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Fishing and Farming
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Summer 2008

Africa Safari Trip

 September 1-September 19

 Well, we went to Africa on a Sierra Club tour and got back in one piece, although I got a really bad cold the last day there and only shook it a week later.  Still, it was a good trip, though a rough one.  I, for one, didn't expect it to be primarily a tent safari with holes in the ground for sanitary facilities!  On top of that, Sherry was threatened with arrest at the airport when we were leaving Zambia because a spot check detected Benedryl in her carry on.  Highly dangerous drug in Zambia, evidently.  It was just a shake down for a bribe.  But, with the help of our feisty group leader Ruth, we got Sherry released without paying.  Still, it was scary until it was all over.  We survived it all and made it to Home Sweet Home.  The photos are pretty much random without much text since I'm doing this page quite a bit later and don't always remember the correct sequence.  Still, it's mostly there and hope you like it.

From Johanasburg, South Africa, we flew to Gabarone, the capital of Botswana. We hardly got on the ground when we boarded several small  planes to get our group to the dirt landing strip near the camp. These open vehicles were what we drove up to the animals in.  Nothing between you and a hungry lion except the lions haven't yet figured out this thing is chocked full of "Meals on Wheels."  I kept thinking some Einstein of a lion would someday figure that out.  This took getting used to.

One of our very first sightings, even before we got to camp.  We were  told to be very quiet and not to move suddenly.  We were and didn't. This was our home at camp. Although we moved three times the tents were always up and waiting for us.  Good crew.

Well, it was comfortable and private and located behind canvas screens at the back of the tent.  Sits over a hole that is filled in as you use it.. Here we are, the hardened tourists in the Okavanga Delta during the summer when it's wet.  It drys up in the winter and most of the animals move away.

Well, you just have to hope the guide knows what he's doing.
One of the beobob trees.  They can live 1000 years.  
We got quite near this little group of striped mongooses.
Lots of Zebras.

Momma and chicks. African wild cat.  About the size of our cats and very shy.
Elephants aren't shy.  They strolled by camp often and sometimes drank the water out of the shower resevoirs. Mom and baby Kudu.

Beautiful Blacksmith Plover. Saddle Billed Stork.

Heeeeelllllllooooooooo! Wild dogs.  While we were watching these we had a flat.  My friend Eric  from Georgia and I got out and changed it while the guide stood guard.  Set the record for tire changing.
Finally found a lepord at night.  Was considerate enough to stay in one spot for several minutes so we could get his photo..
Elephants are nice, but they are eating themselves and everything else out of home.  They eat grass, leaves, twigs and bark.  Too many of them but no legal way to reduce their numbers. "Oh no! Don't shoot the poor elephants!"  Starvation will probably do it.  I hope the bleeding hearts will then be happy..

Ground Hornbill, recently classed as endangered.
Here is our cook, Johnny, and some of his work.  All done over an open fire.  It was one of the real wonders of the trip.

Most of the group, minus me,  lots of older people but tough.  They never held us back.
After 10 or 11 days on safari our guides drove us to the Kanzungula River, on the border between Botswana and Zambia.  These trucks were lined up for a mile or more waiting their turn to cross the 400 meter wide river on the big ferry. We thought we'd be waiting there forever.  However, our bus ran right past the log jam and delivered us to the shore where smaller boats like this one took us and our baggage safely over to Zambia.
The resort we went to next near Livingston,Zambia, was a far cry from our safari camp.  It included a real bed with a mosquito net covering.  
And a bathroom with a flush toilet and a real shower with hot water!
Victoria Falls was fine, but very much less impressive than it is in the rainly season.  Then the falls would extend across this whole view. This is Zambia where the crazies are rulers.  Just one of the soldiers that seemed to be everywhere.
One of the village houses near the resort that we visited. This lady was the village wise woman.
These schoolboys loved having their photos made.  I sent copies for all of them back to the resort owner who delivered them. This little girl is carrying water from the pump for Momma.
The fellow in the middle was our guide in the village.  He had the other man play his homemade marimba for us. The native market at Maun (I think) where we caught the plane back to South Africa.

To top it all off, just as we thought we were ready to leave the baggage inspector tried to shake down Sherry by claiming her Benedryl was a dangerous drug she was smuggling.  
Here is Ruth, our Sierra Club tour guide.  Ruth rescued Sherry at the last minute after a long debate full of threats of jail, etc.  Finally, Sherry was free and we boarded safely. Thanks Ruth. Still, I don't plan to go back.  Ever.

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