Africa (Part 2)
In this second part to my Africa Blog, I begin my journey from Johannesburg in South Africa, to Nairobi in Kenya. I went with an overlanding company called Africa Travel Company who have been operating for many years. Although overlanding is no new thing, it has recently gained in popularity, and with good sealed roads, modern trucks and relative stability and security in most countries it is no surprise that there are a lot of companies and many travellers around the world undertaking the various routes on offer. Although I am not used to organised tours, preferring to go it alone, the amount of places and sights covered, and that the fellow passengers would have to be of a nature to cope with camping every night for five weeks, then it was an obvious choice to cover the vast distance, and cheaper then doing it myself.
The trip started from Jo'burg and we went straight to the famous Kruger National Park for our first safari. Unfortunately it was not the best season to go in, and with wildlife you are never guaranteed to see everything, although we still saw a wide variety of game. It is such a vast area, so we only scratched the surface and a place that will be good to head back to. We then made our way to the Zimbabwe border, and on the way stopped off at various view points on the Blyde River Canyon. It provided us with incredible vistas and shows just how diverse the landscape is in South Africa.
Right: Oxpecker Bird sits between a giraffe's horns
Below: Blyde River Canyon and the three Rondavels
Given all the negativity about the country due to the political situation, it has always been a wish of mine to travel through there, which is once again becoming a tourist destination due to the natural beauty and wildlife, and the recent economic stability. We first got to visit one of the biggest medieval cities of Southern Africa - the Great Zimbabwe Ruins, then onto a place called Antelope park, where conservationists are trying to introduce lions from captivity back into the wild, due to the massive decline of the Lion population, which you can read more about here. We then carried on to Matobo National Park, which was a favoured place for Cecil John Rhodes who chose to be buried there due to the natural beauty. Along with the landscape and the wildlife there are many ancient San Busmen cave paintings, which are some of the best in Africa. To end we finished at Victoria Falls, which although the waterfalls need no explanation and is justifiably amazing, the town which bears its name is nothing to write home about. Zimbabwe still has a way to go, and is now relatively expensive since dollarisation but is a beautiful land with plenty of opportunities.
|Left: The Great Zimbabwe Ruins||Centre: Traditional Shona Village||Right: Boy looks out of his hut at a Shona Village|
Right: Chameleon at Matobo National Park
Right: Victoria Falls, from the Zimbabwean side
From Zimbabwe we went South to Botswana to visit Chobe National Park for more wildlife viewing, where some of the pictures can be seen in the first Part 1 of the this blog. After this we entered Zambia, and whizzed through the country in a few days. It was a beautiful country with fantastic scenery, but the days were made up of long driving days, just observing the vista through the windows. There are national parks to visit but due to the wet season, we could not access them so went straight up to Malawi. This country is one of the poorest in the world where 40% of its GDP is from foreign donations, Malaria infection is very high, HIV/AIDS affects over 15% of the population, but it is the warm heart of Africa. It is well known as one of the friendliest nations on the continent, and it was a pleasure to witness that. The main draw to this country is Lake Malawi, which is the third biggest freshwater lakes in Africa. It was also one of the only countries where we had the time to get into the villages, to meet the locals, enter the schools and feel the warmth from heart of the Malawians.
Young boy from Chitimba Beach village, Malawi
Right: Locals from Kande Beach fishing at sunset on Lake Malawi
|Left and Right: Alice who is disabled gets her sister to push her in a wheelchair several kilometres every day to get to school in an cramped classroom, but despite the adversities she loves being educated and being at school. Below: Kids getting taught at a young age about life skills and morals.|
|Left: Men playing the Malawian Bao Game||Centre: Young girl from Kande Beach village||Right: Woman carry water on their heads|