It’s all about perspective…
We just returned from our Zambezi Explorer trip and cannot say enough great things about the country and its amazing people.
The trip started off in classic ROAM style as we were treated to giraffe, elephant and lion sightings on our very first safari. Our dip into Botswana for the day to explore Chobe National Park was extraordinary too. The inflatable kayaking (Africans call it canoeing, but it’s not) on the Upper Zambezi was not without drama as we had very, very close encounters with a few hippos and an elephant herd but everyone returned to our deluxe riverside expedition camp unscathed and excited. Talk at the table over sundowners, was elevated by our day’s experience. Rafting the Batoka Gorge of the Zambezi is beyond words…
One of the greatest aspects of the trip was missing the endless US political election banter. Without Hillary or Donald talk, we were able to truly soak up the sounds, sights and smells of Africa. Zimbabwe’s natural wonders can only be out done by its wonderful inhabitants. I am the first to admit, at times, I feel pangs of guilt or “elitism”. The juxtaposition of being in a 5 star facility in the Sub-Saharan desert while being attended to tirelessly by our support staff, makes me a little embarrassed about our fretting the political situation at home in North America, be it Trump or Clinton as President.
Our good friend and lead river guide Mandrise (a.k.a. “Hippo”), who has guided more than 2,200 trips down the Zambezi, lost his life savings when the Zimbabwe dollar tanked in the late 90’s. The country has a 60 percent unemployment rate, is ranked 155th out of 177 countries for worst corruption and now Hippo’s precious river and resource is going to be dammed to power air conditioners in Johannesburg. Hippo knows a few things about losses and yet, he continues to be our amazing host always proud to show off his country to foreigners like us.
In Cape Town, we heard that Trump was victorious. As an outsider looking in, it surprised me a little but not that much. I was more concerned about the message it sends our children, essentially that lying and bullying gets you ahead, but then I reflected back to thoughts of Zimbabwe and it all seems so trivial. No matter what your political stripes, you should visit Africa and see how poverty, corruption, decades of poor leadership and rampant unemployment can only bring you down if you allow it. America – we’ll be just fine.
We have much to learn from our friends in Zimbabwe. Once you visit and see the people’s unbridled, wholehearted happiness, you may think twice about naive references like “third world”… as the people here are all first-class.
ROAM is proud to be working with our friends here and has two scheduled departures to the Zambezi Basin in 2017. There are also safari extensions visiting Hwange National Park and a Cape Town multi-sport that dovetails perfectly.