Geography Lesson


Geography was never a favorite subject of mine.  Memorizing capitals and products was excruciatingly mind numbing.  At the time, knowing where to plop countries on a mimeographed map didn’t appear to be knowledge I’d ever find useful.  Back when I considered a one hour trip to Boston a thrilling excursion, it was hard to imagine that I would ever be lucky enough to set foot any place outside of the continental USA.

I’ll admit that I wasn’t disappointed when Sister Pauline explained that there was no point in studying the geography of Africa, because everything was changing.  How sad that statement is one of the few things I remember from my geography studies!

Fast forward a half a century.  I will soon be filling that gaping hole in my knowledge of the world with a trip to that continent I didn’t have to learn about in elementary school.  Well, only the southern part of Africa.  But you gotta start somewhere.

This will be the first trip that Mike and I take with Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT).   Although we have had wonderful experiences with Road Scholar, and RS has a similar trip, we decided to go with OAT for the following reasons:

  • If you pay the full amount in cash a year in advance, you get a 10% discount (and I SO love a bargain)!
  • If you take another trip with them within the next 12 months, you get a 5% credit.
  • They have an amazing website, with very informative reviews and an incredibly helpful forum in which travelers share information and helpful hints.
  • They offer options:  you can do only the trip, or you can add pre and/or post trip excursions.
  • There is a maximum of 16 participants

Mike and I figured if we were going to shell out the money for airfare,  and subject our bodies to a total of 30 hours (round trip) in the air, we might as well stay a while, so we are doing the pre and then visiting Cape Town on our own.  Who knows if we will ever be able to get back to this part of the globe?

We start in Johannesburg,  then fly to Karongwe Game Reserve for the pre-trip.  Four days later, we return to  Johannesburg for the main trip, going first to two camps in Botswana, then one in Zambia, one in Zimbabwe, ending with a few days in Victoria Falls, before we fly back to  Johannesburg.   At that point, Mike and I will leave the tour and fly to Cape Town for a few days on our own, before returning to Johannesburg for a flight home.  All told, we will be gone for 26 days.

Oat created this very helpful map,  with the trip extensions in the insert.


africa trip

While on safari, we will be staying in tents in the national parks.  WiFi will therefore be limited to the few times we are in cities.  (So, sisters and cousins, when you don’t see a post, it will not be because I have met with foul play…it will just mean I am still off the grid).

We will be flying in very small planes, which limits both the weight and the type of luggage allowed.  One duffel bag each, without an internal frame, weighing no more than 44 pounds, plus one carry on. Here’s a visual of my duffel bag,  supplied by OAT, and my new (larger) back pack.   Previous travelers had experienced problems with the duffel splitting open (I told you the forum was helpful), but fortunately that appears to be old news.  Nevertheless, I’m packing some duct tape…just in case.luggage

Years of business travel trained me to travel light, but we will be visiting a school, so once I assemble the minimum amount of clothing and supplies needed, I’ll be cramming books, pencils, crayons and other odds and ends into the remaining space up to the weight limit.

Next post will be about pre-trip readings.



Published by


I am intensely curious, with a spirit of adventure that is tempered by my very strong aversion to anything with potential to cause pain. I love travel, photography, reading, gardening, yoga, music and propelling myself through space (biking, dancing, walking, dancing while walking). I've never considered a lack of proficiency in any of the previous activities to be a hindrance, counting on abundant enthusiasm to make up for my shortcomings.

11 thoughts on “Geography Lesson”

  1. I’m so happy to see you posting again! What an exciting adventure you have planned. I hope you will take a lot of pictures and, even if you can’t post while you are traveling, share them when you return. I’ve never been there but I have friends who traveled through southern Africa in their VW van (which they had shipped over from South America). I think they would have stayed in South Africa if they could. Have a great trip!


  2. Pingback: Geography Lesson
  3. Nancy and Janis, thanks so much for your words of encouragement. One of the best things about blogging is connecting with “virtual” friends. It’s even better than having a pen pal. Remember those, back in the olden days, before the Internet and texting?!


  4. I stumbled across your blog post today when the title of your post appeared in my news feed for “geography”. I don’t always comment on blog posts, but I did enjoy reading about preparations for your upcoming trip (with a hint of jealousy). Best of luck! 🙂


  5. I love the set up …the anticipation …. the adventure!!! Please take lots of pictures of people… including you and Mike. Next time I see you have posted, I’ll be wanting to read it ….immediately. 🙂


    1. Usually Mike is taking pictures of me and I’m taking pictures of him, but I’ll try to remember to hand over my camera for a couple of “couple shots”.
      Thanks for continuing to be my cheerleader!


  6. Sounds like a great trip! We will look forward to your reports. Paul and I are going to Sicily, Rome and Florence in the Fall, looking forward to that. Much tamer than your trip but will be very interesting. Best regards to you and Mike. Barbara


    1. Hi Barbara, what a nice surprise to hear from you! We plan on celebrating Mike’s milestone birthday in Italy in September 2015. We are thinking Rome, Capri,Naples–that general vicinity. Please share your photos and any lessons learned. Best to you and Paul. We thoroughly enjoyed your company in New Zealand.


I'd love to hear YOUR thoughts! Please share them!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.