December 30, 2005
After eleven and a half months in Africa I would have thought that a blog entry about my thoughts and impressions on my trip would seem to be a daunting task because there would be too much to say. Instead I find that it is a daunting task because I have to really think to find anything to say. At the beginning of my trip everything was new and exciting and seemed worthy of reporting. Now, living my life transiently in Africa, moving to a new place every few days, living out of a backpack, seeing new places, and doing new things seems to be the norm.Continue reading "Impressions of Africa"
December 24, 2005
My trip to Africa is now over. I flew back from Johannesburg on Wednesday (didn't arrive here until Thursday, though). I am now at my parents home in Connecticut trying to get used to the fact that it is summer here, that people drive on the right side of the road (which just feels so wrong), and that I have ridiculous amounts of stuff (it doesn't even come close to all fitting in a backpack!).
I plan to stay on the East Coast for about a month and should be back in California by February. My travels were wonderful, but it is nice to be back and I am very much looking forward to seeing and talking to all of you. If anyone would like my parents phone number, please send me an e-mail.
As for this blog, it isn't quite done yet. I'm still planning on writing a wrap-up entry and maybe even putting up some photos, so keep watching this space.
December 18, 2005
The thing that Namibia is perhpas best known for is its huge sand dunes and vast deserts. I could not possibly have gone to Namibia and missed the desert which is how I found myself climbing a sand dune in the middle of nowhere at 5:30am the other day. I was with a short tour and we were in the desert to watch the sun rise over the dunes.Continue reading "The Namib Desert"
December 13, 2005
Having seen the wildlife of the sand dunes, gone sandboarding down them (on one you can reach speeds of us to 80km/h), and quad biking up the sides of them, it was time to see something a little different for a few days. I joined a tour and we headed up to Etosha, Namibia's premier game park.
I wasn't sure how good of a trip it was going to be because it is apparently the wrong time of the year to see wildlife. The rainy season just started which means that the animals no longer need to congregate at the watering holes since water is (relatively) abundant throughout the park. Given that, I was amazed by all the wildlife that I saw. I think I saw higher concentrations and a greater variety of animals in Etosha than in any of the other parks to which I have been.Continue reading "Etosha, The Great White Place"
December 11, 2005
After the safari in Kruger and a few days hanging around Pretoria I treated myself and flew over to Windhoek, Namibia. Windhoek isn't all that exciting of a place so I soon went to Swakopmund, on the coast of Namibia. The weather there is surprisingly similar to San Diego. Right on the coast you could easily think you are in San Diego, but away from the coast the German colonial architecture and the sand dunes make you remember that you are not in California. The sand dunes are wonderful and one of the first things I did in Namibia was go on a living desert tour which was wonderful.Continue reading "Transparent Geckos and Other Cool Critters"
December 04, 2005
After island hopping in Vilankulo it was time to leave Mozambique and head back into South Africa. I went to Pretoria, where I met up with David, a British rock-climber that I had met in Cape Town, to go on a safari in greater Kruger Park. (A lot of the land around Kruger Park is privately owned reserve and is known as greater Kruger. There are no fences, which means that all the animals in Kruger proper are also in greater Kruger, but since it is private few people and safari vehicles.)
It began with a long and boring drive from Pretoria out to the park. We met the rest of our group (seven of us in all), had lunch, and then out into the bush. It was wonderful being out in a game reserve again. We started spotting game well before we even got to our campsite. On our way there we saw zebra, steenbok, impala, giraffe, and an elephant. Once at camp we had a little bit of time to settle into our tents and then went out for our evening game drive/walk.Continue reading "Kruger"
December 02, 2005
From Tofo, I headed up to another beach town, Vilankulo, with Anna and Maria, to women I had met in Tofo. After a couple of fairly lazy days Anna, Maria, Alex and Kieran (who had by now caught up with us), Andre and Terran (a South African couple we had also met in Tofo) organized a dhow trip to go out island hopping and snorkelling.
The first couple hours of our trip were spent moroting through beautiful and clear multi-colored blue-green waters. The waters were clear and shallow with the occasional sandbar just barely reaching the surface. It was very calm at first, but the swells got immediately bigger just past the islands. There was one really neat area of whitewater where there were breakers over barely submerged sandbars. We soon found ourselves at Two-Mile Reef, one of the best places for snorkelling.Continue reading "Island Hopping"
November 29, 2005
Mozambique is only a few hours mini-bus ride away from Swaziland, so I figured that I might as well go there for a week or so. I'm not much of a beach person and beaches are Mozambique's main attraction, so I was not sure how much I would like it. Turns out though, that I really loved Mozambique. Except for the capital city (Maputo - where the only thing i found interesting was the art gallery displaying works by artists who had turned old land mines and AK-47s into sculptures), I did spend all my time near the beach. The first beach town I went to was Tofo.Continue reading "Tofo, Mozambique"
November 27, 2005
The best day I had in Swaziland was the day that I went quad biking. I went with three women from my hostel, Gwen, Doreen, and Diane. Our guide, Richard, picked us up around 8:30 in the morning and we went to his house where we got to enjoy the lovely views over Ezulwini Valley, the royal valley in Swaziland. (FYI - Swaziland is an absolute monarchy.) We also learned how to ride the quad bikes and had fun practiving, driving figure eights on the track around his yard. Then, after about twenty minutes of practicing we headed out onto the road.Continue reading "Swaziquad"
November 26, 2005
One of the things I love about independent long term travel is the flexibility it gives you. You can completely change your plans on a whim. When I was at the internet cafe back in Cape Town researching information to go to Namibia I got the following e-mail from my friend Wes Terray:
"It turns out that there's been a little bit of news here that might interest you in passing. The movie I worked on for the last year, Leverage, finally finished and I've been sending it around to festivals - including Swaziland who just accepted it. It'll be playing on a screen in their capital city of Manzini in early-mid October (no specifics just yet). So if you're sitting in a plaza in Manzini and
looking through the paper on a Friday night trying to decide what's worth going to see.."
So, naturally, I scrapped by plans to go to Namibia (for the moment, anyway) and started making my way to Swaziland. St. Lucia was my last stop before entering Swaziland a couple days before Wes' film's premier. Below is my review of the night:Continue reading "The Golden Lion Film Festival"