My Travels Around the World

Category: Africa Page 1 of 2

Uganda Wildlife: Chimps and Gorillas and Shoebills, Oh My!

December 2021

This chapter is all about trekking and wildlife that abounds all around Uganda. My friend Debby and I were traveling with Natural Habitat (Nat Hab), a company I have traveled with, and written about, before. We were joined by Matt M from Pennsylvania. The main raison d’etre for this trip was to see the mountain gorillas of Uganda, and that, in fact, is the main reason most tourists come to Uganda. We were originally scheduled  to do two treks in Uganda and two in neighboring Rwanda, but COVID shut down the border between the two countries, so we were to do 4 gorilla treks all in Uganda.

We started out in Entebbe, made our way to Kibale National Park, then Queen Elizabeth National Park, and then to the north and south of the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park.

During the two weeks we also saw all sorts of beautiful birds and other wildlife. But first, we would get our feet wet (almost literally) by doing slightly easier treks to see the chimpanzees. The photographs are mine, but the videos are mostly Debby’s and sometimes Matt’s or Paul’s and every once in a while, mine.

Victoria Falls, Zambia

April 12, 2018

Victoria Falls

This morning we grabbed our water-proof shoes (for me it was my Keens), plastic bags for our cameras and climbed into a van to head to Victoria Falls. In all honestly, it was the falls that brought us to Zambia. We could have chosen the Zimbabwe side, and I can’t remember why we didn’t, but here we were.

Africa Oh Africa – Botswana

Off to Botswana

Note: Often, in my blog, I write about our daily adventures. But for Botswana, everything is mixed up, rogue, just like Africa itself. In the week we were there, we made two stops, one in Xigara and one in Savuti. We saw many of the same animals and birds in both places, so the descriptions are lumped together by animal rather than by location. Credit for the majority of the videos goes to Phyllis and Roberta. I was busy taking pictures while they shot video.

Leaving South Africa

After spending some days in Cape Town (please see that post) and a day in Johannesburg (please see that post too), we were ready for our safari experience. Phyllis and Ben, and Arnie and Roberta, four of our usual traveling companions, joined us. We were picked up at our hotel in Johannesburg at 845am for an 1145 flight. The airport was only 30 minutes away so we couldn’t figure out why we needed so much time. But when we got to the airport and saw the long line to check in, we understood. We were flying South Africa Airlines, an airline on which we have no status. So it was stand in line and patiently wait your turn to check in. Our guide, Nelson, was with us, walking us through each step. I’m not exactly sure why, as checking at Tambor airport is no different than checking in anywhere else in the world. But he was assigned to assist us, and so he did.


As we checked in I told the woman behind the counter that I was hoping for a window seat not over the wing as I loved to take pictures. She said she never takes pictures. I told her that I hope others take pictures of her because she is beautiful. I find African women in general to be absolutely gorgeous. She laughed and thanked me.  She looked at the computer screen and told me that I had a window in row 8, but it was over the wing, so she moved Andy and me to row 15 where we could have an unobstructed view.  Nelson, in the meantime, was trying to get the attention of a couple on line. It was the Wilderness Safari manager for Europe and England.

Namibia Chapter 8 The Last Day and Last Thoughts

April 22, 2018

And these things too shall pass – it was time to leave

Today was our last day in Namibia. I’m sad that this trip is over. I would have loved more time in this beautiful country. We never saw Damaraland. We never made it to Etosha National Park. We didn’t visit Penduka (meaning “wake up”) which is a nonprofit women’s needlework project at Goreangab Dam. We didn’t get to the Sesriem Canyon. We didn’t get to Spitzkoppe with its spectacular landscapes. But spectacular landscapes?  You could say that about all of Namibia!

 Charles had us leave right after breakfast. It would be a 4-5 hour drive to get to the airstrip where a bush plane would take us to Windhoek, where we would connect to a flight to Johannesburg. The sun was low on the horizon as we headed east and then south on C43. The sky was blue. We passed Herero villages and then Damara villages. The mountains were a purple-red. The fields were a lush green with little yellow flowers.

Namibia Chapter 7: The Herero and the Himba

April 22, 2018

The Herero

This morning, after breakfast, Charles and Andy and I met with our Herero guide, Ueera, for our trip to visit the Himba tribe. Charles had visited them once before, but was as excited as I was about visiting them again. Those who know me, know that I love meeting indigenous people in the places I visit. And in Africa, what could be more exciting than getting to know African tribes?

Ueera is Herero and he asked if we minded if we stop at his village down the road, the Khowarib Village, as he needed to pick up something. Mind?  I was thrilled! Of course, we said yes.  He told us that his mother and aunts would be there, and we were more than welcome to take as many pictures as we wanted. Music to my ears!

Namibia Chapter 6: Kaokoland

Namibia April 19-20, 2018


We were driving North with our guide, Charles, from the Hoanib River area to the Kaokoland area (now also called Kunene for the Kunene River). This area is most famous for the Himba and Herero tribes, which we would be visiting. Compared to the rest of the country, this area is less developed as the dry climate and the vast mountains make it difficult to cultivate. And as we drove, we marveled yet again at how different the terrain was. And how beautiful.

Namibia Chapter 5. The search for the black rhino

Our final morning on the River

April 21, 2018

Since we hadn’t gone searching for the black rhino yesterday, we had to get up very early today as it would be a long drive and we had to end up further north. We woke up at about 5:00 AM. Ronnie heated water for our shower and we got dressed, all in the dark, using our headlamps. Charles wanted to be on the road by 5:30 AM. Gerhard had prepared homemade chocolate chip croissants, on the campfire. Amazing. And he prepared breakfast sandwiches and a picnic lunch for us to take along.  We hugged and said our goodbyes, loaded the car and headed off. It was pitch black with a canopy of a million stars.

Namibia Chapter 4. Camping on the Mudorib River

April 18-21, 2018

Camping?  Do you know me?

The Hoanib River is one of the 12 seasonal rivers in the west of Namibia, bordering the northern part of Damaraland and Kaokoland. This area is considered one of the last true wilderness areas in Namibia. It is also the one of last settlements of the desert elephant. The Murdorib flows off the Hoanib, at about 600 feet above sea level, and it is on the dry bed of the Mudorib that we would be camping for the next two nights.

Camping.  Me?  Those that know me know that camping is not my usual MO.  How did this happen?  When we met with Chris at Piper and Heath to plan our Wilderness Safari trip, the Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp was full.  But we wanted to stay in this area, so Chris suggested we camp. He promised a hot shower, a toilet and someone to cook for us.  So I said, “Actually sounds like fun.  Why not?!”  So here we were.

Namibia Chapter 3. Skeleton Coast

April 17-18, 2018, Tuesday and Wednesday

The Skeleton Coast

After breakfast today we hit the road heading north to the Skeleton Coast. We were driving in Dorob National Park, a protected area in this region of Erongo. It is 990 miles long and covers 41,500 square miles, from the Kuiseb Delta, just south of Walvis Bay, to the Ugab River, where we were heading. There are about 75 species of birds that live here and it feels like we saw many of them.

The road was paved, but grooved and rough, at least for a while. We were surrounded on both sides by sand. Sand, sand and more sand. And to our left, on the west side, on the other side of the sand, was the Atlantic Ocean. Other than that, there was not much to see.

Namibia Chapter 2. Swakopmund and Walvis Bay

April 16, 2018

Arriving in Swakopmund

We flew from Sossusvlei to Swakopmund, to keep from having to drive for six hours and to get the view of the dunes and the coastline from up above (see the Namibia Chapter 1. Sossusvlei post). As we approached the city, we could see Walvis Bay with its fishing boats and then suddenly the desert began being filled with homes. It was sort of amusing to see houses with sand in their yards. No lawns. Just sand. City or not, this is still the desert. But there were straight paved streets, a park or two, and as we got closer to the airport, what looked like a township (what we in America call a shanty town or a slum). This was Mondesa, a suburb of Swakopmund that  was once a township for the Black people of Swakopmund and is still the poorest part of town with a high rate of unemployment. And you could tell all that from just looking at the houses, made of tin if they were lucky.

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