Keeper catches the travel bug

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - Escape - - CELEBRITY ESCAPE ZIMBABWE - An­gela Sau­rine

HE TRAV­ELLED all over the world dur­ing his sport­ing ca­reer, so it’s hard for re­tired crick­eter Ian Healy to pin down a favourite travel ex­pe­ri­ence.

Af­ter each of his three Ashes tours to Eng­land, the Aus­tralian wick­et­keeper would try to tack on a few ex­tra days to ex­plore Europe.

But it was a three-week trip to Zim­babwe with his fam­ily af­ter play­ing in a Test that re­ally stands out in his mind.

Healy had a good friend in the Zim­bab­wean cricket team and stayed on his chicken farm.

‘‘ It was great to see how they lived,’’ he says.

His friend ar­ranged his itin­er­ary, which in­cluded a visit to Vic­to­ria Falls and fly­ing in a light plane to Hwange Na­tional Park, the largest game re­serve in the coun­try.

Dur­ing the trip they had sev­eral in­cred­i­ble wildlife en­coun­ters.

‘‘ An ele­phant walked through our camp one night and we all froze,’’ Healy says. ‘‘ Our kids just never for­got it. ‘‘ An­other time we’re sit­ting down play­ing cards at the lodge and with­out us hear­ing any­thing a buf­falo wan­dered into the water­hole.

‘‘ It was a great ex­pe­ri­ence to see how stealthy these an­i­mals are.

‘‘ My daugh­ter was six at the time and a mon­key came to her door.

‘‘ She pan­icked be­cause she’d never seen a mon­key be­fore and she thought it was a go­rilla.’’

The fam­ily took a heli­copter flight over Vic­to­ria Falls be­fore be­ing taken about an hour and a half down the Zam­bezi River to a camp.

From there, they jumped in ca­noes and pad­dled about 12km back to their camp­site.

‘‘ It’s a fast-flow­ing river so it was fairly easy pad­dling,’’ Healy says. ‘‘ Along the way we saw hip­pos and crocodiles. A crocodile ac­tu­ally slid into the wa­ter just near our boat and a hippo opened its

Ama­bella

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