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. 

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Victoria Falls seen from Zimbabwe – Photo is Public Domain

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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

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

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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.  

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

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

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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!

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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

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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

Sunday Special – Zanzibar, Tanzania


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Zanzibar beach – Photo credit: Public Domain

I am a member of several online travel groups. I like to use them for travel tips and inspiration. It was in one of these groups where I learned about Zanzibar, Tanzania. This archipelago lies in the Indian Ocean, a mere 25 – 50km/15 – 30mi off the Tanzanian coast. Historically the island grew spices which continues on today and retains its moniker of the ‘Spice Islands’. It was also a location ideal for traders to make contact for commerce with those living on the Swahili coast. Centuries later the islands fell under Portuguese, Arab, and then British rule. It was in the mid-20th century that Zanzibar sought independence and merged a union with Tanzania, today remaining an semi-autonomous region.

The islands consist of many small ones and two larger ones, Unguja (a.k.a. Zanzibar) and Pemba Islands with its capital of Zanzibar City located on the former. Zanzibar City is considered the heart of Zanzibar and has much to offer. It is divided into two – the modern Ng’ambo and the historic Stone Town.  An interesting tidbit about Stone town is that musician, singer and songwriter Freddie Mercury was born there.

Want to check out Zanzibar? Well this is what I found about its activities and sights:

  • Historic Stone Town is good for wandering its storied streets, seeing quaint shops and visiting cafes. Time spent at Forodhani Market is a must.
  • There are amazing beaches with stunning sunsets
  • Snorkeling and diving at Mnemba Atoll for a fun adventure
  • Visit Prison Island for a somber trip to the Slave Museum and to see giant turtles at the turtle sanctuary
  • Visit Jozani Chwaka Bay National Park to get back to nature and see some monkeys
  • Take a spice tour to learn more about this important trade

These are just a handful of sights and activities that await you in Zanzibar. I can say these islands have moved high up on my bucket list, that is for certain! 

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Market in Zanzibar’s Stone Town – Photo via Wikimedia Commons – Taken and owned by Alex Petrenko [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

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Red Colobus monkeys in Zanzibar’s Jozani Forest – Photo via Wikimedia Commons: Taken and owned By Olivier Lejade from France (P8200036.JPG) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons