Well, you surprised me. I never thought you’d figure out this first one, but Sue, Lindy and Sandy know poop when they see it.
1. The can attached to the bumper of the jeep contained elephant dung. It is set on fire and acts as a VERY effective mosquito repellant. So glad we didn’t have to rub it on our skin!
Is there no end to the number of uses for elephant dung? With so much of it around, you might as well find a way to use it! I was continually impressed by the inventiveness and creativity of Africans.
2. This is the sink in the ladies’ room at Phalaborwa Airport. The water bubbles up from holes in the sink’s surface. All you have to do is turn that brown knob on the right to get the water going. WE probably never would have figured that out, except a local lady happened to be washing her hands while we were there.
And what a cute airport Phalaborwa is! A South Africa copper mining town, it appears to generate enough revenue so the government can afford to make the airport quite lovely and comfortable, with great animal sculptures.
Note that not ALL airports were like Phalaborwa.
What you see in the photo above is what you get– a landing strip and a little shed with ax, fire extinguisher and stretcher. Oh yeah, and a few huge termite mounds. Did you notice the big one on the right?
The airport for Lufupa, the Zambian camp, was a bit larger–it had TWO structures.
3. The connections among these objects? The mopane worm feeds on those leaves, which are from (no surprise) the mopane tree. The worms are a delicacy, so much so that they are featured on the coins of Botswana.
Hey, before you get all judgmental on me, remember, we eat lobsters and crabs–and don’t even get me started on that rubbery stuff we call calamari!
But don’t think that we were just eating worms and warthogs. Check out this feast…I mean snack.
4. The Nobel Peace Prize winners were Chief Luthulu, Archbishop Tutu, De Klerk, and Nelson Mandela.
The long flights, plus time spent hanging in airports, gave me ample opportunity to read all 600+ pages of Nelson Mandela’s Autobiography, “Long Walk to Freedom”.
What an incredible man-to be imprisoned for 27 years and still be able to forgive his captors because he knew that was the only way for his country to heal and to move forward. He makes our red/blue, right/left, Democratic/Republican disagreements look so very petty and silly.
Travel is such a broadening experience. Seeing how far South Africa has come since apartheid and comparing it to Zimbabwe under Mugabe further underscores Mandela’s greatness and the power of forgiveness. We could learn so much from Mandela.
5. Cecil Rhodes managed to accomplish so much during a rather short life time.
Although he died before his 49th birthday, Rhodes amassed quite a fortune from his success mining diamonds. Some noteworthy accomplishments: He bequeathed the land that became the Kirstenbosch Gardens to South Africa, he got the bridge over Victoria Falls built, he established a trust that funds Rhodes Scholars, oh yeah, and he did manage to get a country named after himself (Or was that TWO countries? What is now Zambia was Northern Rhodesia, and Zimbabwe was known as Rhodesia.)
Time to take a break from Africa and move to another continent. Hope you’ll come along!
Our bodies may have been back in the USA for a week and a half now, but my mind is still basking in the afterglow of Africa.
Full disclosure–although the trip was amazing, magnificent, exciting, it was definitely not for the faint of heart, or the stiff of joints.
We didn’t get much exercise, because we spent most of our days riding around in jeeps, but climbing into that last row required some agility. The steps up were pretty high!
The roads provided what our guides called “the African Massage”. Ruts and holes in the road? No problem. Just grab a bunch of rocks, throw them into the holes and you are good to go!
For those that saw the movie Urban Cowboy, oh so many years ago, imagine riding the mechanical bull at Gilly’s and you’ll have a good idea of what traveling in the jeep was like.
Bridges? Who needs them? There were MANY reasons I was glad we were not traveling during the rainy season, and here’s one of them. Bet the water is a whole lot deeper during the rainy season.
We had some experiences that, depending on your point of view, could be called mishaps or adventures. We decided to go with adventures.
At Karongwe, our first camp, we had been chasing a leopard off road, through fields of acacia trees and thorn bushes when our guide got a radio message telling him “nagalas are in the area”. At least that’s what it sounded like to me. Immediately we were in hot pursuit of this mysterious animal. Although I questioned him, Setepi wouldn’t tell me a nagala was his language’s word for lion, because he was afraid the lions might leave before we got there, and we’d be disappointed. No worries. There were SEVEN nagalas, feasting on a kill.
How close were we? THIS close.But why is the jeep at such an odd angle?
Our wild leopard chase resulted in a slow leak that turned into a flat, right by the lions. If we had gotten out of the jeep, the lions might have attacked, so there we sat while Setepi and Sondi changed the tire. Another jeep pulled between them and the lions, blocking the lions’ view of the activity, just in case they decided to look up from their kill.
One of the group wondered what might happen if you got more than one flat tire while out in the bush. We soon found out, because our leopard chase resulted in not one, not two, but THREE punctures. Fortunately we had a resourceful guide, who used radio and good ol’ foot-power to borrow spares from other jeeps.
Our second camp was in Chobe National Park, Botswana. Once again, we were lucky enough to encounter lions. Because this is a national park, we weren’t able to go off road, so couldn’t get quite as close as we did in Karongwe, which was a South African private reserve. Still, we were able to get some good shots. But just because we didn’t go tearing off road didn’t mean that we were adventure-free.
Why are we milling about, outside our jeep, with lions close by?We are getting ready to try to push our stuck jeep. No action photos–I stopped photographing to help push.
Although we were mired down, the bigger problem was that the shift was stuck, so we had to wait for help to arrive from camp, over an hour away.
It was a beautiful day, we had sufficient water, the company was great, so it was not tough to take.
Onward to the Okavango Delta. Here we watched the King of the Bush, and he was regal indeed.
I suspected that he was posing for us. In fact, when he turned to show his good side, I was CERTAIN he was posing. He also has a playful side, which he demonstrated.
Of course, before we got to him, we had to experience the “curse of the lions. Yep, another jeep adventure.
If you didn’t like rocky roads, then the Okavango was your kind of place. Take a look.Well, at least it wasn’t mud! But we did manage to get stuck.
Mike tried to problem solve, but ultimately a tow from another jeep was needed to get us out of the sand.My grandmother was right: “things come in threes”, and in Africa, they did. No more lion curse, no more adventure/mishaps with our vehicles after this third incident.
And now, in Grammy’s honor, I figure we should have a THIRD, and final Africa quiz. You ready?
1. Do you know what this is? Extra points if you know what it is used for.
2. What about this?
3. What are these objects, and why are they grouped together?
4. Four South Africans received the Nobel Peace Prize. Who were they?
5. A famous South African founded De Beers diamonds, had a country named after him, left a ton of money for charitable endeavors when he died at an early age. Who was he?
What an amazing trip! I couldn’t possibly include ALL of the adventures in one post, so here are some of the highlights, which, coincidentally happen to be the answers to Africa Quiz #3.
1. Bungee jump? No way! Even after Jeanne and I were offered two for the price of one, we declined. Did the vendor want to show that insanity knows no age limit?
2. Zip line across the gorge…you bet! And it was GRAND! Fortunately, my friend Jeanne was up for it as well. And no, that is NOT a tattoo on my arm. It is a special code– so if the rope broke, the divers would know who was who. (Only kidding–it was our weight, in kilograms, and other secret stuff). You are probably going to want more than just a photo of us leaning against a sign, aren’t you? Well, Jeanne went first, so she was able to take these photos of my transit.
Did I enjoy the experience? See for yourself.
3. Yes, we did play netball, a type of basketball, with six very pregnant young women. The staff at the health center encourages them to exercise, so after their checkup they go to the school playground for a fun game of hoops. And yes, I WAS tossing the ball to a member of the other team. She’s PREGNANT, for crying out loud! I didn’t want her to have to run TOO far.
4. All 8 of the women in our group were taught the many uses of the chitenge by lovely Doris. Here we are, rockin’ our new look. 5. Friends and family will be shocked, because I am known as a picky eater, but I DID consume a mopane worm. Despite the look on my face after that first bite, I actually DID finish it. Jeanne was equally enthusiastic. 6. On the other hand, I did NOT finish the beer. One mouthful was more than enough– enough to convince me that it tasted exactly like dirty gym socks. Not that I have ever tasted dirty gym socks before, but if I had, that is exactly how I imagined they would have tasted. 7. Since I am sharing the contents of my overactive imagination with you, I might as well admit that wallowing in the mud with the hippos was indeed an imaginary activity. The only mud wallowing was done by this fine fellow. What’s he doing? Why, he’s asking the others if two tones makes his butt look smaller. I think their body language indicates their answer. 8. Mike and I loved the helicopter ride over Victoria Falls. The views were spectacular! 9. Yes, I did trade my tevas, and fortunately had flip flops in my backpack so I didn’t have to walk back to the hotel barefoot. Same for the tee shirt. Us former girl scouts are ALWAYS prepared. No photos of the transaction exist, fortunately.
10. Although I climbed more than one tree, I never made it to the TOP of a baobab (sorry Sammy). This one was growing through the lobby of the Moremi Wilderness Camp. I made it as high as the ceiling allowed. 11. We had a fantastic dinner at Savoy Cabbage. Mike gave me a taste of his warthog, and I sampled the “other” Mike’s kudu, but stuck with rack of lamb for my entree. Neither of us had our cameras with us, so sorry–no visuals exist.
12. I never missed a chance to sing and dance with the camp staff. They were incredibly talented. We were willing and enthusiastic. That blue arm on the left belongs to me. 13. The kids were sweet, beautiful and curious. When one asked about snow, I ran back to the bus to fetch my ipad. 14. I did not grind millet, but Connie and Marisa (mother and daughter) did. 15. We all had our Ringo Starr moments in the Boma, an outdoor meeting place, where we would gather around the fire the last evening at each camp for a great dinner and entertainment. Check out my very own rock star! Remember I said I did 10 of the 15 activities? Well, I was in such a hurry to upload the post before I ran out of time and MBs that I miscounted. I actually did 11 out of 15. The only ones I DIDN’T do were: bungee jump, wallow in the mud with the hippos, climb to the top of the baobab and swing down, and grind millet.
Our Africa trip is over, we are back home, but if I get inspired, I might be able to come up with one last Africa quiz. Thanks to those who played! I loved seeing the answers and the logic behind the choices.
During our trip, we had so many wonderful opportunities for what Arthur, our wonderful guide termed “learning and discovery –and I took advantage of MANY of them.
Are you ready for another quiz? My sisters, cousins and friends MIGHT have an unfair advantage with this quiz. But maybe not. Let’s see who does the best determining just how much of a spirit of adventure I have.
Which of these activities do you think I did? I’ll give you a hint: I did 10 out of the following 15, and a couple of the activities are figments of my imagination.
1. Bungee jump from the Victoria Falls Bridge
2. Zip line across the gorge
3. Play netball against a barefoot and pregnant team
4. Model a chitenge
5. Eat mopane worms
6. Drink local beer
7. Wallow in the mud with the hippos
8. Ride a helicopter over Victoria Falls
9. Trade the shoes I was wearing for bracelets and my tee shirt for a carved hippo
10. Climb to the top of an Baobab tree and do my Tarzan imitation to get down
11. Taste kudu and warthog, but pass on the zebra.
12. Sing and shake my booty with the camp staff
13. Play with the children at a village school
14. Grind millet in a village hut
15. Play the drums in the Boma
Answers when we return to the USA and I can upload photos, because I know you’ll want visual proof!