Friday, August 22, 2014

July 3rd and 4th

Today was a very long day.    We wanted to go and do a tour of the townships of Alexandra and Soweto.  We had met a tour guide when we were at the caves at the Cradle of Mankind who seemed really nice so we called her to see if she could come and give us a tour.  She said she could so we arranged for her to come and pick us up at noon.  Around 11 she texted and said she was going to be about an hour late.  She still had not come at 2.  At about 2:30, she came but was in a very small car.   She had tried to go and exchange her small rental car for a larger one, but they would not let her.  So after much debate, Kirt went to the airport with her and rented a larger car.  We then went on a very rushed tour of Alexandra and Soweto which was actually OK because we were all pretty tired and grumpy by this time.  Plus it was very difficult to see the poverty that so many of the people were living in.  After the tour, we went to the airport and started the long journey home-16 hours to Atlanta, 4 hours to Salt Lake and then 2 more hours to Spokane.  We got to Spokane around noon on the 4th of July.
2 families in Alexandra township that were living in houses that were about 12x12 for their whole house.  The 1st family only had 4 people but the 2nd family had 10.

One the street in Alexandra

One of the tract houses in Soweto
A preschool in Soweto
Nelson Mandala's house in Soweto which is now a museum

July 2nd

We went to look at a famous German Church "Christuskirche" (Christ Church) in Windhoek this morning.  Then we went to an African history museum.  After that we flew from Windhoek to Johannesburg.  We all got upgraded to 1st class.  Then we stayed at Emerald Guest House in Joburg for the 3rd time.


1st class
Emerald Guest House-It was right by the airport so there was this platform that you could stand on and watch the planes take off and land.

July 1st

We drove through Etosha National Park so more today.  The animals are so beautiful.  We went to a rest camp inside the park that had a watering hole and there were so many animals there.  It was so fun to watch them come and go to drink at the watering hole.  It was also hilarious to watch how the animals all ran away when a baby elephant came to drink.  After we left Etosha, we drove to Windhoek, the capital city of Namibia.  We stayed at a bed and breakfast there.  They were supposed to have a really good restaurant too so we decided to eat dinner there.  The 1st course was the worst thing that Kirt or I had ever tasted.  We still don't know what it was, but it was awful.  Then we got to eat zebra steak.  Kirt was the only one that knew if was zebra at the time we were eating it.  I thought it was a bit chewy, but I thought that was because it was so rare (and that was after I had sent it back to be cooked more).  Kirt called the Dr. from the hotel that night and the Dr. said the blood malaria test was negative too, but that since Kirt had all the symptoms for malaria that he should go ahead and take the malarial drug that the Dr. had prescribed.  

Garret sitting on a zebra skin that was laying on the floor of the lobby in our hotel.
Another unknown deer like animal (DLA)
Pride of Lions
Elephant (the elephants were much smaller and skinny in Etosha)

The flowing pictures are taken from the watering hole inside the rest camp

Playing Settlers of Catan in our hotel in Windhoek
The unknown awful dish
Zebra steak
Delicious chocolate dessert with animals stamped in the cocoa for decoration

June 30th

We went and drove around Etosha National park.  This is more what I was thinking Africa would look like.  Etosha is on a salt flat so it is wide open with just a little scrub brush growing.  We could see for miles in all directions.  We didn't see as many varieties of animals here, but the ones we did see, we saw a ton of.  
Wart hogs
Girrafe-look at the cute babies
Wide open salt flat.  You could see for miles in all directions.

Katie and Garret playing dress up.  They had to get creative at night so they didn't get bored.

June 29th

We drove to Etosha National Park in Nambia.  We stayed in a really nice hotel here.  Kirt had been really feeling bad for about 10 days, so when we got there I made him go to the Dr.  The nearest Dr. was about an hour away.  So while he went to the Dr. the kids and I played tennis, went to the health club and swam.  Kirt came back to from the Dr. and said the Dr. said his rapid malaria test was negative, (we diagnosed him with malaria after reading all of the symptoms of it online) but he said the antimalarial drug we were taking could has made the test a false negative.  So Kirt also had some blood drawn and we have to call the Dr. tomorrow to find out the results.  He still isn't feeling very good so Tanner, Katie and I went to dinner alone.  Garret wanted to stay with his dad.

Pictures of our fancy hotel room.
Strange deer like animal that was roaming the grounds at our hotel.  We could never determine what it was.  It's picture was not in any of the animal books that we had.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

June 28th

We went on a canoe ride in a traditional Namibian canoe called a Mokoro on the Okavango River this morning.  It was a little scary being on the river in a small canoe knowing there were crocs and hippos in the river, but our guides were very knowledgeable and knew the places to avoid.  Plus the water was very clear and you could see the bottom of the river clearly.  We saw hippos but no crocs.  It was very scenic.  After the canoe ride we drove to our next stop outside of Rundu Namibia.  Namibia is not a very populated country.  It is bigger than Texas and only has about 2 million people.  We have driven over 1000km in the country and only seen a few small cities.  We stayed at the N’Kwazi Lodge.  It is also on the Okavango River.  Across the river we could see Angola.  The kids really wanted to swim across the river so they could say they had been to Angola too, but the crocs and hippos scared them out of doing that.  We unfortunately didn't take any pictures from here because Kirt wasn't feeling well and I never remember to take pictures.
 We did go through the tall reeds for a while.  Katie and I really didn't like that

No one but Kirt ever takes pictures so he had to take one of himself