A little travel foray into South Africa’s much-maligned Free State. It’s not all sun-baked mielie fields and moonshine-brewing boers. Well, maybe a little. Pics courtesy of that man with a most special eye, Jay Jay Gregory. Thanks JJ!
I drifted off with noble intentions, the alarm set ambitiously for 5.50am. The plan? Stroll down to Vic Falls on the Zim side, and drink in the sunrise. I wanted to see that perfect light, the rosé spray struck pink by the rising sun.
But then the dreams came. I had missed my flight home and was banished to a scrubby island in the Congo, inhabited by wizened witches. Far from feeling imperiled, turns out I was a witch too. Disclaimer: No brooms or anxious children were harmed in the production of this dream.
When the alarm startled my eyes open, I staggered out of bed (I learnt long ago that to leave my phone within snooze-button-grasp was to invite missed appointments and flights), and stabbed it with my finger.
Then the bed began its dirge: “Come back, I need you.” Not really, beds can’t talk (unless you sleep in a Thai brothel, there the beds most assuredly do talk and they sound something like this: “Yew small dick Australman yew so smaaaalllll…” cue maniacal chipmunk laughter from a Thai hooker. But wait, that’s a different story.
This handsome bed, at the 110-year-old Victoria Falls Hotel (www.victoriafallshotel.co) with its warm folds and memory foam that erases all noble intent, was just too tasty a morsel to resist. I inched my way back, each step a negotiation: just five more minutes, Kate, OK, max 10. Like a connoisseur of sleep, I located the marble-cool side of the pillow, buried my head, allowed my eyes to gauze over like the mozzie net above me and let the witch dreams seep back in.
Five hours later I jerked upright as if a clap of thunder went off in my cerebral cortex. WHAT YEAR IS IT?!?! I flailed wildly.
And that’s how a bed held me hostage from witnessing the Seventh Wonder of the Natural World, on the Zimbabwean side.
I consoled myself with a meat fortress for brekkie.
To misquote The Wind in the Willow‘s Ratty, there’s nothing quite like messing about in boats. That’s what comes to mind as I lie, insouciantly in my bed aboard the Zambezi Queen (http://www.zambeziqueen.com/) watching the sun rise.
Anorexic trees, their leaves denuded by hungry elephants, ghost the banks of the Caprivi strip, while buffalo on the Botswana side regard the vessel balefully. Wood smoke spices the air and a dense peace settles over this wild pepper-scented land, the cicadas yet to begin their shrill chorus.
I found myself in Livingstone, Zambia this week, in digs that fringe the Mighty Zambezi. Despite no longer being immune to the Anopheles Mosquito (in vintage Kate Turner, I lost my prophylactics along the way) I slept profoundly, aided by a diaphanous mozzie net and the softest linen.
I was roused by hunger. Not mine, but this Blue Balled chap’s.
He was agitating for the plate of fruit the munificent folks of David Livingstone Safari Lodge (http://www.thedavidlivingstone.com/) laid out for me. Praise Jeepers the rooms are not porous to wildlife. I can’t say I would’ve been as stoic as my Uncle’s wife, Bev, who regularly has to shoo baboons from their b&b in Glencairn, Simon’s Town. The bush here is dripping with them.
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