The hop-on-hop-off (HOHO) bus It’s one of my favorite pastimes. Riding them is such a joy. I was holding off on buying my ticket until I got a better lay-of-the-land. My big question was whether I needed a one-day ticket or a two-day ticket. I had thought I had seen on the web site that I could buy a one-day ticket and get the second day free. Maybe I had been a little tipsy at the time as the local brochure mentioned nothing of the sort and had what I considered to be a higher price point than I was willing to pay for the ticket given the limited number of sites on the tour. I could see $15 or maybe $20 for a ticket, but not $30 or $40. I thought that was a bit much. Had this been New York, Paris, London or Tokyo I wouldn’t have quibbled. But it wasn’t. In the end the ticket price was $22 for a two day ticket if I bought online. Not bad.
This is the truck that took us to the Okavango Delta in Botswana. We took 17 people on the tour. We all loaded up in the trucks and drove to the edge of the delta. The Okavango Delta is one of Botswana’s top tourist attractions. We paid $145 per person to go spend 2 full days and 2 full nights with guides taking us through the delta and camping with us. The trailer held our gear as we had to take out own tents, food, cooking equipment and sleeping bags as well as any other items we needed. We had quite the little caravan going out to the delta. The trip was sponsored by the campsite/hotel where we were staying. Oh, and when we got back we got the Welcome Back to Civilization Buffet thrown in for good measure. What a deal!
Guess who. Guess where. It’s me. I’m on the Okavango Delta in Botswana. I’m in the front seat of the mokoro. That’s the seat that gets to fight off the bugs and the spider webs before the guy in the seat behind me has to deal with them. If I do my job right, the guy behind me almost never comes into contact with spiders or spider webs. The guy behind me, Almog (Israel), is smiling because he knew about the spiders and spider webs when he told me to take the front seat. "You’ll be able to take better pictures from up there." he said. The poler, Boolee, is laughing because someone who is passing us in another mokoro is asking him "Who made the old guy sit up front?"
It’s another boat of tourists. This boat was much smaller than our own. The small boats were quicker and more maneuverable. They got closer to the animals than our boat did. But our boat appeared to be more comfortable. We had much better chairs and we could get up and walk around on deck with no problem. I was glad I had gone on the Chobe River boat ride.
It looks like one of the local tourists is out visiting the elephants.
This is the Victoria Falls Tourist Information Center. Yes, I have to admit that there are signs all over Victoria Falls that say that they are tourist information centers. But I believe that this is the real one. I went in and they didn’t have much to sell. I find that a good indication that it’s a real tourist information center. They did have a lot of brochures. Maybe it wasn’t the real one, but it sure did a good job of looking like the real one. I couldn’t find one that was any more official looking and I tried. Anyway, I got some good information and some good conversation from Faith, the morning guy at the Info Center. Note that the largest dimension available for this picture is 1024 X 768 as it was uploaded at a very slow bandwidth from a remote location in Africa.
I finally got my tour of the Great Zimbabwe. The members of the group that wanted to take the tour had to get up pretty early. We went into the area to see the sunrise. It was quite nice. The sun cooperated with us and did a really nice show. We then toured the archeological site where we saw the remains of what is considered the most significant sub-Saharan African civilization of the pre-colonial era. The height of the civilization was 11-1400 A.D. The remains are significant. The people who lived there built some awesome structures. I plan on doing a little more research into the Great Zimbabwe when I get home. I’m surprised that the site isn’t more widely known, but given the political history of the country of Zimbabwe, I can understand why there hasn’t been more activity to gain a better understanding of the site. Note that the largest dimension available for this picture is 1024 X 768 as it was uploaded at a very slow bandwidth from a remote location in Africa.
I went to downtown Harare and visited the Zimbabwe Tourism office. They had a real nice brochure about the country but not a lot of information on Harare. That was okay because there wasn’t a whole lot to do in Harare. I went to the National Art Gallery, the only museum in the city. It was closed on Monday, which was the day I went. I walked around the downtown section for about 2 hours, stopping periodically for a soda. I think I saw a total of twenty white folks during that period and about 50,000 black folks. Someone said that Zimbabwe is not very prosperous but downtown Harare looked like it was doing pretty well. There were lots of men in suits walking around with briefcases. Note that the largest dimension available for this picture is 1024 X 768 as it was uploaded at a very slow bandwidth from a remote location in Africa.
This is the sticker in the window of the office in the strip-mall that housed the Malawi tourism office. This strip-mall is in Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. To my surprise the strip-mall was a very nice place and reminded me of a typical strip-mall that you would see in most of the cities in the mid-western section of the United States. The only difference was that there wasn’t a lot of white folks around.
This is a view from Kande Beach, our new home for three days. We made this stop on Lake Malawi as it is supposedly a good place for people to do a little fresh water diving. It’s also a place to stop and relax. One thing I’ve seen on this trip is that an overland trip is much different than the normal type of traveling that I do. Usually, I pick a location based on the significant things to see in the area. Generally, I try to find the world’s most significant tourist attractions and go see them. This trip is something of an adventure for me. There aren’t a lot of "The World’s Top Tourist Attractions" on the overland trip I’m taking, although there are a few. This type of trip is about doing a 3,000 mile truck camping trip through Eastern and Southern Africa with a group of 15-20 other people. This trip really isn’t tourism in the traditional sense, something I didn’t think through as well as I should have when I purchased the trip. Yes, I’ve gone on group tours before, but we always stayed on a hostel or hotel not in a tent, and our goals were to see the traditional tourist sites. It wasn’t a tour of the campgrounds of Africa and 3,000 miles in the back of truck with a large group of people.