Friday, April 21, 2006

On vacation

I just got back from my first real vacation in Africa. Have taken plenty of extended weekend trips (like the last one to Cape Town), but this is my first week long trip. I met my dad in Johannesburg and we first flew to Kruger. We spent 2 nights in a SA National Parks camp and 2 nights in a private game reserve, Lukimbi Lodge. While the SANP lodge was very nice, it really paled in comparison to the private lodge. We then met Kylie back in Jo-burg and headed north to Livingstone, Zambia. There we stayed at a cool, rustic lodge and did the tourist circuit of Victoria Falls, a Zambezi River cruise, and a very cool gorge swing. Then we head all the way back to Durban so my dad could see where I lived, worked, and surfed.

While this short entry doesnt do the trip justice, I am short on time these days. After all, I leave very soon!! So I hope the following picutres at least provide a pictoral depiction of the trip.
This elephant was in "must" which apparently meant it was mating season and that he was really pissed off. He walked towards our Land Rover and made some menacing huffing noises. But we yielded to him, and this was about as close as we came to being sat on or tusked. It was pretty frightening though to be on the receiving end of such a large animal's aggresion.

Picture of me on the front of the Land Rover holding my favorite African beer, a Windhoek (pronounced vind-hook). a.k.a. the capital of Namibia.

Does this picture make you want to sing "cha-ma, cha-ma, cha-ma, cha-ma, cha-ma cha-meleon." It does for me.
The amazing view from Taita Falcon Lodge. We ate breakfast and dinner from the deck that looked over the Batoka Gorge. I was convinced I could throw a rock over the edge to the river. Despite multiple attmeps, I never really even came close. Now my shoulder hurts.

Incredible Victoria Falls. We visited just after the rainy season at the peak of the flow over the falls. The spray from the falls was quite intense. It was a beautiful, sunny day, yet it felt like a full on hurricane in dark stormy weather. Pretty amazing.

The intrepid traveling trio about 30 meters upstream from the falls. Notice the massive spray behind us.

My Dad and I, shortly after we convinced him to try the gorge swing in Zambia. We were actually quite proud of him for giving it a try. While I obviously managed to shave in the time between the previous 2 pictures, I am, infact, wearing the same smelly shirt.

Me making the jump off the gorge swing. Was a little scary the first time, but pretty fun once the swing caught you.

Can you believe there was a 30 foot scorpion outside our room in Zambia? This was one of the many intimidating bugs we had to contend with at our rustic lodge.

And finally, back to civilization in Durban. Kylie set up an amazing dinner for us at a nearby Thai restauraunt. We invited all our friends and had dinner for 12. The food, the company and the atmosphere were all amazing. It was probably one of my favorite nights in Durban. Note Nupe at the far end of the table. He's been back in SA for a few short weeks and we were happy to have him around.


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