An Ongoing Journey through Africa & The Middle East [PIC HEA


Discussion Topic

Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Messages 21 - 40 of total 92 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>

Social climber
joshua tree
Jun 6, 2013 - 03:20am PT
Those are some SPECTACULARLY beautiful pictures!

Great propaganda for Dubia. They'll probably pay you.

Also, ur worried about the monkeys, and ur killing crabs?
That's Americaism for ya..

Have Fun!!

Mountain climber
Okinawa, Japan
Jun 6, 2013 - 03:27am PT
I have a question about the lions. They all seem so blond compared to the other photos I've seen. Were they albinos?

Topic Author's Reply - Jun 6, 2013 - 03:36am PT
Jan - Many of the lions pictured were white lions. They are always said to be "really rare" but then everyones got some all fenced up. It's a strange place sometimes for sure.

Blue - I'm not sure what you mean bout the crabs or the monkeys! I'm not afraid of them but I still don't want them stealing my food! heh

Also I've never felt more like a tourist in my life then I have here.

Topic Author's Reply - Jun 17, 2013 - 01:12pm PT
This uploading from Africa stuff is not easy! But I finally found a little internet that was able to upload all night from the inside of my tent. We managed to get an extension cord in Nata, Botswana from a hardware shop run by an Indian gentlemen. Interesting place. However I haven't quite gotten that far yet! So here's another short post. I am getting some really good uploading in at the moment so hopefully I'll finally get through South Africa and on to the other countries!

My last post ended with a this one shall start the same. Here are the same monkeys!

Inbetween the fun stuff there was plenty of this to be had...We have finished quite a few books.

I read an African guide book once where the guy made fun of birders then eventually became one. I could see how one would be a birder in Africa.

Mike, Shasta, and I decided we needed to pull out our climbing gear and get it on the rock! So we found a place that was nearby in a town called East London. It recommended bringing a machete for snakes...and people. Basic African advice. We headed to the trail and finally found our place to park, after a short crossing of the Nahoon River we found the crag.

We got on a few routes and I braved taking out the camera in such an area.

Shasta always seems to be climbing with a smile...

We climbed only a few routes, I got about 7 laps in and we found out how out of climbing shape we really are! We packed up the gear with sad faces knowing we wouldn't get to take it out again until Namibia and then headed back to meet with everyone else. The next day we drove toward Sodwana Bay for some diving and on the way we stopped at Shakaland which is a representation of a Zulu town that was made for the movie King Shaka. It was interesting and had a bit of history as well.

We then went into this hut where we watched them do a traditional zulu dance. The interesting part was that there were girls in the dancing of around age 14 or so and they had no tops on. The adult women did though, so it was quite interesting and I decided that I felt to weird taking photos and skipped it on the camera. After this we would do a short stop in Sodwana Bay and then to the amazing wildlife that is Kruger Park!

Trad climber
Auburn, CA
Jun 17, 2013 - 03:35pm PT
Thank you so much for sharing! Great picture and commentary ;-)

Topic Author's Reply - Jun 19, 2013 - 08:44am PT
Thank you everyone for the replies! I am working on another update now. Thanks again!

Topic Author's Reply - Jun 19, 2013 - 09:20am PT
Since we a have a little internet in this small town of Tsumeb, Namibia I will continue to try and catch up...which seems like it my only happen when I get home!

John once said "Why is everything in the desert trying to kill me?" and thats just what it seems like sometimes!

Once we left Shakaland we headed toward Sodwana Bay where we did some amazing diving! gopro2 won't focus underwater for some reason (any ideas?) so despite tons of photos and video underwater...I got nothing. Oh well. It was a fun adventure with the Alaskan's getting into our wetsuites was the best part.

It required a very delicate dance followed by a triple lutz into warrior pose.

This is the first wild mongoose I think I had ever seen!

After Sodwana bay we decided to head to Kruger. We were going to get a slightly later start then the rest of the group and then we got really smart and decided to take a short cut. We left before 5am and drove toward a town called Jozini...or something like that, we certainly never made it there. After a few miles the pavement disappeared to decent road with some tar on it. Then that left and we were on a decent dirt road. That soon turned to some massive potholes and dips which I proceeded to take at about 60mph. Needless to say, or necessary to say, we hit something hard and got a flat tire somewhere along this dirt the the middle of nowhere. We changed the tire in record time, although we lost a hub cap somewhere, and turned around to get back to the main road. That was about all he of the adventure I wanted before sunrise. The rest of the drive was long and uneventful, taking a total of over 12 hours. We finally arrived at Kruger Park, and if you don't like animals then the rest of this post is going to really suck for you!

Within our first hour in the park, after we found out that our booking company forgot to book us and that everything was full, we found a Rhino right on the side of the road. I have to say its the first time in my life I've heard Shasta shout "RHINOOOO!!!"

He proceeded to lumber across the road right in front of us!

What an introduction to Kruger! So now theres going to be lots of photos and much less commentary. So...enjoy!

The deer of South Africa (Impala)

The Blue Wildebeast

A very injured looking Greater Galago (Bushbaby)

The animal that kills more people than any other in Africa.

Greater Hornbill

Warthogs (Pumba)

Biggest peekaboo game ever.


There you are!

Greater Heron

Malachite Kingfisher!

I now have about 1000 pictures of elephants, and every day I still take more!

Considered by many to be one of the most beautiful birds in southern Africa. The lilac breasted roller.

The Ptarmigan of Africa. The Spurfowl.

Most of the days we drove in our little blue car nicknamed Blue Bear and the other groups went in the vans. One day we were driving along and ran into them where they were excited to tell us about two cheetahs, probably the rarest animal in the park. We quickly drove in that direction only to stumble upon some rhinos as well! How could we resist the opportunity?

Wide load coming through!

Now those are some big horns!

We then were lucky enough to see the Cheetah! They had been walking on the road and posted for just a few photos in the fading light.

After petting the cheetahs we had to remind ourselves these animals are quite wild.


It was time to head back, you have to be inside the camp gate by sunset our else you get a huge fine. But there was still enough time to take a picture of this fine gentleman.

And so far this may be my favorite bird from Africa. The Martial Eagle.

So that is it for this post...the rest of the posts are going to be quite similar but with many more animals and some really neat ones! Very awesome!

Jim Henson's Basement
Jun 19, 2013 - 09:20am PT
Great photos. Looking forward to more updates on your trip.

I always love pictures of Oman in particular. Such beautiful landscapes. I always thought a wadi was sort of like an arroyo BTW.. Sometimes has water, sometimes not.

Topic Author's Reply - Jun 19, 2013 - 09:30am PT
justthemaid - I think you are probably right about the wadi description, at least thats what it seemed like to me!

I'm from Alaska so when it says theres water somewhere, there usually is!
Dingus Milktoast

Gym climber
And every fool knows, a dog needs a home, and...
Jun 19, 2013 - 09:36am PT
Nice. Thanks


Trad climber
CA Central Coast
Jun 19, 2013 - 10:19am PT

yellow border'd quality pictures Kelsey!

thanks for sharing, man!

Topic Author's Reply - Jun 19, 2013 - 05:30pm PT
Thank you for your comments everyone!

Roxy - I've always thought that would be the coolest job!

Topic Author's Reply - Jun 21, 2013 - 01:54pm PT
Thanks to the really nice owners of Etosha Cafe in Tsumeb I will be able to do quite the update. So this one is going to be huge. Probably to huge. Well, it'll help get me caught up anyway! So if you are interested the settle back and be ready for quite the photo excursion, of mainly animals.

Chacma Baboons

I really don't think I even want to know what lives in that bundle.

So we are driving along through Kruger National Park, still in South Africa, with the windows down and Shasta at the wheel when she stops and says "What is that?" Just outside of my window, directly facing me is a puff adder. We have heard these can strike a balloon twice before it pops! So I quietly ask Shasta to continue driving so that it is not looking me square in the eye. We figured it must be full of food because it looked quite fat. Turns out that they puff up when threatened.....

This big elephant walked right to us when Shasta was driving. She was getting pretty nervous but it walked right around us.

Then decided to get dirty (it keeps the horseflies from biting).

Caught these two doing a pretty cool dance!

There were buffalo everywhere.

And Zebra.

We were treated to finding a Hyena with babies right off the road!

Time to get back before sunset!

We saw just a glimpse of Honey Badgers!

We went on a night drive and we felt really lucky to se a Serval. These are beautiful cats!

Oh and these arent bad either.

We were in our open game vehicle when a pride of 7 females and one male came walking driving at us. Then layed down right next to the vehicle. It was crazy thinking about a lion being right next to us and there we are taking pictures with a flash right in their eyes.

These are wild lions, they are not tame!

Does she look hungry?

This guy sure did, but he got some impala!

I don't like that look you're giving me.


a bird.

A vervet monkey with some colorful.....eyes.

The landscape along with Shasta, Tara, and Sarah.

Water Monitors are awesome.

Lilac Breasted Roller, thats probably a tarantula in its mouth!

Cool Owls.

Some hunters dream waterbuck.

A hungry hungry hippo.

A thoughtful baboon.

Morning mist.


Some poachers shot a rhino but it didn't die. So they followed it for a few weeks and then shot it and the rangers cut the horn so poachers wouldn't get it. It is a sad common story here. The lions found the rhino and laid claim.

Not cool.

An endangered hornbill.

Our last night we spent near some buffalo that were camped on the road. It was nice to shoot them in the sunset.

After that night we said our goodbyes to the Alaskan's and then headed onto the next portion of the journey. We stopped at a massive baobab tree along the way.

This is my favorite photo of the tree, and shasta took it! Except theres a monkey in it.

Our last night in South Africa would be spent at a place called Camp Africa at Louis Trichart. Kind of an odd little town but the forest surrounding the camping area was beautiful!

And that is it for South Africa....whew. I'd be surprised if anyone actually looked at all of those! And now I'm going to say there is another place if anyone wants to see them without all my chatter. That is here:

Now i am going to start writing about Botswana...which will just be a ton more animals but at least they will often be doing new and exciting things! Like elephants swimming!


Topic Author's Reply - Jun 21, 2013 - 02:32pm PT
Since its night time here, were in front a water hole where jackels come to eat, and I have a schweppes dry lemon nearby, also I've been in africa long enough to forget how to use commas, so I will now continue with Botswana.

Botswana was our first experience with Pans which are old lakes that no longer hold water, except at rainy season. They are wide open expanses often full of life. Pretty cool. This is Nata Bird Sanctuary.

Shasta looking cool with our trusty rental, Blue Bear, on the only dirt road we could drive in Botswana without a 4x4.



We camped at a place called Pelican Lodge that did a really good job of taking care of us! Each campsite had its own "Ablution" blocks. Which is just a fancy term for bathroom. Our's came complete with two resident black widows. For some reason I had some bad dreams.

After Nata sanctuary we headed toward the northern border area and a park called Chobe which has a migrating heard of 40,000 elephants. The park lists a total of about 130,000 elephants as its inhabitants!

We stayed at a lodge called Togo Lodge. Not bad camping but they neglected to mention the night club that would have obnoxiously loud music every night we were there. Oh well, it was a beautiful place to spend the day.

On a daily outing around the town of Kasane we found some African Skimmers which are endangered birds. They are quite odd as their top beak is much shorter then the bottom.

We took a single day trip into Chobe by game drive, we couldn't bring our own car because the entire park is 4x4 only. There were more buffalo to be seen.

And the ever common Giraffe.

And the always cunning Vervet Monkey.

The Jackels caught a Steenbock!

Gross alert!

Do not screw with a honey badger.

I had hoped to see a sable but this was the best I could do!

Those balloons stuck in the mud are Hippos.

I was told this is the largest bird in the world that can truly hover. The pied kingfisher. It was cool to watch them hunt!

African Darter

Okay thats good for now! Hopefully the pictures are enjoyed. I've been having a blast taking them!


Trad climber
Auburn, CA
Jun 21, 2013 - 02:46pm PT
Please keep it up! I'm enjoying all the pictures.
goatboy smellz

Jun 21, 2013 - 05:55pm PT

Anchorage gopro2 won't focus underwater for some reason (any ideas?)

The waterproof case has a rounded cover,
you need a flat cover to focus underwater.
Manufacturing mistake on their end.
There are a few aftermarket covers that fix the problem.
Keep up the good work, love the wildlife photos!

Topic Author's Reply - Jun 27, 2013 - 01:22pm PT
Thank you all for the excellent comments, I really enjoy writing these posts and it is very nice to know that there are people reading them!

So I will continue one. The last post we were halfway through our boat ride. We stumbled on a nice collection of Nile Monitors

It looks like these two had just finished up doing some lizard business, poor guys fast asleep.

Everyone you talk to here tells you not to swim in the water. Then they point out why.

66 razor sharp teeth...oh and they can be 150 years old.

There were so many amazing elephants.

We pulled our boat into a channel between a small island called Sedudu and the shoreline of Botswana. The small island of Sedudu is almost like a floating patch of grass but it is so concentrated with wildlife that Botswana and Namibia like to say they almost went to war over it. Every evening the elephants swim from the shore to eat on the island.

Ok there are a lot of elephant photos, but how can you blame me? They are amazing!

Here the babies just hold onto the tails of the parents and try to stay attached.

Ally oop

Elephant Fight!!!

I really liked this image, it made me feel as though I was in the grass with them.

The island is also covered in some very cool birds. Anyone know what kind of bird this is?

The bird version of "What the heck?"

And then, "oh its just you."

Disappointed he didn't eat the bird? Ya, I was too.

These were some of my favorite elephant photos.

They use the dirt to keep the flies off.

Their skin is so sensitive that it hurts when the flies bite. Yet they can eat camel thorns. Weird.


In a list of photographic opportunities, elephants at sunset rule supreme.

This effect is not photoshopped. It was just that good of a sunset to get in camera!

And that is the end of our Botswana boat ride. Although it seems like we didn't see much I feel like we got a nice taste of Botswana. Next time we are coming back with a 4x4 for sure! Now it's off to Zambia.


Topic Author's Reply - Jun 29, 2013 - 05:33pm PT
Okay I'll start this post off with a question. How many of you knew Zambia was a country? I admit that I did not. I knew Zimbabwe was but I had never heard of Zambia. We were told by some people here that it was a necessary place to go and see, especially for Victoria Falls which was ranked as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World on somebodies list. So we headed to the border of Botswana and Zambia through Kasane which crosses the Chobe River. It was unenjoyable. Here is how it went.

We drove up to the Pontoon area where a guy came up to us asking to help us, he was followed by a group of men doing the same. I talked briefly with the first guy who came up and he said he would help us get through customs. I had heard this border post was fraught with difficulties so I considered it, but I also have travelled enough to know the drill. I asked him what he expected for doing so. He gave me a cost of 100 pula, or about $10 us. I've never actually accepted this type of risky endeavor but I figured I'd give him a chance. We tried several unsuccessful attempts at getting Zambian Kwatcha in Botswana but they seem to avoid it like the plague, it turns out you need either that and US dollars for all the different fees. At this point we didn't have any US money. At first we had to pay the pontoon man who accepted only Kwatcha which of course I had to "borrow" from the guy who I accepted the help from. At this moment I've already decided it was a bad idea but was low on options since I didn't have any Zambian Currency. We then go to the customs counter where the price to enter the country is $50 per person. This is not 50 US$ or an equal amount in Kwatcha, no this is $50... The guy helping me says "Here, I have $100 US, you use it and pay me back." I say fine and accept my fate of being overly screwed at this point. We walk out of that office and toward the next where we need to pay road taxes and other annoying traveller fines when a man walks up to me demanding I pay him back for lending me money. Up to this point I actually assumed that it was just going to be the current guy I was working with that was going to try and screw me, I didn't know he had borrowed the money as well. Should have known. The guy demands $180, $100 to pay him back and $80 as his fee. We are slowly being surrounded by several other guys who should be worrying me, but I'm quickly becoming to overly frustrated at their aggressiveness. We settle on a much lower number where he still makes off with $10 or $15 US extra just so I can get the heck out of there. At this point I'm becoming very agitated as I do not like to be pushed around in such a way. I need to go into the road tax office and pay for that fine as well when another man who's been following us around and trying to "help" tries to take our passports and walk toward the office. I quickly have to rip them from his hands and find myself having to become more agressive then the agressors. I go in and get a fresh breath while the genuinely nice guy helps me get everything there sorted. When I go back out they are waiting for me, there is still one more place to go and spend more money that I do not have. You also need to buy insurance for your vehicle, another some odd $30 US for our stay. We go in and it looks like a broken shack, the bureau de change is next door (where I could have exchanged my pula to kwatcha) but it looks like it's never been open and would collapse if they opened the main beam supporting door. I leave Shasta in the car with the doors locked nearby, knowing she would hit the horn if things got interesting out there and at least I could see what the commotion was before the seemingly hundreds of people just milling about pulled me down. That seems a bit dramatic, and probably was, but at that point I was feeling robbed while I still had my belongings on me. I need to borrow more Kwatcha, I tell the guy if he gives me this money he is getting exactly that amount back, no more and no less. He agrees and I finish getting the insurance. Outside I am walking to my car and a guy comes up angry asking for his money that I borrowed from him. I gave a quick glance to the man helping me but I shouldn't have been surprised. This was par for the course. So now we are arguing as I am opening the door and getting into the car, they are trying to reach in and who knows where they are reaching around to as I bat arms away. They want another $50 US extra for leading me $30. It's getting ridiculous and I finally snap, I tell him he is getting exactly what I said I was going to give him and then I would pay back what I borrowed and that was it. I'm raising my voice as about as loud as I ever have travelling, which is probably more of a struggled through my teeth kind of berating. I push the money into his hands, tell the guy who was supposed to be helping me that he was fine but everyone around him sucks, also knowing that he obviously is in on their business as well. We drive off nearly running over those who almost refuse to get out of the way while demanding money. The rest of the drive is a tense, frustrated, and loud music calming hour to Livingstone with a sour Zambian first impression in our minds.

After a night at Jollyboys Backpackers Camp we were relaxed enough to check out the place. Since we heard that Victoria Falls was amazing we went right to it and got our first good taste of the expensive country that is Zambia. Seriously, this place is pricey! We rode elephants in South Africa for $40 per person. A nearly identical trip in Zambia is $150! It was $20 per person just to get in to the park for the falls. I feel it was worth it however, the falls are pretty amazing with an absolutely incredible amount of water falling at all times.

I only brought my gopro since any other type of camera would have been soaked. I looked as though I had just taken a shower. Shasta looked happy as well. As you can see it was a beautiful sunny day. It was strange standing in a downpour under perfectly blue skies.

It is quite the experience to stare right into the falls.

The mighty Zambezi River snakes it's way through the canyon.

I contemplated doing my first ever bungee jump off of the Victoria falls bridge but once again the expense made us reconsider. Now I think we are going to try it at the taller one in South Africa.

But the view would have been amazing from the middle.

Shasta trying to get the good shots.

Some of the local wildlife around the falls. They may look pretty harmless here but when we were walking up one of the trails we started hearing some of the baboons screaming and going crazy. As we got further up the trail we came to an older man and his two daughters hugging and frozen in place by an angry baboon. They were very frightened and calling for help. Thankfully I'd been in Africa for a month already and had this part down. I walked up and made normal "get out of here" and waving motions while stomping my foot. It worked well and the baboon let everyone by but not without some serious hissing.

This bridge leads from Zambia to Zimbabwe. Alas, we didn't want to pay for an extra visa to return so we didn't make it to Zimbabwe. Next time we will head over though!

A funny looking rock dassie or hyrax.

Heres some more pictures of the falls and bridge because it was a really amazing experience.

After another night at Jollyboys we managed to get out to Bovu island, which was our favorite part of Zambia. It is an island run for the last 30 years as a camp / lodge type. It's all help yourself type stuff and there is no power except that which the solar panel produces. It is usually just enough to power the radio at night. The rest of the time you are navigating by candles and watching the Zambezi flow by. You also pay a $25 fee that includes activities such as Fishing, which we did for 3 days.

The fishing was done in a dugout canoe. It was interesting being in this canoe and seeing hippos and crocodiles! One of the guys who worked the boats had recently had his canoe bit into 3 pieces by an angry hippo. He then had to swim to shore.

Sunset on the Zambezi. Zambia on the right and Zimbabwe on the left.

Everyone was fishing.

We were fishing for tiger fish but only caught juveniles so we didn't get to keep any. But you should see the teeth on those things! Shasta got some pictures and hopefully she'll get them up some time as well.

A fish eagle.

Local fishermen

And then after 3 nights it was time to head back to Livingstone. A short canoe right and then around and hour long drive.

After another nights stay at Jollyboys we happily headed toward Namibia, our experience at Bovu made Zambia worthwhile. We would like to come back and experience much more of this country in the future.

Big Wall climber
san jose, ca
Jun 29, 2013 - 06:48pm PT
Incredible adventure and photos! TFPU!

The Granite State.
Jun 29, 2013 - 06:55pm PT
This thread is so excellent!

Beautiful places, and you're really good with the camera, thanks!
Messages 21 - 40 of total 92 in this topic << First  |  < Previous  |  Show All  |  Next >  |  Last >>
Return to Forum List
Post a Reply
Our Guidebooks
Check 'em out!
SuperTopo Guidebooks

Try a free sample topo!

SuperTopo on the Web

Recent Route Beta
Recent Gear Reviews