At long last, I managed to organise my pix and have now uploaded them to http://resor.smedendahl.se/sapics.html . Captions and updates will follow. Honest.
I made it home without complications, and so did my luggage. The handicrafts and other souvenirs of more or less tacky persuation survived the transport and my photos has been securely copied to my harddrive, as well as the one at work.
And so starts the tedious work of sorting, picking, renaming, embiggening, belittleling, linking and html:ing the right pictures and put them for everyone to lo, and indeed, behold. http://resor.smedendahl.se/sapics.html is the place to go to satisfy the pixelated peckishness. Though not just now. Wait for it…
I had the time of my life, mostly thanks to all the great people I met. You guys will be remembered and revered forever. Cheers, mates!
Alas, now I suffer from post journey depression. Not severe, though. I just have to start saving up for my next trip, wherever that may go to and when. Till then, Hakuna matata!
/Martin (Martini, Magnus etc)
The long journey is at an end. We’ve reached Nairobi and I’m almost unscathed and I’ve done all my souvenir shopping.
A last night with the gang was cleverly combined with the celebration of Rowie’s birthday. At Carnivore it was meat extravaganza. Not too much in the game meat dept, but at least I got to sink my teeth in ostrich and crocodile. And as per tradition, the surprising birthday cake for dessert.
As people dropped off it was time for goodbyes and hugs, as most of the group were leaving the following day. Goodbye to Ish and a sad farewell to my longest-running travelling partners Belinda and Rowena. Gyu, Bart and myself were now the only ones left in Nairobi.
The Kenyan capitol hosts three million people, including all of Kenya’s 42 tribes. It also hosts at least one Swede, namely my old uni mate Pia. She was kind enough to invite me to her home, and after some coffee and icecream on their verandah, she, her husband Alex, their daughter Emmy and I went for a visit at the Karen Blixen museum followed by a last dorado at Rusty Nails.
Even though we saw four of the big five in Kruger, and the fifth in Matopos, Serengeti was the game spotting tops: All big five in one day (including the black rhino; the ones in Matopos were white) plus cheetas, hippos, giraffes vultures, hyenas, wildebeest and so on and so forth.
And my antibiotics treatment is over, so I’m back on the beer. All is well. Hakuna matata.
The bugs tore me up real bad. Dozens of infected wounds covered my feet, and my body couldn’t cope. Hence I was feverish and cold and out when the truck crossed the border to Tanzania.
Next day I got antibiotics and can anyone say “instant effect”? The irritation and swollenness decreased immediately and soon the wounds began to heal. I’ll still be on antibiotics for a couple of days, which means a couple of days without alcohol. And I’m on Zanzibar!
Oh well, nothing to bitch too much about: Zanzibar is absolutely gorgeous without the influence of spirits.
A night in Stonetown, including feasting on seafood kebabs at the local markets and the buying of tacky souvenirs was first on the agenda.
Then off to Paradise on the northeast side for two truly awesome dives, with sightings including, but not limited to, rays, snapper and sea turtles.
After three full days of dawn-to-dusk driving (including, but not limited to, being stopped by the military for no other reason than that they wanted bribes, which were not to them handed) we reached Lake Malawi in pitch black.
The following morning I popped my head out of the tent and lo and, indeed, behold: not 30 metres away spreaded Lake Malawi out majestically, with its soft sandy beaches and occasional distant fishing boats. Truly a sight for gods.
So, after a day and a half of chilling, tanning, swimming, relaxing and just taking it easy, it was dive o’clock.
Ellie, Nick, Ish, Rudy and I went for a surprisingly awesome dive around Kande Island. It included many a blue fish, Nick’s underwater camera and a surprising wreck.
And all throughout our dive, and a fair few hours before that, a full pig was slowly roasting away above the charcoal, turning into the main course of the evening. Mmmmmm………. pig….
Our stay in Malawi ended with a guided village walk and a gazillion evil bugs feasting on my feet.
And we made it across the border.
We found a rhino in Matopos, adrelanine in Vic Falls and visa trouble at the border, but all’s fine now.
Our little group has disbanded; Russ heading south with Toni, Jodie and Seb are Botswanabound and Bella, Rowie and I are now on a 21-person strong team in Zambia, heading for Malawi.
Well, let’s just say that wlan and handy laptops are few and far between in Northern South Africa, and even moreso in Zimbabwe.
After passing Kruger National Park, where four of the big five were spotted (only lacking in the rhino department) as well as your garden variety African animals such as monkeys, hippos giraffes and heaps of antelopes, I am now in Zimbabwe, leading the good life of a multimillionaire.
Yep, I am currently in possession of about 100 million dollars. Zimdollars, that is…
After visiting the impressive ruins of Great Zimbabwe, we headed to Gweru Antelope Park, where interaction with the wildlife is on the agenda. Lion walks, elephant swimming, lion feeding and a chance to get up close and personal with herdes of zebra, wildebeest and, of course, antelopes while on horseback were some of the activities that where tried and forever relished.
Jo’burg is a vast city, and you really don’t venture there on your touristy own. That’s why I took some halfday tours, one to Soweto (where I stepped into Nelson’s old house) and one to the city centre. In addition to those trips I’ve managed to do some pre-departure shopping, most notably wads of US$ cash but also nature books, bug repellant and a suave hat.
The Backpacker’s Ritz was one of the best hostels I’ve experienced, but now my leisurely ways are over. Yesterday I started my wilderness journey (more about Kruger NP in an upcoming post), along with a surprisingly small group consisting of Aussie Russel, pommie Jody, German Sebastian and Sydneysiders Belinda and Rowena.
Having recently passed the double gates of the heavily guarded Backpacker Ritz in Johannesburg, I have spent the last couple of days either on the road or in Durban.
SA’s third city is a mixture of African, European and Indian culture, and apparently half the population are street vendors and the other half performs safe, fast abortions (at least according to the ads posted on every wall and lamppost and available space).
Bunny Chow is a must.
After a day in coastal city of Port Elizabeth, weather fine, I headed eastwards to the tiny village of Cintsa, where the hostel was a village on its own. I had the pleasure of visiting a nearby school, where the children held a song and dance concert.
Oh, pictures? Sorry, no can do. I am yet to come across a computer that will allow me to upload pix. It may come in the future, though.
With Cape Town well behind me, I now contemplate what to do in sunny P.E.
I spent a day and a night in beautiful, secluded Buffalo Bay and had this trip’s first swim. Plenty of beer was had, along with a traditional braai (South African barbeque).
No visit to South Africa is complete without getting some form of hands-on experience in what was reality in the country as recently as 14 years ago. I visited a township to see the living conditions there, then went to Robben Island, whereupon I caught a glance and a snap of the prison cell Mr. Nelson Mandela was held in for thirty years. These tours I highly recommend.
And here I am, at the foot of Africa. Cape Town offers a stunning view from Table Mountain and the beer is cheap and drinkable enough.
Took a day trip to the Cape of Good Hope, did some penguinspotting and have now generally started to settle in ye olde backpacker way of life.
And now I’m on my merry. After a Guinness and an espresso I enjoy the calm before departure from Landvetter. Heaps of thanks to Jonna and Steve for the ride. And let me just reiterate: I’m on my merry!
Oi! Had a few pints with me mates today, cause tomorrow off I trot! And as chance would have it, the recently mother-again Jonna is on maternity leave, and will therefore, out of the kindness of her heart, give me a ride to the airport. I’m slightly excited. Let’s go!
And so, with the confirmation of my safari I was able to book flights. Through my travel agent, who offered me a 25 hour trip via Doha and a 21 trip back for roughly SEK8500? Nosireebob, I make my own arrangements, thank you very much. Through Orbitz I found flights clocking in 17 h down, 14 h up and billing me SEK7100. If you want something done, you’d better do it yourself. Anyway, as of lunch, Thursday Feb 14 I’m off, landing in Cape Town in the morning. And then it’s Africa, baby! I can almost hear the roaring of the gazelles, the chattering of the crocodiles and the rumble of the jungle.
After getting virtually no help at all at my travel agency, I decided to swoop the net for the most reasonable prices, dates and suchlike. I’ll book my flight once I have confirmation of the safari booking I did today: 32 day from Johannesburg, via Kruger, Zimbabwe, Vic Falls, Malawi, Tanzania, Zanzibar and Serengeti to Nairobi. With that leg confirmed, I’ll be off to the on-line flight booking and set this trip in stone. 180 days to go.
A trip starts with a thought. I know that. And after the thought comes an idea, and a plan, and possibly a strategy. And that’s all fine. However, to make a dream of far off lands come true one has to find the time to leave. And therefore, as of today, my African trip of 2008 has officially started, since I did as the headline implies.
Sometime around mid-February through all of March I’ll be wearing khakis and a pith helmet, hunting* down the big five** and generally be amazed by that awesome continent right south of mine.
But miles to go and all that. Flights, safari bookings, visas and vaccinations has to be taken care of prior to departure, and thus the blogging comes early this year.
And those words heading the ‘about me’-column to the right and the ‘about the blog’-paragraph above are my feeble attempt at Swahili. With reservations for probable misspelling and less-than-impressive grammar they are meant to mean:
Ala kulli hali… Anyway…
Mwandishi aliyeandika hadithi The writer who wrote the story
The adventure begins at home!
*) With my camera
**) The lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, and buffalo