home / Mailing List Update / 04 July 2005
04 July 2005

Debbie writes... It feels quite 'strange' being back in civilisation again. After weeks of pining for creature comforts, I am now feeling rather overwhelmed by the hustle 'n bustle of 'normal' life! In a weird kind of way, I really miss the wildness of Africa and being lost somewhere out there in the bush. There is definitely something special about being at one with nature and spending time with the locals.

We arrived in Namibia after a tough fortnight driving through Angola. Angola is in a sad way - there is no internal infrastructure and a severe shortage of food (apart from the capital, Luanda). The locals are very wary of people and appear very lifeless (totally understandable considering what they've been through). Once we stopped to give two little kids some sweets, but they were so scared of us - they scampered away.

Namibia on the other hand is a total contrast - in may ways, it reminds me of a mini-South Africa. The shops, banks, infrastructure ... and white domination. Having experienced black Africa for the past 5months, it was rather strange observing the different lifestyle of blacks in a civilised country. In fact it is rather sad, as their lives totally revolve around the white man. It was also disturbing to hear how the conservative-whites conversed with the blacks. Being privileged to experience true African hospitality in parts of West Africa, it is disappointing to see just how much the white man rules! (And that coming from a South African!!)

That said, Namibia as a country is absolutely beautiful. Meeting up with Martin's parents, we headed to the Etosha National Park where we had an amazing time experiencing an abundance of wildlife. At the waterhole of one of our campsites, we were treated to elephants, rhino, gemsbok, zebra, wildebeest, springbok, hyenas and more! At night we lay in out tents listening to the calls of nature ... this is Africa at its best!

The outdoor lifestyle in southern Africa is incredibly popular and there is always an abundance of travellers in the latest white(!) double-cabs and 4x4s (most from South Africa - just can't get away from them!). Sadly for Martin, British engineering is considerably outnumbered by the Japanese! Camping is a major way of life and it has been fascinating to see the latest toys and gadgets on display. Every night, the various campsites are ablaze with campfires and people braai'ing their evening dinners (guaranteed to include lots of meat). During the first week in Namibia, Martin and I overdosed on biltong and meat :-)

Driving east into Botswana, we spent a wonderful few days at a gorgeous campsite on the Okavango Delta. A family-run river lodge - it has to rank among the best places I have stayed for their friendly hospitality, making our stay that much more special! Watching the sunset over the delta, hearing the fish-eagles call and the hippos grunt is truly magical. One night we spotted a rare and very shy Sitatunga - looks like a Kudu, but roams in water. As a treat we booked a flight over Okavango Delta in a 6-seater Cessna - it was wonderful to experience this watery wilderness. We saw herds of elephants, buffalo, hippos, giraffe, etc. It was special! Have a look at the website for some pics.

Once we said our farewells to Martin's folks, we headed to the Makgadikgadi Pans. What a total contrast to the delta! These pans were once covered in water and over the years have dried up, leaving a vast terrain of salt pans. There is a mystique stillness of these pans. We were rewarded with awesome sunsets and sunrises over the pans.

As I write, we are now on the Botswana/Zambia border (next to Chobe NP) - tomorrow on to Zambia, Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya ...

Well, that's our news for now.



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