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dorns’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 06 Jul 2008

Location: Livingstone, Zambia

MapHello again everyone,

Hope you are all well and enjoying life in the real world. Well a lot has hppened in the last twenty days. I have covere 4800 kms and been into four different countries.

I have been on an overland trip from capetown, south africa to victoria falls, zimbabwe. It started with eighteen stangers boarding what is basically a horse truck with seats in it. I found myself on the back seat with a crazy Italian guy with dreads called Marco and a beautiful French girl called Amalie. These there the people I would spend the many long hours of travel with. It was quite amusing as they both spoke english fairly well but a lot of things are lost in translation. We amused ourselves and everyone else with our stupidity.

Day one saw us drive to the cederberg mountains on the west coast of south africa. There we got a walking tour form a crazy cape coloured guy called skawkie. I think he has been bitten by skapians too many times. We were looking for all the small animal ans insect life that lives under the rocks. Pretty funny tour.

Day two and off to the orange river and the namabian border. One of the dutch guys aon the trip had his pasport stolen from underneath him. He was using his backpack as a pillow and someone undid his tent and stole it from him. Many dramas to follow. He had to go back to capetown and get a new passport.

Day three had a slow start waiting for police statement and such. Then it was off to the border. I had a little trouble as I had overstayed my visa and was slapped with a small fine. Then they didnt have the correct paperwork for the truck. Four hours latter we were accross the border, it was getting dark, starting to rain and we still had a long way to travel. We arrived at Fish river canyon (the second largest canyon in the world) very late. They have a ten inch anual rainfall there and it was the dry season. While we were there they had over two inches. Camping in the rain is awsome.

Day four saw us head to Naukluf national park. A day of driving.

Day five was an early start as we climbed dune 45 to watch the sun rise. Amazing. Then a tour of Sossusvlei with another crazy guy talking about life in the desert, this was also amusing and very interesting. I did manage to hurt my knee on this walk and it swole up to twice normal size.

Day six and seven were spent in Swakopmund. Everyone went to ride quad bikes on the dunes, unabale to do this with my knee i decided to jump out of a plane. A little scary when you get intothe plane and see all the windows are held in with duct tape. An awsome experience though and they let me stear the parachute on the way down.

Day eight was a bush came at spitzkoppe. Beautiful. I have some great photos from there I will try and put up soon.

Day nine it was off to see the Hinba tribe. I got a bug that was going around and spent the day vomiting. Awsome while driving all day.

Day ten and eleven were in etosha national park. Saw loads of animal, including two prides of lions. At one stage everyone got off the bus to use the toilet and I got on the roof to take some pictures. Some people started to walk to the lake to take some pictures. Then the guide yelled out lions. The group were walking directly into the path of a pride of lions. That got a few hearts racing.

Day twelve was off to windhoek the capital of namabia and a little shopping.

Day thirteen and we crossed into botswana. This is my favourite country of the trip so far. We stayed a Ghanzi and enjoyed some traditional dancing from the bushmen.

Day fourteen it was off to maun whick is the gateway to the okavango delta. We took a low level flight over the delta. Very cool.

Day fifteen and it was time to head into the delta. We jumoed on another truck and drove for two hours into the bush. Then it was into the mokoros whick are the traditional dug out canoes that are used by the river people. Two hours relaxing on them and we reached our camp. It was then off an a walking safari. The guides have no guns and there are no fences to hide behind. We found the usual impala and girraffes. Then an elephant whick we followed to the water. We were standing about fifty meters away taking picture when another elephant came out of the bushes about fifteen meters to the left of us. Time to move on. We started to head back to camp as the sun was setting and found that we were surrounded by elephants. In a 200m radius there would have been fifty elephants. The guides started to get a little worried as we couldnt get past them. They told us that they have three differnet charges and not to run if they charge you. We walked a little further and past a few bushes, suddenly we were faced with a elephant and baby very close. The elephant charged us the the guides yelled out for us all to run. We had to run for about 100m till we found a termite mound to hide behind. Out of sight out of mind.

More walks the next day. We came very close to a buffalo which are very dangerous as they give you no warning and if they charge they wont stop till they get you. In to the mokoros again for a sunset cruise. An to visit the hippo ponds. A little unnerving sitting in a little canoe no more than 15 m away from ten hippos. Very cool though.

The next day it was back to Maun via the mokoros and the truck. The mokoro that had all of our tents on it flipped. We lost a couple of tents and a lot of time trying to recover them. Back into the truck and another late arival to our next camp. We had to sleep under the starts as our tents were soaked.

The next day it was off to Kasane and chobe national park. We went for a sunset cruise alond the the chobe river. Very cool. There were loads of elephants, hippos and water buffalo. We had elephants swimming past our boat.

Another early start the next morning for a game drive though chobe. We didnt see all that much really. Then into the truck and off to Zimbabwe. A fairly smooth border crossing after our guides who were from Zim bribed the border officials to get us through quicker. This is definantly the most depressing place I have been. There is no money and the supermarkets are empty. I got off the truck and there was a boy no older than five haggeling with me to sell me cigarettes. The exchane rate over there is 25 billion to one. Inflation is so bad that the notes have expirey dates on them and resturants print price lists daily, and not everything that is on the menu is available. It was then onto the mighty Zambezi river for another sunset cruise. This time it was a booze cruise. I introduced a couple drinking games and got everyone rolling.

The next day was white water rafting and a visit to victoria falls. An amazing place, but I think that Iguazu falls in argentian where better. The tour was officially over. I crossed into zambia and am having a few days of chilling out to get over the trip. I am now going to head through zambia and into Malawie.

Till next time.

Matt