The Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Usually, the most stand out moments of our journey have been unplanned and have cost very little.
Like the magical evening when we called bush babies from their tree top slumber and fed them gooey bananas in Swaziland. In between sleepy munches, these primates gripped our similar but much bigger hands with their own tiny digits. It was enchanting.
Or when we found the perfect spot to set up camp on a dry river bed deep in Kaokaland and could hear the laughter and ancient melodies of a nearby Himba settlement well after the sun had dropped below the trees.
Coming face to face with a jackal is a potentially dangerous situation for a dog but one night in Namibia, Bow Wow taught us an important lesson; life is 10 percent what happens to you and 90 percent how you react. He approached the jackal in play mode and we watched for several minutes as the two bounded around together. The language of play is universal.
We'll never forget the otherworldliness of waking up in the middle of the Makhadikhadi Salt Pans and gazing out from our tent as the sun rose over the lunar landscape.
We’ve found that often the less we plan and the more we just leave ourselves open to wherever the wind takes us, the richer our experiences. Going to the Victoria Falls was unfortunately a perfect example of too high expectations leading to a disappointing time and reminded us of why we should avoid the (pricey) road most travelled.
I'd experienced the surging majesty of the Victoria Falls five years previously. I'd heard its roar, felt its warm spray on my skin and even braved the washing machine rapids of the Zambezi in a raft, clinging to a paddle and a guide called Sausage.
I was looking forward to sharing its dramatic beauty with Lachlan. A place so lovely that David Livingstone thought even angels in their flight must linger to gaze upon it and where the Tonga tribe believe only God could dwell.
The exploring scot, David Livingstone, was the first known European to see the Victoria Falls. He named them after Queen Victoria but their wonderfully descriptive African name is Mosi-o-Tunya which means the Smoke that Thunders.
Unfortunately, when we arrived, the falls were not at their most full and although impressive, there was no Godly rainbow as so often and iconically is created in their spray.
Even though Bow Wow promised not to lift his leg against the statue of David Livingstone, no dogs are allowed. Not even adventure hounds sponsored by Hill's pet Nutrition. We had to leave him guarding the Landy.
The elegant Victoria Falls hotel has barely changed since colonial times. We popped in to have a quick squiz. A pith helmeted doorman greeted us in a coat covered in badges from around the world. They have been given to him by returning guests.
An original BOAC mural, featuring Hermes the messenger god, graces the hotel entrance.
We wondered through the elegant grounds. In the distance, you can see the railway bridge that Cecil Rhodes dreamed up. There were easier places to construct a bridge but nowhere quite so dramatic. He imagined the "spray of the falls over the train carriages". It took several attempts to build and when the first steam train confidently chugged across the gorge, the Tonga tribe watched on from the banks of the river below in slack jawed disbelief.
My brother, Russell, did a bungee jump from this bridge a few years ago. When he was dangling after his jump, the winch man came down to collect him but instead of taking him straight back up to the comfort of solid ground, he first asked if my brother would like to buy some copper bangles! Zimbabweans know a captive market when they see one. Not surprisingly, Russell bought ten.