Africa 2017

Africa 2017

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

What happened to that Africa trip?

Oh I know, it has been over a month since they have been back my boys and yes, I have a ton of photos to share....yes but where are they?

I'm editing, and editing, and more editing of all the photos they took.  I'm waiting for dear hubby to have a chance to put to words what he would like to blog of his trip.  And sound bites too to upload and edit.  Haven't even heard those myself. will come.  But hey, I shared this great photo of elephants for my new header!  How do you like it?  I gave the blog site a new update (I like to dress it differently every so often) on design.  Keeping it simple so the photos can speak for themselves.

Keep checking in....or look at some of the older posts....but Africa is on it's way!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Africa Bound ~ Part 6

I got three, yes three emails!  And some photos too!  The boys are now in Amsterdam for a bit of catch up with the long flights in leaving Africa.  They will do a bit of site seeing as well as rest before they come home.....Tomorrow!!!!

Here is the first email:

We just got to our hotel and have wifi at last.  All is great and we have much to tell you. Ryan is taking a shower to wash off Africa dust. It is 8:45 AM.  Bums are sore from sitting so will see a museum today. Miss you!

Here is the second email:

We are showered and I see you picked up your mail. Went to Rijks Museum and Ryan wore me out.  Not a good sleep on the plane.  It is cool here and busy with tourists. Tonight we will get some restaurant food for a change.  Just about out of clean clothes but will make it with all dirty.  So strange coming from walking with grazing zebras to sitting watching BBC.

Africa Bound ~ Part 5

Their trip is winding to a close in Africa and I can only wonder at all the thoughts they will bring back.  African dreams of animals running on a vast savanna spread before their eyes.  No wide angle lens can capture what they have seen, felt and became a part of.  

Once again they are camping this time with Mara Porini Camp.  Can you just imagine the sounds at night?  That you can't leave your tent without letting the guard outside, with rifle, chaperone you to the dining tent for meals after dark?   

I'm sharing a video of where they are that I found on youtube just to give a taste of what they are experiencing.  I'm welling up with joy and weepy eyes at what my son is receiving of this trip.  How can you come away without an impact of the contrast of living in a California suburb and seeing a Masai village or teens his own age?  With so many teens jumping through hoops to do a community service project they don't believe in, I will always feel the benefit of traveling to places far reaching can build within you over time, how you view your prospective of the world around you.  

Again I am in awe of their time.  I don't think it hit me till this week of what and where they were.  And now...well, now I'm just bursting with curiosity and wonder.

 June 27

Selenkay Conservancy / Mara Game Reserve

Enter the traditional homelands of the Masai people as you depart to the wildlife plains of the Mara. View game en route to your lodge deep within the reserve, near hippo pools. Thousands of wildebeest cross the Mara River in this area during their annual migration. Game viewing throughout the year on the Mara is excellent. Settle in for sundowners, cultural entertainment, and splendid views from your private veranda.

June 28

Masai Mara Game Reserve

Your game drives today explore the teeming habitats of the Mara. Scout for rhino in the thorn thickets, giraffe and elephant in the riverine woodlands, and masses of buffalo, wildebeest, and antelope on the savannas. Keep an eye open for cheetah, leopard, and the reserve’s noted lion prides up to 20 strong.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Africa Bound ~ Part 4

Remember the movie "Out of Africa"?  Enjoy the clip?  Yes, a favorite movie of mine which in watching I feel I have missed out on an adventure of a lifetime.  My pain in the neck, ....hasn't given me any trouble in 10 weeks!   How could it switch like that?  Why I could have been with them seeing this.  Did you see the pink flamingos and the wildebeest on migration?!  Yes, they were to see all this!!

Itinerary for June 23 ~ 24

Enjoy two full days of morning and afternoon game viewings. The sound of their thundering hooves, raising massive clouds of thick red dust, has become one of the legends of the Serengeti plains. The entire ecosystem thrives from the annual migration, from the lions and birds of prey that gorge themselves on the weak and the faltering to the gamut of hungry crocodiles that lie in patient wait at each river crossing for their annual feed. Large prides of lions laze easily in the long grasses, plentiful families of elephants feed on acacia bark and trump to each other across the plains, and giraffes, gazelles, monkeys, eland, and the whole range of African wildlife is in awe-inspiring numbers

Here is the email I received on the 24th:

"We had an all day game drive today.  Another sleeping lion pride, crocs, hippos, monkeys and herds of wildebeest.  Will try for cheetah in AM before our flight to Amboseli.  We've seen all here so it is a good time to move on.  No mosquitoes yet and our sprays do a good job on the flies.  Don't know whe the next internet will be for us.  Miss all of you and will check in next opportunity."

Itinerary June 25 ~ 26

Upon arrival you will enjoy lunch and then have a road transfer to the Namanga border (2 hours) and continue to the Amboseli National Park, your home for the next two nights. Here you can see Mt. Kilimanjaro soaring in the distance. Surely this is the most spectacular backdrop for photography in any wildlife sanctuary in Africa. Famed for its scenic beauty and enormous collection of big game, Amboseli has inspired countless artists and writers including Hemingway, who described it as the essence of Africa. Search for great elephant herds rummaging in the forests, leopards prowling the salt flats, antelopes grazing the dusty plains, exotic birds nesting in green marshes, and countless other classic images of Africa.
Porini Amboseli Safari Camp is small – with just 9 spacious guest tents – and retains all the charm and feel of the traditional luxury camps of days gone by. Tents are tastefully furnished and have solar powered electric lighting with en suite bathrooms including shower, wash basin and flush toilet.

Mmmm....just have to ponder on this time for them.  

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Africa Bound ~ Part 3

Let me just say, the boys have written twice.  Short, sweet but not a lot to go on.  Really.  Oh and did I mention my duties while they are away have left me t-i-r-e-d.  Today I have some renewed energy (I have no idea why with staying up late and rising before the break of day ~ thanks Tucker and the birds outside our window).

Let's back track in days and go where I left off.  

June 21

Still at the Ngorongoro Crater.  Here is what Tim wrote to me:

"Just got back from the crater.  Spent all day from 7 - 5.  Saw much including exciting lion meal of wildebeest.  Great film & photos of all the hyenas, jackals, eagle.  All got fed right in front of us.  Weather is overcast, drizzle, cool.  Glad to have our jackets!  Now we can see this lodge in the light, but no view.  Tomorrow a long drive to Mbalageti.  Wish you could have witnessed all today.
Tim & Ryan"

Itinerary says about this:  

Enjoy a full day of game viewing at the Ngorongoro crater. The Ngorongoro Crater is often called ‘Africa’s Eden’ and the ‘8th Natural Wonder of the World,’ a visit to the crater is a main drawcard for tourists coming to Tanzania and a definite world-class attraction. Within the crater rim, large herds of zebra and wildebeest graze nearby while sleeping lions laze in the sun. At dawn, the endangered black rhino returns to the thick cover of the crater forests after grazing on dew-laden grass in the morning mist. Just outside the crater’s ridge, tall Maasai herd their cattle and goats over green pastures through the highland slopes, living alongside the wildlife as they have for centuries.

On June 22 ~ to June 24 they moved and stayed at Mbalageti Serengeti where they will be in tents camping, this is near the Serengeti National Park.  Here is what the itinerary says:

This truly magical place is home to Olduvai Gorge, where the Leakeys discovered the hominoid remains of a 1.8 million year old skeleton of Australopithecus boisei, one of the distinct links of the human evolutionary chain. In a small canyon just north of the crater, the Leakeys and their team of international archaeologists unearthed the ruins of at least three distinct hominoid species, and also came upon a complete series of hominoid footprints estimated to be over 3.7 million years old. Evacuated fossils show that the area is one of the oldest sites of hominoid habitation in the world.

Enjoy two full days of morning and afternoon game viewings. The sound of their thundering hooves, raising massive clouds of thick red dust, has become one of the legends of the Serengeti plains. The entire ecosystem thrives from the annual migration, from the lions and birds of prey that gorge themselves on the weak and the faltering to the gamut of hungry crocodiles that lie in patient wait at each river crossing for their annual feed. Large prides of lions laze easily in the long grasses, plentiful families of elephants feed on acacia bark and trump to each other across the plains, and giraffes, gazelles, monkeys, eland, and the whole range of African wildlife is in awe-inspiring numbers

Just for fun ...remember the movie "The Bucket List" is the clip from Africa...enjoy! 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Africa Bound ~ Part 2

"Got in after dark & had dinner by a great fire.  Settling in for the night.  We have Joseph to ourselves for the next 5 days.  He seems great & interested in doing whatever we want.  We expect a Colobus monkey wake up call early.  This is an old place with fine Africa charm.

Very different from anywhere I have ever been.   Hope to check in tomorrow from Ngorongoro   Tim....."

 Colobus Monkey.....ahhhh he / she is cute!  Wonder what they sound like? (not Tim's photo)

Yes, I was quite happy to get a little email and photo from Tim and Ryan.  I'm sharing the itinerary for the past two days as it is a fascinating read.  This is the part of the trip I could have handled....One of the treats I would have liked to have seen was the baobob trees as they are such unusual oddities.  I'm hoping for some photos that they take (fingers crossed).  Animals are one thing but just seeing the plant life in Africa would be a dream as well.

Joseph is their guide for the next five days.  I'm sure Tim will be asking to see as much as they can pack in too!  

Baobob Trees (not Tim's photo)

June 19 ~ Arrival in Arusha, Tanzania

Situated at the foothills of Mount Meru in the city of Arusha, Tanzania, the Mount Meru Hotel lies on nine acres of lush landscape, surrounded by some of Africa’s most breath-taking vistas, rich with a diverse array of wildlife, etched against the fertile slopes of this beautiful mountain. Give your imagination wings as you sit at the mountain’s feet, and listen as it reveals stories it has kept hidden for centuries.

June 20 ~ Arusha / Ngorongoro

Today you will start to safari and drive to the Ngorongoro area. En route, you will enjoy a game drive in the Lake Manyara National Park.

Located beneath the cliffs of the Manyara Escarpment, on the edge of the Rift Valley, Lake Manyara National Park offers varied ecosystems, incredible bird life, and breathtaking views. Located on the way to Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, Lake Manyara National Park is well worth a stop in its own right. Its ground water forests, bush plains, baobob strewn cliffs, and algae-streaked hot springs offer incredible ecological variety in a small area, rich in wildlife and incredible numbers of birds. The alkaline soda of Lake Manyara is home to an incredible array of bird life that thrives on its brackish waters. Pink flamingo stoop and graze by the thousands, colorful specks against the grey minerals of the lake shore. Yellow-billed storks swoop and corkscrew on thermal winds rising up from the escarpment, and herons flap their wings against the sun-drenched sky. Even reluctant bird-watchers will find something to watch and marvel at within the national park.

Lake Manyara’s famous tree-climbing lions are another reason to pay this park a visit. The only kind of their species in the world, they make the ancient mahogany and elegant acacias their home during the rainy season, and are a well-known but rather rare feature of the northern park. In addition to the lions, the national park is also home to the largest concentration of baboons anywhere in the world -- a fact that makes for interesting game viewing of large families of the primates.

The Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge is perched on the rim of the collapsed volcano, the Ngorongoro Crater, a world heritage site, often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world. It has the most magnificent views over the crater floor, which is home to vast herds of buffalo, wildebeest, zebra, the rare and endangered black rhino, elephant, cheetah, leopard, lion and herds of gazelle and wildebeest. Its position on the Eastern rim allows the most spectacular and uninterrupted views of the sunset.

And just for fun....what does a Colobus Monkey sound like?  For your listening pleasure...a brief story then the monkeys.  Oh and this is from the area they are at too.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Africa Bound ~ Part 1

It is said that a "journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step" but I say it begins with the packing of a suitcase.  My husband and son left today to begin a journey, a dream, to go to Africa.  It was in Tim's "bucket list" of places to go and the planning of this trip began back in September of 2012.  He has asked me to share his trip as they go along and what better place than on this blog I started when my daughter Erin and I went to Italy in Fall of 2011.  

Travel runs in this family.  As I write our youngest daughter is in Peru on a journey with friends.  Our oldest daughter and her husband just came back from being in the Bahamas and prior to that deep in Mexico.  

But let's step to today when I let them off at San Francisco International Airport.  Two guys, two small suitcases, two backpacks, to begin an adventure unlike any they have ever been on.  Smiles on their faces, two days of Malaria pills taken with no side effects (as yet or hopefully not), ready or not the long, long flights begins.  First stop is Amsterdam where they will spend one night to catch a plane the next morning.  Ten hours to Amsterdam and another 10 hours to Tanzania.  You can see why an overnight sleep in a hotel halfway through would sound good.  Better a soft mattress than a layover sitting up at the airport for who knows how many hours.

Here is Tim's words of this pre-journey:

            Some call it going on Safari

There clearly is not one day or age it happens.  It is not one movie or TV travel show.  You just can't pin down the "when".  It doesn't matter when, just that it happens.  You say to yourself "I want to go to someday!"  It gets filed and life goes on.  It is added to other places to see.  These are very personal "must sees" that get programmed in never to leave your thoughts and dreams.  That is until you actually go.

Growing up with TV was good for adventure shows.  Colonel John D. Craig of the show "Danger is My Business" went to Africa for many adventures.  Bill Burrud had several shows, Marlin Perkins had "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom", and Jacques-Yves Cousteau had "The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau" with all the  undersea wonders to dream of seeing.  All these shows while I was growing up filling me with places I wanted to see.

For me, going to Africa to see the actual wild landscape, the predators and prey, of great size and small, roaming vast savannahs has always been a dream to fulfill.  Is it really as big as I imagine?  I want to find out.  I'm programmed to want to go.

When the timing worked out through a series of fortunate events, it was an easy call to try to make Africa work.  At first it was to be the three of us, Ellen, Ryan and myself.  Ryan has one more year of High School to complete before college, but really not anymore summers left without pressures.  Each year he gets more mature and independent, becoming his own man.  He's changing and growing.  Ellen wanted to go but the near violent road trip parts of this kind of trip have left her with a gracious way of letting the two "boys" bond.  We can go more close to the ground by staying in tent camps.  Be a bit more dirty as camping requires.

Our itinerary, through a travel agents help has been customized of what I wish to see and do.  We will stay mostly two or three nights in one place, then move on.  Mostly bush planes will take us between new places and as well as safari truck trips.  They will be bouncy, long and dusty.  I hope my neck holds up.  A seventeen year old neck can withstand just about anything.

There will be mosquitoes, Tsetse flies, migration flies, bugs of all sorts, parasites, equatorial sun, all needing some sort of shot, repellent, lotion and pills (I don't even want to think of the digestive possibilities!).  It is not a Hawaiian resort vacation.  One must bring many items yet keep luggage under 34 pounds.  Easier for a guy than a woman.

There are a lot of small things to bring and remember as our date of departure on the 17th of June comes, time seems to be speeding up.  Being with Ryan for this time is almost the best thing about it.  We can really see this together, get excited together.  Make a memory to last a lifetime.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Zermatt ~ 1977

 Honeymoon to Europe. Backpacking, camping with sometimes staying in an inn.  Zermatt took my breath away......

Quaint and charming, magical when the foggy mist stole the grand mountain away, only to peek out to have us gasp and look up at it's spendor.