A Travellerspoint blog

Botswana!

Think I had got lost???

sunny 33 °C

Taken me a while to get round to doing this and it will probably take me equally as long to get up to date!! But here goes!

After Zimbabwe we travelled to Botswana, through the Chobe National Park where we went on a cruise down the river and saw at least 50 elephants!Then down to the Okovango Delta where we were met by our oarsmen with their dug out canoes. (there is a proper name for them but I can't remeber). Using our roll mats and backpacks, we lazed aboard the canoes supping wine from tin mugs as we were gently guided through the reeds to our campsite.
This was on the edge of the reserve where elephants were roaming a bit too close for comfort... there was a giant poo right in the middle of our camp!!!
We spent the next few days game viewing, swimming in the river and relaxing in the shade making weird things out of palm leaves.
It was blisteringly hot. One evening we took the canoes out and watched the sun go down behind the resident hippo. That was one of those beautiful moments that made me realise how lucky I am.
Back on terra firma, we hired a plane and flew over the Delta. It was just like you see in the picture books. Utterly amazing.

Posted by baluba 04:55 Archived in Botswana Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Alive and Kicking!

Well, almost!

sunny 35 °C
View Cairo to Capetown on baluba's travel map.

Sorry! Not had a chance to update the blog. Internet out here is painfully slow, sometimes horrendously expensive and time limited.
Currently at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe side. Since my last entry, which I cant remember what I wrote... we have been through Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zanzibar, Malawi, Mozambique and now here in Zim.
Its been a crazy trip, spent more time hammered than not and done some pretty daft things!
Very very briefly...
Ethiopia great, fab scenery (bit like Peru) great food and lovely people.
Uganda, amazing place and amazing people. Jumped ship and headed off to the islands in Lake Victoria for a few days, fabulous time lazing by the lake in the sunshine on private beach. Tried my hand at Kayaking... thats weird, why would you want to go round and round in circles in a plastic boat? Or am I doing it wrong?
Chickened out of white water rafting, dont do water. So lazed around by the Nile when it wasnt pissing down with rain.
Kenya...just Kenya, usual touristy stuff, spent Christmas at a grotty campsite on outskirts and it pissed down with rain.
Tanzania, better. Serengeti and Ngorogoro Crater and it pissed down with rain. Spent New Year on a beach just outside Dar es Salaam. Totally wrecked! Didnt rain but got very very wet!
Zanzibar, awesome! Ok it pissed down with rain the first day but we then had several days of blue skies, turqouise seas and white sandy beaches. Utter bliss!
Malawi, awesome, more beach, pissed down with rain a couple of times but the rest of the time it was very very hot. Tried my hand at canoeing, went accross to Kande Island. At least it went in an almost straight line, but filled with water drowning my camera. My new camera, the camera that cost me 230 quid in Nairobi. Bugger.
Mozambique, um..didnt see a lot, it pissed down with rain and my tent nearly floated away. Next day unbelieveably hot and scorpions took refuge under our tents!
Zimbabwe. First day in Harare ready to jump ship again but then we went to Antelope Park in Gweru where I had possibly the best time of my life. Walking and feeding lions, night hunt and watched the full grizzly killing thing. This has been a major turning point for me as I have decided to cancel the whole Asia leg of my trip and go back to Gweru to do volunteer work with the lions. They are incredible creatures who like to have their paws tickled when they are not trying to eat your feet. Long story... another day! Oh and yes, it pissed down with rain.
Victoria Falls, intermittant rain but mostly incredible humid heat, keep having to jump in the pool! Oh, talking of jumping, I threw myself off the bridge. Yup 111 mtr bunjee. Never been so terrified in my life. Coming back here after Gweru possibly to do another month with the lions.
Thats it! Off on Monday to go to Botswana. I shall try and update more often.
Wonder if it rains in Botswana? Probably.

Posted by baluba 01:10 Archived in Zimbabwe Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

Sudan!

Sand, sand and more sand

sunny 35 °C

Sudan_-_desert_train.jpgMe_on_a_camel__Sudan.jpgFinally got to Sudan via ferry designed to carry 200 and something but loaded with about 500 or so. Interesting! 17 hour crossing spent on the deck next to the captain, all crammed in in our wee sleeping bags, damned cold but good fun.Apart from the toilet, not fun!
The next five days we travelled through the desert which was pretty magnificent, mirages the lot. One day the sand was so soft we spent the whole day digging the truck out, we managed 100km that day, mostly by hand and shovel!
Our last day in the desert we camped by the pyramids. Yes, Sudan has pyramids too! But theres are a lot older, smaller and loads crammed together, nestled into the most amazing sand dunes I have ever seen.
We arrived at the Blue Nile Sailing Club in Khartoum yesterday, fabulous camp right on the nile and plonked in the middle is Kitcheners old gunboat. Weird. But they have showers! Total and utter bliss, five days of sand and sweat blocking up their drains. Discovered that my hair does actually have independant movement is not some weird appendage adhered to my head! We have clothes washing facilities too! Well, sink and a tap, but it works. 22 clean people in clean clothes with big cheesy grins!
I love Sudan, the people are magnificent, tall and dark, very very dark, and the epitomy of friendliness and honesty. They could teach the Egyptians a thing or two.
Food wise, we seem to be living on a diet of falafel, dates and fruit juice. Resisting all the crappy snack bars and the lure of extortionately priced Cadbury's chocolate.
Coffee though, oh my god, coffee to die for! All along the streets there are ladies making coffee which is a violent concoction of coffee, cinnamon and ginger, utterly divine and makes up for the absence of alcohol in this Country. I think when we finally hit Ethiopia there are going to be some major hangovers, we have not had a drink in a week!
Today some of us piled over to the White Nile bridge to see the convergance of the Blue and White Niles. Muddy brown and slightly less muddy brown would be a better description but it was good to see and we needed the hour long walk.
Apart from that there is not a great deal to do here in the city, there are a few museums but thats it.
Yesterday though in Atbara was a huge sprawling chaotic market where we finally bought some fresh meat and fruit. It was a wonderful lively and vibrant place, I could have spent all day there.
I am having a brilliant time, loving every minute of it. Wonderful to see the stark contrast of cultures in the different countries. Today we were woken by church bells which was a blessed relief from the chanting via loudspeaker we have had up till now.
Next update hopefully from Ethiopia which promises to be equally amazing. Still no photos I am afraid but I dont think they could do the scenery here justice. One day I shall find a CD drive!
Love to you all, enjoy the winter!

Posted by baluba 01:53 Archived in Sudan Tagged backpacking Comments (2)

Yes, I am here!

Walking like an Egyptian

sunny 25 °C

Egypt_-_Abu_Simbel.jpgEgypt-_White_desert.jpgAswan.jpgOk, finally got onto the internet and into this site. Sorry it has been a long time coming!
Two weeks to fill you in on so I shall just give you a brief synopsis rather than a blow by blow account.... there is quite a lot to go through!
Journey over here was fine, no problems, didnt get arrested for being in possession of an exploding lipstick! Spent most of the night at the airport with a Russian guy who I met on the bus, drinking gallons of coffee to keep me awake. Met at Cairo by lovely little chap who whisked me through immigration before my bag was even off loaded.
Hotel was brilliant, all mod cons and an all night bar and restaurant!
My first day I spent galloping on a horse accross the desert behind the pyramids! Yup! And I don't even ride!!!! Quite a comical picture actually, me clinging for dear life to the saddle and my guide who was ringing next to me, screeching like a stuck pig. Injuries sustained, Nasty sore patch on my ankle from where the stirrup cut in and bruises in places I wouldn't even show my doctor!
Lost my wallet but it was returned to me next day by pleasant young man who ardently refused a reward. The people here are amazing, so friendly. I dont think I have ever felt so safe in a city and quite happy to wander around on my own, even at night. Some of us have spent many an hour in the company of local people drinking tea and smoking sheesha.
In Cairo we did the Pyramids (of course) plus some lesser known ones outside town ( there are bloody pyramids everywhere!), even went inside one, stinks! Visited citadels, monuments, temples, more temples, and more temples. Totally templed out! The bazaars are totally bizzare, selling everything from cuddly camels to mens underpants.
From Cairo we drove through the deserts which are just awesome and breathtaking, we camped, mostly at proper campsites with toilets and showers, bliss. Spent one night out in the desert with the Bedouin, went by camel which was a lot more comfortable than a horse I can tell you!. We had dinner round the fire and slept under the stars. It was magnificent. The white desert is strange, not sand, more a type of fine shingle, climbed a mountain and found a fossilised seashell. Weird. No loos in the the desert so when I went for my early morning stroll, round the corner resembled a cat litter tray where everyone had been peeing in the night!Yup, the white desert is made of kitty litter.
Finally arrived at Luxor which has to be the hassle capital of the world. Stayed at a hostel so proper beds and 'hot' showers.
Took a donkey ride to the Valley of the Kings. Still more comfy than a horse but not as comfy as camel. Took about an hour to get there but boy those little critters can shift! From there we took the donkeys over the mountains to other tombs and temples, I dont remember their names but I have learnt an awful lot about Pharoes and Gods and stuff. Suprisingly there is more to it that just King Tut! Oh yes, went to the Museum in Cairo and saw all the Tut stuff, the place is stuffed full of dead things and big boxes.
From Luxor to Aswan which is not quite as hassley as Luxor. On route managed to fall over a kerb sustaining a sprained big toe, torn trousers and grazed leg. Same leg as the stirrup scab so looking delightful and hobbling. Took a three day cruise down the Nile on a Felucca which was just fantastic. Quite big boats, about 20 x 14 feet deck area which was covered in mattresses. Sat around in the sun during the day landing just once for a much needed loo stop then parking up or whatever it is you do with a boat at night on a beach where a fire would be lit. The crew cooked all our meals and we had ample supplies of beers and wine.Party time!
But guess who fell off the plank! Yup, yours truly, straight into the nile spraining my ankle, yes, same leg. Plus bashing my other knee. I had to get a piggy back to get to the bushes if I needed the loo. So no booze for me that night!
By the way, forgot to mention the cut on my head where I head butted a tree. Will I make it to Cape Town in one piece? Doubtful! Also narrowly escaped having my fingers bitten off by a baby crocodile.
Yesterday went to Abu Simble. Yes, another bloody temple, but this one was BIG! Plus it had meen moved to prevent it being submerged when they built the dam. Quite a feat of engineering and took 4 years to do it.
Sorry there are no photos yet, trying to find a way of getting them from camera to computer. I shall attempt to sort it soon as I can, they are all of bloody temples anyway apart from one with William smoking a spliff, but thats another story!
So, so far having a fantastic time but it still feels like I am on holiday, spent a lot of time in one place sleeping in hotels, shopping, eating out etc. Spent too much time in cities and now itching to get back on the road and out into the wilderness.
Tomorrow we take the ferry to Sudan, not really sure what to expect other than 50 lashings if we even dare to carry alcohol. Six days of detox, cant be a bad thing!
Excellent mix of people in the group, varying ages and backgrounds and so far everyone getting along. Cant say too much at this stage as Brian has found my blog! Hi Brian, you gorgeous creature you! Ha!! But we do have some great characters. My tent partner is Laura, 24 year old aussie and a real scream.
Well, thats about it folks. Two weeks of temples and bruises! I have a terrible habit of getting up between 0430 and 0600 but yesterday joy of joys I managed to buy a bottle of Jim Beam. Today I got up at 0900!
William is fine and lives on the side of my daypack, causes great amusement with the locals, but the next person that calls him a monkey shall be punched. He has even been mistaken for a rabbit for goodness sake!
Not sure what I shall do this afternoon, sit by the rooftop pool at the hotel or take a boat to one of the islands. Its a tough life. Weather very pleasant about 25 degrees ( thats in the 70's Mum!)but it is getting hotter as we travel south. Tan is coming along a treat, that is, up to my knees and shoulders....not risked the bikini yet! But I did brave a swimsuit when we went to the hot springs.
I shall try and update again when we get to Khartoum. Please send supplies of tubigrip and plasters!!!
Hope all is well back there and you are not too cold! xxxxx

Posted by baluba 00:32 Archived in Egypt Tagged luxury_travel Comments (1)

An adventure accross three Continents begins....

...via Weatherby!

rain 17 °C

Yes, Weatherby. Well, I had to stop somewhere! The last time I attempted to drive the length of England I ended up upside down in a ditch wondering what the hospital food was like in Eccles.
So, I made a pit stop to visit a good friend of mine who took me to an exotic bird park. Thanks BM, I am sure the Maribous and Egrets were far more interesting there than they will be in Africa! No, I jest, it was fabulous.
Onwards to visit my brother and family in Essex. Essex was um, well, there was um...
Anyway, I am now in Brighton where it is officially monsoon season. No kidding, even the goldfish have umbrellas.All the rain in the world is currently falling in Brighton, I shall be chatting up a yachtsman to get me to the airport!
So here I am, holed up at my sisters. Officially homeless, jobless and now carless. I waved goodbye to that last night, twas a very sad day. But I have gained 10lbs!! Yup, all that frantic dieting and exercising so I did not look like the blob against these young lithe things on my trip, out the window, lost in a sea of fried breakfasts, roast dinners and gooey desserts. Thank you so much all you do gooders with your "this is probably the last decent meal you will get". I am now trying to survive today on a bowl of All Bran.
I may now be devoid of most of my personal possessions and even my life as I once knew it, but, I still have that most valued of items...my passport. Come Tuesday the real adventure begins.
I shall now test the waterproof jacket and swim into town to find a tanning salon.
Oh and Essex was ok! Finchingfield has got to be one of the most perfect English villages with thatched roofs, cream teas and even a duck pond. The rest was...ooh, rain has stopped..have to go!!

Posted by baluba 03:15 Archived in England Tagged preparation Comments (1)

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