“Boat!” is called out just after dawn as I head down to the beach to catch the daily boat en route to Nosy Be. After a pleasant 40 minute ride, we arrive in the port and wade through oily water to get some breakfast before our long journey to the amazing tsingy rocks in Ankarana, on the mainland of Madagascar. Continue reading “Taxi Brousse”
The Black Pearl
21 complete strangers get in a bus on a windy morning in Cape Town- a bunch of Europeans, two Brazilians, two South Koreans, and an American (me). They are destined to spend the next 20 something days together camping and traveling. Our charismatic captain (Tenk) has possibly watched Pirates of The Caribbean one too many times, and quickly names our safari truck The Black Pearl. Continue reading “The Black Pearl”
After about an hour wait at the border, we enter Zimbabwe and head to the final destination of out trip- Victoria Falls. But first, a few things about Zimbabwe: it’s expensive- like New York City expensive. Zimbabwe money is completely worthless, so they are using US money, and it’s impossible to get. There is only one ATM in town with money and you can only withdraw $50 at a time, with a $5 charge (and yes, there is a line). Continue reading “Victoria Falls”
Hungry Hungry Hippos
Floating papyrus greets us early morning as we navigate to a small island where mokoros are waiting. We are truly off the beaten path- the islands we are exploring cannot be found on a map. I get into my mokoro- a hollowed out boat with a puller standing in the back, pushing the boat through the flooded delta with a stick. We push off into the flooded grass, pushing reeds out of the way. I sit in the bottom of the boat, almost level with the still waters, dodging the papyrus puffs that threaten to hit my face, my arms parting the grass as the boat pushes through. Continue reading “Hungry Hungry Hippos”
Okavango Delta – Part 1
People who complain of too much night noise in the city clearly haven’t spent the night in the bush in Botswana. I lay awake in the darkness watching the shadows of trees on my tent, listening to a bird perhaps that sounds like a car alarm without an off button. The night hums, sings- a chorus of animals, birds and whatever else is out there. Twigs break somewhere nearby- donkey or cow? Sleep finally comes as a lay on my sleeping bag in the hot, sticky night. Continue reading “Okavango Delta – Part 1”
Bushmen of Botswana
As we drive up Namibia towards Botswana the landscape completely changes from barren and dry to green and lush. Etosha National Park is a green refuge for lions, elephants, giraffes, and countless other animals. Salt marshes stretch out across the massive park, we camp near water holes and sit quietly watching the night for thirsty animals, trying not to laugh too loudly and frighten them away. Continue reading “Bushmen of Botswana”
It’s been a long, hot day as finally arrive in Spitzkoppe. We are staying in a very remote place tonight- no bathrooms, showers, or water- but we do have Bushman caves, bright stars, and some really amazing rocks- with art painted on them thousands of years ago- not just any rocks. Despite the circumstances, this is one of my favorite nights of the trip.
We discover trees with leaves so fragrant they are used as perfume, another with bark so dry and flakey it’s used as paper. Nature possess so many functions if you look in the right places, if you are aware. Everything has a purpose. We explore the red/ orange paintings of the Bushmen long ago- people, animals, art. I slowly trace my fingers over a rhino somebody painted- art as a form of communication from thousands of years ago.
I climb up a rock wall, over massive rock boulders and discover a natural pool made from rain water within the rocks- a pool in the sky. We take a dip in the cool, swallow rock pool and wade amongst the hundreds of tadpoles swimming in the clear water- an occasional shriek emerging as I feel they might be poking at my feet. My hand sweeps the bottom of the pool, emerging with green rocks that resemble emeralds.
I sit in the rock l pool with girls that have become like my sisters, completely at peace. A moment of serenity as I watch the sun set over the hills in the distance- a memory I can reach for on a day when my mind is so busy that I forget to enjoy the moment. We lay on the heated rocks, warmed by the setting sun and allow them to warm us, the breeze acts as our towel.
My mind is quiet as I lay in my sleeping bag under the stars, listening to stories of animals around a campfire. I fall into a restless sleep, waking up as the wind blows my hair in the night, smiling at the shining milky way above me, sleepy pleas for bugs not to crawl on my face as I drift back asleep. Is there anything more natural than waking up to the sun rising? Than sleeping underneath the stars?
From NYC to Namibia
Namibia is hot- dry hot. Most of the country is uninhabited. The landscape is stunning and always surprises me as I drive up through the Namib desert into the skeleton coast. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the population of 2 million in the entire country, compared to the 8 something million in New York City alone. The two places couldn’t be more different- in New York it’s impossible not to run into someone, in Namibia you must go out of your way to do so. Continue reading “From NYC to Namibia”
Swakopmund has a sense of emptiness, of desertion to it, despite the stores, coffee shops and markets. Oddly, I feel like I’ve been here before, like I’m walking through a sleepy dream, recognizing the familiar palm trees, rocky beaches with foamy waves breaking and spraying the massive rocks. Until yesterday, I didn’t even know this town existed, I didn’t know I’d be here, but surely I’ve seen this coast before- I keep waking up, remembering I’m in Namibia. Continue reading “Swakopmund”
Sand dunes and the ocean have the same effect on me- I have this inner bubble of excitement and overwhelming desire to run straight to them, like a child witnessing something extraordinary for the first time. I had not expected the striking beauty of Namibia, the sprawling land a thousand shades of brown, and the sky a light clear blue, the sand dunes that appear from the cracked dusty ground, suddenly replacing the mountains as we drive towards the coast. Continue reading “Dunes”