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After spending nine incredible days touring some of the most scenic and wild places in South Africa, we boarded a plane and headed North to Zimbabwe to start a whole new segment of our adventure today. We were overcome with awe as caught our first glimpses of Victoria Falls and this incredibly breathtaking part of Zimbabwe. We are beyond excited about what we have planned for the next three days, and I cannot wait to share more of my stories and photographs with you. We have a lot of amazing things planned for our time in Zimbabwe and Botswana, which I outline for you in this installment of my Africa travel blog.
We decided to do a safari at the renowned Stanley Livingstone Private Game Reserve. This reserve is the last remaining stronghold of the rhino population in Western Zimbabwe. We had seen the white rhino in the Balule Game Reserve near Kruger National Park in South Africa, and we were hoping to see the black rhino on this safari. They are extremely endangered, so we knew our chances going in were going to be slim to spot one. However, it was definitely worth trying as this is one of the best places to spot the remaining black rhino in Africa.
What I really liked about this safari is the fact that they offer evening safaris. Because it is private reserve and not a national park, they do offer safaris to are in the late evening. For many animals, especially predators that lay low during the heat of the day, this is the best time for sightings. What I didn’t like was the fact that the tour operator hadn’t collected all of the fees for the passengers prior to the safari (we booked and paid ahead of time), so we sat and waited over a half-hour before getting to start our safari. This ate up a lot of valuable safari time.
Our guide was also a little indecisive on where he wanted to take us within the reserve, so we spent quite a bit of time stopping and being told we had to be “patient and wait”, only to have him almost immediately move our position elsewhere. That was a little frustrating as I feel like we spent a considerable amount of time figuring out where he wanted to go. We have been on safari quite a few times in Africa, including having been on safari for nearly a week in the Greater Kruger National Park area, and this was by far the least organized safari we had been on.
We did get to see some zebra and several different species of antelope, but for the first few hours of our safari we didn’t spot a whole lot of wildlife. Lucky for us, our driver talked to another driver and was able to determine the position of the black rhinos within the reserve. They were feeding quite a way off the road, but we positioned where we thought they would cross as they made their way from the water back up into the woods at night and waited. Our patience paid off as we were able to get some good pictures of two beautiful black rhinos.
All in all, I would consider our safari a success because we got the black rhino sighting that we were looking for. But at the same time, I was a bit disappointed because we saw very little wildlife beyond those rhinos. In fact, if we hadn’t spotted the rhinos, I think the safari would have been extremely disappointing. At that point in our time in Zimbabwe, we had spotted more wildlife off the side of the road in a car than we had within the Stanley Livingstone Private Reserve. Some of that may be bad luck, but I do believe some of that was the disorganization of the safari operator. I really hate giving bad reviews, but the level of disorganization was really disappointing.
Tomorrow, we had off to the infamous Chobe National Park in Botswana! Should be an incredible adventure. Until then, safe travels!
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