up a very impressive argument that convinced everyone that we were close enough.

Brown-Hooded Kingfisher (Halcyon albiventris)

The bird life along the river was phenomenal and one example is this beautiful little Kingfisher(above).
That evening we enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere at the Main lodge with a glass of wine and excellent food and a superb view of the Zambezi river. The Staff entertained us with music and dancing and invited us to join them. We did and below is Kimberley feeling the African groove.
The next morning we were visited by a family of Vervet Monkeys near our room and immediately went out to observe, enjoy and photograph them.


These monkeys are undoubtedly curious by nature and very unafraid as they approached us closely.

As we gazed into each other's eyes I wondered what is going on in her mind? I think she wanted to be friends and at that moment we became friends.

The male Vervet monkey showing off his colorful genitalia while a female grooms his fur.
I thought to myself now why didn't Homo sapiens evolve such a colorful scheme?
Although the adaptive significance of the colored genitalia may not be well understood, it is thought to aid in visual communication among male Vervets to reinforce the dominance hierarchy.


The Bateleur (terathopius ecaudatus) is one of the most striking and easily identified eagles in Africa. We saw these beautiful eagles at every place we visited while in Africa.

This large Rock Monitor moved quickly away from us as we approached it.

The Red-Billed Oxpeckers (Buphagus erythrorhynchus) were busy keeping ectoparasites at bay on the backs of these Impala (Aepyceros melampus).
White-Crowned Lapwing (Plover) (Vanellus albiceps)

Driving along bumpy roads in a Land Rover not far from our lodge we were consumed with the many birds and mammals and keeping our eyes wide open hoping to see the Pel's Fishing Owl. It was perfect habitat but this is one bird that I would only get a fleeting glimpse of in the Okavanga.

On our last day in Africa we visited Victoria Falls and felt its awesome power and the deafening sound as we walked in its drenching rain along the trails .
A beautiful rainbow created by the falls mist .

High water at one of the "Seven Wonders" of the world. We waited a long time for this adventure and it will remain one of the highlights of our lives.