Overseas Adventure Travel
Ultimate Africa Tour Review
July 19 through Aug 9, 2022


Due to the length of the review, it is in six parts to help with the download time. The links to the other pages are at the top and bottom of each page. 

Page 1:  Fly to Johannesburg; Karongwe Game Reserve, South Africa; Hwange NP, Zimbabwe
Page 2:  Hwange NP, Zimbabwe; Kafue NP, Zambia
Page 3:  Kafue NP, Zambia; Chobe NP, Botswana
Page 4:  Chobe NP, Botswana; Okavango Delta, Botswana
Page 5: 
Okavango Delta, Botswana; Bwabwata NP, Namibia; Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Page 6:  Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe; Return home



Day 17 - Okavango Delta, Botswana

We would be doing something this day that wasn’t in our final documents.  The whole time we were at Chobe, I wanted so badly to walk over to Namibia.  With this trip I had reached 89 countries that I had been in.  Namibia would make 90, but it was illegal to do, so we couldn’t.  Mr. V told us that we would be going into Namibia for a game drive that morning.  I was thrilled.   During breakfast we had another lovely sunrise, this time it was reflecting in the delta.

As we left the camp, we saw goats along the road as well as a lot of donkeys.  We had seen them when we drove to the camp and asked about them.  Apparently, many are wild donkeys; but most of the goats belong to someone.  They would be out grazing wherever they could. 

I got a kick out of a dog that was on the road leading to the highway.  He was king of the crocodile.

As I previously mentioned, it was enjoyable to see all the people walking along the road.  This fellow had a better way to do it.

Lots of people carried stuff on their heads, as well as babies on their backs.

The city of Shakawe had a very modern good-looking hospital.  One of group had a back issue that needed professional help.  Her doctor at home had referred her to a South African doctor who had been assisting her during the trip.  He told her not to go to the Shakawe hospital, so she passed on it.  It doesn’t have the best reputation.

Along the road we saw some more homesteads like Mr. Buffalo’s that we had seen in Zambia. 

In order to enter Namibia to go to the park, we would have to go through immigration to leave Botswana and go through Namibia immigration to enter there.  Mr. V had filled in the forms that were needed at each entry station.  Thank you Mr. V.  It did make the process much faster and easier.  This is not a busy station for either country.  Below is the Botswana immigration office.

We then needed to walk over into Namibia to go to their immigration stations.  We first had to provide our vaccination cards at a small office.  The we also had to step into some disinfectant due to the potential of bringing in hoof and mouth disease into the country.  The immigration office itself had some gorgeous wood carvings on the front of the counters.


We got back into our safari trucks and in less than a mile away we entered the Bwabwata National Park.  The park covers almost 38,000 square miles. 

Because the guides were driving in an enclosed cab with the rear window open, Mr. V passed out whisper devices that would allow everyone to be able to hear what their guides were saying.  They worked great.  I wish that we had been able to use them on our previous camp game drives.  Even though we had been in open trucks, the guides were normally talking while facing forward while they drove and looked for game.   This photo also shows the ice chest that was taking up the front middle seat of the truck.

We drove in and began looking for wildlife.  The main road into the park was very wide and the terrain was a bit different from Chobe.

We came upon some Zebras along the road.  They seemed to have less of a brown color than the plains zebras we had previously seen.  They are such pretty animals.

We saw some more animals during our drive before we stopped at the park welcome station for a restroom break.  I was able to get a nice photo of the Namibia flag.  I then realized that I hadn’t taken a photo of any of the other country's flags we had visited.


I did enjoy just looking at the terrain even if we didn’t see any wildlife.


We then came to a large herd of elephants marching across the savannah.

Not far away we saw a male ostrich.

A few minutes later we saw a cinamon breasted bee-eater. All the different bee-eaters we saw were so pretty.

Nine was excited when he saw a bird in a tree.  He told us they don’t see them very often.  Tucked in a tree was a crimson-breasted shrike.  Since it never came out, this was the best pic I could get.  At least it shows the crimson breast.

We came upon a group of elephants that were drinking in a man-made water pond.  The pond wasn’t filling up fast enough for all the elephants, so they were taking turns as there was enough to suck up.  They were being very polite with each other taking turns.


We saw some kudus and other animals while watching the elephants.  The kudus really wanted to get to the water fountain, but they would have to wait for the elephants to have their fill.

We saw a lilac breasted roller on the ground which was very close.  I took some photos of it hoping that it would fly away where I could capture its beautiful blue wings.  Sure enough, I finally had a cooperative bird.  At last!


When we stopped to enjoy our boxed lunch, we were surprised that we had a cold hamburger in the box.  I didn’t care if it was cold, but I’m sure some did.  It seemed like an unusual choice for a box lunch.  I enjoyed it anyway.

We were eating at a pretty spot.  A monkey was enjoying watching us in a casual pose.


After lunch, we continued our journey.  We were watching a group of elephants as they walked through the forest.  One of the males had a very long penis.  Everyone held their breath as he walked over a log.  It was painful to watch for the males on the tour.


The area we were in was close to the elephant water fountain we had visited just under an hour earlier.  With no one there, the water had begun to fill it up again.  The concrete block in the middle probably protects the water output from anxious elephants.

Continuing our drive, Nine stopped in front of another tree because there was another crimson-breasted shrike hopping around inside of it.  This time I was able to get a much better shot of this beautiful difficult to capture bird.

As we were driving around, we came to a familiar area, the park welcome station where we had stopped earlier.  We were back for another restroom break before heading to a different area of the park.

The road warning sign about the swerving in the sandy roads was an understatement.  We were glad that the guides were very familiar with the road conditions and had it under control. 

There had been some recent controlled burns, which made it easy to see across the formerly large fields of tall grass.  New growth was sprouting up quickly.

Fields that hadn’t been burned yet were close by.  They made it difficult to see animal life through the growth.

When we arrived at a more open area, we saw an antelope variety we hadn’t previously seen, the tsessebe antelope, which is also referred to as the sassaby. It is one of the fastest antelopes in the world reaching speeds up to 56 miles per hour.  We would have loved to see him show off his speed, but he was just in walking mode.

A few more of the herd came out of the bush and started walking with him.  He then moved a bit quicker, but not what we would have liked to see.  They all then just continued their walk.  It was still nice to see this new species, even without a speed demonstration.

We continued the drive through the flat terrain of Namibia.  We stopped to take photos of a tree that had a termite mound built way up into it.  That was a tall termite mound.

This area also had a lot of the fever thorn bushes we had seen at an earlier camp.  Not something I wanted to brush up against.

We saw another termite mound that had almost totally taken over a young tree. 

Continuing our drive, we stopped for a female ostrich.  She was being very cooperative letting us take photos of her.


As she walked away in front of a truck, we could see how tall she was in comparison to something we were familiar with.  She was a big girl.

When we turned the other way, we saw five baby ostriches running close behind their father.  Nine said that it is unusual for the male to be babysitting.  We were so thrilled to see the babies, if only for a quick moment.


Close by we were able to see a greater blue-eared starling in a tree.  It is a shame that a branch was in the way, but we had a glimpse of the beautiful bird before it flew away.

We came to an area where there was a lot of wildlife.  We were most interested in the warthogs.  Marianne had been wanting to take a photo with one walking quickly with its tail standing straight up, as we had previously seen, but too far away.  It made them look more like the warthog Pumba in the Lion King movie.  


I was able to get some photos of them moving quickly, but Marianne hadn’t been able to get a video of them.  They are fun to watch with their fast-prancing walk.

Some Egyptian geese were hanging out near the water.  These birds were considered sacred by the ancient Egyptians and appear in much of their artwork.  We have these birds in Florida too, but it was nice to see them where they come from.

Up in a tree was a white-backed vulture waiting for its next meal opportunity.

We saw a nice baobab tree next to the road.  It had evidence of elephants eating on it.

Then just down the road, we saw what eventually happens if the elephants like the trees too much. 

Moss got out of the other truck to let us all know that the tree had been standing the previous week when they drove by.  It had recently been knocked completely down.  It is so sad to lose a beautiful old tree, but the elephants are more interested in the tree for food than its beauty.

As we were leaving the park, we saw a group of sable antelopes walking away from us in the distance. 

We did our exit/entry routine again as we left Namibia to enter Botswana.  The Botswana entrance sign celebrated their 50-year anniversary of their independence from England in 1966.

Not far away we were able to see the new Okavango River Bridge.  It is supported by two tusk like structures.  Quite impressive!

On the way back to the camp, I was able to take more photos of homesteads near the road.


It had been a full day excursion.  We returned just after 4:00 PM.  We were ready to relax after a very full day’s activities.


Day 18 - Okavango Delta, Botswana

We were able to sleep in since our excursion for the morning started at 8:00 AM.  It took over 30-minutes to arrive at the site where we would experience riding in a mokoro boat, like those we had previously seen, like the ladies riding down the river when we arrived a couple days earlier.  The main difference was that these mokoro’s came from a fiberglass tree rather than wood, as Mr. V joked about. 


There would be two people to a boat with the driver in the back pushing us with a long pole.  Mr. V told us that the mokoro drivers had been doing this since they were children and would be able to keep the boat stable for us.

When we sat down in the boat while it was still pushed up partially on the land, they felt very stable.  Everyone was excited about experiencing this type of boat.


Once we began moving, I was very glad we had experienced drivers.  It felt very unstable to me, so I kept as still as I could while we began our journey along the river.  After a while, I did become a bit more comfortable, since our driver had no problem compensating if we moved a bit.  I was still cautious.  The smooth flow of the boat and the beautiful scenery we were seeing was quite enjoyable.  Being so close to the water gave us a different perspective.


We saw a group of Marabou storks.  These are the largest birds in Africa at a height of 5 feet and a wing-spread of up to 12 feet, the largest of any living bird.  I wish we had been closer to them.

We were thoroughly enjoying this unique view of the Okavango Delta area. 



In some areas, the driver had to push very hard to get through the thick grass.

After about 35 minutes we pulled up to land.  We were glad to get out of the mokoro for a while to stretch our legs. 

We walked around for a bit with the guides telling us about the tree life in the area and pointing out interesting subjects.  One of the guides, Santos, climbed up on a termite mound to tell us about them.  This was a big mound.  He broke off a piece of the mound to pass around so we could see what it was made of.  It was heavy and had a large passageway through the middle of it.


We got back into the mokoros for our return trip.  It took about 20 minutes before we saw Mr. V, Moss and Nine on the beach waiting for us.  We had enjoyed the ride, but we were ready to be able to stretch out some.


On the way back, I took lots of photos of the homesteads and people.  I wasn’t able to get any with groups of kids waving at us, since I was waving at them too.  It was a lot of fun.


When we got back to the lodge, it was close to lunchtime.  After lunch, we went back to the cabin for some R&R, since our next excursion wasn’t until 4:00 PM.  We went back to the lodge for teatime around 3:30 PM.  I was walking around the grounds enjoying the scenery, when I saw Bob.  He asked me if I had seen the crocodile.  I asked him “what crocodile”.  He said, “the one on the tree stump”.  I looked at the stump but couldn’t see a crocodile.  I assumed it must have moved on, but I walked closer to make sure.  Sure enough, it was there.  I couldn’t believe how well it blended in.  This is why many people in Africa lose arms, legs or their life to crocodiles.  They are well camouflaged.  This is the stump I was looking at from a distance where I couldn’t see it.

This is what he looked like closer up.

Thirty minutes later he was still there with his mouth open showing off his teeth. 

Everyone wanted to take a photo of the warning sign with the subject of the warning in the background.

Once again, we would be taking a motorboat game drive.  This time we went the other direction.  We passed by large abandoned bee-eater bird condo.  I can’t imagine why they would abandon it after putting in so much work making it but I’m sure they had their reasons.

On the previous motorboat ride, we were able to ride along a shoreline and look up into the tall trees to see birds, but this ride was mainly through the marshlands. 


We passed through narrow channels and went into smaller coves.  We were told that these channels would eventually fill in making it all a big floating island.


We didn’t see as many birds on this trip, but we enjoyed just taking in this different environment.

We did see plenty of crocodiles laying in the reeds.  We had fun seeing how long it would take for them to head for the water.

We could only see the head of this one.  But that was enough to see his many sharp teeth.

We did come across one area on land with a lodge on it.

Nearby, the trees were full of egrets.  They were flying around jockeying for branch position.


As we were cruising through the marshes, I was able to get some photos of a carmine bee-eater.

When it took off, I was able to capture it in flight showing its wings.

We saw another bird that I don't remember the name of.

We passed by another of the floating safari lodges.  Everyone waved at each other. 

At 5:45 PM, our boats once again were connected for our last sundowner of the trip.  We had another jolly good time.

We enjoyed watching the sun go down.

We also had some hippos checking us out.  They were the first ones we had seen while at this camp.


As we headed back to camp at a higher speed than we had gone before, it was interesting to see the marsh islands moving up and down as the wake hit them.  These islands would eventually make the channels we had been on non-navigable.

Earlier in the day, we all had sung happy birthday to Moss.  After dinner, the chef surprised him with a birthday cake.  It was a nice way to end our stay at the camp.


Day 19 - Fly to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

With this being a travel day, we started early.  All during breakfast our group was going out to take photos of the pretty sunrise reflecting on the water.  It would get better every few minutes until it started to go away.

We boarded our trucks and headed down the heavily pot-holed road to the Shakawe airport.  With it being in the wilderness, Nine went out to the runway to make sure that there weren’t any animals on it.  He ended up chasing some cows off that were nearby.

Before boarding I took a photo of Mr. V with Moss and Nine. 

An hour and a half later we were landing at the Kasane, Botswana airport.  We boarded our bus and began our journey to the city of Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe where we would spend our last two nights of the trip.  After entering Zimbabwe, Mr. V showed off the flag of his home country we had just reentered.

We were looking forward to actually staying at the Shearwater Explorer’s Village resort, that we had passed through before going to Zambia's Kafue National Park nine days earlier.  The facilities and grounds were first class and just such a pleasure to walk around. 




We were anxious to see our room.  Mr. V had already told us to expect much smaller rooms.  He was right, but they were quite nice, and we were very pleased with them.  The AC worked great and there were plenty of electrical outlets for us.


Our only minor complaint was in the bathroom.  The shower was wide open which sprayed water all over the floor.  We just had to throw our bath towels on the floor after our shower to keep from having a wet slippery floor.


Everyone was anxious for our visit to Victoria Falls.  We had seen a glimpse of the falls when crossing the bridge over the Zambezi River and were anxious to see so much more of it.  We had a guide/bus driver for the falls.  He didn’t have much driving to do since the falls was a little over a mile away.  After entering the park grounds, our guide told us about the falls as he pointed at some of the posters on the wall.  I took photos of them to provide information about the size of the falls.  Since I have always been a waterfall lover, the facts were important to me.  I had been to the other 2 largest waterfalls referred to on the poster, so it was even more relevant to me.  I am reproducing some of the info below for those who are interested.

Info in Feet

The guide showed us the path we would be taking on a map.  I had always heard that the falls was in a narrow gorge, and you couldn’t really see much of it unless you flew over it in a helicopter.  Looking at the map, it appeared that we would be seeing most of the falls.  We then began our walk.  Some of us were concerned about getting wet from the spray.  The guide said that we were visiting the falls at a very good time.  There was good waterflow, but not so much as to prevent us from seeing the falls.  He said that there would be some areas where we might get a bit damp if we walked too close, but it wasn’t a big issue.

Our first stop was at a great location where we could look through the gorge.  It was a very popular photo op stop, especially with the rainbow in the background.


There were steps that went further down for a different view.  I went down to the first level, but it wasn’t as good a view as the higher one to me.  People were walking way down to get different photos.  I hope the view got better for them with all those steps.

We then walked over to a statue of David Livingstone, the first European to discover Victoria Falls.  He was a Scottish physician and missionary, who became a national hero as a great explorer.  He is known by most people from the expression “Dr. Livingstone, I presume”.  He is very revered in Africa.  The statue was installed in 1955 for the 100th anniversary of his discovery of the falls.  He named the falls after Queen Victoria.

We continued our walk taking in views from different stops along the path.  The falls were amazing, but it was a bit frustrating not to be able to see all the way down to the bottom much of the time.  This was caused in part by the viewing positions being too far away from the edge.  The mist at the bottom probably would have prevented us from seeing it also.  We were lucky we were visiting when the mists were relatively low.  I am including way too many photos of the falls below, but it does help us to remember the amazing sights we saw.  I also put in a couple of videos to see show the power and hear the sound of the falls.




While walking along one of the paths, our guide pointed out a tree that was partially blocking one of the paths that went back toward the park entry.

At one point we could look across to Livingstone Island.  This is where David Livingstone landed when he discovered the falls.  He was fortunate that he discovered it when the falls were low or we never would have heard from him again.  Some people had taken one of the tours to the island and were looking over the falls.

On a different section of the island, some people were actually sitting in and/or walking in the water over the falls.  I’m not seeing that activity as an example of logical thinking.

As we got further down the path, we could see some wider areas, where there were dry spaces in the falls.  During the rainy season, water is gushing over the whole width.  In 2-3 months, there wouldn’t be much water flow there at all. 


I had been getting in some of the mist spray while taking photos.  My Canon 7D Mark II DSLR with my walkaround 15-85mm lens didn’t appear wet and the front of my lens didn’t have any water drops on it, so I was feeling good about not having to worry about the camera getting too wet.  It was the first time I had used the lens during the trip since I needed my telephoto lens for wildlife.  I started to get some missed shots and error messages on the camera.  I would turn the camera off and restart it, which helped for a while.  Then it just stopped.  I couldn’t use it at all and had to depend on my iPhone for the rest of the visit.  I assumed that some moisture was causing the problem and hoped that it would dry out, so I could use the camera for our last full day.  I continued taking photos and videos with my iPhone, but we were getting into a wetter area where the mist was obstructing the views a lot.  I would time my shots for when the mist backed away and then move in. 





After an hour and a half and lots of pics, we ended the tour.  We had walked a lot and seen so much beauty.  Everyone was thrilled with the experience.  When I got back to my room, I checked to see if my camera was working.  It wasn’t.  It came on, but the shutter release wasn’t working.  I switched lenses and I was thrilled that it worked fine with my telephoto lens.  So, the problem was with the shorter lens.  I hoped it would be dried out by the next day.  It wasn’t.  When I arrived home three days later everything worked fine.  I was glad that my camera had weatherproofing, but unfortunately my lens didn’t.

This night was going to be special in that we would be going to a home hosted dinner prepared by a local Victoria Falls family.  This type activity is one that makes traveling with OAT very valuable.  Our group was broken into 4 groups, so that we were in small enough groups for cooking and to be able to converse easily. Cathy and I were put in a cab with Ann and Marianne with directions given to the cab driver as to where to take us and pick us up.  For these types of activities OAT doesn’t want the trip experience leader to be in attendance.  This way the families are more open to say whatever they want.  We were dropped off at the home of Martin, Grace and their teenage son Charles.  They gave us a warm welcome in the driveway and invited us into their home.  We were talking with each other and laughing as soon as we exited the cab.  We were going to enjoy our time together.  We sat on one of the couchs that were around the main room’s table that would also serve as our dining table.  I took a photo of our hosts.  Their younger son and daughter were spending the night at grandma’s house close by.  I wish that we could have met them too. 


They offered us several types of drinks.  They had a buttermilk type drink, fruit juice and a sorghum beer.  We were all curious about the beer, so we all got some.  It was very different from any beer we had ever had.  It was thicker, so it was more of a sipping drink.  We were chatting and joking around for a while when Grace offered to show us around their home.  They were very proud of it and they talked about adding on to it in the future.  She then took us into the kitchen to show us how she was going to make an appetizer for us.  We were having Kapenta sardines.  These are tiny fish that are stored dry and soaked in water before preparing.  She put them into a frying pan with oil and began the process. 

When they were crispy enough, she took them off the fire and served them at the table.  We thought we would have to wait for them to cool down to try them, but she assured us that they had cooled down enough.  She was right.  I picked some up and put them in my hand so I could snack on them.  They were crispy and salty, a great snack.  It is something that would be eaten like popcorn or peanuts.  I’m so glad she had made them for us.  We continued talking about so many different subjects.  They were fun and interesting conversationalists.  We learned a lot about life in Victoria Falls as well as the struggles associated with it.  We were so impressed with how this family had overcome many serious issues and have been able to keep finding solutions to keep things moving along.  Grace had even started a catering business when Martin was having issues.  She has continued with it and has many happy customers.

We had to stop talking so that they could prepare dinner.  They took us back into the kitchen to fix us plates.  As Grace was telling us about the different items she had prepared, we were surprised to know that Charles had prepared several of the items.  The whole family was very proud of their son’s culinary skills.  He was also a very polite and intelligent young man.  Martin and Grace had done an outstanding job of raising him.  We were having beef stew, fried chicken, kale, polenta and peanut butter rice.  They also had a dish with sweet beans and other items that was quite a treat.  For dessert we had vanilla ice-cream.  Everything was so delicious.  Normally when I have eaten traditional foods in foreign countries, there is at least one item that I am not crazy about.  It wasn’t the case that night.  We liked everything, a lot.


After dinner we continued talking about so many different subjects.  We were particularly interested in the problems they have with baboons destroying property and breaking into houses to steal food and other items.  They also have issues with elephants coming into town to eat from vegetable gardens.  As they are walking, they knock over structures and destroy everything they step on.  These are both problems where there aren’t easy solutions, if any. 

When it was getting close to our pickup time, they took us outside to their garden to show us what they grew.  We hadn’t realized how large the garden was when we arrived, but most of the yard was garden.  They had so many different vegetables and I am sure that they were delicious when they cooked them.  We were so impressed with their resourcefulness and productivity.  They were also a very warm and loving family.

When the cab pulled up, we were sorry that we had to leave our new friends.  They kept calling us their new family.  If we lived in Victoria Falls, we could be very good friends/family.  We had been so lucky to have them as our hosts.  It had been a very special evening.

This had been a very busy travel and sightseeing day followed by a wonderful dinner with an amazing family.  It doesn’t get much better than that. 



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