Nairobi is the only metropolis with a national park right off its doorsteps, and with 117 sq. km its quite big. You get some of the big five (lion, buffalo, rhino, hippo) and cheetahs and leopards, though come early in the morning. I was lucky at last on my afternoon game drive when eventually we, my driver Sam and I, found two rhinos, a large group of giraffes and finally some six lions with “a view to a kill“. As a large crowd of visitors turned up, it seemed to become a big spectacle. Unfortunately, the lions seemed too unexperienced, or the antelopes and zebras too bush-wise, for the prospective prey played it really cool and kept a healthy distance to the approaching pride.
After some hiccups at Chirundu border, where two Zimbabwean officers were having themselves a time threatening Chimz because (unbeknownst to us) she had overstayed her visa, we made it to Siavonga, and to Herman the German’s Sandy Beach Lodge. You may have read about it before, and this time Thomas’ house was almost completely finished, and we could stay there for a few days.
Almost perfectly in synch, my parents and I thought they should come here on a visit, and although it came at rather short notice, we went ahead with the plan. Roughly four weeks later they were here, for ten days over Easter. Their first time in Africa. Their first meeting with Chimwemwe. I had planned to show them around and take them on a trip to Zambia to see the Victoria Falls and stay in a bush camp, to see wildlife on a game drive in Chobe National Park in Botswana, and to see Jo’burg and Soweto. And so we did! And they loved every bit of it! I let pictures speak 😉
I’ve updated my blog, and filled in text where there were galleries only. The following older posts have been updated:
Zambia has got to be my favourite country (beaten by Zimbabwe only in the field of music, sorry guys). It is twice the size of Germany, with only around 17 or so million people. In other words, there’s a lot of space here. And more than once, when driving through the country, I found myself thinking I’d love to have one of those huge farms with some hectars of largely untouched bushland.
After getting stranded for one day at Dar es-Salaam airport due to technical problems of our Air Malawi carrier, I arrive in Lilongwe and am being picked up by my old friend Chimwemwe. She’ll be my guide and companion for some trips through this charming country, the so-called “Warm heart of Africa”.
My decisive song for Malawi is Lawi’s “Life is beautiful” (another hotel-room recording):
I encountered it for the first time three years ago, when I first attended the Lake of Stars Festival, and it hass always intrigued me with its emphasis on the beauty and joy of life in Africa. This is important. Joy, in chiChewa chimwemwe, like the name of my friend. I have seen few places during my travels, or even less so back home, with so much joy as here in Malawi. Against all odds, one should say. Continue reading
When I realized that entering Tanzania overland from Rwanda was going to be difficult, amongst other things because visas are not issued at the border, and also considering the size of the country and costs involved in entering the Serengeti or Ngorongoro, I decided to deviate from my plan, took a flight to Dar es-Salaam and cut my stay short. After all, I wanted to attend a festival in Malawi in early November, and it felt like I’m running out of time. Seriously? Anyway, my plans changed, I planned on two weeks only in Tanzania. Air Rwanda was as impressive as Rwanda itself, and the flight was truly pleasant. On that note, I’ve come to love the airport announcement tinched in heavy Bantu r/l-mixups that wish you a “prresent frright” instead of a “pleasant flight”, that’s what it sounds like anyway.
Driving to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in the early morning hours (5:30) is like entering a magic world. Mist hangs in the valleys below as you proceed at an altitude of around 2300m. The name derives from the local Runyakitara language(s), and means something like ‘place of darkness’. This has been a forest forever, and it is as primeval as a forest can be in the 21st century.
For the impatient ones, here’s some Gorilla video caption. [switch to HD]