09.10.2013 - 09.10.2013 37 °C
We got up early though we did not need to. Our plan was to leave the hotel at 8:30 am for our flight to Zimbabwe. We had a driver secured to take us to the hotel, but there was some confusion. To ensure we got to the airport on time, they loaded us and our luggage into a Porsche SUV and said the driver would be right down. We no sooner loaded our bags and sat in the car when the alarm started to go off. People came running to us to have us get out and even though the drivers window was open no one could figure out how to unlock the doors and get us out. They went to find the driver and get the keys to rescue us from the car. It was quite comical and we are probably the only ones to say "get us out of this Porsche." Our scheduled driver finally showed up and we were on our way.
The last part of the flight into Victoria Falls is extremely turbulent due to all the variety of air types mixing with the extremely hot air pushing up from from the ground creating many air pockets. The rainy season starts in November so everything is very dry. Temp is around 35-37. So we have finally found our warm weather. The queue to obtain a visa and gain access to the country is painful, but buying in advance is more than three time expensive. We were sitting up front of the plane and got in good position but even the flight that took off 25 minutes ahead of us was still being processed. Once processed we then had to wait just as long for the bags to finally be unloaded. All told it was about an hour. Not a model of efficiency and really felt bad for the folks towards the back of the plane. I'm guessing they had another hour ahead of them.
The place we are staying at is new (opened 2011) and right in the park. We were told the national park system has been awarding concessions to open up lodges assist in the decrease of poacher activity. Our room is a very large tent with a bed and couch in one section and a open shower and tub in another section. There is also a shower outside. Unlike Riverbend, there are no fences around the lodge or rooms so the animals are free to roam. After sunset, we need an escort to bring us to the main lodge for dinner. I was thinking that was a little confining and wasn't sure how much I was going to like the policy. That was until we were escorted back to our room after dinner and there were two very large water buffalo next to our tent. I will be quite happy to be escorted.
Before dinner we took a sunset cruse down the Zambezi river in a pontoon boat. Almost felt like home getting to ride in the pontoon boat. Similarities are quickly erased from home as there are no hippo's, crockodile, baboons, bush buck, cormorants or african fish eagles at Big Cedar, all of which were seen on our ride, although it should be noted we did see a bald eagle over the house this year