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A Night in the Okavango Delta

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A Night in the Okavango Delta I was on a seven-day camping trip in Africa. A lot of it was actually spent on this truck/bus/hybrid thing/horrifyingly bumpy + uncomfortable torture contraption: (Remind me next time to opt for the Range Rover with tent attachment on top.) Don't get me wrong, I was on a fun road trip with equally fun people. And I was in Africa! I mean, YES. Where else can you look out the window and see Giraffes and Elephants in the wild?! But sometime in my life between the age of twelve (weeks at girls' camp, backpacking in California's Sierra Nevadas) and thirty four (aging bones and much less tolerance for dirt and having been abroad for eight months to varying degrees and standards of cleanliness and sleeping accommodation driving me to just want to sleep in a comfortable bed, for the love of pete!) I just plain didn't want to be camping. Nope. Nope. Nope. Still I opted for said camping tour because it got me from Point-A to Point-B for a reasonable cost and allowed for some sightseeing along the way. The camping was a compromise. Little did I know that my camping trip actually had a camping trip of it's own. Does that sound weird? Let me explain. Most nights we drove to fenced-in campgrounds at various points with established campgrounds. These places had running water, showers, places to do laundry if needed, restaurants, toilets, etc. They could be quite nice. But then came Day 4. Oh, Day 4! Here's what my trip notes had to say about Day 4: Day 4: Maun/Okavango Delta Enjoy a game walk, traditional mokoro (dugout canoe) excursion, and birding. View wildlife up close. Sing and dance around the campfire with the locals. Nothing abnormal about that, right? Walking: Good! I like walking. Canoe rides: fun! Splish-splash! Wildlife up close: Sweet! Bring on the Zebras! Campfires and locals: Awesome! Same old-same ol'. We'd had campfires every night. Routine by day four, really. Nothing in the trip notes hinted that night four would be any different to the rest of the nights in fenced-in compounds. Except, surprise! There was NOTHING routine about day four. And little did I know what we were in for until Day 3's evening meeting when our tour guide began to tell us about what to expect the next day. "Take only what you need for one night. Take enough water. Leave everything else on the bus. It will be locked up. You're going to ride around 45 minutes in a power boat to a village and then you'll be taken in small Mokoro canoes to your campsite. Listen to the locals. Stay with the group. You are in for a treat." Wait, our group tour guide coming with us? Apparently not. We rolled with it. Maybe I'm just hard-headed, but I really didn't "get" what was about to happen until I loaded up … continue reading

Strange Dreams in Botswana and Prayer

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Strange Dreams in Botswana and Prayer Brightly colored feathers in oranges, reds and vivid yellows framed the menacing, dark-skinned face. His eyes seemed hollow recesses designed to devour the soul at a glance. His lips moved, chanting words I could not hear with intensity. Sometimes he spoke, sometimes his mouth opened as to … continue reading

Last-Minute Tour Prep in Africa

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Last-Minute Tour Prep in Africa Some people prep for trips for months, even years in advance. I certainly did for this journey - at least for most of it. Until I hit Africa. Africa ushered in a new phase in my traveling: that of not having the appropriate gear and clothing for the region. Aside from the required immunizations and … continue reading

There are Penguins in Africa

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There are Penguins in Africa No, I'm not putting you on. There are indeed Penguins in Africa. On the southernmost tip of the South African Cape, at the end of the railway line (Simons Town) is a place called Boulders Beach. The African Penguin was introduced to the area in the 1980's, with two breeding pairs to start the protected … continue reading

Well Hello Again!

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It's been a crazy six weeks or so! The site has been completely down, thanks to hackers, but everything seems to be (finally) back on track, aside from around a million broken photo links in older blog posts and some missing buttons. It should all be resolved soon. Meanwhile, I've got loads to update y'all on - the first thing is … continue reading

Muizenberg’s Scrappers

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Amidst the painted beach changing houses, trendy restaurants and cute historic homes of Muizenberg one could easily forget that one is in Africa. But every so often you'll run into a rather bleak reminder that TIA, This is Africa, after all. Like random, huge potholes in the sidewalk, or missing signs, or homeless people actually … continue reading