Sunday Special – Zambezi River, Africa


We have reached the end of the alphabet and with that we are looking at Africa’s great Zambezi River (also spelled Zambesi) where it flows through six countries, feeds the amazing Victoria Falls, and finally empties into the Indian Ocean. Africa’s fourth largest river runs east through Angola, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and on through Mozambique to the ocean for 2, 574 km / 1,599 miles. 

This amazing river (often referred to as the River of Life) has been a vital source of life for centuries to the peoples and wildlife around it. Though in recent times it has been dammed to harness hydroelectric power in two major areas: the Kariba Dam between Zambia and Zimbabwe and Cabora Bassa Dam in Mozambique. Although these dams bring hydro power to these countries there are side-effects to the river and its wildlife as well. 

The Zambezi River is divided into three sections: Upper, Middle, and Lower Zambezi and then ultimately forming the river’s delta. The incredible Victoria Falls marks the border of the Upper and Middle Zambezi and is a border for Zambia and Zimbabwe. Spanning total width of over 1,700 m / 5,600 feet and dropping 108 m / 354 feet it produces the world’s largest sheet of falling water. The mist produced floats above giving it a cloud-like appearance. 

Victoriako_ur-jauzi_nagusiak

Victoria Falls seen from Zimbabwe – Photo is Public Domain

Hippopotamus_in_the_Zambezi

The Zambezi River is known as the “River of Life” and supports wildlife like this hippo. Photo credit: Bernard GagnonHippopotamus in the ZambeziCC BY-SA 4.0

Zambezi_River,_Zambia_(2546105466)

Sunset on the Zambezi River, Zambia. Photo credit: Joachim HuberZambezi River, Zambia (2546105466)CC BY-SA 2.0

Advertisements

Sunday Special – Okavango Delta, Botswana


The 1000th UNESCO World Heritage site is Botswana’s expansive Okavango Delta. This delta, deep in the heart of the Kalahari Basin, is fed by the Okavango River which has transported sand through its waters from Angola for centuries. The uniqueness of the Okavango Delta is that one would not expect it to exist in such a parched land, yet its waters collect with flooding from the river in January and February and rains in April and May.  Hot temperatures result in evaporation of 36% of the water. All this produces varying levels of water through an area of 250 x 150 square km / 155 x 93 miles and an elaborate and extensive eco-system. Wildlife abounds here with mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and plants species each into dozens and hundreds. It is a world in and of itself, often dry and often wet. It has been declared one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.  

Group-of-Lechwe-at-dawn

Group of Lechwe, Okavango Delta – Photo credit:  Original uploader was PanBK at en.wikipedia, Group-of-Lechwe-at-dawn, CC BY-SA 3.0

Zebras_in_the_Okavango_Delta_-_Botswana_-_panoramio

Zebra’s of the Okavango Delta – Photo credit: diego_cue, Zebras in the Okavango Delta – Botswana – panoramio, CC BY-SA 3.0

Water_lilies_in_the_Okavango_Delta_-_Botswana_-_panoramio

Water lilies growing in Botswana’s Okavango Delta – Photo credit: diego_cue, Water lilies in the Okavango Delta – Botswana – panoramio, CC BY-SA 3.0

 

 

Sunday Special – Chefchaouen, Morocco


A – B – SEE! Our alphabet tour continues to Chefchaouen in northern Morocco. My sister, some friends, and I have chatted about going Morocco, perhaps next year, and Chefchaouen is on the list!!

Nicknamed “The Blue City” as many of the buildings are painted in various hues of blue, it is set against the backdrop of the Rif Mountains and is located not far from Tangiers. This popular tourist locale seems to be perfect for wandering. Visit the Medina to take in the streets, shop for local handicrafts and goods in the souk, and stop at a nearby cafe to people watch. Continue to feel the pulse of the town in its main square Plaza Uta el-Hamman and fill your belly with a visit to one of its many restaurants. Need a break and want to be pampered? Then a visit to a hammam (steam house) to unwind. To get your heart pumping there are some beautiful hikes and the landscape looks amazing. Rif Mountain hiking trails that are both beginner and advanced are available. Make sure you are properly prepared.  It looks like a charming town and I can’t wait until I wander there!

chaouen_or_chefchaouen

A street in Chefchaouen – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Photo taken and owned By Yaleyla (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

chefchaouen2c_morocco_28541015918029_28429

Shops in Chefchaouen, Morocco – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned By YoTuT from United States (Chefchaouen, Morocco) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Monday Sessions – The Garden Route, South Africa


Hello! Today is the final Monday Session. I hope you have enjoyed reading about the adventures that my friends have had around the globe. I hope they have inspired you to perhaps consider some of the destinations and to have learned a bit more about various aspects of travel. The final session is with my long time friend and sometime travel partner Cat (yes even a solo traveller will partner up for fun adventures). Cat spent much of her youth in Cape Town, South Africa. In April 2016 Cat returned for a class reunion and to spend time with good friends.


SA - De Grendel Winery

View of Table Mountain from De Grendel Winery

WTW:  You spent much of your youth in South Africa and returned for a class reunion. How long had it been since you were there?
Cat:  30 years!!

WTW:  That is a long time. It’s wonderful that you were able to get back there. What had changed? 
Cat:  It had developed a fair bit, especially the downtown Waterfront area.  I didn’t see much else in Cape Town as I was outside Cape Town for most of my time.

WTW:  What feeling did you have when you returned?  
Cat:  I  felt like I was home again.  I got to see places that I’ve never seen before when I lived there previously.  I was enjoying the culture, the people, and the scenery. It felt like being home and it felt comfortable.

WTW:   It’s your happy place. Which areas Did you visit on this trip?
Cat:  Predominantly Hermanus which is a beach community 3 hours outside of Cape Town.  Then from Hermanus we did the Garden Route which goes up the east coast through Plattenberg Bay, Knysna, and onto Stormsriver where we ended.

WTW:  How did you get around? What type of accommodations did you stay in?
Cat:  My friend’s husband drove us so we did a road trip. We stayed at a golf resort for one of the nights, my friend has a timeshare in the golf resort.  Then for the other two nights we stayed at my friend’s brother-in-law’s vacation home right on the beach.

WTW:  You covered plenty of ground.  Which places did you see or visit that really stood out for you?
Cat:  I went ziplining in Tsitsikamma Park and to Cango Wildlife Park & Conservation Centre where I got to pet a baby cheetah. We did the Cango Caves and saw Knysna Heads which has some beautiful scenery along its the coast.

WTW:  What was your favourite part or favourite memory?
Cat:  Spending time with my best friend of 30 some years.

WTW:  Friends are always the best part.  South Africa has a very large wine industry. Did you take part in any wine tasting and if so can you tell me a bit about your favourites? 
Cat:  We did a couple of wine tours. My favorite was Creation Wines. We did a wine tasting lunch there in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, which is just near Hermanus. That was probably one of my favourites. And also a Graham Beck bubbly which we had sitting on the veranda watching the sunset with the beach and the waves crashing in front of us.

WTW:  Wine is yummy. Your 30-year class reunion was held at a winery. Which one was it & how was it?
Cat: It was as the De Grendel Wine Farm. It was beautiful. Gorgeous views of Table Mountain and from the area called Panorama.

WTW:  Any tips, recommendations for suggestions for anyone wanting to go to Cape Town and area?
Cat: Definitely to get out of Cape Town. Cape Town is beautiful but you also need to see the rest of South Africa. The scenery up both the west coast and the east coast of the Cape is absolutely amazing. You can go from beach to desert within the matter of an hour and it’s absolutely beautiful.

WTW:  Thank you so much Cat. It does sound like a stunning place and I can’t wait to see it – we need to plan a trip soon.  All photos owned & taken by Cat and used with permission.

SA - Victoria and Albert Waterfront

Victoria & Albert Waterfront, Cape Town

SA - Cango Wildlife Ranch

Cango Wildlife Ranch & Conservation Centre

SA - Graham Beck bubbly

Graham Beck bubbly with the South African sunset