S.A to Zim
South Africa Travel Blog› entry 1 of 1 › view all entries
The buildings are garishly painted and the with the Namibian desert to the east and the roaring sea to the west it looks out of place, morning to mid afternoon most of the town is enveloped in sea mist and the other half in fine desert sand. The desert ripples into the east for as far as the eye can see, seemingly static, ripple after ripple 10-80 metres high!
Here I had a go at the dunes on a 250cc quad bike, treating it like I was on snow, powering myself up the lea side of the dunes, a sharp turn spray of sand and back down again, yipppeeeeee, could do this all day!
Stayed at the Swakop lodge, a comfortable place run by an English lass called Christine, has a good restaurant to the side, “Cape to Cairo” and two bars, one huge and it seems to be the only place to be of an evening.
Next is was to the famous Etosha NP, salt pans surrounded by hardy thorn and acacia trees, drinking holes being the main place to spot wildlife.
Here I managed to see a leopard, which in itself is not overly exciting, but what was is that he/she was up a tree with its kill, an impala. Its one of those things which you see on TV (which has taken 20-30hrs of filming to get the shot to the screen), mesmerising, we stayed and watched for a good 20 mins until the leopard got shy or pissed off at being stared at and dragged its kill on to the floor out of view, whatever the day brought I was happy.
Next it was to the Waterberg plateau, the scene of the fight between the local Herero people and the Germans, who by force of arms decimated the opposing army in the early 19th century, not much here but it was a good place to stretch the legs and walk up to the plateau after 7hrs of sitting in a truck, which is a usual amount of time every day!
Next morning headed to our next stop, a cheetah farm near the boarder of Botswana, again another 7-8hrs on decent roads, which is a blessing after pothole Kenya/Tanzania. Arrived in time to see 3 males being fed and they are big cats, over 2metres long, sleek body powerful chests and legs just built for speed with big pads and wicked claws (they are the only cats not to have retractable claws), beautiful killing machines, and they make sounds like your average cat, ummmm!
Now we move into Botswana, the most stable of all African countries and maybe the richest and most expensive due to the amount of high grade diamonds being mined here, blood diamonds?! apparently not according to De Beers and the Botswanan government!
We arrive in Maun which has the second most used airport in S.Africa after Jo’berg. Heres the start point for most excursions into the Okavango Delta, we are to be flown by Cessna into the delta and lodge there for two nights, enjoying walking and Mokoro (dug out canoes, sausage tree) safaris through the delta……………….
To be Continued…………….
So, we are roughing it at the Delta camp, tents with "swag mats" (bed roll) but this is okay because the sceanery is amazing and having a family of wart hogs under your decking for two nights is just.........annoying, a lion grunts in the distance the hogs squeal and fidget and you get woken up in a flash wondering what the fucks going on, but i wouldn't have changed it for the world!
The walking safaris are cool as in kenya and tanzania you cant really get out into the bush so miss a certain aspect of the country. we got up close,40m, to a small herd of zebra and tracked some elephants, thankfully elephants have shit eye sight so we got to 25-30m to them but once they spotted us off they went.
Back on the road again and this time to stay in the Chobe national park for one night. Booked was a 3hr trip along the wide chobe, spottin along the way huge herds of elephant (for which chobe is famous for) to which we got quite close to, hippos as usual (getting bored of hippos, you dont really see much of them only ears eyes and nostrils), and on the banks all types of antelope, impala and small crocs (big enough for a pair of shoes!).
The next morning is an option to safari which i miss then its 3 hrs the Zimbabwe boarder and on to Victoria falls ("smoke that thunders" once translated from the local language) named by Dr Livingstone in 1855.
The town of vic falls is..........small and shite!
not much to do if your here for more than 3 days (i'm here for 8), apart from vic falls NP, walk the bridge to zambia, bungee the bridge and a few other activities that cost the earth.
I've got to mention the money situation here. The bank rate for a $ is around 250 zim$, the official unofficial rate for the $ is from 21-26,000 zim$, a beer costs between 10 and 17,000 z$ and a steak around 130-200,000z$, excursions are paid in us$. Another oddity is that to buy , lets say, 1beer to take out, you first need 1 empty bottle to exchange for it, chicken and the egg scenario!!
Found a way past that though, buy a full bottle and pay an extra 7-10,000z$ then your able to get take outs!!!
As to Vic falls itself, i've not ventured into the NP as yet, but i can hear the rumble and see the smoke and i'm a kilometre away!
In conclusion, S.Africa is dryer and the game is not as abundant as E.Africa. the roads are infinately better and the game parks are less crowded, money wise, its cheaper in this part of africa and the people seem to be friendlier albeit poorer. Namibia has to be my favourite country so far, i'm a sucker for quadding in the dunes!