Saturday, August 30, 2014

Africa 1: Welcome to Africa

The first question most commonly asked about our Africa trip is:

Where, exactly, did you go?

We flew into Johannesburg, South Africa from the US, connecting through Amsterdam.  Then we flew from Johannesburg up to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.  The trip was divided into two halves.  Roughly 2-1/2 weeks in southern Africa, (red on the map above) followed by 2-1/2 weeks in eastern Africa  (purple).

From Victoria Falls, we immediately crossed the border to Botswana.  We visited three places there, then flew, boated, then flew some more to Zambia, then we came back to Zimbabwe for several days. 

Since there are no direct flights from Victoria Falls to Nairobi, Kenya, we had to connect back through Johannesburg.  As you can see from the map, we spent time in Kenya, then several places in Tanzania.

The next question almost always asked:

What was it like?

It was, like, amazing.  We stayed in nicely crafted places like this:
Baobob Lodge typical tented cabin

And this:
Banoka Camp typical tented cabin
With comfy interiors like this, all of which had hot and cold running water, showers and toilets that flushed:

interior of Baobab Lodge tented cabin

interior of Baobab Lodge tented cabin
And this:
interior of Banoka Camp tented cabin
interior of Banoka Camp tented cabin
The water was mostly solar heated and the electricity sometimes solar powered.  That was to be expected, really, considering we were literally out in the middle of game reserves, often miles from the nearest town and access to utilities.

Baobab Lodge main lodge building
We ate our meals and gathered in lodges which were mostly open air affairs like the the one above. 

Interior of Baobab Lodge main lodge building
Open air lodges may sound completely uncivilized to some.  My reply to that is twofold:

 One: Chill.  It's Africa.  This kind of architecture works very well here.

Two: I have to say that I'd gladly choose many of these places over some of the 5 star hotels we've stayed in.  Good food, great beds, amazing hosts, views to die for, what's not to like?

View from Baobab Lodge

Speaking of killer views.  Most of the places we stayed, the first of which was called Baobab Lodge, shown above, had great views from the main lodge. The shot above was taken from the front window of Baobab lodge.  Here is another shot from Baobab's lodge's window, this time looking to the right instead of left:
View from Baobab Lodge

Also as mentioned, the food everywhere we went was first rate, and I mean really first rate.  Lots of greens and salads, vegetables and fruit, blending African with US dishes.  Never went hungry.  Overeating was a concern.

It was first class all the way.  For example, they gave us so many pieces of silverware at each meal that I was mostly confused about which piece to use when.  Neither Melony or I had even a small trace of traveler's stomach distress on this trip.
Baobab Lodge African guide
We were driven around by highly skilled and knowledgeable African guides such as Nick, shown above.  They took us to amazing places in vehicles similar to the one below and allowed us to experience things that we will never forget.

Land Rover in Botswana, Africa
Nick said that showing us the land and the animals that he loves was like being paid to play.

Next time, we see a male lion our first morning at Baobab, before we had a chance to finish our breakfast.   Like one of our guides said, "When the lion comes, we go.  We can always eat later."   Man after our own heart.

Continue on to Post 2: We See a Lion Our First Morning, by clicking here.


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