Tag Archives: Africa

Reflections of a College Student: Abroad in Ghana, Africa

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For sixteen years I spent each weekday from September through June surrounded by two-thousand teenagers. They sat in my classroom, worked with me on extracurricular activities, planned events, volunteered, did community outreach and we learned from each other. As a teacher, there are many students whose lives intersect with yours during their tenure of high school and once they graduate and spread their wings you’re lucky if that contact is still present. With the advent of social media more and more graduates are able to choose to connect with their teachers. For some it’s to say thank you, for some it’s to ask for advice or recommendations and for others its merely to maintain that connection that started in their youth. I was the class advisor for the graduating class of 2012 and it was in their sophomore year when I left to travel the world and live in Australia for awhile. Those who were interested in travel wanted to know more about my journey. Social media and that travel gene has connected me with many former students and I’m always interested to see where life has taken them after high school.  It was that travel connection that brought Maddie Reilly and me back together. A close friend of one of my officers, she spread her university wings farther than many of her peers by taking a university program abroad in Ghana, Africa. When I saw her at this past high school graduation, she was excited to start planning her next adventure to wherever the wind would take her. Here, she reflects on her journey and shares her views of the gifts of travel.

Interview with: Maddie Reilly, Farmingdale, NY

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Farmingdale alum, traveler-Maddie Reilly

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Interview: Francis Tapon

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Northern, Southern, Western and Eastern and everywhere I set foot in between…I have loved Africa. When asked about my time on the continent, my answer is always the same, ‘Africa gets in your soul, and stays there’. Each time we leave I can’t wait to return. Through social media and travelers postings, I connected with Francis Tapon who is on a journey to document the Unseen Africa. A traveler, author, speaker, co-founder of a robotics vision company in Silicon Valley and owner of an MBA from Harvard Business School, Francis Tapon ditched life in Silicon Valley in 2006 to pursue another dream to travel to each of the world’s countries. To date, he as been to more than 80, backpacked over 20,000 km (walked across America four times) and is currently on a three year trip around the African continent. His most recent journey works on showcasing more of Africa than what is shown in the media. In his own words, this ‘adventure travel show is part documentary and part reality show’. If you’ve never been to Africa, want to reminisce about your travels or want to learn a bit more before you book that ticket this might be your chance. Check out his travels, back the project, follow the journey or just delve a bit further into the gifts of travel provided by the beauty that is Africa. Read the rest of this entry

Aside

Sandune’s Lodge is known as the home of the San People, the Bushmen. Andrew, the owner, who greeted us graciously, communicated quite easily with the San people living in a small village at the edge of his property. We had arrived early to find traditionally designed, beautiful rooms, and breath-taking animal population.

Riding atop the jeep

Our drive to the Bushmen village was short, but our transportation quite different. There were two jeeps, each with some room inside and one with a separate seating section on the top. Yes, that’s right, (don’t tell my mother) we sat on the roof of the truck! As we gripped at the handrails over every bump, we knew this ride would be special. We drove through the bush on sand tracks and after leaving the car we continued to head further into the bush hiking through blades of grass up to my waist. The journey was incredible and we hadn’t even yet met the people.

The San People of Namibia

At the edge of the property, what we saw was astounding. We found a village of six adults, two teenage boys and a few children staying in stick-made huts surrounding a man-made fire. They wore little clothing, spoke their own language, used traditional methods of hunting, played with sticks, and regularly drank out of ostrich eggs.  As Andrew translated our conversations and questions, the Bushmen demonstrated how they trapped animals, made a poison to place on the end of an arrow, created gorgeous shell jewelry out of ostrich eggs and altogether how they lived. Read the rest of this entry

An Afternoon with the San People of Namibia

Kruger National Park, South Africa

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Day 68: Polokwane, South Africa-Kruger National Park, South Africa (14 November 2009)

Well, the storm had come and gone and the tents were still standing, so that was a good thing! We woke up at 6:30 this morning to the scene of a very heavy storm with the outsides of the tents drenched but we were dry as a bone on the inside! We got ourselves up and had a lovely brekky of Jungle Oats So Easy, South Africa’s version of instant oatmeal. We had banana and toffee and chocolate and added peanut butter and oh my goodness they were delicious! Like a warm reeces peanut butter cup and a warm banana dessert!

After a cup of tea and the wash up of the dishes, we were on our way to Kruger National Park! We attempted to go to a small game reserve first but unfortunately it was raining a bit and the reserve was closed since they were afraid of the cars sliding into the animals. Lucky for us, this is the only time so far in this whole journey that weather has been a factor at all in our holiday plans. So, in lieu of the reserve, we hit a shopping mall to get some food for Kruger and we had a bit of a wander around and picked up a few of our South African favorites for the road (two boxes of rusks and some Braai salt) and then we headed to Kruger! How cool is that! We were actually going to Kruger National Park in South Africa-I’ve wanted to go here for as long as I’ve known it existed!

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sleeping with the elephants

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Day 66: Kasane, Botswana-Nata, Botswana (12 November 2009)

We awoke this morning to the sounds of nature and that included the monkeys and baboons that were running around our campsite trying to get their hands on any food possible. We had some breakfast (muesli, yogurt, tea and those yummy rusks again) and broke down camp and then had a shower at the nearby ablution box. The truck is really cool. There are so many compartments on the outside it isn’t funny. One big one on the back right side for all of our luggage and then the big one on the back left side is for a refrigerator/freezer and compartments for a food and storage pantry. Then the smaller ones on the left and right sides are for tables, chairs, tents and all of the crockery and cookware. It’s really neat how much it can carry.

Anyway, after all of that we hopped in the truck and drove our way to the Elephant Sands campsite in Nata (where our other tour had those flat tyres). This is a well-known campsite that is on a reserve without any fences and has elephants and other animals that drink from their pool and walk right through the campsites. Really cool in theory but waking up to find lions or elephants outside and being stuck in that tent would just not be the best I would think, right? We set up camp near two ablution blocks; one fully outdoors (showers, toilet, sinks and all) and the other just toilets but fully covered. We managed to set up camp just before the rain came and then we went to the bar and restaurant for some lunch and to wait out the rain. We got some toasted sandwiches and chips and hung out watching as the kudu and the elephants made their way just a few meters from us for a bit as the loudest cracks of thunder we’d ever heard launched overhead!

We waited for the thunder to stop surging through our bodies and for the rain to dissipate before we raced back to camp to throw on some warmer clothing for the next bit of the journey. We changed and hopped in a land rover that took us on a fifteen minute drive on roads and then into a proper game reserve and drove for kilometers and kilometers and kilometers onto land that there was completely no road including gliding over the trees and branches and other natural matter. We even got out of the jeep to go looking for a giraffe and when we saw it we went closer and found over ten giraffe scurrying away; it was amazing! And it was funny as all of the other drives we’ve been on there were strict rules not to get out of the vehicle and here we were being told to hop out, crouch down, walk slowly and search the land for the game…awesome! We got back in the jeep and drove for over three hours to a few waterholes and saw many elephants, a few antelope and before we were done there was a herd of buffalo blocking our path and waiting to greet us (or eat us)!

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Back to Botswana

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Day 65: Livingstone, Zambia-Kasane, Botswana (11 November 2009)

Another day, another tour! We woke up this morning at our Zambezi Waterfront campsite and when visiting the ablution box I could only think about the Grey Beach washhouse at sleep away camp and the memories that that brings with it…the hair drying room, Mr. Bill’s mirror that now sits in Jackie’s basement and the numerous times that clothing was stolen when someone was in the shower. Anyway, the sun was out and the lights were on so I was definitely happier to be in the campsite in daylight especially since my torch blew last night of course so it was even more difficult than the usual to see in the darkness. And remember, at these campsites you’re not just looking for things in front of you but it’s the crawlies that you could step on that could be deadly as well!

We had our first breakfast on this tour, a full buffet which was alright and who can complain when they get to eat dinner and breakfast on the Zambezi River, right? We finished eating, packed up our tents, loaded the truck and away we went! We drove a short while to the border where we got another Zambia stamp (outgoing this time) and waited again for the ferry that doesn’t look like a ferry! It took a bit of awhile for our turn on the ferry this time and eventually we actually boarded the ferry prior to the truck so we walked our way to the Botswanan border post to get our stamps and waited for Colin to get across with the truck. We had some soft drinks while we waited and upon Colin’s arrival we headed off into Botswana and after awhile arrived at a shopping center where we could get some snacks and drinks and the guys got stuff for dinner and we drove basically around the corner and got to the Chobe Safari Lodge where we were camping for the night.

We set up camp right by the fence border of the park amidst the monkeys and the baboons and in direct view of the hippos and the crocodiles. Once the kitchen was set up (a table next to the fire) we had some lunch of sandwiches, set up the tents and then put on some bathing suits and took our stuff with us for the sunset river cruise in the late afternoon. We got to hang out in the pool a bit which was really nice. This was a lovely lodge with really nice chalets and cabins. It seems that many of the places have really nice accommodations and then also maintain a campsite as well and those are the sites we’re staying at so we can use some of the amenities of the resorts but we stay at the campsite and use the ablution boxes. We used the fancy bathrooms and got changed and then got ready for the cruise. This was the same cruise that we had been on a few nights ago, but we were able to go on a really small boat this time that was very close to the water level and we had Chapman as our guide. We knew that we had already driven this same route, but it was really great to be in one of the small boats and we felt quite close to the hippos and crocs along the way and we were able to see the elephants so close up. Remember, we didn’t feel the big need to be face to face with a hippo again (considering) but it was a great ride with another beautiful sunset to close the show!

It’s Botswana, so you know there’ll be bugs when it hits nighttime and that there were! We got back from the cruise, went back to our campsite just next to the river and had some dinner by fire and lantern light with many little crawly and flying creatures to join us. Yohan had made dinner which was rice and veggies for me and chicken added in for the others. It was really good and it was cool that it was made on a basic hotplate as we had no stove facilities at all of course. And then, as this is a full participation tour; we had to go and wash the dishes…I know, not what everyone in the world would want to do on their honeymoon…but we wanted to see Africa and without that lotto winning it can’t all be five star treatment, right? So, hands on it is…the washing was a three tub system; one with soap, one with sterilizer and the other just clean water and then some drying cloths. It went pretty quickly as there were five of us and we all went to get it done quickly.

Then of course I had to introduce more people and more cultures to the art of s’more making and everyone was quite happy with their dessert treat! Jerrit and Yohan had had them before as there have been many other s’more happy campers who have shown them, but it was the first for Linda and Simon and Colm and they do always make us smile as well! The husband and I went to bed early as there were hundreds of bugs that just seemed to fly right into you and land wherever they wanted and you just couldn’t get away from them; at least in our tents with the tiny meshed windows we were somewhat safer. Unfortunately, the Botswanan night air tonight was relatively hot and sticky so it was a little difficult to fall asleep! Eventually we fell asleep knowing that we only had one more night in Botswana with all of the bugs (we decided that bugs and Botswana both start with ‘b’ so that’s why they go together-nuts we know, but something had to pass the time, right?) and tomorrow night should put us up close with the elephants so it should be totally worth it!

Tomorrow: Elephant Sands!

Intrepid begins!

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Day 64: Livingstone, Zambia (10 November 2009)

We were certainly well rested this morning when we awoke realizing that although yesterday’s events seemed like a dream they were complete reality and we felt so very lucky to be able to have that reality as a part of our lives. We got dressed and went to breakfast (as it was included in our room) and were shocked to see Panos, our friendly Cypress-born radiologist sitting in the restaurant in front of us. He wasn’t supposed to be there, his tour left days ago to go into the Caprivi strip of Namibia and they would then basically be two days behind us on our new tour even though we were staying in different places, it was the same gist of locations. Get this, because he is a Cypress citizen he has a Cypress and a Greek passport and depending on the country he could use either to get in. He got all the way to the Caprivi Strip of Namibia and couldn’t get into the country due to some small snag of the visas on his passport. It seemed very confusing but GAP Adventures covers themselves very well and basically says that you must take care of all of that paperwork before arrival and if there are snags in it they are not responsible. So, he had to take a taxi and a public bus all the way back to Livingstone and then he had to figure out how to get to Maun four days later to reconnect with the tour. Luckily, Constance was great and got him a room and was going to help him to get to Maun and we never found out the specifics, but Panos had been traveling for a full two years and all of the detail of the stories he’d told led us to believe that he was loaded, so he knew that if he had to hire a private plane to get to Botswana he could do that too. How crazy is that, right?!

Anyway, we ate with our friend and wandered to the craft market with him and let him know when we were planning on leaving so we could say goodbye (again) and we were off to do some shopping! We knew we still had one more time to go to the Vic Falls craft market as we were to go there on our new tour tonight but we still wanted to check out this one, too. We only bought a bit of artwork and then headed back to the hotel to pack, check out and find our way to our next venue. We said goodbye to Panos who helped us bring our luggage to the front of the hotel, checked out and thanked Constance and her assistant as they had ordered a car to take us to the Zambezi Waterfront Campsite free of charge which made our lives so much easier as the driver would already know where to go and we didn’t have to come up with the cash. Did we tell you about the cash here? The money is called Qwatcha and it’s all very old and very dirty bills. What would be equivalent to a 10 US dollar taxi would be about 400,000 Qwatcha. It’s almost ridiculous to figure out the money. And, it’s funny as most countries in Africa seem to accept other country’s currencies, but no one will accept the Qwatcha; you can only use it in Zambia. On the other hand, no one at all will use Zimbabwean currency as it’s leader is basically printing money so it’s value is worthless. We bought at the Zambian craft market a set of Zimbabwean bills for the princely sum of 5 US dollars and we got, 10 million, 20 million, 50 billion, 100 billion and 100 trillion dollar notes. It’s great to feel like a king with them in your pocket but all combined you couldn’t even by bread!

Anyway, we made it to the campsite after a short drive and it was really pretty, right on the banks of the Zambezi River. We met our tour leaders, Yohan and Jerrit and our driver, Colin who were all South Africans. Surprisingly, it wound up that there were only five people on this tour as it was also a leg of a larger tour. Five people, including us! There was a girl Linda from New Zealand who had just finished another Intrepid camping trip from Nairobi, Kenya through the Serrengetti and two Irish guys (Simon and Colm) from Dairy, who were in Africa for their first time and then they were going to Dubai for a few days. The five of us in a truck that could seat about 15 with no airconditioning, big giant windows, a few eskies, power points in the back and a good sound system with comfortable seats.

We met everyone (not that that was hard), pitched our tents and used the internet and paid for a sunset dinner cruise for the evening on the Chobe River. It was a lovely boat ride and dinner was good and once again we were able to get beautiful African sunset photos. I really don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like them and I’ve seen my fair share of beautiful sunsets, but these are really just out of this world every night! We hung out for a bit after dinner trying to keep the mossies away and then hit the ablution box. Unfortunately the placement of tonight’s tents weren’t too close to stuff so I was really uncomfortable going anywhere much so in the tent we stayed for the night…monkeys were outside and we were inside, safe in our tent under the African night sky.

Tomorrow: Botswana again!

Livin’ on the edge/A walk on the wild side!

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Day 63: Livingstone, Zambia (9 November 2009)

It was five o’clock in the morning when we got up this morning as we were being picked up by a man named Daniel to go on an adventure to walk with the lions and the cheetahs of Zambia. Incredible, right? Even writing the sentence and saying the words it’s hard to believe that it actually happened that this is what we did today. Hope you’re ready for it because it’s one for the record books, well, for us it certainly is!

We got to the BIG FIVE EXPERIENCE before 6:30 and sat with a few Kiwis and a girl from Chicago who were on a 50 something day camping tour and chose to do this option and we had some tea and coffee and signed our lives away. We watched a video of what we were about to do and had to pinch ourselves that this was real. First, we were given walking sticks to use if the lions got too feisty and looked right at us. Yeah, because a little wooden stick was going to save us from the mouths of babes..well, these were no ordinary babes! We were taken with many handlers to see four lion cubs and with our walking sticks at hand we were able to get right down beside them and pet them. No joke…petting a lion! And these were no cowardly lions I assure you! We walked beside them, held their tails and more or less became one with the lions! I mean I actually held the tail of a lion as it walked, the tail, really! It was incredible! I think I held my breath almost the entire time! One of the handlers took my camera and just kept snapping and snapping photos even as close as the inside of their mouths when they opened them…just plain crazy that’s for sure!

After this mind-blowing experience we got to see the older lions in a gated fenced in area and then the next ridiculousness of the day came. There was a large enclosure with five cheetahs in it and we were going to go inside it and pet them. Yup, you heard right…cheetahs. Big orange spotted cats with sharp teeth that could spring for kilometers and run faster than a speeding bullet! There were four cats seated where we were (another was over relaxing far away from us so we didn’t pay much attention-but yes, there was a large cat somewhere behind us) and we could pet them. One of the four just sneered right at you and wanted nothing to do with us so we left him alone. You were supposed to go right up to them (no sticks this time) and pet them and rub their bellies as if they were puppies…and in perfect puppy fashion they licked you! Yes, no joke, licked by a cheetah! I think both of us held our breaths the whole time it was incredible. Their tongues were rough like sand paper (good exfoliator for the sunny day we were having) and let me tell you that holding your breath from total fear and trying to smile at the same time is not an easy task at all! The pictures are unbelievable and the experience is out of this world! Totally and completely scary but amazing at the same time.

After agreeing to buy the video-because seriously, who does this in their lifetime, we left the big five experience and were driven over to the Royal Livingstone five star hotel. The Big Five was just amazing and so nice to know that they are really a conservation sight and help to raise these lion cubs but when they get large enough they are brought over to reserves to roam freely as they are taught more how to be in the wild. What a day and it was not even 9:30 in the morning yet.

The Royal Livingstone Hotel…now this is a place to holiday! White glove service all the way for Dr. Livingstone, I presume! We wandered to the back and hopped into a small boat for a short boat ride over to Livingstone Island which was a small island first set foot on by Dr. David Livingstone as he talked about the views of angels when he first laid eyes on Victoria Falls. The boat docked and we were told to follow a guide (David). He took us past a changing room of palm trees and bamboo where we put on our bathers and next to it was a bathroom made out of the same materials titled ‘a loo with a view’. Then we walked over many large rocks where we saw other people’s clothing and belongings and we left ours in the same place. We then met another guide who would accompany us out to Devil’s Pool. So, if you don’t know what this is, devil’s pool is a small pool of natural water created solely by rock formations on the edge of Victoria Falls. Our guide took my camera and held it in the air and swam with it across a small area from the rocks where our clothes lay to another group of rocks and we were to swim and follow him across, so we did. Now, we were on top of a group of rocks with a small pool in front of us, a few rocks in front of that and there was the edge, the actual edge of Victoria Falls! Crazy! We watched a group of travellers in front of us do it and they smiled and lived…so we were here right, might as well! Our photographer had our camera as he had already taken many photos of us on the edge in our clothing he was now ready to take them of us jumping to what could considerably be our death, but they seemed to assure us we’d be fine. The photographer was on the rocks on the left, the cliff edge was in front of us with another guide standing atop it to catch our hands if necessary and we were atop a huge rock ready to jump into a pool of water and hoping not to fall over the edge. The man with the camera says jump and insanely…you jump! We did it! WHAT A RUSH! We jumped and we lived…Mathew was on the end and just grabbed the good side of the rock as the other side would have plummeted him over the side. It was out of this world! After you jumped you could sit on the edge and lean backwards to literally see the falls rushing over the side and as you sit with the photographer snapping away there are little fish nibbling at your toes. Trying to keep the fish away, while smiling and not falling over the edge…now there’s a sight! Now these guys truly live on the edge every day!

We were even luckier as mother nature gifted us with double rainbows in the falls that day! We tried to steady our breathing enough to swim back across to where our clothes were and pick up a towel and get dressed all the while shaking in disbelief at what we just did! What an incredibly magical moment for the both of us! We had come across the paths of so many people in our travels who said if you’re going to Livingstone don’t miss Devil’s Pool and this is one of those times I’m so very glad we listened! After our breathing slowed and we were able to get dressed, we found our way over to a beautifully decorated canopied table with white glove service. The other jumpers were there with a few others who were just guests for breakfast. We ate eggs benedict on a scone with hollandaise sauce and tea/coffee and an extra scone (for good luck which we needed awhile ago). It was a lovely morning tea (or as Ian and Louise-our British friends-would have called it elevenses-since you have it around 11) and after signing the guest book we were on our way back to the boat.

We were driven by boat off of the island and after a short ride arrived at the docks. After walking past the monkeys, some carrying babies, we wandered past the beautiful pool to the gorgeous five star hotel of the Royal Livingstone which is absolutely huge! Manicured lawns, impeccable service, cool wildlife and beautiful people. We wandered in and out of the fancy gift shop, used the five star facilities which were completely bug-free and were off and running again for more endless adventure on one of our most memorable days!

We hopped in the free shuttle from the Royal Livingstone to the three star Zambezi Sun hotel where you can walk right through a small game park with Zebras straight up to the back entrance to the Victoria Falls craft market and into the Zambia border patrol post. At the border we got our passports happily stamped to exit Zambia (knowing that we already had the double entry visa to return) and we walked ourselves over a bridge and down a street and straight into Zimbabwe! How cool is that! And we thought walking into Namibia was neat, but Zimbabwe…amazing! We filled out some paperwork, paid some money, got a stamp and added Zimbabwe to our list of countries-Zimbabwe…CHECK!

We walked about 10 meters or so and found our way into the Victoria Falls entrance on the Zimbabwean side and were so glad that we did as the sound and the spray that we were looking for was totally there! It was awesome! The whoosh of the water as it tumbled over the rocks can be heard from kilometers away and the spray made me once again so glad that I had lasik surgery done as even my sunglasses were covered in water when we were many meters away from the edge. It was the sight only seen on photographs before this and just what you think Victoria Falls should look like…talk about not disappointing! We managed to call the hotel and arrange to get picked up a bit later by the driver so we had some more time to run, jump and play at the falls as it took a good 45 minutes to just walk across the bridge to Zim.

Over an hour later we had made our way out of the falls (with a pair of Green Zambezi shorts for the hubs). We walked over the bridge in the boiling hot sun where it melted the bottom of my thongs from the heat of road and sunburned the part of my hair that held my braids and the backs of our shoulders where our singlets didn’t cover and finally made it back across the Zambian border and waited in the increasing heat for our ride to appear. When Daniel was over 30 minutes late we called Constance back at the hotel with the phone number that was written on the key and she arranged for a driver and car to pick us up and bring us back to the hotel free of charge, which was great! As we waited I ran through the sprinklers fully clothed just to stop my body from overheating as quickly as I felt it was doing. Our driver showed and safely got us back to the hotel where we jacked up the aircon and drank our weight in water! We tried to rehydrate and recouperate from such a daunting day, hand washed a bit of laundry and grabbed a taxi up to Subway for dinner!

We were overjoyed to see a Subway (as we hadn’t seen any really since Capetown) and sadly it just wasn’t the best sandwich in the world, but it was still Subway so that was nice and nothing could ruin any part of this day. We grabbed a taxi back to the shoprite and then went to the minimart for some water and then walked ourselves back to the hotel. We were surprised that when we got back to the room some of our laundry was gone; but shortly our room attendant came to the room to tell us that he saw some of the stuff was really wet and took it to put it in the dryer for us free of charge which was so very nice of him. We had chatted to him before as the first day we were there we had a leaky aircon unit so he took care of that for us and when we did our laundry last time he made sure the laundry attendant brought the clothes back straight away to the room. The staff at the hotel was really wonderful, which was even nicer to know now that we were there on our own without a tour manager anywhere in sight. Well, with a day of insane feats behind us, we hung out a bit, caught our breath, checked some emails and were finally able to rest our weary heads.

Tomorrow: Intrepid Tour begins!

a day of rest before more crazy stuff!

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Day 62: Livingstone, Zambia (8 November 2009)

We got up extra early this morning to see the others off. The tour officially ends after breakfast but we weren’t sure when or if we’d be able to catch up with anyone later as all of the flights were leaving at different times. The others who flew over Victoria Falls didn’t see the falls from the ground level so Paul and Karel offered to drive them there around 8am so we got up to say goodbye and see them off. We said our goodbyes (hoping to in the future meet up with Ian and Louise in Africa or somewhere else in the world) and then came back to the room to get a bit more sleep.

We got up and headed out to check out the Livingstone craft market that was a stone’s throw from our hotel and then had a quick lunch or lunchish as it was at Wonderbake (suggested by Paul). We each had some semblance of a pie and sat with Daniel and David who were doing the same thing before they were to leave the next day and then we went back to the hotel for some laundry and a quick relax before dinner. We had decided to join Paul with his new recruits for the next leg of the tour for dinner and we brought Maria and Bernardo and Daniel and David and Gayle (oy) with us as they had an extra night here as well. Panos and Dawn were going to be there too as they were doing the 52 day tour from Capetown to Capetown. Dinner was at another Indian styled restaurant called Armadillo (right outside of the hotel) and we got to meet some of the new people who would accompany Panos and Dawn for the next few days from Vic Falls to Jo’burg. It was nice to have a catch up chat with Daniel and David and Maria and Bernardo to get a feel of what everyone thought of about our tour and of course their thoughts of some of the people on it as well and just enjoy another meal together as we had one more full day on our own before we caught our next tour.

We came back from dinner, said our goodbyes and called it an early night as tomorrow was a big day for us and we hadn’t had one in awhile. We call it a ‘contiki’ day as we know it’s jam-packed but all of the exhaustion on the other end would be completely worthwhile. We went to sleep dreaming of wildlife and nature for tomorrow’s adventure!

Tomorrow: we walk with lions, jump in devil’s pool and head off to Zim!

‘The Smoke That Thunders’

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Day 61: Kasane, Botswana-Livingstone, Zambia (7 November 2009)

More adventure around every corner right? Well, we found some of it this morning in our own thatched roof hut. We woke up and Mathew showered with no trouble and as I got out of my sleep sheet to head for a shower the power went off in our cottage. No worries, right. Well, after a few phone calls to reception we had our power back on even though I had already finished my shower by torch light…all par for the course; what’s a journey without a little adventure, right? Anyway, we got dressed and went to breakfast knowing that we had to pay our bills, but as we got to reception to pay they said that they had no power and we all had to pay by cash as their card machines wouldn’t work without power. We all managed to work it out between pula and US dollars and had some breakfast that not that I ate it, but was accompanied by peach jam-that was a new one for me (but I bet if I asked for it at Briermiere Farms in Riverhead it would be sitting right on one of their little shelves ready for purchase even though I‘d never noticed before)!

We waited for a few more people to return as they had been on a morning game drive and were on our way around 10am off to get our check out of Botswana stamp in our passports! We stopped just before the Botswanan border to spend the rest of our Pula. Mathew bought another peanut butter for us and we still had some Pula left, so when I saw three young boys without shoes walk into the store and look for something to buy with what they had my heart broke. I went back to find them and gave the the rest of the Pula we had to spend it on whatever they wanted. It wasn’t much, but I hoped it would help them. Well, we got through the Botswanan border fine and had to get on a ferry to cross the Chobe and Zambezi Rivers and get into Zambia. Now, what do you think of when you hear the word ferry?

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