NOTE:This trip was coordinated by Betsy Younkins and Jean Zunkel of BJ Adventures (bjadventures.com).
Don and I left Washington Dulles airport on Tuesday, August 22; and after a brief layover in Dakar, Senegal, we arrived in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Wednesday afternoon of the next day and connected with the rest of our touring party.After a quick dinner and one night in Johannesburg, we boarded a small regional plane for Maun, Botswana, and then an even smaller plane for our camp in the bush.
Our daily schedule consisted of early morning coffee followed by a morning game drive to see the animals with breakfast out in the bush. We returned to the camp for lunch and a nap, and then we went back out for an afternoon game watch.Every evening we would stop to watch the magnificent sunsets while having a glass of wine. Don got us into an elephant-dung bowling contest one evening, after which we returned to camp for dinner and watched Don wash his hands after losing the bowling contest.
Of all of the animals that we saw, the highlight was a mating pair of leopards.We encountered them during an “off-road trip” and were able to see them in a tree for 2.5 hours at a distance of no more than 25 feet.Our guide said that it was the most spectacular viewing he had seen in his career.Needless to say, it was interesting for all and probably very educational to Betsy’s 13-year-old granddaughter.
We spent one afternoon boating in the Okavango Delta where we viewed an incredible number of birds, crocodiles, and magnificent plants.
We spent six nights in camp and then flew to Zambia to stay in the Sussi Lodge and Chuma House on the banks of the ZambeziRiver.We toured Victoria Falls by foot and went to the Victoria Falls market where salespeople of every type descended upon us with wares from various places in Africa including Zambia and Zimbabwe.No matter what the product that they were selling was, it was made by their mother, brother, or cousin, just that week, and brought to the market from someplace deep in the Africa bush.I always suspected that half of it was made in China.While at the Falls, Smith, a young woman from Georgia, did a 360-foot bungee jump off of the Victoria FallsBridge -- and lived.
Upon returning to Johannesburg, we spent an afternoon touring Soweto and got a feel for the local culture.We also went to the Rosemount market in Johannesburg where we saw many products from all over Southern Africa.We shopped for diamonds and tanzanite with a diamond broker who our guide has known for years.I was able to buy Paula a pair of one-carat tanzanite stones that she had mounted into earrings.
Sixteen days after leaving home, we arrived back in the United States, poorer for all the products we purchased but richer for the cultural experience of a lifetime.