Keeper catches the travel bug
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