This past year I traveled to Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa on an action packed three week long adventure. In addition to scouting a mind numbing total of 35 camps/lodges and ravaging my vocal chords networking at the largest travel trade show on the continent, I had several jaw dropping moments in the wild that reminded me exactly why I do what I do.
I’ll never forget the inquisitive stare down I had with an elephant in the Okavango Delta; the silhouette of a new moon rising over the mighty Zambezi River in Mana Pools; the earth rumbling roar or a male lion at Thanda; tracking rhino on foot in Mosi-Oa-Tunya National Park; being blasted by the thunderous spray of the Victoria Falls; boogie boarding just south of Mozambique on a deserted stretch of beach at Rocktail; and of course all of the amazing people and conversations I had along the way.
One memory in particular stands out and it is something I never anticipated doing while on safari; casting for tigerfish on the Zambezi river. The tigerfish or Hydrocynus vittatus, is the African version of the Piranha but much bigger and with crazy sharp teeth. The Zambezi River is one of the most famous fishing grounds for these aggressive piscivores and I was able to spend the entire morning with a local guide named Bimi, casting into back channels and eddies with hopes of locking into a big one. Growing up in a fishing family, I was taught from a young age how to read water and where to look for salmon and trout in the streams and lakes of the Northwest. Bimi had fished these waters for years to provide extra food for his family and as the morning progressed, we slipped into an easy rapport, congratulating each other on each good catch and working through snags and knots together. Pretty soon we were just a couple of buddies fishing on the river together. It’s those precious moments that I really cherish. The ones where you strike common ground with a complete stranger and fall into sync as if you were lifelong friends. I’ll also never forget the final cast of the day (seriously) which netted me a huge tiger and an ear to ear smile from Bimi!
If you’d like to read more about my adventures this past year please have a look at my blog “Delving Deep into Southern Africa” where I’ve a guide to safari planning in the Okavango Delta, discuss the advantages of the Zimbabwe or Zambian side of the Victoria Falls, and of course more about fishing on the Zambezi.
In addition, I created a photo gallery from my trip: