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Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Africa #travel

20070617094348_victoriafalls

This is a photo of Victoria Falls from the air. During our visit, we saw the magnificent falls from all angles. The flight over was spectacular, but my favorite place to see the falls was from the various view points. You can hear the rumble of the falls from miles away. We also did a sunset cruise on the Zambezi river while my intrepid hubby went white water rafting.

During our visit to the area, I discovered the best T-shirts. I purchased about four and have only one left, which is very thin! I also practiced my Stanley quotes. “Doctor Livingstone, I presume?” *grin*

We were on a budget holiday and stayed at the campground, but we couldn’t resist a visit to the Victoria Falls Hotel, which was built in 1904 and was a first hotel in the area. Following in the footsteps of many famous people, we went a couple of times and had a traditional afternoon tea on the verandah.

I’d love to do a return visit, although some friends stopped there and were disappointed with the amount of water going over the falls. I understand that a dam has reduced the flow.

Apart from the waterfall and the Zambezi river, visitors can see animals and birds, feed the adrenaline junkie within by rafting, bungee jumping, canoeing, and hiking or indulge their love of culture by meeting the locals. There is something for everyone at Victoria Falls.

Travel: A Younger Me with Braids

20070821232009_bangui, car

This is another photo of a younger me. It was taken in the Central African Republic after the local ladies came to our campsite and braided our hair. I kept my hair like this for a few weeks, and when I finally took the braids out, I looked like the wicked witch of the west. Lots of frizz and hair sticking out in all directions!

Hubby got his beard braided, but that’s an entirely different post…

Have you ever had your hair braided?

Shopping in the Market

20070821232838_batering in zim

This photo was taken back in 1997, I think, and this is my younger self attempting to buy avocadoes in a village market somewhere in Zimbabwe. The avocadoes were really good, and I still remember how tasty they were. I have a determined look on my face as I attempt to bargain, but they were cheap. I remember that too. I enjoy bargaining, but it is always a relief to return home and look at the prices in our shops.

Do you like bargaining for goods? Or do you prefer your purchases to be marked with the price?

PS – this photo was scanned, hence the black area around the outside.

H For Hippopotamus!

Hippos or hippopotamus (river horse) are known as the most dangerous animal in Africa, and they kill many people every year. You wouldn’t think they’d be dangerous, given their appearance. They’re plump with thick bodies and short legs, have a round head with small eyes and ears and a greyish-brown skin. They have no hair on their bodies except for a few bristles on their muzzle and at the end of their stubby tail.

Socializing hippos

A hippo spends its day lazing in the water. This is where it feels most comfortable and where it seeks refuge if it feels threatened. They can dive for up to 15 minutes but more commonly their dive times are one – five minutes. Water keeps their skin clean.

During the evening and at night, they go ashore to graze. They make a sound like a cow bellowing or a horse-like neigh when excited. They also snort when they’re in the water.

When we visited Malawi, we camped on the edge of a river. The next morning, we were all complaining about people snoring and accusing each other of the crime. It was in fact hippos wandering around our campsite. So glad I didn’t need a restroom visit in the middle of the night!

Hippo Bliss

Hippo bliss- a nice mud hole.

Hippos have a good sense of smell and also good hearing. Their sight is fairly good.

Apart from man, hippos have few enemies. Crocodiles might kill young hippos while on land groups of lions can possibly bring down a solitary animal.

The groups of animals consist mainly of females and non-breeding young. A group of females will be watched over by one male. Baby hippos are born in the water.

Off for a Wander

Off for a wander…

It’s not good to get between a hippo and water because this will make the creature feel threatened. Hippos are also very protective of their young and a person should never get between the mother and her baby. Hippos can run faster than a human over a short distance.

A group of hippos is called a pod, a herd or a bloat.

A male hippo is called a bull. A female hippo is called a cow and a baby is a calf.

I have to admit I’d never call them pretty, but they are an interesting animal. The pygmy ones are cute, especially the new born calves. I saw one on the news the other day and immediately wanted one for a pet.

Where does a hippo fit on your scale of likeable creatures?

Source: A Field Guide to Mammals of Africa by Theodor Haltenorth and Helmut Diller

Photos: P Munro – taken in Zambia, Africa.

Stepping Back in Time

Shelley, Bangui, CAR

I’m stepping back in time today with a photo of me taken in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic. Several local ladies visited our camp and offered to braid hair. I kept mine in for about three weeks. When I’d had enough of braids and unfastened them, I had the hair style from hell. The worst hair day ever!

Today I’m visiting Keira Kohl with Julia Maxwell, the heroine of Past Regrets. There’s also a giveaway.

Have you ever had your hair done in braids?

World Travel and a Takeover

Shelley is a little busy and I have offered to blog today.

Be patient, I’m a virgin blogger.

Recently I’ve been scanning our old print travel photos to digital. Trying to condense them as well, since there are thousands. A very time consuming but rewarding exercise. It’s like going back in time, reliving all those experiences. Some pics made me cringe, 7 months traveling through Africa – what were we thinking? An adventure, definitely NOT a holiday.

Traveling 3 months across the Middle East after Suddam had invaded Kuwait – we were two of the foolhardy few, great time, no other tourists getting in the way of that unforgettable shot [photo not gun].

Actually, saying that the photos are old is not a good description as that also relates to us! I can’t speak for Shelley but I don’t feel old, because I’m not. (Shelley says she’s not old either!!)

I was chatting to a lady last week who had visited Petra in Jordan [Indiana Jones fame]. She showed me a photo of her in front of the treasury, should I say she was in front of hundreds of other tourists on a day excursion from a cruise ship.

Here’s our photo: Spot the tourists – there aren’t any!

Treasury, Petra, Jordan

Some of the most rewarding photos I have taken captured Shelley at a height of excitement. One was after a flight over Victoria Falls:

 Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

Another seeing Mountain Gorillas in Rwanda:

Gorilla Hunting, Rwanda Gorilla, Rwanda

This one was taken in a Lobster shack out of Bar Harbor, Maine. To be fair, I was more excited at the thought of eating it!

Lobster, Bar Harbor, Maine

 

Bora Bora, Tahiti helmet dive:

Shelley, Bora Bora, Tahiti Shelley, surrounded by fish, Bora Bora

 

Don’t worry, Shelley will return tomorrow.

Climbing Mt Kenya

Mr Munro has been scanning more of our print photos into digital format. Today I’m going to share some photos from our trip to Kenya.

It’s quite strange finding a mountain in the tropics, but Mt Kenya is definitely a mountain and a challenge to climb. We almost made the top, but the weather closed in during our final push to the summit. It’s difficult to walk when it’s raining and the mist closes in and obscures vision.

Mt. Kenya Base Camp

This is me at base camp. I can’t believe how skinny I am here!

 

Vertical Bog, Mt. Kenya

While climbing Mt. Kenya you have to navigate a vertical bog. It’s quite hard work jumping from tuft to tuft. The vegetation is unusual too, and it made me think of alien planets. I’m the second person back with the red on my coat.

Mr. Munro, Vertical Bog

Mt Kenya vegetation

Mt Kenya

Mt Kenya, camp after vertical blog

I don’t like this photo of me, but Mr Munro said I should add it to show how high the second camp was, nearer the top of the mountain.

Me on Mt Kenya

We had an awesome time during our Mt Kenya visit. It was tiring and definitely hard work climbing the vertical bog but very rewarding once we made camp. It’s a pity we didn’t make the top, but it was still fun. A great experience to tick off the bucket list.

Do you think you’d like the challenge? Do you like walking or trekking?

Travels Through Africa

Today I’m taking a trip down memory lane and posting several photos from my African trip.

sw baby elephant, Kenya

We spent seven months in Africa,  starting our journey in Harare, Zimbabwe. From there we travelled down to Botswana before returning north again. We visited twenty-five countries including Tanzania, Zanzibar, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Zaire, Cameroon, Nigeria, Algeria, Morocco then on to Spain with a quick flit through Europe on the way back to London.

Our trip was an overland one with a company called Dragoman. We mainly camped with the odd hotel thrown into the mix. After suffering through many cold washes and more than a few cold showers, I grew an appreciation for hot water and specifically hot and cold running water.

I’d always wanted to visit Africa, the animals and the wilderness being the main attraction. I was certainly spoiled for choice when it came to seeing animals.

giraffe

While in Nairobi, we visited a giraffe sanctuary. I love giraffes, but their tongues were a real surprise. They’re so long! We had lots of fun feeding them a few snacks from the feeding platform.

sw Batering in Zim

Part of the overseas experience is interacting with the locals. It’s always interesting visiting the local markets and shopping for meals. This photo was taken in Zimbabwe, and I have fond memories of the avocadoes. They were delicious!

sw Ballooning in the Serengeti

Hot air ballooning in Kenya. As is traditional with hot air ballooning, we were up at the crack of dawn to get ready for our ride. Notice the pith helmet? We finished our flight with a champagne breakfast. So civilized!

sw elephant & buffalo, Kenya sw gazzelles, Kenya

sw lion Kenya sw hyena, Kenya 1

The above photos were all taken in Kenya. Top left: water buffalo and an elephant “butt” shot. Top right: Thomson Gazelle. Bottom left: Lion enjoying the sun. Bottom right: Hyena and pup.

 

Given the choice, which African country would you most like to visit? Which animal would you like to see?

I’m Watching You

Camera Critters

Photobucket

Mr. Munro took this photo at the Auckland zoo. When we visited Africa we saw quite a few hippos. We stayed at one camping ground by a waterhole where they came out at night and grazed by our tents. The hippo is considered one of the most dangerous animals in Africa, and the worst thing you can do is to get between a hippo and water or a hippo and its offspring.

To see more animal photos visit Camera Critters.

Travel Ready Packing

Travel-Ready Packing: Pack Light, Dress Right—Anytime, Anywhere
by Julie Ann Martin
Publisher: Argo & Cole Publishers
ISBN: 978-0-9791186-1-6
Publication Date: 1 Jan, 2010
Website: www.travelreadypacking.com
Amazon link: Travel-Ready Packing: Pack Light, Dress Right – Anytime, Anywhere

Any of my friends or family or people who visit my website knows how much I enjoy traveling and exploring different parts of the world. Since my marriage, my husband and I have spent months in Africa, America, Europe, Central America, India, Asia and Australia. Sometimes we traveled with our backpacks, and at other times, we went more up market. You’d think with all my experience in traveling that packing would be a breeze. Not so. It’s one thing that remains a bit of a trial for me, so when I saw that Ms. Martin’s publisher was offering Travel-Ready Packing for review, I grabbed the chance to learn from an expert.

Travel-Ready Packing has an intro which discusses things such as culture in different countries, fabric types and types of climate. The next part of the book is split into sections for each country or region of the world. Each of these sections gives the temperatures for different months of the year, a list of recommended clothing for both males and females, the risk of danger at the destination, recommended colors to wear and how casual or formal the dress-code is in the country being visited. There are also sections for business travelers and those who travel to adventure destinations, multi-climate packing and also a list for expatriate packing. At the rear of the book there’s a world map, which makes it a simple matter to find the country you’re visiting and look up the corresponding page reference. In fact the book covers everything I could think of from clothes to bags to accessories.

When I decided to “test” the book and relive my trip to Africa, the packing list was spot-on—exactly what I should have taken for my trip. It was also very accurate for my recent trips to Samoa and Phuket, Thailand. The only gap I could see was for a cruising holiday, but I think the lists for the South Pacific, which is where my cruise holiday is taking place, will do the trick nicely. I found the book easy to use, very readable, and as I mentioned very accurate with the suggested packing lists. No more back-breaking suitcases for me!

I recommend this book for anyone who intends to travel for work or pleasure. And romance writers, if you’re heading to a conference and you’re not sure what to pack, this is the book for you.

Shelley Munro

You can see from above that I’m all sorted with my packing now since I have this book to refer to. How do you approach packing for a trip or a holiday? Are you a good packer or do you forget half the things you need?

I’m doing a guest spot at The Rainbow Studio (part of the Romance Studio) and talking about reality shows and Fallen Idol. Here’s the link to my post at The Rainbow Studio.



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