Author Topic: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana Trip Report  (Read 11136 times)

Offline ponash123

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South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana Trip Report
« on: September 02, 2015, 11:11:04 AM »
Day One: Johannesburg
We left JFK on Sunday morning and flew with South African Airways. After a very long and very dreadful flight we arrived at OR Tambo in Johannesburg on Monday morning. We then went to our hotel where we were staying for one night. We didnít feel that we wanted to spend too much time in Johannesburg, but being that we were landing there anyways we spent one day there and toured a bit.
After washing up and resting a bit we went off for our tour of Soweto. We drove through Soweto and got a running commentary on everything we passed. It was very interesting to hear about the lifestyle there from our guide, who was a local. We saw Winnie Mandela and Bishop Tutuís homes, stopped at the Mandela Family Museum (but didnít pay for entry) and visited the Hector Pieterson Museum.
Hector Pieterson was killed at age 13 during the Soweto uprising and the museum is located two blocks away from where he was shot and killed. Hector's sister Antoinette, who is seen in the photo below, works at the museum as a tour guide, and we were able to meet her.
HectorPietersonMemorial by ponash, on Flickr

A standard township in South Africa:
Townships by ponash, on Flickr

After that we went out to eat at Metzuyan. The food was really good and the prices can't be beat! (The dollar gets you really far over there)

Day Two: Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Tuesday morning we went right back to OR Tambo to catch our flight to Zimbabwe. After sitting down and getting ready to take off, we were all told to get off the plane and identify our luggage. Apparently a family with 2 kids had 11 pieces of luggage that caused some confusion. After all getting back on the stewardess walked up and down the aisle and sprayed us with some sort of insecticide so we donít bring any diseases to the animals. Then, after hearing the landing gear go down and circling for a while, we were told that we couldnít land yet because there were animals on the runway. We finally did land a little while later but we were pretty pleased with this introduction to Zimbabwe  :).
We then landed in Victoria Falls Airport in Zimbabwe. I was handed my passport back after getting a visa and walked off without looking at it. Good thing the agent called me back because he had mistakenly handed me a 90 year old womanís passport.
VictoriaFallsAirport by ponash, on Flickr

Some dudes dancing outside the airport:
DancingDudes by ponash, on Flickr

We then went to our hotel which is right near the falls. Ilala Lodge is a really nice little place with amazing service. They were also extremely accommodating when it came to dealing with our kosher food. After checking in we went to Victoria Falls. The falls are magnificently beautiful and still manages to have that untouched nature feel that Niagara does not. We were planning on doing Devilís Pool and tried to arrange it. Unfortunately we didnít realize that you normally have to book 2 days in advance, and we werenít able to work it into our very packed schedule. I was disappointed about that but as we were walking along the falls we got just as close to the edge. But still, youíre not in the water. Oh wellÖ next time  :)

VicFalls3 by ponash, on Flickr

VicFalls by ponash, on Flickr


Here you can see some people in Devilís Pool:
DevilsPool by ponash, on Flickr

Note the baboons crossing the bridge from Zimbabwe to Zambia:
Bridge by ponash, on Flickr

Some warthogs in the backyard of our hotel (we were told at check in to keep the back doors closed at night so animals, mainly baboons, donít climb in):
Warthogs by ponash, on Flickr

After getting back to the hotel we walked to the market. As we were getting near the market we were approached by a Tourism Policeman who walked with us. Zimbabweís main source of income is their tourism so they are very protective of it. And with good reason! We entered a big open space and immediately started getting calls and shouts. We decided on a shop to enter, a big building with no electricity. We walked in were instantly surrounded by complete darkness and about 10 women, pushing onto us, harassing us to buy their wares. It was quite the experience!
Market by ponash, on Flickr

Apparently they donít listen to the rules:
MarketSign by ponash, on Flickr

Day Three: Botswana
Wednesday morning we crossed over the Botswana border, which was about an hour from our hotel, and went directly to Chobe National Park. We then took a game drive for a couple of hours. It was amazing and we were able to see 3 of the big 5 on our first day on safari. We were lucky enough to see a leopard, which are really elusive. We came across a dead elephant and the leopard was snacking on it:
Leopard by ponash, on Flickr

Elephants protecting the sleeping babies:
Elephants by ponash, on Flickr

After the game drive we drove to the Chobe lodge for lunch.
Giraffe crossing the road (a regular street outside the park):
Giraffe by ponash, on Flickr

After lunch we did a river safari cruise which was really nice. The weather was perfect and we sailed through the river and were able to see a whole host of animals including crocodiles, hippos and buffalo.
The Ďofficeí where were registered our boat:
BoatOffice by ponash, on Flickr

Crocs by ponash, on Flickr

ElephantPostcard by ponash, on Flickr

Family of elephants crossing the water and then rolling in the mud (the mud acts as sunscreen for them):
ElephantsCrossingWater by ponash, on Flickr
ElephantsMud by ponash, on Flickr

We then returned back to Zimbabwe and to our hotel.

To be continued...

Offline tageed-lee

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Re: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana Trip Report
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2015, 11:13:34 AM »
Great TR so far.. Love the Pics! Thanks

Offline AJK

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Re: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana Trip Report
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2015, 11:17:27 AM »
Nice! Looking fwd to the rest.
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Offline Yehuda57

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Re: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana Trip Report
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2015, 11:23:29 AM »
Wow, Great stuff. Love the idea of the water safari - that's not something standard in other parks like Kruger.
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Offline ponash123

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Re: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana Trip Report
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2015, 11:26:01 AM »
No it's not. We wanted to experience different kinds of safaris in different places. Every country has a different feel to it, different animals, activities etc.

Offline Yaalili

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Re: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana Trip Report
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2015, 11:43:25 AM »
Awesome TR so far, brings back such fond memories of Victoria Falls and Soweto. Those Baboons and Warthogs are everywhere in town, and also those little mini monkeys which hang out playing right outside the entrance to the falls.

Offline Joe4007

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Re: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana Trip Report
« Reply #6 on: September 02, 2015, 11:55:29 AM »
Awesome TR. Can't wait for the rest!

This is my dream trip.

Offline ponash123

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Re: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana Trip Report
« Reply #7 on: September 02, 2015, 11:55:34 AM »
Yep and I forgot to mention the herd of elephants crossing the road on the way home from the airport :)

Online BarryLincoln

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Re: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana Trip Report
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2015, 12:09:38 PM »
Pictures are truly incredible... looking forward to the rest...

Offline Ergel

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Re: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana Trip Report
« Reply #9 on: September 02, 2015, 12:39:31 PM »
Awesome. Thanks for sharing
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Offline ponash123

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Re: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana Trip Report
« Reply #10 on: September 02, 2015, 12:44:03 PM »
Thanks everyone. Will hopefully post the next installment within the next couple of days.

Offline Chapshnell

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Re: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana Trip Report
« Reply #11 on: September 02, 2015, 12:54:40 PM »
Really entertaining & good TR.. keep it coming.. especially the photos!
If you can give us a breakdown of thee costs it would be really appreciated!

Offline ponash123

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Re: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana Trip Report
« Reply #12 on: September 02, 2015, 01:13:15 PM »
We booked everything through a tour operator so I'm not sure of the breakdown.

Offline Menachem613

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Re: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana Trip Report
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2015, 01:14:13 PM »
What was the issue with the flight?

Offline ponash123

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Re: South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana Trip Report
« Reply #14 on: September 02, 2015, 01:34:56 PM »
Nothing remarkable except that 15 hours on an extremely full plane with zero sleep is kinda torturous.