Zimbabwe

Spectacular Victoria Falls from the air (helicopter)

Country Information:

The capital of Zimbabwe is Harare. There are approximately 16 million people living here. There are 15 official languages. Shona and Ndebele are the most widely spoken, with English as the language of official business use. The thirteen official minority languages are: Chewa, Chibarwe, Kalanga, Koisan, Nambya, Ndau, Shangani, sign language, SeSotho, Setswana, Tonga, Tshivenda, and isiXhosa.  The majority of the population practices protestant Christianity. The time zone is 6 hours ahead of EST.

When visiting, one cannot miss out on Victoria Falls! Located on the Western part of the country, Victoria Falls is twice as tall as Canada’s Niagara Falls and several times longer. In fact, it is home to the largest sheet of water for any waterfall in the world. Also of interest is the cultural and historical importance of in the country’s capital, Harare. When visiting, make sure to stop by the National Gallery, home to Shona soft-stone carvings and other ethnic art exhibitions. Also of interest is Chapungu Sculpture Park, home to a vast number of black serpentine stone carvings done by various Zimbabwean artists.

One fun fact about Zimbabwe is that it is native to the mbira, or the thumb piano, a small handheld instrument played for over 1,000 years!

Jim’s Perspectives:

Staying at the iconic Victoria Falls Hotel in 1996 with a view of the river, was an incredible experience. We were greeted by Odell, the famed doorman who wore a red jacket adorned with hundreds of buttons. There were tourists from all across the globe here, and the sights, smells and overall ambience of this place was first class. We ate breakfast on the terrace, overlooking the incredible bridge.

Victoria Falls is the largest waterfall in the world, while it is neither the highest nor the widest. Susan, dad and I took a helicopter flight over the falls and walked around it completely, seeing its beauty from above, and from both the Zimbabwean and Zambian sides. We were soaked to the bone, especially after walking across the Knife Edge Bridge in Zambia. Susan didn’t like that bridge much, and we both looked like drowned rats when walking back. Since I had bungeed in New Zealand, I didn’t feel the need to bungee jump 300+ feet off the bridge – – I have to say it was a little daunting watching people do that!

Unfortunately, we only stayed here one night, en route to Chobe Game Lodge in Botswana, and this is a place I where I would definitely return.

Gambia

Country Information:  The capital of Gambia is Banjul. There are approximately 2.5 million people living here. The official language of Gambia is English. The majority of Gambians practice Islam.  Major exports of Gambia are peanut products, fish, cotton, and palm...

Niger

Zarma kids and community Country Information:  Niger, also known as the Republic of Niger is named after the Niger river. About 24 million people live here and the capital is Niamey. Over ninety percent of the population is Sunni Islam. The official language is...

Suriname

Roadside amadillos for sale   About half the population of Suriname lives in Paramaribo, the capital city. It is mostly a nondescript economic district offering little for tourists to see. 80% of Suriname is jungle so when you go you must see it—it’s wonderful! I...