A hospitable Zimbabwean with a multiple lingual twist.

We had just settled in our shuttle bus with a keen eye on our baggage. With the outside temperature at 32 degrees Celsius, one quickly becomes grateful for the air-conditioner. In unison with the accompanying international guests I was travelling with, we all fastened our seatbelts as our tour guide started the vehicle. After a two-way radio comms, the driver delivered a welcome note I had not experienced before. In a strong, deep, and croaky voice, he said,

“Welcome to Victoria Falls the home of the Mosi-oa-Tunya”,

“Samkele eVictoria Falls”,

“Ndino kugashirai muno muVictoria Falls”,

“Mwaiseni KuVictoria Falls”

“Bienvenido a las cataratas Victoria”

“Bienvenue aux chutes Victoria”

“Bikutoria no taki e yokoso”

“Willkommen in Victoria Falls”

An applause filled the shuttle from the obviously impressed tourists. He introduced himself as Melusi and continued saying, “I love Victoria Falls because every day I meet new people, outside the airport I am the first local that delivers our warm Zimbabwean hospitality”.

Melusi briefed us on the time and distance from the airport to the city. “We will take 30 minutes to get to your hotel. In this season, please keep an eye out for game along the way. Today elephants and a herd of buffalos were spotted near the Masuwe area”. After clearing his throat again, he concluded, “Our city has more wildlife than human beings but that is no guarantee that you will see wildlife along this road”.

As a nature photographer, I quickly reached for my camera in preparation for some action. The Dutch couple opposite my seat dressed in their national football team shirts already had their camera in focus with full attention on the bushes along the road.

Slowing down, our driver announced that, were lucky to get a traditional Victoria Falls welcome as we saw three elephants on the side of the road, one of them flapped its ears as if to say hello. A troop of baboons stubbornly crossed the road, “This is the nursing season, you will see most animals with their young” he remarked. I counted at least twelve nursing mother baboons, with their adorable infants.

Approaching the town, after another two-way radio communication, Melusi, with a voice full of admiration and pride said, “There it is ladies and gentlemen, the Smoke that Thunders, Mosi oa Tunya, the Victoria Falls”. In front of us from a distance was a curtain of mist from the mighty Victoria Falls.

“You have used a good flight, fastjet flights arrive well in time for your afternoon and evening activities,” he said while reaching for his two-way radio.

His many languages, the flight and the wildlife made me think, about how the natural wonder of Victoria Falls had brought us all from across the world to this very moment to explore and experience the Mighty Victoria Falls.