Sunday, December 21, 2014

Sunday, December 21st, Home from the Southern Oceans


Somewhere over Brazil, about halfway through our 11.600 mile trip home on Friday, I agreed with Pat.  Earlier, she considered this trip one of the best we'd ever taken.  It's so hard to compare adventures.  It is certainly was the best cruise.  It may even be the best wildlife search.  It took us to a completely different world, almost incomparable.

Because it proved impossible to communicate the experience during the trip, I chose to wait until we returned to try to explain it.  Now, with plenty of photos, and some notes, I'm pursuing a couple of avenues.  I've rejected constructing my traditional day-by-day postings.  Too hard to re-capture that daily environmental excitement needed.  I can't imagine all of you would have the same amount of time to absorb the great volume of views and comments in a recap, as you'd have had if we paced it out.

So it will have to be shorter, with less text.  I finished a single photo album which I posted on my Google Photo site (The Southern Oceans).  I'm in the process of uploading them with some text to my YouTube Channel.  Check back in a few hours when I edit this post and place the link here.

Next week, I may try to find the time to create a photo album featuring the hundred Best of the Southern Oceans.

Other than colds which result from anytime you put 227 world travelers together in a small place for three weeks, we brought back only wonderful memories and new friends.  May you add a trip of this design to your bucket list, and it will please us if you enjoy this one.

Gregory and Pat

Monday, December 1, 2014

Sunday, Nov 30th, Buenos Aires


Listening to a bad rock band in the Jorge Newbery Airport in Buenos Aires, we're waiting for the last flight leg of our trip to Antarctica.  We've three hours to kill, and that's too little time to make it to a hotel and back in the middle of the night.  So we're paying outrageous prices in dollars for hot chocolate and an almost cafe mocha in order to sit in nice comfy chairs across from the LAN check-in desk.  

It all started when we arrived at San Francisco Airport to find the flight crew would be late on their flight in, and we would be missing our connecting flight in Houston to Buenos Aires.  All other connections would be missed, and the MS Fram would sail without us.  We decided (against all United advice) to take the delayed flight, and get as creative as we could in Houston with other airlines.

The options included several U.S. and South American airlines, flying through New York, Toronto, and Miami (we took Miami).  We turned down flying through Mexico City, Santiago, Bogota,  and Rio.  But we finally made it a couple of hours ago, and we have to thank the United Customer Service Rep Jean Etienne in Houston for saving us lots of money and getting our luggage safely over to American in time to meet us in BA.

Gregory and Pat

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Friday, November 28th, Adventure Way Down Under Begins


We're making lists, gathering and washing clothes, and finishing travel books.   We have one large National Geographic book on Antarctica which we will take (boy is it heavy) and donate to the boat. With all the warm weather clothes, we may be a bit over the weight limits.

Here's a link that will show you our itinerary, the ship, and our cabin.  Click on the "On Board" tab.  One the next screen, click on the "Menu" in the lower left of the 360 degree photo, then click on the "Suite F2" option.  Our cabin is F2 number 515, on the fifth deck.  It'll be our home away from home for the voyage.

Unfortunately, I won't be able to upload photos and daily commentary until we return.  If possible, I'll post some info on the way to the ship, or on the way back.


Saturday, November 8, 2014

Saturday, November 8th, Preparing for Antartica


Ever since we got back from Southern Africa, our joys of that trip have been competing with our anticipation of gong to Antartica next month.  Dave Forde, an incredibly talented and enthusiastic traveler who we enjoyed while in Africa, shared his photos and stories of Norway's Hurtigruten MV Fram expeditions.  Learning they were going for 21 days in December, we booked passage.

Here's a link to the expedition which left a short time ago:  Antartica.


Thursday, August 14, 2014

Africa Trip 2nd Tour July Aug 2014

A photo-chronicle of a great second half of our Africa Safari Tour with Kiboko Adventures and Africa's Child Safaris. Pat and I hope you enjoy it, and that you'll join us again in December as we head for Antarctica.   

Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday, August 8th, A'Zambezi River Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe


Neil Sedaka told us that "Breaking up is hard to do".  Tonight, at the farewell dinner, we all told Kembo how very much his work meant to us in this wonderful adventure.  Every day, there were many times when his excellent skills and charming personality got us through the curves thrown at us.  He put up with all of our individual quirks, and provided us with the information and direction we needed.  As Cookie toasted him for us, we all also began the task of saying goodbye to each other.  The friendships we make on these trips are rich ones, and it is hard to say goodbye.

Tomorrow, Pat and I leave for the airport mid-morning, and our flight leaves for Johannesburg at 2pm.  After a 5-hour layover, we fly to London, and then to San Francisco.  Don't expect any posts until we're home and rested on Monday.

I did finish a "Best of the First Tour" video, which can be accessed by clicking on the link.  I'll work on choosing the best of the second tour on the flight home.

The last set of photos, capturing our flight by helicopter over Victoria Falls, can be seen by clicking on Friday, August 8th, A'Zambezi River Lodge, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.


ps.  There were some great giraffe shots that were accidentally left out of the end of the album on August 2nd, which have been added now.  Also, I love what Google did to animate the photos of the lions at the waterhole.  Check them out.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Thursday, August 7th, Zambezi River Lodge, Zimbabwe


The good news when we arrived at the Zimbabwe border was that they had lowered the visa cost from $65 to $30 per person.  The bad news was that it took them about an hour and a half to process about 40 visas. There were two groups ahead of us, and they made us all stand in the sun outside a small office for an hour until one of the officials decided to process us in groups, allowing us to sit in our busses while they stamped our passports, deposited our money, and made us receipts.

But the wait was worth it.  A short time later, we checked into the A'Zambezi RiverLodge.   After lunch, Kembo drove us on a tour of the town.  Some are staying on here after this tour ends, and most have optional “adreneline activities” scheduled for tomorrow (river- rafting, lion-walking, helicopter rides over the Falls, gorge swinging, etc.).  Once we were acquainted with the locations of the craft stores, banks, casino, and post office, we headed off to the Falls.

What a wet wonder!  I’m told that in the heavy flow months you get drenched from the parking lots.  But you have a hard time actually seeing the falls.  It’s three months later, and we rent rain parkas for $2 each, and need them as we walk the edge of the gorge across from the falls.  My camera is wrapped in a plastic bag, and Pat and I look like wet hobbits.

To the question of how big is this.  Of the comparison of Niagara, Iguazu, and Victoria: big is measured by height, width, and volume.  Victoria is higher (107 meters), Iguazu is wider (2,400 feet), and Niagara has more water volume (4-6 million cubic feet/minute).

But Niagara freezes.  And Iguazu has boats that take you out near the waterfalls, and has trails at water level.  So what does this have?  Wart hogs, trumpeter hornbills, and bush bucks on the trails.  So there.

To see all the photos taken today, click on Thursday, August 7th, Zambezi River Lodge, Zimbabwe.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Wednesday, August 6th, Chobe Safari Lodge, Botswana


Today was our last day in an African Game Park.  And it could not have been better.

Tour guides pray for a day like today.  Game drivers seldom have days like today.  Travelers think today is normal, and tell stories about the day forever.  Let's just say we got very lucky, after lots of people working for Kiboko performed at the highest level.

Let's set the stage.  At 5:45am, we showed up at the front food of the Chobe Safari Lodge.  Kiboko Tours was just one of a number of tour operators who had booked guests at the Lodge.  It's got 120 rooms, and most of those in them were going on a morning game ride for the next three hours.   In the dark, we were assigned our land rovers, and it was lucky that all but one of our friends got into our rover.  We were also lucky that we got the driver who had arranged all of the rover assignments, and was in charge of the drive.

Where the luck paid off at 6pm was in his ability to go beyond the normal racing to key spots where animals were usually found, and his jockeying for position when we spotted something.  Game isn't easy to find, especially in the early morning when part of them is coming to the water holes, and others of them are trying to interrupt those who are coming to get a drink.  It's dusty, and cold, and windy, and he's not driving slowly, and the roads are deep dirt.  

Within the first 30 minutes we had found a leopard and her enthusiastic cub, and once again had to move on not because she evaded us, but because we wanted to find some more animals.  She was perfectly content to let us watch her keeping a close eye on him.
In the next three hours, we found a mother cheetah and two youngsters, fish eagles, sable antelope, giraffes, kudus, buffalo, elephants, a dozens of unique birds.

Back at the lodge by 9:30am, we had the rest of the morning and early afternoon to relax and enjoy the lodge and our gorgeous rooms.  Another great restaurant lunch, a better experience with wifi, and a short mid-day game hunt around the lodge (a Monitor Lizard was the the one thing new).
At 3:00pm, we all boarded a river cruiser to ply the Chobe River and islands in search of everything which found safety in, near, and above its cool waters.  That's just about everything on land, and even more in water.

Finishing the day with a scrumptious meal, and a birthday celebration for our friend Jill, we're all headed for bed.  Tomorrow, we head for Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.  Thankfully, we get to sleep in, and don't leave until 9am.

To see all of the many photos taken today, click on Wednesday, August 6th, Chobe Safari Lodge, Botswana.

Tuesday, August 5th, Chobe Safari Lodge, Botswana


Chobe Safari Lodge is located "on the doorstep" of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia.  Yea, like most of you, I had little idea there was a door, let alone a doorstep.  People move around quite a bit in this area.  Mostly from traditional rural to urban (meaning mining holes, parks, shopping centers, schools, and hospitals).
At least half of the two-million people who live in either Namibia or Botswana live in clusters of one-family villages.  Compounds are what we've decided to call them, as they really are an extended family set of huts, surrounded by a fence built from branches, that facilitates the family social dynamics.  Polygomy is practiced, and it's not unusual for marriage to await the birth of several children.  Women do seem to be much more in control of their lives recently, with many pursuing small businesses in the crafts and service industries.  The birth rate is dropping, and both countries are serious about stopping HIV/AIDS.  I saw a huge poster for a campaign to achieve no new cases in one town featuring the Mayor saying that wearing condoms was the right thing to do, because he did it.

We drove on a long morning and early afternoon on Tuesday across the Namibian border and into Botswana (shoes cleaned, thank you).  Almost before we knew it, we were being handed the traditional lodge sweet drink, and handed our room keys.  Then came the frustrating four hours trying to get the wifi to do anything except download a few emails.   Baths, swims in the pool, a long dinner and native dance show later, I finally got the wifi to help me upload a few photographs.

To see the few more photos taken today, click on Tuesday, August 5th, Chobe Safari Lodge, Botswana

Sunday-Monday, August 3-4th, Ndhovu Safari Lodge, Ndhovu, Namibia


I can’t imagine a better way to finish the Namibian segment of our tour of southern Africa than to have stayed at Ndhovu Safari Lodge.  It’s located just outside the Mahango Game Reserve, on the banks of the Okavango River.  From the 10 luxury tents, we can hear the Hippos congregating in the river, and see elephants on the island 200 yards away. 

We arrived last night, after the longest drive of the tour - 690 kilometers.  Thankfully, it was on fairly good roads, along the western section of the Caprivi Strip.

Today, we went for a game drive with the Johan, local manager, who pleased Pat by stopping and identifying lots of birds.  Usually, birds take a back seat to the more sought after sights with four legs who roar, jump, or pose a threat.  But with only five of us on the drive, the scales tipped toward the birds.

Now, the river has a natural calming and slowing effect, as its meandering blue current drifts by after lunch.  Some are napping, others are reading  (Pat is), a few are drinking, and I’m relaxing on the deck in front of the restaurant, laptop in my lap typing this.  I really am trying to slow down.  With no hope of getting through to the internet, this is the third day’s journal which will be written anyway so I don’t get too far behind.  With only five days left before heading home, I hope to get this off before boarding the flight.

In an hour, we’re going on a river cruise leaving from the Lodge.  We’re expecting to see some hippos, crocodiles, elephants, and more birds.  But when you wake up each morning to the bellowing of a dozen hippos out in front of your tent, it won’t be disappointing if we just roam around slowly in the early evening breeze.

Tomorrow, we leave for Botswana, and Chobe Safari Lodge.  It's one of the gold standards in game safari location, said to hold 80,000 elephants alone.  It's on a river again, as most of northern Botswana s lodges are either on a river or a in the middle of a delta (for which you must fly into).  Botswana is also very concerned about their cattle getting hoof and mouth disease, so they require very one to get off the bus upon entry into the country, stamp their shoes on a treated pad (and I mean all their shoes - even those you have in your luggage), and walk to their bus on the other side.  You should have seen us carrying plastic bags of cleansed sandals and flip-flops.

To see all of the photos taken today, click on Sunday-Monday, August 3-4th, Ndhovu Safari Lodge, Namibia.  

Saturday, August 2nd, Namutoni Resort, Tsumeb, Namibia


Even with Kori Bustards, Zebras, Steenboks, Guinea Fowl, Mongoose, Hardebeests, Wildebeasts, and Kudus, we felt somehow that the first game drive of Saturday’s entry into Etosha National Park was a bit weak on interesting things to see. 
Remembering that some of our group was seeing their first real game, the original group was eager for more exciting experiences out of Kiboko.  We kidded Kembo that he had sent the wrong emails out to solicit wildlife participants. 

Then, while all of us were focusing on some impalas drinking out of a watering hole we were pulling up to, Kembo asked us to be very quiet and look to the left in the grass.  As we watched, a leopard was stalking the impalas slowly about a hundred feet from the truck.  As some of us got a couple of shots, a alerting grunt came up from one of the impalas, and they all saw the leopard.  With the element of surprise taken from him, the leopard turned and headed back into the heavy brush.  We all started breathing again, and we knew we’d seen a rare event.

Just outside our resort (Namutoni Camp) as we reached it, we came across a giraffe which had been killed by lions a couple of days earlier.  A single female lion was eating, and both jackals and hyenas were circling and waiting for a chance to get there shares.  We watched for about 30 minutes as she continued to try to tear off a leg, and defend the kill from the scavengers.

Our last encounter was much more heart-warming, as a large gathering of mother and calf elephants made their way from a watering hole to the treeline just in front of our resort.  Few sights are as cute as baby elephants scampering around under the mother’s massive legs.

To see the rest of the photos taken today, click on: Saturday, August 2nd, Namutoni Resort, Tsumeb, Namibia.


Friday, August 1st, Halali Resort, Etosha National Park, Namibia.


The drive from the Ugab Terrace Lodge to the Halali Camp Resort on the western edge of Etosha National Park was called by one of our travelers “the most boring of our drives”.  He likened it to one of the endless expanses of the province of New South Wales in Australia. 
Except for the Himba village we visited,
and the thousands of springbok, zebras, and elephants, it was uneventful. 

Unless you were searching for rocks.  I think that Kiboko ought to take advantage of the remarkable geology in this region, and develop and include a component of it into their tour.  To help out, I delivered a short lecture to the group overlooking the terrace before last night’s dinner.  Kembo asked me to write up something he could use in the future, so I’m including the text here.  Too bad I can’t include the diagram I made for the presentation, with the assistance of Susie and Eugene’s flip chart.  Thanks to all.

The Colliseum of Continental Crash and the SuperBowl of Subduction.
The world’s continents began about a billion years ago when three giant upper mantle pockets of magma pushed enough lava through the earth’s crust to create land plates over a several thousand miles across.  They were the South American plate, Congo plate, and the Kalahari plate.  They were located near the South Pole, were separated by hundreds of miles of ocean sea floor, and the whole thing was called Rodinia.

About 500 million years later, the Kalahari plate started moving toward the Congo plate, and the South American plate moved toward both.  They all met at the point where we are standing, the Ugab River Valley.  In the collision, the Kalahari plate was forced down under the Congo plate, bending and folding great sections of the sea floor, which can be seen throughout the Damara mountain region.  They look like very wavy multi-layered ribbons of rock topping granite slabs of mountain.  The resulting super-continent was called Gondwana, and it was the world’s first mountain building experience.  For almost a half-billion years, rock and roll was the tune on these table tops for as far as you could see.  

Four hundred million years later, it all broke up.  After erosion and glaciers lowered and flattened the mountains, a deep ocean split in the earth (Mid-Atlantic Ridge) heightened by the entire continent passing over the South Pole and heading north deposited South America, Australia, India, and the Antarctic half way around the world to their present locations.   

As we drive across five hundred miles of otherwise boring territory, it’s what happened here over the past billion years that should cause us to gasp in amazement.  Too bad it isn’t very photogenic.

To see all of the photos we took today, click on Friday, August 1st, Halali Resort, Etosha National Park, Namibia.

Thursday, July 31st, Ugab Terrace Lodge, Ugab, Namibia


This morning, we drove out of Swakopmund, and up the Namibian coast.  We passed a desalination plant, providing water to the desert-parched country, and a shipwreck (one of many who underestimated the winds and storms).

We stopped at a Herero tribal crafts stop, a tribe which suffered the loss of almost three-quarters of its population in the period from 1904 - 1907 in a rebellion against the occupying German colonists and military.
We arrived late in the afternoon at the Ugab Terrace Lodge, a beautifully designed set of cliff- perched cabins with to-die-for views overlooking a long limestone mesa in front of the deck, and several tabletop plateaus down the valley.  It reminded us of Monument Valley in Arizona.

While we're only staying here one night, it was one of the most breath-taking vistas of the tour, and we thoroughly enjoyed the hospitality of Eugene and Susie, the managers.

To see the photos we took today, click on Thursday, July 31st, Ugab Terrace Lodge, Ugab, Namibia. 

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wednesday, July 30th, Hotel Zum Kaiser, Swakopmund, Namibia

Being in a beach town, I had to check out the surf.  Last night, I went out in the shorebreak for a few minutes.  Today's venture was to take a seal, dolphin, and pelican cruise out to the end of a point where the Atlantic provided some waves locally.  Those of you who know me will understand that I just have to see some waves every now and then.

  But the afternoon "Town Tour" was the best of the day.  I had been wanting to see the conditions inside what seems like the last vestiges of segregated, poor housing areas.  Today's tour, by Hafeni Tours and Travel, was everything I wanted.  They took about a dozen of us into the township in Swakopmund to introduce us to its way of life.
Guided by a young man who had grown up there, he walked us through the markets,
helped us visit a kindergarden,
took us to an orphanage, showed us a crafts store operating as a business incubator and skills training facility,
and treated us to an African meal finished with an acapella performance by the group Vocal Galore.  I recorded a video of their performance, and they agreed to let me show a segment of it on YouTube.  Here's a link to a previous performance of theirs.  Pat and I bought two of their CDs, and I predict they will be very successful.

To see the photos we took today, click on: Wednesday, July 30th, Hotel Zum Kaiser, Swakopmund, Namibia.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Tuesday, July 29th, Hotel Zum Kaiser, Swakopmund, Namibia


First, let me apologize for not providing some commentary on an important wildlife sighting on Friday.  You might have noticed a few shots of two cheetahs walking near some trees in the distance.  We saw some trucks parked ahead of us, and as we approached were told that they had seen some cheetahs on the ridge line across the valley to our right.  Backing up quickly, and looking out the windows to our far right, we saw three oryx running full speed with a large trail of dust behind them.  Not far behind in the dust, we saw the cheetah chasing them.  Grabbing our cameras, and readying them for shots, we saw the second cheetah, and a small jackal trailing behind.

Soon, as usual, the cheetahs slowed, and the oryx opened up a big distance between them and the cheetahs.  By then, we had stopped the truck, and were aiming our cameras in the right place.  Thus, the shots you see are of them sauntering over to some trees (to mark them) on the far side of the grassland.  The whole thing took probably two minutes, but was very exciting.

Today, we made a long drive up the west coast of Namibia to the coastal town of Swakopmund, and to the Hotel Zum Kaiser.  On the way, we saw some of the most exotic and amazing geology there exists.  The Nambian desert, and the geology around it, illustrates the last half billion years very well.  And tells the story of the last 20 million years in exact detail in full color.

Here is a photo of the landscape we encountered in Western Namibia today.  For many miles east of the great sand dunes, between them and the Great Escarpment, there are rows of large pieces of the once ocean floor which are tilted upward on their seaward side. I’ve read all the geology I can find on the subject, including the excellent book by Nicole Grunert, Namibia – Fascination of Geology.  Here is my take on this amazing geological phenomenon. 

First, Namibia was the western leading edge of an ocean which formed a belt between two frozen land masses (Congo and Kalahari) in Gondwanna, that super-continent that formed down at the South Pole about 540 million years ago.  Half-covered in glaciers, it moved northward over 400 million years, and then was split apart by the mid-Atlantic Ridge. 

Second, during the separation of Africa and South America in the last one hundred and thirty million years, exposed volcanic magma dove under the leading edge of Southern Africa and lifted up the land to form the Great Escarpment, a huge plateau almost a mile above the sea.  At the same time, a new ice age lowered the sea almost 200 hundred feet.

What resulted was the largest, most powerful waterfall in the history of the planet pounding down on a seafloor which was still being carried toward the Escarpment by the magma.  Weighted down by the water, and tilted up like waves in a shallow surfline, these pieces of the ocean floor formed the strange lines of seabed tiles we saw today the Kuisep River valley.

And where did all that erosion end up.  Well, most of it is far out to sea.  But the millions of tons of sand dunes stretching for 75 miles south of here is some of it.

That's my theory.  It's consistent with all of the science I've read.  Hope it helps you see this land a little clearer.

To see the photos we took today,  click on: Tuesday, July 29th, Hotel Zum Kaiser, Swakopmund, Namibia.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Monday, July 28th, Desert Camp, Sossusvlei, Namibia


Many million years ago, the earth in the middle of Namibia lifted up about a thousand meters.  It's called the great escarpment.  What storms traveled east from the Atlantic crashed into that wall, eroded it and caused both a slope of eroded rock, and a river flowing back to the Atlantic.

The winds in this area flow like the water and the storms - east to west, and west to east.  Paralleling the beach, these dunes built to huge proportions, and created a virtual sand dam on the river a few miles from the beach.   A reservoir of water existed and life blossomed.
That lasted a while, until a line of dunes east of the dam created another one upriver.  That dried up the first, and it became the "dead pan" we hiked to this morning.

Local trees, dated at 800 years old still stand in the pan, and provide some nice seats in the amphitheater of majestic views.

Tomorrow, we have another long drive north and west to the coast of Namibia.  I may get to actually dip my toes in the Atlantic.

To see the rest of the photos we took today, click on Monday, Desert Camp, Sossusvlei, Namibia.

Sunday, July 27th, Desert Camp, Sossusvlei, Namibia


Another traveling day, deeper into the desert.  We're driving on an ancient seabed, bordered by an escarpment left over from the splitting of the continents, and the Atlantic ocean.  It's been scraped once or twice by glaciers, and split a few times after the big one.  A truly fantastic paintbrush of geological shapes and colors.

The tour guides have the routes planned so that we get toilet breaks mostly every two hours, and we stop somewhere for lunch around noon.  Today's lunch stop was in a town recommended to Kiboko recently, and the cafe also contained a classic old car, and a menagerie of garden ducks, geese, and a cat.

The mountains in Namibia all seem to be floating on a sea of yellow grass which appears to be rising upward and sometimes contains lake mirages.  It's broken up by plumes of dust as another car approaches in the distance.

The Desert Camp where we will be staying for the next two nights is on the edge of a huge mass of sand dunes in western Namibia.  Tomorrow, we'll be doing another all day drive and hike to a popular old dried up reservoir (called a "pan").  Surrounded by immense sand dunes, it is often featured in science fiction movies.

To see the rest of the photo taken on our transit today, click on Sunday, Desert Camp, Sossusvlei, Namibia.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Saturday, July 26th, Canyon Lodge, Fish River Canyon, Namibia


The day started out right, our covering 300 kilometers and arriving at the South Africa – Botswana border at about 2pm.  Well, not exactly the border, m This 38,000 hectare joint park has an entrance where your visa is stamped out of South Africa, but you don’t enter Botswana or Namibia until you exit the park on the other side.  Each country shares the money you spend inside, and park staff work for a third-party contractor.
ore like a mutually- controlled, free trade zone known as the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

But the park actually belongs jointly to the local successors to the Bush tribesman and the colored peoples of South Africa.  We’re staying at the House Lodge, an elegant elevated series of wooden cabins and walkways above the ground in the midst of a huge sand-duned grassland.

But back to entering the park.  About twenty miles up the road, while photographing some antelope, our front left tire went flat.  Now, this is in an area where little to no cell phone coverage exists, and not many people travel.  And if you remember our fat tire on the first tour, the problem was that the lug nuts were tightened so much that they could not be loosened to change the tire.   Ditto. 

Two hours later, with the help of a park visitor who gave Kembo a ride back to the entrance gate, and two park staff who brought him back and helped provide extra weight on the pipe which was used to crack the lug nuts, we were on our way very late to our next stop. 

But what a stop it was.  The plan was to meet up with staff from the lodge 50 miles into the park, and transfer to a large four-wheel drive truck.  That’s the only way to get to the lodge, as its 50 miles farther across 90 sand huge dunes.  Just before we got to the trnsfer point, we spotted a leopard which had just killed an Africa squirrel, on the side of a hill about 150 feet from us.   Playing with it, like any cat does with its food, we took dozens and dozens of photos.  Unfortunately, we had to leave long before we wanted to, in order to make our connection.

The location and environment is almost beyond description.  Reached by driving many miles of sand dunes, the cabins overlook a huge dry red-sand waterhole resting under the biggest, brightest sky you can imagine.

In our two days at !Xaus Lodge and two days at  Fish River Canyon Lodge, we did morning, afternoon, sunset, and night game walks and drives.  They were all mesmorizing.  Combined with great meals and the serenity of your dreams, we felt like we were in quite another world.

To see the photos we took on Wednesday and Thursday, click on: Wednesday and Thursday.
To see the photos we took on Friday, click on: Friday
To see the photos we took on Saturday, click on: Saturday.