Warning: Looooong post
Day 1: Arrival in Jo'burg for transfers into Livingstone, Zambia
The red eye flight was quite hellish, for some reason, we couldn't sleep for long despite the pharmaceutical help. Arrived in Africa at 7 am. Found coffee after clearing customs at 745 am. We checked into our - get this - British Airways flight (!) to Zambia (I tell you the Brits never left the continent... more elaboration later) and within 20 minutes, we had followed our bar fly instincts and found ourselves with gin tonics in hand.... all before boarding at 1045 am!
Arriving in Zambia was a shock to the system. You know how we complain Sg is hot? It is nothing compared to Livingstone the day we arrived man. The heat literally baked the moisture out of you and you simply did not want to open your mouth for fear of dehydration within seconds.
We attempted to stay awake in the afternoon, and despite some beers, it was an unequal fight and we simply went to bed and slept for oh, 17 hours.
No, no kidding.
In essence, the only thing we did of note in Zambia was to 1) get used to the heat (somewhat. Ok, ok, more like we experienced our first taste of how hot Africa can be) 2) see Victoria Falls, altho' it was quite dry on the Zambian side and we were reluctant to cross the border into Zimbabwe with all the trouble there 3) get into a helicopter where we saw elephants from the air a la those National Geographic TV shots 4) marvel at this place called the Royal Livingstone and whinged about how we could not afford it *snigger*
The helicopter ride hovered over the Falls and through the downstream gorge. It was extremely expensive at US$170 a pop. But once in a lifetime I suppose, and it was quite spectacular. We were lucky and we got to sit in front, so plexiglass in front of me, pilot of the left and G to the right. (4 brit pensioners were stuck in the back… muahhahahah... oh, one of them got quite sick with the weaving to and fro - the pilot's idea of showing us the sights was to dip the copter all the way on its side and yell through our ear phones ... looook, loook there)
But the bad bit: G fell sick. Very sick. And he would have this fever that would not break for the next 7 days or so. Almost called in emergency evacuation from the middle of the Botswanian plains man.
On Day 3: Transfer from Zambia to Botswana via car, boat, 4X4, 12 seater plane to our first safari camp called Savuti. Won't give you all the details - what would we be talking to you about otherwise when we get home ;) - but suffice to say that it was the first time that we passed through immigration without ever seeing an immigration officer and there are erhm... processes to make sure you don't foot and mouth disease (or was it hoof and mouth??...) into Botswana.
And it was absolutely brilliant;
A short list of stuff we saw:
Lion (cubs too!)
Leopard (thanks to super sharp eyes of guide)
Cheetah (almost impossible to spot)
Hippo (one got pissed off enough to lunge completely out of the water and did... I jest you not... a pirouette)
Bat eared fox (super cute)
Mongoose (skittish as hell, biggest sighting - 16 of them running across the dirt track road)
Elephants (kena charged quite a number of times and one of them was *just* outside the tent and a herd invaded our camp, lotsa babies)
Honey Badgers (apparently rare to spot - but we saw three)
Leopard tortoise (in the middle of the savannah!!)
Cape ground squirrel
A bunch of predatory birds
Vultures and maribou storks
Warthog (remind us to tell you why they are called radio botswana and how they taste)
various hoofed creatures - zebra, giraffe, springbok, impala, kudu, eland, bushbuck, tssebe, and this super rare thing called a Sitatunga.
But being on safari did not agree with G. He was sick and the 5 am mornings simply did not agree with him much. :) He was also suffering from withdrawal from email and connections.
Also we were killing ourselves every morning - we kept reminding ecah other about the foods that we were missing, Laksa, tar mee pok - hiam jiou juay, char kway teow, and the antelopes around us kept bringing to mind geong cheong lok yeok(translated spring onion deer meat) - slurps.
But of course, like all good Singaporeans, we brought the rain to Africa. It got so cold that we were wearing our thick clothes on safari. Cheh.
Then, before we knew it, we were on a flight into Cape Town.
People have been (surprisingly) extremely friendly. Except it is a bit dodgy when street kids hassle you for spare change.
Have plenty of stories to tell you about our "adventure" at Cape Point; table mountain, Robben Island, where Mr Mandela was imprisoned; Penguins at boulders.
To conclude this post...
Okay... upshot of all the thinking about chinese food? we succumbed tonight - our last night in cape town .... we went to a chinese restaurant.
All I can say that it was a chili fix and that's about it.