Thursday, July 21, 2011

Kasane, Sundowner Capitol of Botswana !

One of the most fabulous places in the world to enjoy the setting sun is in Kasane, Botswana, gateway to the Chobe National Park.

Enjoy a 'sundowner' , favorite of locals and travelers alike.

There are numerous venues for this wonderful activity. We enjoyed our first one on this trip with our friends Karen and Tiennie at the gorgeous Chobe Marina Lodge !

What a wonderful way to catch up on news of their interesting life amidst such luxury and beauty once again. Ahhhh!

A local group of performers presents a fusion of traditional music and stylized dance just as the sun sinks into the west!

(This spectacular lodge allows non-guests to access its bar, cafe and deck.)

For more pictures and stories of other sundowners during our travels to
Kasane, Sundowner Capitol of Botswana , please visit our pages at

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

100 Nights in Africa: Budget Travel Tip 3

100 Nights in Africa

Budget Tip 3

Saving Money on Safari Drives in National Parks

Going into the National Parks as you travel through Africa can get quite expensive. One of the ways we have learned to get the best deal for the money is to go on two game drives in one twenty four hour period; one in the morning and an afternoon or night safari. These may be spread over two days as long as they are within twenty four hours.

Two of the parks we have visited (Chobe NP in Botswana, South Luangwa NP in Zambia) have the policy one entry fee for a 24 hour period which allows multiple entries. What that means is you can go all in one day or go on a night/afternoon safari one day and a day safari the next.

The reason for going on two consecutive drives in a 24 hour period ist that in some parks there is only one park entry fee charged per 24 hour periods. For each of the safari lodge organized game drives there is a separate game drive charge each time you go on a ride with a camp guide, but only one park fee.

These fees differ for those with their own vehicle, known as self-drive. At South Luangwa NP the fee is higher for self drives and there is a charge for the personal vehicle as well.

Another difference is that licensed guides in some parks are allowed to conduct night drives but self drive visitors must be out before dusk.

We had a discussion with another couple and we both agreed if was better to break up your time at a camp with some safaris and some days to just enjoy the nature and wildlife within the camp rather than constantly going on three or four hour long game drives.

For more pictures and stories, please visit our pages at

Saturday, May 28, 2011

100 Days in Africa 2011: Budget Travel Tip #2

100 Nights in Africa 2011: Budget Travel Tip # 2:

Stay in locations where wildlife is easy to see in daily life.

Most trips in Africa are expensive, short, but very memorable. We decided years ago that we could not afford to go on standard safaris where all costs were managed by a company.

We learned to seek out camps where wildlife was around and so that we did not need to go on expensive game drives so often. Game drives guided by competent guides are indeed the best way to go. They can find animals when we could not, and they are a wealth of information on behavior of the animals.

Mfuwe, Zambia near South Luangwa National Park

An example of a place to stay where wildlife is around during the day and night is our personal favorite, Flatdogs Camp in Mfuwe, Zambia. There are also other camps along the river as you approach the national park, and the wildlife is very varied and often easy to observe.

Some days are better than others, of course. Yesterday was a

Banner Day for Wildlife viewing

We are traveling for three months and trying to stay in a budget of $100 a day including the cost of the airfare to get to Africa so we cannot go on safari every day we are here nor can we eat in the restaurant so we do our own wildlife viewing as we move about the camp.

Early morning on the bluff-.......................................... We are usually set up on the hippo trail overlooking the river and the area where the water has receded by 6:00 a.m., coffee in hand with our chairs and spotting scope and camera. We spend about an hour or so and then go fix breakfast.

This is not a complete list but a great deal of what we have seen while there:

wattled plover Egyptian geese gymogene sacred ibis

tawny eagle ground hornbill crowned crane pied wagtail

guinea fowl white faced duck crowned hornbill heron

pied kingfisher African spoonbill yellowbilled stork egret

saddlebilled stork bee-eater colony and others I cannot recall at this time

We have also seen elephant, giraffe, buffalo, and baboons in the park across the river.

The banner day..........................................................

One morning we got up and had a nice bird day out on the bluff. Scanning the far shore to see it anything appeared, into the view came six buffalo on the opposite shore. Watched them for awhile and then went to fix breakfast.

Could hear trumpeting near reception, went to look and saw one heading off away from the camp. As we went over to the self-catering kitchen, could see the trees moving and here come the elephants, seven of them, passing behind the kitchen! After breakfast, we walked over to check out the lagoon and there were two of the elephants in the lagoon area.

When we went to fix lunch, the monkeys were playing all about and one got into the hut next to the kitchen and managed to turn on the shower. Robert went to tell reception and when he walked over there, giraffes were out in front of reception.

Time for the afternoon walk.........................

We started our walk and went to check out the lagoon. There was a single buffalo in the edge of the lagoon. When we walked up, the buffalo heard us and looked up. What to do? Just watched him but were aware everyone says they are unpredictable. We could see a giraffe in the game area behind him.

As we continued on walking on the hippo trail by the river saw three elephants on the other side. Watched them for awhile and continued on. They stayed visible for a great deal of the rest of the afternoon.

As we rounded the chalets, went out to the hippo trail again and there were 3 giraffe eating away. Right before we had walked out there we encountered a snake, our second one for this trip. It was identified to us as a stripe bellied sand snake. (non poisonous)

We also observed a saddlebill stork being chased by some other bird. The stork must have been trying to get into the other birds nest.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Leopard of the South Luangwa

For more pictures and stories of our

please click on

Leopard of the South Luangwa

Saturday, May 7, 2011

100 Days in Africa 2011: Budget Travel Tip #1

100 Days in Africa 2011: Budget Travel Tip #1

100 Days in Africa: Budget Travel Tip #1

Airport Food.
Back in the day, airport food tasted terrible, and the choices. These days, airport food is quite adequate, and some cafes very pleasant places to wile away your wait time.
That said, menu items are generally more expensive here than in the versions of the chain elsewhere, and can put a hole in the day's budget.
Saving Money and Eating Food You Like By Planning Ahead

Tip: Precook food for travel day, and carry in your personal item bag.
Today, we had a roast beef with horseradish dressing, lettuce, tomato, and side of snack carrots, all nestled within a big fat jalapeno garlic bagel sandwitch bun. Mmmmmmmm, good. Apple for desert. This helped us get rid of food that was not going to last in the fridge the next 100 days, even if we had left it on. Which we didn't. We always turn off our fridge and freezer to save money on our electric bill, give leftover condiments to friends and relatives.
Tip: Free Internet
Today we paid $9.95 for Boingo internet access using our Credit Card. We did not realize that the City of Austin Airport provided a free internet kiosk further down toward our gate.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Holy Cow, Batman! Look at that Longhorn!

Texas Longhorn rests in behind barbed wire as seen along the road on a trip from Llano to Colorado Bend State Park. The Spanish brought these magnificent creatures to the new world, and they survive mainly as pets.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Alligators Pose

Spoonbills feed in shallow water along the shore. So do alligators.... Yikes!

We see beautiful birds. The alligators see.....lunch.

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