It’s been 7 whole days since I have returned from Africa. There is nothing better than your own bed, especially after 2 and a half weeks of basic camping. My experience in Africa was amazing and most likely will be the best experience abroad of my life; I would go back in a heart beat. But nothing beats being home. The anticipation of seeing your loved ones after so long at the airport arrival gates; the comforting feeling of walking through your front door; the smell of your own bed; the long luxurious showers; the unpacking of souvenirs; the slideshow of photos; and the first home cooked meal are all the things I will remember about my return home from Africa.
I am yet to delve into the incredible-ness that was my final 2 and a half weeks in Africa-while on Safari through Southern and East Africa. So here I go:
Johannesburg to Victoria Falls 23 November – 1 December 2013
Day 1 – Arrived in Jo’Burg early in the morning and headed straight to the hotel- Sandton Holiday Inn. Had my own room, which was grand! Decided to have a shower and sleep for a little while. Woke up then went for a walk to Sandton City, a large shopping mall in the area. I was amazed at how different and westernised Johannesburg is compared with Ghana. I met my tour group that evening at the briefing, you had Tam and Sam (sisters from Canada), Ian- a pom from northern QLD, Dan from Wales, Lynne from London, Sally from the UK, Jim from Windsor, Sharne from NY, Tony and girlfriend Dorothy from Hungary and Germany, our guide was Timone from Zimbabwe and driver was Ruawan from South Africa.
Day 2 – Drove for about 10 Hours to Rhino Sanctuary, saw Black Rhino, White Rhino, Warthog, Impala, Springbok, Antelope, Giraffe, Tortoise, Jackal, Zebra and lots of birds.
Day 3 – Early start with 7 hour drive to Maun, Botswana, nice campsite with pool and bar so made use of both.
Day 4 – Headed out into the Okavango Delta by Makoro, being poled through small canals and hippo invested water. Camped on a small island within the Delta with everything being cooked on open fire and no facilities for the next two days. Went on evening walk and saw Elephants, Zebra, Hippos and Antelope.
Day 5 – Morning nature walk saw Elephants, a dazzle of Zebras, and an Elephants skeleton. Had a go at poling later in the afternoon, tricky but didn’t fall in at least. Evening campfire with traditional songs and dance performed by locals.
Day 6 – Left the Delta heading back to Maun, back to the same campsite for washing and relaxation. Was finally able to have a shower after 2 long days in the bush!
Day 7 – Went on scenic flight over the Delta, saw 100’s of hippos, Elephants, Giraffes. Became air sick after 15 minutes so I enjoyed the rest of the flight with my head between my knees. Travelled to Elephant Sands. The evening game drive was a bit of a let down on the animal front but still enjoyed.
Day 8 – Early start to head into Zimbabwe and Vic Falls. Spent a good hour in the Wild Horizons store trying to plan all my activities for the following 3 days. Went to Elephant Sanctuary n the afternoon where you can meet the elephants and ride them on a safari walk. My dreams came alive when I was able to connect with the gorgeous Izibulo who was 10 years old. After that we met Sylvester the Cheetah. That evening I bid farewell to the rest of the crew as they continued on to Kruger National Park, while I was due to spend a couple more days in Vic Falls then head to Kenya.
Day 9 – The day had come for me to face my fears. I was so reluctant to do White Water Rafting, but Ian convinced me to do it, and since I was in Victoria Falls, I figured, what better place would there be?? Our Crew was made up of two guys working in Zimbabwe, myself, Sally, Lynne, Ian, Sharne and Mike at the ripe old age of 78. It was absolutely amazing and hands down the best thing I have ever done! Went through rapids graded from 1 to 5- with 6 being the highest. Feeling PRETTY proud of myself at this point. The hour long climb back up the gorge was not much fun, but totally worth it! That afternoon went to a lion sanctuary to walk with the lions, bit touristy but least I can say I have stroked two lionesses and a cheetah now.
Victoria Falls on my lonesome
Since my next tour wasn’t starting for another couple of days in Kenya, I stayed a little bit longer in Victoria Falls. I decided to visit the notorious Devil’s Pool on the Zambia side of the Falls. This was AMAZING! I had to swim through Croc & Hippo invested water to get to the pool, but it was completely worth it. The pool is a small section of the falls where you can jump in and literally lay on the edge of the falls. It was scary at first but so much fun! The next day I spent exploring the town of Livingstone and Victoria Falls.
Kenya & Tanzania
Day 1- Arrived in Nairobi in the early hours of the morning and head straight to the hotel. I slept the day away as I was catching up on some well deserved rest. Met the rest of the group that evening at our briefing. Only four of us in this group and they comprise of Victoria from Argentina, Yaroslav from Russia and Anil from the UK. Our guide was Daniel from Kenya and later we were joined by our driver Alex and cook Ester. Daniel took us into Nairobi to get dinner, after spending over an hour in traffic we finally made it to a very authentic Kenyan bar with live music where we were able to try the local cuisine.
Day 2- Head off early to Kisii. Slept in a convent, enjoyed a lovely dinner and explored the small town.
Day 3- Lake Victoria on the border of Kenya & Tanzania. A stop over in at Kisii Soapstone place where we watched the production of soapstone ornaments in a small manufacturing plant. Bought so many beautiful artifacts to bring home. Once we arrived at the campsite, we set up our tents. explored the small fishing town, watch the sunset over the water and just spend the afternoon relaxing at the bar.
Days 4 & 5- Headed off to Serengeti National Park. Covering 15,000 square kilometres, it takes us over 3 hours just to reach our campsite within the park from the entrance gate, seeing lots of African wildlife along the way. Had our first taste of the Maasai tribes- who are more like farmers that dress very tribal. An afternoon game drive led us to see amazing leopards. Another game drive the following day in Serengeti, where we saw all the big 5 bar the Rhino. Saw lions for the first time in the wild, and to top it off we got bogged in front of the lions. Also saw Cheetahs and more leopards. It started to rain pretty heavy so couldn’t take too many of the beaten up tracked routes as we would have most likely been stuck there. Had giraffes and hyenas at our campsite.
Day 6- Game drive out of Serengeti and into the Ngorongoro Crater. The exist point of the Serengeti was invaded by elephants and was able to get so close to them! Got to our campsite on the crater and just enjoyed the view from the top of the crater.
Day 7- Game drive in a jeep down into the Crater which is about 19 square kilometres big. Amazing to see all the different animals who live in such a unique habitat. This is where we had lions right next to our truck! Amazing! Headed to Meserani Snake Park where we were taken through all the species of reptiles in Africa. Not my cup of tea. I held a baby tortoise though!.
Day 8- Headed off nice and early back to Nairobi. Stressed out all afternoon about the possibility of missing my flight home due to traffic as well as the fact that the following 2 days in Nairobi was their 50th Anniversary of Independence which was adding to the traffic! But made my flight successfully!
There are no words to describe how utterly incredible Africa is- I wish I was still there! But I am so happy to be home with the people I love most.
Until next time.