A Travellerspoint blog

quick update from zim

animals!

sunny 23 °C
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hi again!

so just after i said that i had good connection, there were loads of internet cut outs and we havent been able to connect for abou 36 hours - sooo frustrating! and water just cuts out at various points in the day so you never know when you can shower or wash clothes - only in zim!

just checked out vic falls from zim and zambian side - absolutely stunning and just huge and sooo loud! i got absolutely drenched - was so much fun.

my mom asked me in a mail if we had seen some wildlife and i realised i skipped over the most obvious thing!! so i just quickly wanted to give some info. we have been absolutely africa-animalled out!! we did an absolutely fantastic safari through ngorogoro crater where we saw lions, wildebeest, giraffes, elephants, zebras, hyenas, etc etc. then serengetti was awesome, especially sleeping almost amongst the animals (no gates, just camping in the totally open and you could hear lions roar during the night). we stayed in a campsite in north zim with resident zebras grazing at our dorms and they were so close you could touch them (but we were warned against actually doing the touching part cos they bite and kick you!). then stayed in another place in zim where ellies would walk by our tents and at the same place we walked with lions and lion cubs (they lions are bred in this particular park to help conserve them), some people rode elephants, others watched the lions feed, did lion stalking drives at night and other wildlife activities. i did the coolest horseride through the bush there and saw giraffes, wildebeest, kudu and zebra so close cos the animals werent scared of the horses. i did another horseride the next day and it was so cool to canter through the bush with no worries at all! oh yes, we also saw leopards in serengetti, which is quite rare. we had one that walked right past our open safari truck and we were warned that it might jump up on the bonnet and that we shouldnt panick!!! but he just slid right by and then went on to chase a buck (but didnt get it - didnt have the speed of a cheetah apparently). in vic falls, we walk past baboons and warthogs on a regular basis and in general, i feel i am quite animalled out but there is still more to come! i think its so sweet to see the ozzies and brits go crazy for animals like zebra and giraffe cos im so used to them but i have to say i got really excited to see wild cats soooo close! in serengetti, we drove right up to a male and two female lions lying in the middle of the road and we were so close, we could almost have touched them. they werent phased at all!

ok, thats the animal update for now....chat later!

Posted by julesfsmit 17:25 Archived in Zimbabwe Tagged animal Comments (3)

In Vic Falls - Zimbabwe!! And details on raucous "MJ Day"

From Kenya, to Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique and now good old Zim

sunny 20 °C
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hellooo!!!!

so iv finally got some decent internet connection (when there arent any of the severe power cuts here in zim!). i have been having an absolutely fantastic time here in africa. its definitely been roughing it at times and many of the guys dont shower or bath for days at a time and i am quite worried cos iv seriously gotten used to the smell of dirty bodies and i cant even smell stinky feet anymore! how liberating!

so i spent only a short time in kenya and we headed off into the lovely tanzania, had an awesome time in zanzibar (so beautiful) and then went down into malawi which was suprisingly beautiful too. i wasnt sure what to expect but i thought kande beach, right on a massive lake, was so pretty and we had loads of fun and parties too! i will do my blog in retrospect i think when i can add photos to go along with some of the events and stories otherwise it will be too random and monotonous. we only bush camped (sleep off the side of the road in random bush areas) for one night in mozambique just as transit to zim so we really didnt see anything in mozambique at all.

its been absolutely freezing in zimbabwe and we have really hit a cold snap. its been so difficult to keep warm cos the cold gets into your bones when you are camping. the toughest part is showering cos the water is usually only lukewarm and the cubicles are icy cement and then sleeping in tents and some camp sites have no indoor sections at all so you just huddle around smoky fires. not good!

but being in africa has also been fun. i have to say though, that we had that weirdest and wildest truck day recently. every third day or so we have to travel for ages on the truck to get to our next destination and sometimes it can be pretty tiring. the truck is designed so that there are two rows of seats on each side of the truck, facing inwards and then an open section in the middle where we put cooler boxes filled with food and drinks and alcohol (cos there isnt any other place to put it) and then another section called "the beach" which is smaller and designed slightly differently (check oasis's website for the pics). and then the sides are covered by flaps which we can lift up and then the sides are almost totally open and you can check out the scenery as we ride through africa. so there are 24 of us at the moment and on the day we crossed over into zim, we had a really stressful border crossing. it was also leslie's birthday and then we found out that michael jackson had died. so those three factors meant that we decided, at 8:45am whilst driving to our first campsite in zim, to crack open the whiskey for birthday shots! after the whiskey came cane, vodka, gin, brandy, etc etc from the cooler boxes and by 10am, most of us were hanging off the overhead storage spaces, screaming to the michael jackson songs (we thought that we would hold a tribute to him - we can plug in our ipods and play music through the speakers), dancing in the middle of the truck, falling over,singing, etc etc. so classic! one of the girls couldnt remember stopping for lunch and actually having lunch, another was seriously ill by like 11am, and the rest of us just kind of went into surreal mode as we went shopping, half sloshed, to stock up supplies in zim shops (which are half full, no lighting and minimal power - very weird).

it was a crazy but seriously fun truck day and no, we havent topped it with another massive party truck day yet! and yes V, i know i know, i said i wasnt going to drink that much!!

i will try to post up some of the videos so you can check them out sometime.

anyhoo, im going over to zambia to check out the falls tomorrow and just going to be relaxing while others are bunji jumping and doing adrenaline stuff.

ill chat again later. hope all is really good with you!

Posted by julesfsmit 08:06 Archived in Zimbabwe Tagged events Comments (0)

HELLOOOO TO AFRICA!!!!

Kenya!!

overcast 20 °C
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hi everyone!!!!
so i arrived in nairobi early this morning and got to Karen Camp really easily. all went well. iv met most of the people who are on the tour (the people who have already done three weeks in africa doing uganda, gorillas, etc) and they are all very cool. its quite daunting though meeting such a big group of people for the first timethat all know each other already but all is going ok so far.

so internet connection in africa has apparently been really bad so i probably wont be able to blog much at all. especially with this website, there is a lot going on ie a lot of photos and details that take forever to load! so i wont be able to go into all the detail that i did in europe (was that a sigh of relief i hear??!) but i hope to touch base every so often. and i think ill plot my travel map when i get home and there is faster and better connection, so you can see the route that we took.

so i really hope all is gonna go ok = im a bit nervous really but im sure thats normal! also, yesterday i was really tossing up between a cheap and thin sleeping mat and a thicker and much more expensive mat. i went with the thicker mat and thank goodness!! cos iv been chatting to some people and they all say that a proper sleeping mat is the best investment! they have even bought proper pillows from supermarkets so i might do that tomorrow. they giving me lots of tips on how to do laundry and also found out that most havent showered in days!! ag, lets do it africa style right! :)

ok, chat in a couple weeks time. thanks to everyone who has put comments on my blogs and who have sent me mails. sorry i havent been able to reply to each one!!

Posted by julesfsmit 16:43 Archived in Kenya Tagged events Comments (0)

The unexpectedly cool Lisbon

sunny 30 °C
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it´s been an absolutely fantastic, perfect weather day today = boiling hot and blue blue skies. staying at a very cool pension, once again im gonna recommend another place, lisbon story guesthouse. it also has a chill-out section = a no-shoes morrocan style lounge. very cool.

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so im loving lisbon, its very old, lots of both small and mammoth white buildings, lively squares, cobbled streets, beautiful coast. its really charming, as the english would say. we´ve only got an afternoon here so took a little local tram that took us round most of the tiny streets and the old town and then walked around, getting hopelessly lost. just had a beer sundowner and going out this evening for a fancy portuguese meal!

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iv really enjoyed portugal, its been one of the top countries to visit, well...on my list at least. i know vee and grant enjoyed it too when they were travelling through europe. so...give it a bash if you havent already seen portugal, its been really great! oh yes, i saw two couples dancing in a public square and it was sooo great. reminded me of tango dancers in the streets of buenos aires.

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well...this is my last night in europe for a while (not counting london as "europe"!) and my mom, after this night, has one more night over on this side of the world before heading back to SA. she´s been a fantastic travel partner, i really admire her, she never complains (whereas i do all the time) and is game for anything. and really fit i have to tell you...fitter than me i think! oh yes, and a great cook, creating yummy concoctions even when our ingredients are really weird! so ... a massive thanks to her for making these last three weeks really great ones and memory-filled im know for sure.

oh! and a big sorry once again for totally forgetting your birthday on 1st May, mom, and then you having to remind me about two weeks later, i didnt even remember myself! so double present next year - promise!

PS thanks to wilna and bob for the comments = its great to know you are reading my pretty tedious travel blog! thanks for that!

PPS how british do i sound in this blog!! iv gotta get back to my saffa roots...like ja

Posted by julesfsmit 10:26 Archived in Portugal Tagged tourist_sites Comments (2)

The lovely and smokin Nazare

sunny 31 °C
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soooo....we are absolutely roasting in Nazare - a small town on the coast of portugal, just north west of lisbon. we are staying in a really lovely and spacious apartment, literally 10 metres from the beach. stunning! nazare has a really long, white, sandy beach with very blue seas (pretty cold - atlantic) and the beach curves with a really high cliff along the right of it.

iv been loving this time just to chill out, read my book and suntan on the beach = im using factor 50+ sunblock (seriously!) and even through that, my freckles are coming out big-style! i actually dont mind because before in the UK i was soooo white and pasty. now at least i have some colour, even if the colour is not continuous but rather little brown dots! remember bob (aka laura) how we use to hate our freckles in primary school! was it you that tried to take away your freckles by seriously scrubbing your face, hoping that you could wash them away?? sweet! anyway, iv come to accept them and realise that this may be the only form of tan im gonna get!

if you ever in portugal, wanting a nice beach break, head for nazare, its pretty cool. oh yes, and the little old ladies wear traditional dress here (sort of black clothing and black head wear = not sure why, they must be cooking in the sun) and iv asked two ladies if i could take a pic of them, but they were really reluctant. so once again i havent been brave enough to ask more lovely old ladies for their pic! DSCN5802.jpg

oh yes, i absolutely loved the sunset the first night we arrived. i kind of fell in love with the same scene and took a billion pics in different settings to check out which ones were best. some of my lines arent exactly horizontal, totally skew more like, but it gives you a bit of an idea of the brief obsession i had with that particular sunset!!

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Posted by julesfsmit 09:15 Archived in Portugal Tagged events Comments (2)

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