Monday, April 13, 2009

Our Great African Road Trip

We took a two week, 3,500 mile car trip south through Zambia, south into Botswana (to Chobe and Maun), then headed west to Namibia (Windhoek, Sussosvlei, Swakopmund and Etosha). We saw some beautiful scenery, lots of open land and amazing animals in the game parks. Pictures tell the best story of what we saw...

This SMALL ferry shuttled us from Zambia to Botswana. The ferry only held one semi truck and our car for the 5 minute crossing. The river was so high that they had to bring in dirt at the landing site which closed the ferry for two days causing a back up of 100 trucks waiting on the Botswana side to take the ferry over to Zambia!

In Chobe game park (Botswana), we watched these two elephants playing.

The afternoon light caught this big guy out strolling and looking for food.

Baboons galore settling in the nice warm the middle of the road. They really gave us the stink-eye when we drove by since they were forced to move.

An elephant's foot print compared to Peter's foot!

My pet project was to take a photo every hour of our trip...many of the photos looked like this, so I won't bore you with more of the same... Ok, just ONE more...because I love exclamation marks!

On our travel days, we tried to get up early to get on the road (often by 6am) ...and spent about 6-8 hours a day driving. The kids kept up on their beauty sleep!

Climbing to the top of one of the dunes at Sossusvlei, Namibia...stunning! Peter was the first one to the top... John and I pulled up the rear panting and gasping for air! It's hard walking uphill in sand!

The best part of climbing up - is running down!!

We did a short hike in this canyon but had to stop because of all the water pooled at the bottom. We opted not to walk through the water for fear of getting bilharzia, a waterborne disease.

One of our highlights was quad biking on the sandunes outside of Swakopmund. We had a guide who drove in front of us - it was a blast going over the steep hills.

Next, we drove north up to Etosha National park. This was a wonderful watering hole where we saw zebras, giraffes, wildebeasts and antelope. We visited at the tail end of the rainy season, so the animals weren't as plentiful as usual, but it was awesome for us!

Ever wonder how giraffes drink water? Amazing contortion...

Gotta love the front legs to the chair, not a problem, just find a tire! We were waiting for our car to get washed - 3 guys, 3 rags, a bucket and a hose...all for $1.50.

On our way home, an hour and a half south of Lusaka, on Easter Sunday, our car broke down (the water pump went bad) and we had several guadian angels who helped us out. A man driving the exact same car passed us and then turned around and offered to tow us into town. One of my co-workers who has family in the town was able to find a mechanic (see the "garage" above - they basically work in a dirt alley) - AND we found an open parts store that carried the exact water pump we needed (again, this is all on Easter Sunday)! The clincher was that we didn't have any Zambian money (kwacha) and neither our ATM card or credit card were working and all we had left was a $100 bill. Thankfully, my co-worker had money that he loaned us (we needed about $150 which most people, including me, don't carry around). Truly, all these saints were Easter miracles and gifts from God.

We loved the adventure and can hardly wait for our next African experience!