“Dr. Livingstone, I Presume?”

David Livingston was a Scottish missionary and explorer of the Victorian era, now best remembered because of his meeting with Henry Morton Stanley which gave rise to this popular quotation.

Having recently had the good fortune to spend two weeks in Southern Africa, South Africa and Zimbabwe, I can appreciate Dr. Livingstone’s lifelong fascination with the magnificence of the region as summarized by the following:  “No one can imagine the beauty of the view from anything witnessed in England”.

The whole experience was exceptional.  The scenery is truly marvelous, the people are warm and friendly and the weather was terrific.  Safaris that put you within feet of elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, giraffes and a host of other wild animals were a highlight, nearly surpassed by the splendor of Victoria Falls.

Investors may want to go and see the sights, but a note of caution might be appropriate regarding investing.  Anecdotally, during the ten days I spent in South Africa, the Rand dropped nearly 10% relative to the dollar.  In Zimbabwe, were the official currency is the US$, if you buy something, you are not always going to get dollars in your change, but rather, a government issued scrip, that is very hard to exchange, either for merchandise or dollars.

All comments and suggestions are welcome.

Walter J. Kirchberger, CFA®