Jed's Journey to Southern Africa

Old Nov 1st, 2007, 06:02 AM
  #21  
 
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BTW, you were certainly "taken for a ride", and if I was you I'd take it up again with the hotel. An experience such as that is neither good for the hotel nor the City.

I've done some rough measurements from my Jo'burg map, knowing the location of that restaurant. It's almost literally "down the road". And I estimate about 4 km. Metered taxis would charge R8 per km, so that's R32. So your R30 charge is correct, it's probably slightly less than 4 km.
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Old Nov 1st, 2007, 08:49 AM
  #22  
Jed
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Arthur - <You were either not given the correct information, or have misinterpreted what you were told.>

Probably the latter. It was hard to assimilate all the info given on all the tours.
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Old Nov 1st, 2007, 08:53 AM
  #23  
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<font color="blue">8 - Botswana- Kwetsani Tented Camp</font>

Next morning we had an early flight to Maun, the main gateway to the camps, then picked up for a small plane to Jao Reserve, the area servicing <b>Kwetsani Tented Camp</b> in the Okavango Delta, which is part of the Kalahari Desert, as I understand it. We flew over endless areas of lakes and green patches, which looked like plant covering on the lakes, and sandy barren patches. As the delta is really sand down to 1000 ft, the Land Rover which picked us up drove very slowly for about an hour on sandy tracks all the way to the camp.

The camp was in much better shape than the previous one. The superior materials, design, construction, and upkeep were obvious. There were eight nice cabins, with ceiling fans, and facing east, so we could sit on the deck in the hot afternoon. Actually, the weather was most pleasant. The afternoon temps were about 90 deg, and it was usually chilly in the morning. There were trees to shade the cabins, but the small pool was still in the sun. The food and staff were good.
After 4 PM tea and tidbits, we went on a game drive, then wine before dinner, then to bed.

Wake up was 5:30, breakfast at 6. After watching an elephant moseying in the back of our lodge, we headed out for another game drive to see elephants, lions, wildebeest, giraffe, springbok, monkeys, baboons, zebra, impala, tesabee, red lechwe, etc. Back for brunch at 11, then a shower and rest.

As I am sitting on the shaded deck in the afternoon, a monkey is scampering in the tree above.

For our sundowner, we drove to a shallow lake covered with water lilies and many beautiful white and blue flowers. We got into a mokoro, a two-person fiberglass dugout canoe, which was poled by a guide in the back. It reminded me of the gondolas in Venice. With a glass of wine, we were positioned to see the sun go down in a most silent, serene, and beautiful manner. As we glided back to the dock, we noted that the flowers had closed with the advance of darkness.

The next morning was a regular safari. Our guide, Salani, noted lion tracks, and he traced them to a peaceful male resting in the shade of a bush about 20 ft away. After watching us for a few minutes, he decided we were uninteresting, and turned around for a nap.

This afternoon, as I am again writing this on our deck, a small elephant saunters in front. I could, but wouldn't, touch him with a ten-foot pole. Later we went for the usual game drive, but there was little game. We figured that it was Sunday evening, and the animals were getting their one night off. On our last AM there, we went to a large lake covered with bulrushes and papyrus, which had a beautiful splay of tiny flowers on the top. On the motorboat ride through it, there were small crocodiles that did not appreciate our presence.

<font color="red">more.....</font>
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Old Nov 1st, 2007, 08:55 AM
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Thanks for the detailed report, very useful to future trip planners!
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Old Nov 1st, 2007, 04:25 PM
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Thanks for the informative report.
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Old Nov 1st, 2007, 06:44 PM
  #26  
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<font color="blue">8- Duma Tau and home</font>

A short flight and drive gets us to <b>Duma Tau</b>. The camp is rated as 'luxury', but it is not luxurious. We rated it between the other 2 for all aspects except one. That one, which made a great difference, was the game viewing.

As we were led to our cabin, the door was blocked by an elephant that slowly walked away as we waited. On the first afternoon, we saw many more of all that we saw in Kwetsani, plus leopards, warthogs, wild dogs, hippos, kudu, spring hare (which hops like a kangaroo), scrub hare, and white tail weasel.

For the next morning drive, about 10 AM we happened on a large lake and parked about 50 yards from the shore. At the water's edge stood about 100 elephants in a line. As we watched, lines of elephants marched out of the brush in front of us and in back of us to join their friends at the shoreline. The march continued for about 15 minutes. We estimated that there were about 300 on our side of the shore, and more across the lake. The sight and silence of this parade of these magnificent creatures was a moving experience. It made Arline cry.

While sitting on our deck, we could see, at various times, elephants, hippos, warthogs, and the ubiquitous squirrels.

In the afternoon, we took a boat ride on the lake, and at one point sped away from a hippo that went into the water after us. That night was a usual drive, where we saw a leopard in a tree. Next morning, our last, we took a short drive, and then returned to finish packing for our trip home.

This would have been a great experience but for our guide, Leme, who had an attitude. He did not stop for photos when we asked; he did not share with us his plans for the drive, and was unresponsive to other needs. I discussed this with the manager when we left, but I'm not sure how much good it will do. In any case, we recognize that guides vary in their abilities.

We left Duma Tau on a small plane, changed to a larger one at Maun, then from JNB we went on Virgin to LHR, then to JFK, then a 2 hour ride home. In all, it was 35 hours from start to finish. It was a long time, but we were thankful that it could be done at all, with such ease, thinking about how difficult it must have been even 50 years ago. We were glad to be home.

In all, despite minor problems, it was a great trip.

<font color="red"><i>......That's all, folks.</i></font>
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 02:10 AM
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The history of the Europeans' treatment of the black natives since the Dutch arrived in 1652 is indeed abominable, and despite significant advances since 1994, some racism still exists. This may not be obvious to the traveller, since we see responsible positions in hotels, restaurants, etc, being ably run by blacks, and there seems to be amiable and cordial public social intercourse. We noted the interracial couples strolling the streets, and wondered whether this would have been allowed previously.

Yes and the treatment of the Indians in the US and more recently the Blacks was perfect wasn't it.
By the way the issue of responsible positions being occupied by blacks is a result of the reverse racism practiced by the current government making it very very hard for white people to get jobs.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2007, 07:15 AM
  #28  
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&lt;Yes and the treatment of the Indians in the US and more recently the Blacks was perfect wasn't it.&gt;

That is an uncalled for snide remark. Whatever happened in America does not detract from what happened in SA. If you want to criticize America, do so in your own post.

&lt;By the way the issue of responsible positions being occupied by blacks is a result of the reverse racism practiced by the current government making it very very hard for white people to get jobs.&gt;

I'm sorry to hear that.
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Old Dec 5th, 2007, 01:11 AM
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Another point Jed-there were actually no &quot;black natives&quot; present in the Western Cape when the European &quot;settlers&quot; arrived. They were further north and as the Dutch built the colony up started coming.
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Old Dec 5th, 2007, 01:43 AM
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Laguna

Who was in the western Cape when they arrived then?
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Old Dec 5th, 2007, 09:44 AM
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Hi jed/doogle,

that isn't quite as i remember the info in the &quot;slave house&quot; museum in CPT.

my recollection is that there were a number of tribes in the area.

Would an absence of native peoples in the exact area of the western cape make what happened later any better?

regards, ann
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Old Dec 7th, 2007, 12:33 AM
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If you actually read the history there were no black Africans in the Western Cape when the colony was discovered. They were much further to the north. The only &quot;native&quot; people that were even remotely close to the Western Cape were the bushmen who were in the kalahari desert
Ann-would what happened during apartheid justify the reverse racism going on now?
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Old Dec 7th, 2007, 07:30 AM
  #33  
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laguna - I resent your hijacking of my trip report for your partisan opinions.

Whether there were any black Africans at the Cape at that time has no bearing on Apartheid. It's a meningless point.

Please people, don't respond to laguna.
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Old Dec 7th, 2007, 08:13 AM
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Jed,

Thanks for the great trip report and pictures. I especially loved the elephant pictures, that many in one place must have been amazing! I was happy when we saw several groups of 20 to 30 when we went to Mala Mala over the summer. We stayed in Rosebank in June just around the corner from the Grace in the Rosebank Hotel which closed in mid July for a complete remodel. We were lucky enough to be there on a Sunday and got to go to the African craft market they hold every week on the top level of the mall's parking garage.

Bob
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