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Africa...

Hiking, backpacking, running, biking, climbing, rafting, and other human-powered activities in the Sierra Nevada and elsewhere outside Yosemite National Park

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Africa...

Postby balzaccom » Sun Oct 13, 2019 6:31 pm

No. we didn't do much hiking there. But thanks to my long history in the wine business we got invited on a spectacular trip to visit Southern Africa, from Capetown to Kruger Park, with stops in Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe as well. it was a truly memorable experience.

We began in Capetown, where we visited the infamous Robben Island prison and were given a tour by an ex-political prisoner of the apartheid regime. It was very moving to hear him describe the enormous courage and fortitude of the prisoners, who effectively overthrew the government from inside the prison--a true triumph of the human spirit.

From there we visited the Cape of Good Hope, where Vasco de Gama found his way around Africa towards the eastern spice trade. Beautiful scenery. and some remarkable wildlife, including penguins, elands, baboons, ostriches, and more. And we polished off the day in the wine region of Constantia--legendary wines that even Napoleon revered.

The next day we visited the wine region of Stellenbosch, where we tasted great wines and ate wonderful food. It is something else to see a vineyard with impala grazing in a field nearby...

After Capetown we flew to Botswana and then took small boats to Namibia for a cruise on the Chobe River. Astonishing wildlife were, and we loved the huge herds of Cape buffalo and elephants, And yes, we did get quite close to them!

During our time on the Chobe, we also did a land safari along the river in Botswana, where we got very close to some lions...

Since we were only about 75 miles away, a visit to Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe was in order. Even though this was the dry season, and the falls were only about 10% of peak flow, they were still thoroughly impressive.

And from there we flew back to Johannesburg to tour the Nelson Mandela House in Soweto and the Apartheid Museum--both remarkable.

And finally, we spent four days in Kruger, doing more wildlife safaris, morning and afternoon. Each one seemed to raise the bar in terms of the wildlife we saw, including a long list of antelopes (Impala, eland, kudu, duiker, bushbok, springbok, puku, waterbuck, wildebeests, roan antelope, sable, letchwe, steenbok...I am sure I am leaving some out here) plus hippos, hyenas, wild dogs (quite rare and endangered) leopards, warthogs, baboons, vervet monkeys, water monitors, giraffe, zebra....it was an absolute smorgasbord of nature. And that doesn't even begin to touch the huge variety of birds, from eagles, vultures and storks, to endless brightly colored bee-eaters, oxpeckers, rollers, weavers, kingfishers, hornbills, lapwings...it was almost overwhelming.

And every day we were treated to a sunset worthy of note...check them out in the photos

link to the photos: https://photos.app.goo.gl/wgu1yg5qG26cVntX6
Check out our website and blog at: http://sites.google.com/site/backpackthesierra/home
balzaccom
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