Sunday 31 October 2010

Bungi jumping in Vic Falls

Baboon with my cookies (photo: Irka)
We were able to get our room with two separate beds in Fawlty Towers at 8 or 9 in the morning because it was unoccupied. Internet is free but so very slow here. It's a real pain. The backpackers is not as good as advertised but well, it'll suit well enough for 3 days. We went to town after having tested the pool a while. We went looking for the tourism center. We walked some time around Livingstone but couldn't find it, so we went to eat at the Sunrise Restaurant which is a small local place with local food. It was really nice and really good food was served. We ate with our fingers. There was no other white person in the restaurant while we were there.

8 days safari: Okavango, Caprivi, Chobe, Vic Falls

broken window
In a mokoro in Okavango Delta
I was fetched by a guy who I met before at Wild Dogs' office. Two Austrian girls, Christina & Heike, were already in the bus. We then drove on from Klein Windhoek to Eros to fetch a couple from Norway. The next stop was the office, and the rest of the group met us there. Vincent arranged himself another tour for after this one, with a few days in Livingstone. He's going to do the 7 days South Namibia tour towards Fish River Canyon, Orange River, Sossusvlei and so on.

Friday 29 October 2010

7 days Safari: Damaraland & Skeleton Coast

Himba girls with Marianne's camera
Our last game drive in Etosha led us to the park's gates and on to our next stage of the trip. Our next stop was a few kilometers from Kamanjab on farmland owned by a man named Jaco. Jaco's project is to help Himba children in difficulty. So he invited Himba people to settle on his land and helps them however possible. It is a village built in traditional Himba style. When we arrived at the campsite nearby the village, we found the open roofed toilets and showers and we settled to some easy activities in the heat of the day. Some of us went onto a rocky outcrop next to camp to admire the view, others just stayed around talking.

7 days Safari: Etosha (part 2)

After lunch in Halali camp we spent some more time at the pool because driving too soon wouldn't prove to be a good shot to see game in the park. We left at three or four in the afternoon and drove in the general direction of Okaukuejo Camp passing. One moment I was looking to the front and so a lots of cars stopped on the road further ahead. I took out my camera because I couldn't see anything so I supposed it must be not too tall but very interesting. When we got near we saw that a lion cub was sitting on a small wall next to the road. The lions hide in a pipe under the road during the heat of the day. We stayed a long time and watched other lions come out of the hiding hole. The cubs played around a bit and the others lied down. Later we drove on to camp and had supper. After supper we went to the waterhole which was said to be the best waterhole in Etosha. We stayed there a long time watching the animals come and go like it were a television show. We saw some giraffes, then a jackal came by and later some rhinos. At one point there were seven of them drinking and wading in the water. Then an elephant herd came by and the remaining rhinos fled the waterhole. Two of them came back a while later but not too close to the elephants.

Thursday 21 October 2010

7 days Safari: Etosha

This night i didn't feel very good and stood up to go to the toilets. Later on i had to go out again because i felt i might throw up, which i ended up doing behind the campsite building. I still do not know what caused it, because nobody else was sick and i just can't remember having eaten anything special. So the next day i felt pretty bad. I didn't have breakfast and barely ate anything at lunchtime. In the evening we had curry chicken which was very good but of which i didn't eat too much from fear of being sick again.

This day's highlight, after having set up camp in Namutoni in Etosha National Park, was the elephant herds coming in for a drink at a waterhole. We drove around a while starting at 4pm because earlier most of the wildlife is keeping low in the heat. We saw a lot of animals like springboks, kudu's, oryxes, and other antilopes, giraffes, and so on. As we came to a waterhole we saw a giraffe drinking and some other animals like pintadas around.

7 days Safari: AfriCat Foundation

This new adventure began with me sorting out pictures and posting the last blog article while waiting on my transfer to Wild Dog/Crazy Kudu's office. The driver arrived a little late so all the others were already settled in the bus. There i met Marianne and Vincent from the previous trip and the rest of the group. The others were the girls from another group who were on a 7 days trip to the south before. We met them at the last campsite. We were 2 men for 7 girls - happy us :) ! I wanted to buy a t-shirt so i just went into the office to buy one. I bought a cap to, because they look good and i'm fed up with my tourist's bob (i'll keep that one for home). After that the guide/driver explained our trip to us and we left for the north. We took the same road as for Swakopmund as far as Okahandja where the road west forks off. There we bought the necessary supplies: the driver the food, and we the drinks (lots of beer and some water). We drove on for a time to get north to Okonjima, the home of the AfriCat Foundation. Once there we set up camp and went straight to the pool because it was so very hot. We spent some time at the pool before heading back to camp.

Friday 15 October 2010

3 days tour to Sossusvlei

The day before the tour, i came to the Chameleon backpackers where i had booked a room. There one of the coworkers recognized me, and told me there was another person, a French man, who booked the 18 days safari with Wild Dogs. So she introduced us while i was consuming an hour of internet.

First meal on the road
The next morning, when the tour operator came to fetch us, we saw we actually were 3 people going on the  safari. What we didn't know at the time, was that only me and Vincent  (the French guy) were to go on the 18 days combo. There was one Norwegian girl, Marianne, who will be continuing the trip with us for the 7 days safari to Etosha NP.

Monday 11 October 2010

18 days combination Safari

Sea Lion
Hi folks, just to say goodbye. Yes, you never know when you will be eaten by a lioness. So i say goodbye to ya'll and hope you'll enjoy my last pictures taken while being eaten by the previously said lioness. All my goods i have bought while travelling should be sent back to Switzerland and evenly distributed among family and friends. All the goods and stuff i brought from Switzerland can be distributed among the local population (those in need).

Please don't try to call as my mobile phone is in my pocket and will have been eaten by the lioness as well.

All the rest i really don't care, as being digested by the lioness will be my main concern :)

But well, i think they won't like eating me anyway, so there's a pretty good chance i will be getting back alive to annoy you for some more time :D haha !!

Sunday 10 October 2010

Swakopmund and Walvis Bay

The Namibian Coast is full of expensive activities. You can go sandboarding, horse-riding, seeing animals on land or in water, fly over the dunes and so on. But i only did two of those activities. If you travel for more than a few weeks, you have to see that your budget reaches until the end of your trip.

The first activity was a tour on a big catamaran in Walvis Bay. The day started out cold and gray. The Namibian coast around here with its arctic ocean currents never reaches above 25° C. Most of the time it's cloudy around here. In the afternoon there's some chances of seeing the sun for a while, until sunset.

Thursday 7 October 2010

Windhoek, Namibia

Independence Ave Windhoek
Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia is a boring city. It reminds me a lot of Australian cities, but lacking any entertainement, activities or sights. All there is, are half-day city tours provided by multiple agencies. For any other activity you have to pay the price and go outside the city. I doubt if there even is a cinema. At least there is Wernhill Park, the mall. Within you find a big supermarket and many other shops and of course the banks. They even have the Nedbank at which you can withdraw money using your Maestro card. I discovered the whole city center with all it's points of interests (about 4 or 5 which aren't even really interesting) in about an hour's walking. I then drank a freezy drink and headed back to the hotel. On the way back i felt more and more depressed at the idea of having to stay one week here.

My first day on the continent

My first step on the continent has been in the International Airport of Johannesburg. The contrast to the small airport in Antananarivo is great. The whole place is sparkling bright with shops, lights, neon signs and marble floor (or something fancy anyway). The place smells of luxury. I thought, well it's probably only the airport anyway. But once a got to Windhoek in Namibia, i couldn't even detect something like a village from the airplane. When you fly over Madagascar, it's rare you can't see any village (if you're not too high up). What i could see was estates and modern buildings once arrived and driving to the city which lies 40km from the airport. The roads look better than in Mada too, even the cars look a bit less dumpy. There's a big influence from white settlers (Afrikaaners) over here. There are still lots of them living here. Windhoek itself has absolutely nothing to compare with a Malagasy town: it's more an american city than an african town. There even is a KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken, an american fastfood for the ignorants :P). I will have to wait to get to the back country to see how a Namibian village looks like.

Madagascar: Antananarivo

Marché du Zoma
Antananarivo is the capital city of Republika Madagasikara. I visited and drove (never alone) a few times in this maze of a city. It's a terrible city with a lots of labyrinthine roads. Masy never wanted me alone in the city, he feared i would get mugged or worse. This was not very much reassuring, so his cousin Dodo would drive me around while Masy went to work. This way, i spent a lot of money when in the city: i paid Dodo his wage, took a small amount of fuel (which is the same price as in Europe, which makes it considerably more expensive to the standards there), and bought stuff too.

But walking in the Zoma (the market which initially only was fridays) is really something special: there you could buy all you would be buying in supermarkets in Europe and more. Just look at my pictures :)

We visited the Rova (the queen's palast), and the Haute Ville, we drove through the university campus and generally drove through a lots of roads.

There is not really much to visit in Tana.

Madagascar: part 4

Sur la route du nord de Nosy Be
After having slept in my bungalow on the beach in Ankify, i departed with a good breakfast in my belly for the port. There i took a motor boat for Nosy Be. The boat was chartered for me alone, but the "driver" asked me if there was any problem if he took two other persons, a girl and a child. I told him: tsis problem (no problem). The transfer to the island took us past Nosy Komba, and took approximatively 45 minutes to complete.

Monday 4 October 2010

Madagascar: part 3

Gecko à ventre plat
Back in Antananarivo i could only sleep and go back the to the airport the next morning. This time i left for the north. After having visited parts of the west and the south of Madagascar, i went to Antsiranana Diego Suarez at the northernmost tip. There i stayed at a new hotel in town center (away from the vazaha hotel district), the Terrasse des Voyageurs. It's next to the covered market which sells tissues, shoes, clothes and such (where i found a new pair of shorts for Ar. 10'000). The hotel owner, a french man, wants to integrate his hotel to the district life. He welcomes the local people to come and share some time there. He organizes story telling and other activities for local children and cinema evenings for all and so on. This afternoon i made a tour in the city market. This town seems full of life and colors. I would have loved staying there a few more days.

Madagascar: part 2

crafted in Ambositra
The second part of my Madagascar tour started the next day with the same driver/guide which drove me to Miandrivazo the previous week. We went southward again to Antsirabe on RN7. As i was ill and had diarrhea for 3 days i did not visit anything this day. We arrived early in Ambositra where i took my hotel room and watched some TV shows and slept early.

The next day i was feeling slightly better and ate a bowl of rice as breakfast. We went to look at a craftsman working with wood. They make wood artifacts with different wood colors patching them together making intricate designs.

Madagascar: part 1

My first part in Madagascar was to go by car, with a driver/guide, southward to Antsirabe on RN7. From there on we went westward to Miandrivazo where i slept in a hotel nearby the Mahajilo river. The next day i went with another group of 4 tourists to the boarding place on the Tsiribihina river. From there on, it was 2 and a half days pure quiet pleasure to descend the river.

Marie-Andrée et Josie de la Réunion
The 4 tourists consist of 2 girls from l'île de la Réunion and a couple from Luxembourg. I immediately took to liking the 2 girls from Reunion and we exchanged addresses. The other couple is not worth speaking of.

One month in Madagascar

My 3 month trip to Africa is one third over. I just ended the tour with 5 days diving and drinking beer on Nosy Be touristic island.

My travel plans are the following:
  • A travel agency prepared tour in Madagascar in September.
  • An 18 days camping safari in Namibia and Botswana in October.
  • Improvised travelling from Livingstone to Cape Town in November.
My friend Masy contacted the travel agency for me and offered me shelter at his and his parent's home in Antananarivo.

My plane arrived friday evening around 10pm (on 3 sept.). The next day we were already off to a forest camp a 100km away from Tana. There we visited the forest, the rice plantations, a nearby typical village and ate well.