Saturday, September 8, 2012

Serengeti, Zanzibar and Malawi....what a ride!!!

Jumbo = Hello in Swahili.

Well the journey continues....We are on our way through Malawi to Livingstone/Victoria Falls....a place I have wanted to go since my teenage years....but let’s start with the last week or so first.  =)

After The Masai Mara we headed to the Serengeti and Ngorogoro Crater.
The Serengeti is the Swahili word for "never ending plains", and they certainly hit that oneon the head! African sunburnt plains, dotted with Acacia trees and animals as far as the eye can see.....our days here consisted of game drives, where we tracked down 4 lionesses with 5 cubs between them, creepy Hyenas (they always look like they are about to get up to something), and saw a black Rhino (from a distance, so I don't think that really counts) along with a host of other critters big and small.

As for the Ngorogoro Crater, besides the jaw dropping landscapes, there was such an abundance of wildlife.... we saw Zebra a plenty, Giraffes grazing, Mama and Baby Elephants, Wildebeest lounging around and eyeballing us out of curiosity every time we got near.....which was a lot as they liked to set up camp scattered across the dirt road. Ancient Water Buffalos, some amazing birdlife including lots of Ostriches, caught a few doing there mating dance (highly entertaining), and a pack of 10 lions and lioness taking it easy in the mid-day heat.
The crater itself (it’s actually a caldera, not a the top of the Volcano fell in on itself and did not pop like a cork) goes from an eerie landscape of twisted and gnarled, red dirt covered Acacia trees, with barren mountains looming in the a rainbow of muted earthy colours at inner salt lake, with the pop of Zebras standing lush jungle around lakes. Everything a fauna and flora colour obsessed girl could want! It was just friggen brill!!
I have been so inspired by the reds/yellows/oranges....and the 300 million shades in-between! 

After our days of games drives we headed off down the long track to Zanzibar, a stunning tropical Island off the coast of Tanzania. We stayed in the main city of Stone Town for 1 night, Stone Town has a very strong Muslim influence and for this reason has such an array of stunning architecture. I have a fetish with beautiful old doors....and Stone Town has them a plenty, so I went a little snap happy! =)
Day 2 on Zanzibar, our group headed up the coast for some beach side action/accommodation for 2 nights...I somehow convinced Brett to hire a car, and we made our way over the seriously crazy roads (Asian roads you have nothing on the African roads) over to the east coast to track down a restaurant that I had spied an image on the net about a year ago, and had vowed someday, somehow to go.... So once we figured out the name of the restaurant "The Rock" and the general direction of it, we were off....and yes my lovely hubby Brett was a little stressed! It was well worth it though...idealic, and sitting on an old coral bed a stone’s throw across the water from the beach sat the restaurant, stunning surroundings and the food and wine were marvellous!  =)
After lunch we joined our crew on the north of the Island for snorkelling, swimming and someserious relaxing time....a few more days there would have been just perfect....but alas we were off again, this time heading to Malawi and Lake Malawi.

It was a couple of long days of driving and pitching our tents in the dark. There were lots of very happy campers indeed when we finally got to Kande Beach in Malawi. 3 nights in the most beautiful location on the white sandy beaches of Lake Malawi where we got ourselves a lovely room and proceeded to seriously enjoy some downtime. =) I Went for a lovely horse ride with Carly (a tour mate) through the forest, finishing up along the beach, where with we jumped in the lake bareback with the horses for a swim.
We checked out the local Village, school and hospital, made plenty of donations and will be sending a percentage of sales from my (fingers crossed) upcoming Art Exhibition at the end of the year to the school, to sponsor a child through primary school... there are a lot of Orphans in Malawi due to HIV and Malaria. Even children with a family base struggle to afford school uniform and basic school books and stationary, for that reason a lot of kids don't even get a few years of primary school education. The Malawi children were just lovely, I even wanted to put a few in my pocket and take them home with me....and I certainly never say that about any old kid!
The Malawi people are extremely friendly, happy and unassuming.... which is lovely and also a little amazing as life here is quite hard and very basic, the feeling I got though is if you have a roof over your head and some food in your belly, you are doing ok! 
In Malawi, I finally got some time to paint (painting and journaling on a moving truck on the extremely bumpy African roads has proved to be a hard feat) and journal, so I will do my damnedest to get some photos up of how my art journal for the next blog....this one comes with plenty of fab photos from our trip so far.

 Baby Baboon bum, Serengeti

 Curious Giraffe, Serengeti
Mumma Lion, Serengeti

Cute as a button cubs, Serengeti

Brett, in our you can see he barely fits is quite funny watching him getting in and out!

Impala (I love the "What the??" look on his face), Serengeti

Yep, thats right....we saw a lepoard!!!! Serengeti

Pretty Bird (not its official name), Serengeti

.....Nap's a hard life on the plains!!! Serengeti

 Funny as all hell Ostriche....I will be doing a drawing of this one for sure!!, Ngorogoro Crater
Stunning?? I think so =) Ngorogoro Crater 

 Wilderbeast, Ngorogoro Crater

One of my first loves....Zebras, Ngorogoro Crater

 Sketching and painting the stunning back drop, Ngorogoro Crater


Doors to die for, Zanzibar

 "The Rock" Zanzibar....brilliant restaurant, check it out if you are in the area...and if not...head to the area to check it out!!

 Malawi, Horse surfing

 Getting some love from my horse, Malawi

Seriously cute Malawi kids.

So next stop Livingstone....where we will be cursing down the Zambezi River, checking out the Victoria Falls and hopefully go for a walk with lions... all depending on how far our money will go.

So ladies and gents, till next time....

xxx Sal

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