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.