Welcome to the blog of the sailing yacht Sea Bunny.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Namibia - Etosha National Park

We entered the park via the Von Lindequist Gate in the east and left via the Galton gate at the west, staying overnight at the Okaukuejo Camp in the centre.

View over the pan

The eastern part of the park borders the huge (120 km long, 43,000 km2) Etosha pan. The pan is mostly dry but will apparently get a thin layer of water after heavy rain.

The best part of the campsite at Okaukuejo was that it was in the middle of the park.
Again,- we'll let the animal photos speak for themselves.
Kori bustard

Lilac breasted roller


Black-faced impala (rare/endangered)


Sociable weaver nest (up to 100+ pairs)

Hartnell's mountain zebra (threatened species)

Namibia - Herero cultural tour

The Herero people are one of the groups of pastoralists who migrated to southern Africa, displacing many of the original hunter/gatherers.
Family head and his wife greet us by the "holy fire"
Traditionally they live in family groupings raising cattle and goats and growing a few subsistence crops. Our visit was to one of these family groups where we were welcomed and shown around by the head of the family and his wife.
The "traditional" dress worn by the Herero women bears a strong similarity to the "Mother Hubbard" dresses of Fiji and Vanuatu - showing a strong influence of missionaries.

Old and new building styles
Several of the houses in the compound are of modern materials but some are of the traditional mud and thatch construction. The mud for these is taken from termite mounds where it has made much stronger and more water-resistant by the termite's saliva used as a bonding agent.
Termite skyscraper
The termite mounds get quite large round here.

This family has quite a large herd of cattle kept largely for milk, but used for meat at special celebrations.
One side is for the calf, one for the people

Susan tries her hand at milking.
Churnimg milk

The milk is churned in a calabash to make buttermilk.
This is fed to the children for breakfast, the adults only eat once a day.

School sports day

After the village visit, the local school in Okakarara was at the stadium for sports day.

The red team and the blue team over 1,000 pupils. starting age 7 years finishing age could be 18, our guide finished at 21.
Happy children at the pre-school
A German charity has set up a pre-school for local orphans and other disadvantaged children.
Here the children learn to play which is not taught in the local school.
Two of the local women have now completed the preschool teaching diploma and this has been accepted in their community.
The sandpit is popular
Not really her style

Susan gets the opportunity to try a local dress.
She will not be having one made as she decided that the cow ear headdress did not suit her.

Botswana - Chobe National Park

This was a delightful, well organised day trip from Victoria Falls into Botswana.

A quick minibus trip over the border and there was the start point of a boat trip on the Chobe River (a tributary of the Zambezi) which forms the border between Botswana and Namibia.

African darter (Snake bird)

This part of the trip was dominated by sightings of large numbers of elephants and hippos, but we also saw other fauna that lives close to the water.
Nile crocodile

As the water is shallow permanent hippos are plentiful.
They cannot swim and walk on the bottom, sometimes underwater (they can hold their breath for up to 6 minutes).
The one in the picture is not tired - the open mouth is a warning that the boat was too close.
It is worth heeding the warning as a hippo, although a herbivore, can bite a man in half.
Botswana flag on Sedudu Island

Sedudu (or Kasikili) Island in the river was disputed between Namibia and Botswana. The dispute went to the International Court in The Hague which determined that the main flow of the river was on the Namibian side of the island and ruled in favour of Botswana. A Botswana flag is kept flying on the island to assert the sovereignty.

Elephants by the river

There must have been 100 elephants by the side of the river, in two groups comprising mainly females, juveniles and calves.
Elephants and hippos share the area

Mother and calf
Young males testing their martial arts.

Spur-winged goose

After an excellent lunch  we set off in a game viewing truck for a land-based view of the park.

Chobe as renowned for hippos and elephants.

But we viewed species that we had not sighted before - prehaps we are becoming twitchers

African jacana

Sable antelope - adore those scimitar horns

Marabou stork about to take flight

Zimbabwe - Victoria Falls

After some deliberation we decided that we could not be in southern Africa without seeing Victoria Falls. The views from the Zimbabwe side are reputed to be the best so we had to go there.

We flew from Cape Town to Johannesburg, then on to the brand new Victoria Falls airport in Zimbabwe where the new electricity supply was intermittent.

First shock - we were in the Visa on Arrival queue behind an American couple who were charged USD 45 each for their double entry visa. As Brits we were charged USD 75 each - apparently Mugabe doesn't like us. At USD 25/day each this must be the most expensive entry yet.

Tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel

High afternoon tea at the Victoria Falls hotel had been recommended to us and very good it was too in true colonial style.
View from the Victoria Falls Hotel terrace

While you can't actually see the falls from the hotel, you can see the spray rising from them and hear the roar.
Dr Livingstone, I presume

We did our own walking tour on the Zimbabwe side of the Falls taking around 1 1/2 hours.

 First one finds a statue.

The Cataract - southernmost part of the falls

Then first view of the Falls, the Cataract, does not seem particularly impressive.
Apparently this is where the main part will be in a few thousand years.

The Zambezi immediately upstream of the falls

The river immediately above the Falls is remarkably tranquil.

However, as one continues round the path, it becomes more impressive...

....and wetter.

...and the roar deafening.

There is some good advice - some of the barriers are rather just sticks - too flimsy for Richard's taste.

If visiting from the Zambian side the furthest you can get is the viewing platform on the other side of the gorge.

The gorge viewed from the very pleasant Bridge cafe.

All the water from the Falls passes out through the gorge - it doesn't look like it!

Windy Cape Point

For our first "tourist" excursion from we headed down to windy Cape Point and the coast S of Cape Town.

African Penguins
African penguins are an endangered species with two colonies in South Africa - these ones are at Boulder Bay.

Cape Point
Then it was on into the Table Mountain National Park to Cape Point, which forms the northern limit of the enormous False Bay and is just south of the Cape of Good Hope, which is the extreme SW point of Africa.

Cape of Good Hope from Cape Point

The coast road back around Chapman's Peak is very spectacular, hugging the cliff.

Blown spray
False Bay is a windy part of the world.
Rainbow in the spray
Approaching Hout Bay the spray was forming a "rainbow" which we tried to photograph.