It seems like we just talked. We did. I got home from Cambodia and China on May 30 and am in Johannesburg now. The Cambodia/China trip was very strenuous and a still feel it in my system. Have just gotten over jet lag and am back for some more. What am I doing in South Africa and why? I have some unfinished business in Africa. I have previously been to South Africa twice before. Around five to six years ago, I visited South Africa first with my wife Olivia and then as an extension to one of my Cambodia trips. On both those trips I felt that I had not experienced the beauty and charm of the real Africa the way I wanted to experience Africa. I have always felt that I needed to go back and see if I could find that beauty that I was looking for. When I decided to go on this trip, I knew that it started only twelve days after I arrived home from Cambodia/China, but the itinerary is so unique that I decided to go.
Got on a 11 AM flight yesterday from JFK to Johannesburg nonstop. After nearly sixteen hours of flying, we finally arrived at 8 AM on Tuesday. Africa is six hours ahead of NY. Got our luggage and went outside for the shuttle to the hotel. The cold and brisk air hit me. I forgot it is winter here. Almost everyone was wearing a winter coat. We are spending just one night in J-Burg (Short for Johannesburg) and then it is onto the adventure.
Tomorrow or Wednesday morning we fly on Air Botswana to Maun Botswana. Don’t tell me no one has heard of Maun? We then go through immigration and customs and board our bush plane for our flight to Camp Kalahari. I had to pack very light since the bush plane cannot carry large and heavy luggage. Furthermore, our laundry will be done daily so there is not a need for much clothing. Also, I needed to bring sun protected clothes since the sun is very intense. My doctor has also given me malaria pills and vaccinations for this part of the world. Of course, Camp Kalahari is located in the Kalahari Desert. Why go there? Its a desert. Meerkats live there. I have always wanted to take pictures of meerkats. You get up early and lay in the grass near their dens and then start as they emerge to sun themselves and go off for their daily hunt for food. Meerkats are very inquisitive animals and have no fear of humans. Image them crawling all over me as I shoot away in the morning sun of the Kalahari? We will also be spending time with the San bush people. They are the local inhabitants and we will watch them go about their daily routines. The chief’s name is Cobra and I look forward towards meeting him. We spend two nights at Camp Kalahari and then its off to the “Island of the Lost Baobabs”. We each get a quad bike to travel over the salt pans called the “Makgadikadi”. We then set up camp at the “Island of the Lost Baobabs” for two nights. Our game plan is to leave most of our clothing at Camp Kalahari and take day bags and a few items of clothing. We will be sleeping in sleeping bags. Want to know where the toilets are? Use your imagination. My kind of place. Andys game plan is to take pictures all night of the Milky Way, shooting stars, star bursting and the baobabs as a background. During the daytime we will rest. Then its back to Camp Kalahari to rest, cleanup and take some more pictures of the local wildlife for two more days.
It is then onto the Okavango Delta for five days of intense wildlife photography. We fly on our bush plane to Sable Alley and the Moremi Game Reserve. This game reserve is in northern Botswana and is one of the largest in the world. The wildlife literally come to you. We are talking elephants, buffalo, alligators, antelope, rhinos, hippos, lion, leopard, wild dog, birds and any other inhabitants. Our own zoo but without the cages and bars. We will be taking lots of boat rides and truck excursions all over the reserve. Andy has already given me some pointers on taking good wildlife photography and what to look for. For all of you photographers, I have brought my Sony A9, that can take up to twenty frames a second. This location should be something. Getting up every morning at 5:30 AM and following the wildlife from morning until dusk.
Its now onto Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwe side. We will be spending two nights there relaxing, swimming and taking pictures from a helicopter over the falls. I have also reserved a microlight flight one morning.
Now onto Zimbabwe and the Hwange National Park. We will be staying at a camp named “Little Makalolo”. This camp is known for its wildlife and privacy. We will be doing drives early in the morning and the wildlife is known to be very special here.
I know I have left out many details but will follow up on them as we go along.
On the internet, I may or may not have internet service at all locations. The only internet service I am sure of is at Victoria Falls. If you do not hear from me don’t worry. I will still write my daily blog and publish them later.
As for my China photos. They are almost ready and I will publish them when I return from this trip.
Hope I find the real beauty of Africa on this journey. I think I will.