Memories of Africa
Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. It covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of its land area. With 1.3 billion people as of 2018, it accounts for about 16% of the world's human population.
Of its 54 countries only Nigeria ranks in the top 30 richest, while 9 rank are in the 10 poorest.(Credit: worlddata.info)
Although often poor in terms of GDP, Africa is rich is so many other ways. Julie showcased the marvellous gardens yesterday and looking at the recent posts on John Broom's amazing and diverse art works, brings back vivid and wonderful memories of the 7 countries on the Africa continent I have visited. Egypt way back in 1988, Morocco (with Anne) in 2014 and the others in 2008.
Today I would like to share just a few photos of my 2008 travels.
The landscapes are so diverse as you can see below – from the majestic cliffs dipping into the sea near Capetown, South Africa to the sand dunes, desert and salt pans of Namibia.
I am under the pink umbrella sitting on a petrified log in what is know as the Petrified Forest in Namibia. Not quite what we imagined – to our astonishment the trees have been here for millions of years washed down from the Congo – thousands of miles away.
Behind me is a welwitschia (close up below) which lives for thousands of years and in all of that time grows just 2 leaves; it has evolved to withstand the searing heat and dryness of the region. The tangled leaves are never shed, however the ends die back. In the centre of the bottom row in the images above is a view from the air of the Okavango Delta.
The wildlife is incredible. We often spotted giraffes munching branches along the side of the road or stopping for zebras to cross the road. At our lodges, sometimes peacocks put on a show or we could cuddle a pet meerkat.
Ostriches, lions, hippos, elephants, antelopes abound. In the Okavango Delta, Botswana we came across a rogue elephant, a little too close for comfort and just outside Capetown we visited a Cheetah Outreach Centre, where breeding was taking place in the hope of building up their numbers.
One of the joys was meeting wonderful people wherever we went. Gaggles of children playing games and having fun and full of smiles as were the adults in their colourful costumes – or sometimes hardly any clothing at all, as with the Himba people in the north of Namibia, who simply don a loin cloth. These people never wash as water is too precious – instead they apply a henna-coloured paste to their skin, which has the added advantage of keeping their skin looking youthful – some may consider the price of eternal youth somewhat high!
On most nights we were entertained by delightful groups of singers and dancers – the music powerful and the dancing rhythmic. A highlight was a night with a San tribe (also known as Bushman)– we crowded around their camp fire as a senior bushman acted out a traditional tale of an encounter between an ostrich and an elephant; it was a sheer delight to watch him mime the story and even the local San women giggled.
In Maputo Mozambique, we stumbled on a wedding ceremony - a joyful occasion with plenty of singing and dancing.
Each day was filled with memorable sights. In Maputo a little coco taxi took us around the town. A few of the Portuguese buildings retain their former glory, however many are in disrepair, as are lots of the streets.
Namibia was once a German colony and Swakopmund retains this influence with its European streetscape. The road signs alert us to avoid elephants, the hair salons are simple shacks. It became hotter and hotter as we crossed the Tropic of Capricorn heading further north with a stop at Victoria Falls, on the Zambian side, so we welcomed swimming pools and sundowners at the end of each day.
Our guide Gerry is standing next to a building made from recycled materials (lower right side below) somewhere in remote Namibia, which was quite innovative back in 2008.
I hope you enjoyed this small taste of my African memories and to finish - I love sunsets and African sunsets offer some of the best.
In the hieght of Australia's coronavirus lockdown last year, I wrote a post on staying in a tree house and the bookmark link is given below.