A park close to Randburg, near Johannesburg, South Africa. Tony is with Niel, his South African couchsurfing host, and Yurika from Japan. Taken on the afternoon of 5th March. Gaborone, Botswana
Afternoon of Saturday, 7th March 2020
Cows wondering by a road, near Gaborone Town, capital of Botswana. They seem to wander where they want! Taken on the afternoon of 7th March.
Sunday, 8th March 2020
Selfie of Tony and Eva, the couchsurfer I stayed with. Next to her house. A car behind.
Another selfie of Tony and Eva. Tony’s arms outstretched.
Tony in the road outside Eva’s large house. A single storey brick built house with a wall and gate in front.
Tony standing in the street, which is located in a suburb of Gaborone called Tlokweng. A cow grazing opposite.
Tony at the side of the road with another cow standing in a grassy area behind.
Tony with Eva. Three more cows eating long grass at the side of the road.
Tony in front of the large metal gate at the front of Eva’s house.
Tony sitting at a small table in Eva’s kitchen eating food from a bowl. Cup of tea on the table.
Tony outside the house touching a wooden wind chime. Gweta, north Botswana
Gweta is a small village in north Botswana, roughly 2.5 hours by bus from Naum and 1 hour from Nata.
Sunday, 15th March 2020
Tony touching the roots of a large baobab tree. Baobabs reach heights of 5 to 30 metres (16 to 98 ft) and have trunk diameters of 7 to 11 metres (23 to 36 ft). They are able to store large quantities of water in their trunks to help them survive in dry savanna conditions. They also lose their leaves during arid periods. They are sometimes called ‘upside-down trees’ because when leafless their branches look like roots sticking up into the air. Their fruit is quite large, and resemble a small rugby ball. They are also furry and edible.
Another shot of Tony in front of a baobab tree.
View across the savannah landscape covered with grasses among dispersed bushes and trees. A pair of horses grazing on the grass.
Expansive view over the prominently grassy landscape. Cows and other animals grazing in the near distance.
Looking across the Nwetwe Salt Pan. This very flat landscape is covered with salt and other minerals and extends off into the far distance. A group of four people walking in the near distance. This area becomes a lake during the rainy season.
Tony by a Safari vehicle on the Nwetwe Salt Pan. This large vehicle is used for safaris and can seat 9 people in the open back covered by a canvas, with one passenger in the cab with the driver.
Tony in front of another massive baobab tree. This one is part of the ‘Baobab forest’, located a 10-15 minute drive from Gweta.
Tony examining a large root extending from the base of the baobab tree with his cane.
A natural watering hole for wild animals. Lots of animals, mostly goats, drinking on the far side. Beyond the savannah landscape of grassland mixed with bushes and trees.
More goats and other animals next to the watering hole. The parched remains of a dead tree in the foreground.
Tony near to the watering hole.
Tony holding a big roughly spherical lump of dry elephant dung.
Close up of the elephant dung. Kasane & Chobe National Park
Thursday, 18th March 2020
Tony in front of a large three-storey building. A tall tree growing in front. This is the Baobab Prison Tree at the police station in the town of Kasane, north Botswana. Many old baobabs are hollow inside and so is the old tree at Kasane. But in this case the people in the area have helped along a bit and increased the erosion inside the tree manually. Baobabs can survive this treatment. They form a new layer of bark on top of the injury. The tree in Kasane was used as a prison for many years. Culprits had been imprisoned and “parked” there before they were relocated to other prisons. The Baobab is still there and alive but it has changed its structure over the years. The main stem with the prison cell has split up in several spots and cannot be used as a prison any more. Only fragments are left of it. Nevertheless these are still alive. Attached to the main stem grow two baobabs – it is uncertain whether these are branches of the main tree or two genetically separate baobabs. Info taken from baobabstories.com
Looking up at the tall baobab in front of the police station.
The safari vehicle passing a pair of fighting male impala: their horns locked together. Other male impala grazing nearby. Taken in Chobe National Park.
A large group, probably of female impala, watching in the near distance.
The safari vehicle approaching a pair of lions, a male and female, both asleep on a grassy vehicle track through the bush.
Closer view of the sleeping male lion.
Again the male and female lions asleep about a metre apart from each other.
The male lion now awake, with its head up, and looking towards the sleeping female.
A group of helmeted guinea fowl pecking in an area of sandy soil with small grassy and scrub-like plants. The guinea fowl have large rounded bodies and small heads. Their feathered bodies are grey-black in colour with speckles of white, while their heads are featherless with the skin distinctively coloured in predominantly blue and topped with a red coloured knob of bone.
Again the helmeted guinea fowl: a group of seven adults and several young birds.
View of the Chobe River with a group of wadding birds, probably storks, at the water’s edge. The birds are medium-to-large in size. They are grey-black in colour with white on their bellies and necks. Long legs and beaks.
Another view of the wadding birds lining the far shore of the river.
A group of five female impala standing in the bush close by. They are facing away from the camera showing the distinctive pair of black stripes that run from the top of their hind legs to the top of their buttocks.
Another view of the impala now facing the camera.
The same impala now grazing close to the safari vehicle.
A larger group of at least 25 female impala. They are grazing on grass in the foreground with denser vegetation of trees and scrubs beyond.
An elephant sitting in the water near to the riverbank. Taken during an afternoon boat cruise through Chobe National Park on the Chobe River.
The elephant now standing and walking out of the river.
Slightly closer view of the elephant heading away from the river. The surrounding landscape is a mix of grass, bushes and trees.
A medium-sized bird standing in shallow water at the river’s edge. It has a white head and breast. Its back appears to be brown, but this is mostly out of view. This seems to be an African fish eagle.
A female nyala looking directly towards the camera from amongst vegetation on the river bank. A small bird sitting on its back. Nyala are a type of antelope found in southern Africa. In colour it is pale brown with white stripes across its back. The males have large horns. The bird sitting on its back eat the insects.
The partly submerged head of a crocodile appearing close to the boat.
The head and back of the crocodile now visible in shallow water close to the river bank.
An elephant shaking water off its body while standing in shallow water.
A pair of hippos basking amongst reeds. In the background an expanse of marsh.
A large crocodile on a grassy bank in the middle of the river.
A closer view of the large basking crocodile. A small black and white bird sitting on its back.
A group of about six hippos a little way distant, mostly submerged in the water.
A closer view of some of the part submerged hippos.
Another crocodile on grass at the side of the river. A good view of its head.
The boat approaching a small settlement with moorings. A rope suspension bridge over the river in front.
The boat heading into the moorings. Several other boats used for viewing wildlife tied up. Sign for Chobe Water Villas.
A building at the side of the river. It is raised up on stilts with its roof and walls constructed from reeds. One of the many tourist villas along the Chobe River.
Close-up of Tony sitting outdoors under a shelter having a drink. The location is the Old House, a restaurant and guesthouse. One of the oldest buildings in Kasane. Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Friday, 20th March 2020
Photos taken from the Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls.
While Victoria Falls are neither the highest nor the widest series of waterfalls in the world, they are considered the largest. This is based on the combined width of 1,708 metres and height of 108 metres. The falls are located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Tony in front of a statue of David Livingstone. The statue is made of bronze and stands on a stone block. The statue faces east toward the main falls. David Livingstone (1813 to 1873) was a Scottish explorer, Christian missionary and physician. He is believed to have been the first European to reach the Mosi-o-Tunya (“the smoke that thunders”) waterfall in 1855, sighting them on 16th November of that year from what is now Livingstone Island, Zambia. Livingstone named them Victoria Falls after Victoria, Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. There are 16 viewpoint positions on the Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls. These can be visited alone or with a knowledgeable guide. The statue of David Livingstone is located at viewpoint 1. It’s also possible to see part of the Devil’s Cataract Falls from this viewpoint.
Misty view of vegetation at the far western end of the gorge into which Victoria Falls descends. The top edge of the gorge, with a near vertical rocky cliff, is visible opposite. Probably taken above viewpoint 2.
Tony with the gorge behind. A halo of the sun reflected in the mist. The mist is generated by the crashing water. Here the waterfalls are difficult to distinguish in the misty haze.
Tony on a path at the top of the gorge. Here the gorge is about 80 metres deep, but this increases to 108 metres in the centre. The gorge is around 1.7 kilometres in length. From this first gorge, the Zambezi river flows through a 110-metre gap, which leads on into a series of other gorges that continue for several kilometres downstream.
Tony looking into the long narrow gorge from the western end. This is viewpoint 2, reached by descending 73 stone, slippery steps. This is known as the Chain Walk going down the bottom of the Gorge. From here a clear view of the beginning of the gorge and, depending on the season, the Main Falls can be seen from this point.
Spectacular view of Devil’s Cataract from viewpoint 6, the westernmost of the waterfalls that make up Victoria Falls. Cataract Island (also known as Boaruka Island) is a piece of solid land that separates it from the rest of the falls. A massive volume of foaming water can be seen crashing into the gorge. The Devil’s Cataract is the lowest of the five Falls, with a drop of 60 metres. It’s, apparently, best seen in the morning.
Another view of Devil’s Cataract with Tony in the foreground.
The very wet path at the top of the gorge: a mixture of falling rain and spray from the falls. Probably at viewpoint 4. Puddles forming on the ground. The falls can only vaguely be seen because the view is shrouded by the spray.
Another impressive view of Devil’s Cataract from further east. Lush vegetation lining the top of the gorge. Tony in the foreground.
Tony with Cataract Island behind and Devil’s Cataract to the left.
First view of Main Falls, the crashing water disappearing from sight down into the gorge. Main Falls are 93 metres deep and approximately 150 metres wide and are the biggest of all the Falls. They run from Cataract Island east towards the smaller Livingstone Island. Seen from viewpoint 7. Point 7 is arguably the best point to view the Main Falls as opposed to points 8 and 9 which are directly opposite because their visibility is affected by continuous sprays. The Main Falls It returns more water during high water season.
Looking back at Devil’s Cataract, a massive white foaming mass of water crashing into the gorge.
Tony in the foreground with a slightly misty view along the gorge towards Devil’s Cataract.
Hazy view of Main Falls from viewpoint 8. Cataract Island is just out of view to the left. Here the falls have a slightly curved profile. To the right the massive curtain of falling water disappears away into the haze created by the spray.
Tony with a wide expanse of crashing water behind. This is horseshoe Falls with Rainbow Falls also visible, probably from viewpoint 13. Horseshoe Falls is 92 metres in height. According to my guide its name comes from the excavation of the fissure above the wall by the river towards Livingstone Island forming an indentation similar to a horse shoe! This central part of Victoria Falls, which is up to 108 metres in height, also includes Rainbow Falls and Arm Chair Falls. There’s no barrier here to stop people from falling into the falls and is considered dangerous, in both, wet and dry seasons! Viewpoint 15, called the ‘Danger Point’ is located near to Rainbow Falls. Again, there’s no barrier and also almost no visibility of the falls in ‘high season’. There are no photos from points 14 and 15, because there was too much spray and mist. Heavy water from the falls.
Tony with Victoria Falls Bridge behind. This bridge crosses the Zambezi at the Second Gorge. The centre of the river forms the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. The bridge can be seen from viewpoint 16, the final viewpoint on the Zimbabwean side of the falls. The parabolic arch bridge was constructed in 14 months and completed in 1905. The height is 111 metres above the Zambezi River during the lowest water level and is 198 metres (650 feet)long. It’s a road, rail and foot bridge.
Tony with a group of African dancers and musicians at the entrance to Victoria Falls.
Another view of Tony with the dancers. The dancers are a mixture of men and women. One is holding a drum. They are wearing a mixture of traditional and modern dress.
Close-up of Tony with the dancers. Tony is wearing a traditional headband.
Afternoon of Saturday, 21st March 2020
Taken by Tendai, a local Zimbabwean couchsurfer who Tony stayed with
in Victoria Falls.
Tony in front of a very large baobab tree. A sign in front of the tree gives its girth as a massive 18 metres and its height as 23 metres. Located near Victoria Falls Town, Zimbabwe, close to the bridge crossing the border with Zambia.
A sign at the foot of the giant baobab tree names it as ‘The Big Tree’ and estimates its age at 1000 to 1500 years. Tony next to the sign.
Tony in front of another smaller baobab tree holding one of its fruits. The fruit is an extended ovular shape and is brownish green in colour. These fruits typically weigh around 1.5 kilograms. This smaller baobab can be touched and has no barrier.
Closer view of Tony holding the baobab fruit. The fruit has a soft, furry outer skin.
Tony touching a sign at the Zimbabwe end of Victoria Falls Bridge. This bridge spans the Zambezi River just below Victoria Falls and crosses the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Tony on Victoria Falls Bridge in front of a sign that reads ‘You are now entering Zambia’. The bridge is 198 metres long, with its main steel arch spanning 156 metres. It is elevated 128 metres above the Zambezi River.
Tony listening at the side of Victoria Falls Bridge. The view is shrouded in mist.
Another view from the bridge. Trees at the top of the gorge are visible through the mist. ElephantCafe, Livingstone, Zambia
Sunday, 22nd March 2020
Tony arriving in a pickup truck at Zambezi Elephant Trails for an “Elephant Encounter”. The site is located approximately 10km upriver from the Victoria Falls on the Zambia side . Two adult elephants can be seen roaming around in the background with the Zambezi river beyond.
Tony up close with an adult elephant. He is putting food in its trunk from a bag. The food is natural plant material that they would find and eat in the wild. Elephant’s trunks are full of strong muscles and they use them to suck in food before putting it in their mouths.
Tony next to the elephant with Ethan, the local couchsurfer he stayed with. The wide Zambezi river, Africa’s fourth longest, clearly in view behind.
Again Tony and Ethan feeding the elephant, along with one of the keepers, named Africa.
The elephant looking directly towards the camera with Tony, Ethan and the keeper to one side. This is one of five adult African Elephants at Zambezi Elephant Trails, they are named Madinda, Marula, Liwa, Danny, and Mashumbi.
Africa, the elephant keeper, helping Tony touch the elephant’s tusk.
Again Tony touching the end of the tusk with Ethan and the keeper alongside.
Front view of the elephant holding food in its trunk.
Good view of Tony and Ethan putting more food directly into the elephant’s raised trunk.
Closer shot of Tony, with Ethan and the keeper, feeding the elephant.
Front view of Tony, Ethan, Africa the keeper and the elephant close to the bank of the Zambezi river. The river is very wide here with several small vegetation covered islands visible. The water level appears quite high, with the lower parts of some trees submerged.
Side view of the elephant with Tony, Ethan and the keeper behind. The elephant is roughly twice the height of Tony.
Right up close looking at Tony putting food into the elephant’s trunk.
Tony with Ethan taking more food out of the bag. The elephant just behind them.
Clear view of the end of the elephant’s wrinkled muscular trunk. Tony and Ethan still offering it food.
Tony almost underneath the elephant’s head. The elephant’s trunk held aloft against its forehead.
A group of six adult elephants wondering in the surrounding bush. A younger elephant is almost hidden alongside one of the adults. The bush is part of Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park.
Group of three adult elephants with two juveniles in the bush close to the ElephantCafe.
Tony touching the elephant’s trunk.
Tony with Africa the keeper feeling the end of one of the tusks.
Close-up group photo of Tony, Ethan and Africa the keeper at ElephantCafe, Livingstone, Zambia.
Tony sitting in the Elephant Cafe with a canvas roof above, but open sides. A large single-storey building opposite. Mosi Oa Tunya National Park, Zambia
Sunday afternoon, 22nd March 2020
Tony and Ethan sitting in a safari vehicle leaving Livingstone heading to Mosi Oa Tunya National Park.
In a safari vehicle looking at a pair of giraffes. They are in a bush or savanna landscape of grass with dispersed bushes and trees. During a safari drive and walk in Mosi Oa Tunya National Park, Zambia.
A slightly closer view of one of the giraffes standing on the left side of the photo.
Another giraffe standing a little way distant in the bush.
The giraffe heading away from the camera.
Another view of the two giraffes. One nearby looking towards the camera and the other further away.
Two zebras just visible grazing in the distance.
A pair of lechwe, a type of antelope, grazing among vegetation.
The driver talking to Tony. A dirt track through the bush in front.
Another pair of lechwe. They have no horns, so are female (or possibly juveniles). Lechwe stand at 90 to 100 cm at the shoulder and weigh from 70 to 120 kg Another pair of lechwe. They have no horns, so are female (or possibly juveniles). Lechwe stand at 90 to 100 cm at the shoulder and weigh from 70 to 120 kg. They are golden brown in colour with white bellies. . They are golden brown in colour with white bellies.
A group of buffalo in the distance, partly concealed by vegetation. A couple of horns are slightly visible.
A group of female impala grazing in the bush. Impala are medium-sized antelope found in eastern and southern Africa. They are reddish brown in colour. Their ears are approximately 17 centimetres long and are tipped with black. Black streaks run from their buttocks to their upper hind legs. Only the males have horns.
Tony with the guide in front of a mopani tree (also known as a butterfly tree). They are discussing this tree’s uses. The wood from the mopani tree is very hard, making it difficult to work, but also useful because it is resistant to termites. Its uses include building houses and fences.
Another view of Tony talking to the guide about the mopani tree.
A large rhinoceros footprint in the muddy grass.
Tony examining the rhino footprint.
A pair of giraffes a little distance away among trees and bushes. Their long necks raising them over the surrounding vegetation.
An excellent view of a pair of rhinoceros facing towards the camera. They have double horns, which are visible here on the front of their heads. Rhinos are one of the largest and heaviest of all land animals with females typically weighing 1,700 kg and males 2,300 kg. The species in these photos are white rhinos. Technically, both black and white rhinos are steely grey in colour, although here they appear more brown because they like wallowing in mud. The most noteworthy difference between the two species is their upper lip. The black rhino has a hooked lip whilst the white rhino has a square lip. Because black rhinos browse instead of graze, the hooked lip helps them munch on leaves from trees and bushes, says the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). In addition, white rhinos have a longer skull, a less defined forehead and a more obvious shoulder hump. Additional info from: Info taken from: www.mnn.com
Another view of the two rhinoceros, with a third one now emerging from the right.
Tony standing near to the three rhinos.
Zoomed in on another rhino standing in profile to the camera with its head down. Rhinos have eyes on the sides, rather than the front, of their heads, and their eyes are quite small relative to the size of their bodies.
Tony with the guide and park ranger descending into an area of mud and sand.
Tony and the guide and park ranger standing next to a large rhino footprint in the mud. Tony was able to feel the print with his fingers as it created a distinct shape in the mud. The protruding toes are most recognisable. Ngonye Falls, Zambia
Tuesday, 24th March 2020
View across the Zambezi river just upstream from Ngonye Falls. Vegetation in the foreground. The falls are located near the town of Sioma in Western Zambia.
Looking downstream along the wide Zambezi river. Ngonye Falls (also known as Sioma Falls) are in the distance. The falls are 10 to 25 metres in height, but are more impressive for their width. They form a crescent interrupted by rocky outcrops.
A local guy standing at the river’s edge.
Tony standing with two local guys sitting on a rock next to the river. The guy on the right is Brian.
Tony in the foreground with a view along the river towards the top of Ngonye Falls.
Tony standing in an area of mud and grass at the side of the river. Dense vegetation along the bank.
Tony with the two local guys next to the Zambezi. Tony facing away from the camera.