Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Botswana and Zambia – elephant herd (June 2012)

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

So amazing to be able to watch the herd walk past.

The matriarch. The hierarchy. The little tiny ones protected by the family. The bulls at the back, keeping us in check.

Elephants are everywhere…

Botswana and Zambia – elephants, Savuti National Park (June 2012)

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Elephant dung, Savuti National Park (June 2012)

Elephant footprint, Savuti National Park (June 2012)

Elephant skull, Savuti National Park (June 2012)

Rock painting sign, Savuti National Park (June 2012)

Elephant rock painting, Savuti National Park (June 2012)

Elephant dung.

Elephant footprint (with the other half’s foot for comparison).

Elephant skeleton. The skull is a big honeycomb which, I learnt, helps keep the weight down.

And… an elephant rock painting.

Botswana and Zambia – Savuti National Park (June 2012)

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

Camp, Savuti National Park (June 2012)

Dead tree, Savuti National Park (June 2012)

Stuck in the sand, Savuti National Park (June 2012)

I loved Savuti.

The wildlife was good but not as good as Chobe.

Still. I loved our camp, the dry landscape and the dead trees, the remoteness  and wildness.

As we were leaving the park, our truck got stuck in the sand.

A sign?

I wouldn’t have minded staying there a wee bit longer.

Bostswana and Zambia – Chobe National Park (June 2012)

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Lion, Chobe National Park (June 2012)

Dead tree, Chobe National Park (June 2012)

Giraffe, Chobe National Park (June 2012)

Chobe National Park is known for having the highest concentration of elephants in Africa.

Strangely enough, we only saw a couple on our early morning drive.

But we saw loads of other animals: a hyena; buffalos (charging our truck); giraffes; ‘go away’ birds; hippos; guinea fowls; Egyptian geese; water monitor lizards; vultures and white headed vultures; fish eagles; impalas; sable antilopes; a lion and a lioness courting; a pride of lions; kingfishers; warthogs and we got a glimpse of a civet.

Spoilt.

Botswana and Zambia – elephants, Chobe river safari (June 2012)

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Herd waiting to cross the river, Chobe (June 2012)

Bulls, Chobe (June 2012)

Bulls in the water, Chobe (June 2012)

Elephant walking nearby, Chobe (June 2012)

Straight from crossing the border back into Botswana, we found ourselves on a boat safari.

The wildlife was staggering. We saw so much. And all so close to us.

Being on a boat gave us a totally different perspective of the animals and their habitat.

But the Chobe river safari was all about elephants (for me anyway).

We got close to them. Really close.

They went about their business, not minding us one bit.

We saw a small herd trying to cross the river, testing the depth of the water and the currents.

We saw bulls swimming.

We saw elephants cooling down in the water.

Elephants are everywhere…

Botswana and Zambia – Elephant Trails Safari (June 2012)

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012

Elephants waiting for us (June 2012)

Sekuti, walking near Marula (June 2012)

Sekuti eating (June 2012)

Marula’s shadow (June 2012)

Scenery (June 2012)

Sausage tree - detail (June 2012)

Tree bark (June 2012)

Elephant skin (June 2012)

‘Feed me’ said Sekuti (June 2012)

Sekuti’s eye (June 2012)

Marula eating (June 2012)

Elephant Trails Safari poster (June 2012)

You can spend a good four to five days in Livingstone (and a small fortune). There’s so much to do there.

Right at the top of my wish list, and our last activity in Livingstone, was an elephant back safari.

I swear this was one of the happiest moments of my life so far.

We had to get up really early (yep, again).

Our elephants were waiting for us.

We rode Marula, a thirty-ish male.

Walking alongside us was Sekuti, a young orphan.

Just us, and the sound of the elephants passing through the grass.

Watching our shadows advance.

The ride was gentle.

We spotted monkeys, antelopes and sausage trees.

The guide we had with us was mainly ensuring that we progressed on our journey. Elephants do like to eat, we found out! And a ride like ours offered ample feeding opportunities!

The scenery was lovely. Calm and peaceful.

I compared elephant skin and tree bark.

The Zambezi Elephant Trails encourage visitors to interact with the elephants. So I fed Marula. And I fed Sekuti – both during and after the ride.

[Insert smiley face here!].

So happy. So lucky.

You can tell the elephants are happy there and that they are well looked after.

Elephants are everywhere…

Botswana and Zambia – Elephant stool (June 2012)

Thursday, December 13th, 2012

Elephant stool, Livingstone (June 2012)

I so wanted to bring this little fellow home…

I came across him at the hotel where we had our cooking class.

Elephants are everywhere…

Botswana and Zambia – local market and cooking lesson (June 2012)

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

Dambwa Central Market, Livingstone (June 2012)

D. Central Butchery, Dambwa Central Market, Livingstone (June 2012)

Dambwa Central Butchery price list, Dambwa Central Market, Livingstone (June 2012)

Stall, Dambwa Central Market, Livingstone (June 2012)

K 2,000, tomatoes, Dambwa Central Market, Livingstone (June 2012)

Dried products for sale, Dambwa Central Market, Livingstone (June 2012)

Market stall, Dambwa Central Market, Livingstone (June 2012)

Zambian staple, Dambwa market, Livingstone (June 2012)

Our purchases, Dambwa market, Livingstone (June 2012)

Greens, cooking lesson, Livingstone (June 2012)

Purple leaves, cooking lesson, Livingstone (June 2012)

Our meal (yummy), cooking lesson, Livingstone (June 2012)

We had just under an hour back at camp after our helicopter trip over the Falls and then it was time to go again.

Time for our cooking lesson.

We had a great time.

It started in the Dambwa local food market. Sure, a few tourists get to go there, but not that many I don’t think. It is a local market for local people.

I love going to markets abroad. You get to see the real country I think, people going about their daily lives.

And it’s fascinating to see the goods on offer.

So we walked around, on a mission. We had to gather ingredients for our eight dishes.

We then drove to a hotel for our late lunch.

Well, we helped a bit but our contribution was limited. We chatted with our guide, listened to him talking about where he grew up, his life now, culture and traditions.

The food was amazing.

It is surprising how much flavour each dish had, considering that there are no spices and very little flavouring. All the taste is coming from the vegetables. Everything gets used, nothing is wasted. We had a pumpkin leaves dish (sharp). The bitter leaves tasted… bitter.

A great way to spend an afternoon.

And a great way to learn more about the country, through its food.

The only downside is that we were promised the recipes by email but sadly these never materialised.

Back to camp, we headed straight to bed.

A fantastic day. An exhilarating day. An exhausting day.

Botswana and Zambia – elephant, the Zambezi Waterfront (June 2012)

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Elephant, Zambezi Waterfront (June 2012)

Right outside the gates of our campsite.

Welcoming us to the Zambezi Waterfront.

Elephants are everywhere…

Botswana and Zambia – the Victoria Falls (June 2012)

Tuesday, December 4th, 2012

The Boiling Pot and bridge (June 2012)

The Victoria Falls (June 2012)

The falls from the air (June 2012)

The Victoria Falls - what a view! (June 2012)

Gorges, Victoria Falls (June 2012)

Livingstone island (June 2012)

The Victoria Falls.

Our main reason for being in Zambia.

A (ridiculously) early start to the day meant that we were at the gates for opening time.

And that gave us the Victoria Falls to ourselves for two hours. Yep. Worth the sacrifice of rolling out of our tent in the middle of the night, don’t you think?

So we took our time and explored the different trails.

We could have spent the whole day at the Boiling Pot. Great view of the bridge. And lots of rainbows.

Back to camp for a well deserved brunch.

And then.

Then, we took a helicopter ride over the Falls.

We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect day for the ride.

Stunning.

Clear view of the Falls, the gorges, Livingstone island and plenty of wildlife.

A truly amazing day. Right up there as one of the very best.