We have really been busy these last few days! We went down to Livingstone which is the tourist capital of Zambia. They call it this because it is where Victoria Falls is located.
Victoria Falls is the largest uninterrupted wall of water in the world. You can’t walk up to it without getting really wet from the spray. It is formed when the huge Zambezi river flows over a large basalt rock formation. You can see the deep gorges downstream from the falls
in a picture taken from a helicopter. Each one of these gorges used to be the waterfall at some point in time. As the waterfall has moved upstream it has abandoned one cliff and eaten away another! There is a special rain forest that is growing just below the falls. This is the only rain forest in Zambia. It exists because the spray from the falls feeds it all the year around.
We were also able to help out with a lion conservation project. Lions have been hunted and pushed out of their habitat all throughout Africa. Right now the population of lions is very low…only about 20,000! This conservation project is trying to add to the number of lions in the wild. First, cubs will be removed from a captive-bred lion. This is to help make sure that these cubs have an increased chance of survival. The cubs are raised by humans and walked out in the forest and grasslands so that they can get used to their environment and hone their hunting skills. Tourists are allowed to walk with the lions. The money from these walks helps to support the conservation project. When the lions are old enough they are moved to a 700 acre enclosure full of animals and they do not have any further human contact. These lions then breed and have cubs of their own. These cubs are raised by the group of lions (a pride). Once the cubs are old enough they are moved to another enclosure where they can further hone their hunting skills while competing against other predators such as hyena. Again, they do not have any human contact. Once they are ready the cubs are moved out to national parks all over Africa. We got to walk with the lions, build them toys out of sticks and leaves, and even feed them donkey. They feed them donkey because it is currently the cheapest meat they can get.
All in all it was a good trip. We have been doing a little more agriculture lately but now we will be going up to a national park. I don’t know when the next time is that I will be able to send a post, but I hope to get one off in a week or so!