Picture of the Day II--Africa

Our trip diary in pictures is now in three parts. Photos from the first stage of the journey (South America, December 2010 to May 2011) are here. Pictures from Africa (May to September 2011) are below on this page. Pictures from India and Thailand (September 2011 on) are here.

12 September 2011, Johannesburg, South Africa. Reunited at our favorite--or at least most frequented--airport. Rie is back from Swaziland, Kath from Mozambique. We'll get some food and some sleep, then tomorrow we'll get onto a plane for India! (KK)

11 September 2011, Maputo, Mozambique. In the last 48 hours I have—for the first time in a month—seen a TV set, ridden on a paved road and taken a shower indoors. In the startling big-city-ness of Maputo, it was heartwarming to see that the plane I was getting on was named Cobué after the biggest town in the Manda Wilderness. (KK)

10 September 2011. Why is there a smashed plane in the playground opposite the public library in Lichinga, Mozambique? Travel is just full of mysteries . . . (KK)

9 September 2011. Market street, Metangula, Mozambique, from the cab of the chapa that would take me to Lichinga. (KK)

8 September 2011. Table set for my last dinner at Nkwichi. (KK)

7 September 2011. The folks at Nkwichi let me stay in one of the chalets for my last couple of nights here. This is the fabulous outdoor bath at Scotlandi. (KK)

6 September 2011, Nkwichi, Mozambique. This is where I worked today--I did work! Honest I did! (KK)

5 September 2011, Nkwichi, Mozambique. Sunset at Volunteers' Beach. Feeling sad that my time at Manda Wilderness is coming to a close. (KK)

4 September 2011. Yohko and I went to Likoma Island in Malawi for the afternoon. Here's Likoma's market street, which is lined with baobabs and ends at the wide, blue lake. (KK)

3 September 2011. Malolotja Falls, Malolotja Nature Reserve, Swaziland. (MK)

3 September 2011, Nkwichi, Mozambique. Odin, Daniel and Maaike at Odin and Maaike's farewell lunch. (KK)

2 September 2011. Yohko and Devon on the Miss Nkwichi, going home. (KK)

1 September 2011. From the cabin where I was staying. Every spring, the landowners burn off last year's dead grass to give way for fresh green growth where the animals can forage. Malolotja Nature Reserve, Swaziland. (MK)

1 September 2011, Matepwe, Mozambique. The school teacher's children outside their home. (KK)

31 August 2011. Malolotja Nature Reserve, Swaziland. (MK)

31 August 2011. On the first day of a three-day trip by boat, foot and flatbed truck to some of the more remote villages in the Manda Wilderness, we stopped at Chigoma to deliver clay stoves and meet with village leaders. Here's the chief and a bunch of the local kids. (KK)

30 August 2011. One of the resident dogs where I was staying--the sweet, shy Jackie. Ezulini Valley, Swaziland. (MK)

30 August 2011, Nkwichi Lodge, Mozambique. Ernesto--Che Guavara namesake, monkey chaser, lizard alert provider, all round Lodge Dog--takes a well-earned rest. (KK)

28 August 2011. Umhlanga (Reed Dance) girls marching in front of Queen Mother's compound, Lobamba, Swaziland. (MK)

28 August 2011, Mala, Mozambique. Odin, Maaike and I went up to Mala in the boat to hear the choir sing in their home church. After the service, all the kids REALLY wanted their pictures taken! (KK)

27 August 2011, Nkwichi Lodge, Mozambique. Rebecca (left), arriving to run the morning staff meeting, greets women who have brought their produce to the Lodge office to sell. (KK)

26 August 2011, Niassa, Mozambique. Old wine bottles encased in handwoven covers are used as water bottles at Nkwichi Lodge. (KK)

25 August 2011. Manzini market, Swaziland. (MK)

25 August 2011. Niassa, Mozambique. My hut at the Manda Wilderness Project. (KK)

24 August 2011, Niassa, Mozambique. Nkwichi Lodge staff/management/volunteer volleyball game on the beach. (KK)

23 August 2011. The old maternity clinic, Cobue, Mozambique. (KK)

22 August 2011. On top of Sibebe Rock, Mbuluzi, Swaziland. (MK)

22 August 2011. Main beach, Nkwichi Lodge, Mozambique. (KK)

21 August 2011, Nkwichi Lodge, Mozambique. A day off (!) to spend snorkeling, swimming and lazing around. (KK)

20 August 2011, Mozambique. The Nkwichi Lodge boats at the jetty. (Happy Birthday, Amanda!) (KK)

19 August 2011. White rhino mom and baby in Mkyaya Nature Reserve, Swaziland. (MK)

19 August 2011, Nkwichi Lodge, Mozambique. It's hard to convey in a picture just how big this baobab is. It's about 29 meters around and is believed to be more than 2000 years old. (KK)

18 August 2011. View of the Ezulini Valley, Swaziland, from on top of Sheba's Rock. (MK)

18 August 2011, near Mala, Mozambique. Along the shore between Nkwichi and Mala, I met some young boys fishing and showed them how to use my camera. This is one of the pictures they took.

17 August 2011. Some of the funky sculpture at House on Fire--a performance space in the Ezulini Valley. (MK)

17 August 2011, Nkwichi Lodge, Mozambique. Every evening at 5, the night watchmen gather at the maintenance shed to fill the lanterns. (KK)

16 August 2011. Memorial to King Sobhuza II, Ezulini Valley, Swaziland. (MK)

16 August 2011, Nkwichi Lodge, Mozambique. Monitor lizard near the lodge kitchen. (KK)

15 August 2011, Nkwichi Lodge, Mozambique. Bit of a fever today. This is the view from the bed in my hut. (KK)

14 Aug 2011, Nkwichi Lodge, Mozambique. Baboons along the lake shore. (KK)

13 August 2011. Traditional healer, Mantega Cultural Center, Ezulini, Swaziland. (MK)

13 August 2011. Mama Joyce, who works at Nkwichi Lodge, Mozambique. (KK)

12 August 2011. Swaziland! (MK)

12 August 2011, Mbueca, Mozambique. Martha, Joseph’s daughter, wearing my hat. Joseph is the community liaison for the Manda Wilderness Conservation Trust, where I’m volunteering for a month. (KK)

11 August 2011. I thought this was a toy when I first spotted it! Windhoek, Namibia. (MK)

11 August 2011, Nkwichi Lodge, Mozambique. The goat destined to become supper. (KK)

10 August 2011. Christuskirche, Windhoek, Namibia. (MK)

10 August 2011, Niassa, Mozambique. John, who manages the Manda Wilderness Agricultural Project’s farm, demonstrates how they make paper there using paper scraps from Nkwichi Lodge and plant materials from the farm. In the background, an English class is about to start. (KK)

9 August 2011, Lago Niassa/Lake Malawi from Nkwichi Lodge, Mozambique. I arrived here by boat after dark last night, so this is my first real look at the place. This is the beach near the grass hut where I'm staying. (KK)

8 August 2011, near Cobuè, Mozambique. As our chapa headed down the hill toward Lago Niassa, we came upon another chapa as heavily laden as ours. Gabriel, who rode next to me in the crowded cab of our truck, took this picture.

7 August 2011. I know, I know . . . another plant picture! But seriously, how cool are these leaves?! (MK)

7 August 2011, Lichinga airport, northern Mozambique. From the rooftop terrace restaurant where people gather to watch the incoming planes. (KK)

6 August 2011, Maputo, Mozambique. I didn't feel like walking around with my camera here, so here's the view from the guesthouse window. (KK)

5 August 2011. A little past its prime, but a close-up view of the conditions many of these plants are growing in. (MK)

4 August 2011. Out of this harsh, dry landscape bloom thousands and thousands of flowers every spring. Goegap National Preserve, South Africa. (MK)

3 August 2011, Springbok, South Africa. Flowers everywhere! (MK)

3 August 2011, Oodi, Botswana. Tapestry of village life in progress at Oodi Weavers, a longstanding weavers' cooperative not far from Gaborone. (KK)
2 August 2011, Gaborone. Typical street scene--behind that wall is a swept-dirt yard and a white, concrete-block house with a sloping corrugated metal roof. (KK)
1 August 2011. Orange River, Upington, South Africa. (MK)
1 August 2011, Gaborone. Knockout Grocers and Zoom Nite Club--two neighborhood establishments I somehow never visited. KK)
31 July 2011. My hostel in Jo'burg, Brown Sugar Backpackers. (MK)
Again, Rie and Kath are traveling separately for a bit, covering lots of ground and enjoying each others' experiences vicariously! We'll post two pics of the day whenever we can.

31 July 2011, Gaborone. The big fig tree at Sanitas plant nursery/restaurant, where my landlords and I had a good lunch today. (KK)

30 July 2011, Gaborone. Blog-follower contest time! A postcard to whoever comes up with the best scenario in which this warning would be necessary. Email your entry now! (KK)

29 July 2011, Gaborone. Not just chicken feet--butch chicken feets. You just never know what you're going to find at Choppies. (KK)

28 July 2011, Gaborone. With Rie back in town between her trips to see elephants and wildflowers, we went out for some celebratory Indian food.

26 July 2011, Gaborone. Evangale. (KK)
25 July 2011. Victoria Falls, Zambia. (MK)

25 July 2011, Gaborone. South Africa's flag is my favorite so far, but Botswana takes the prize for best coat of arms. I love those zebras. (KK)

24 July 2011, Chobe National Park, Botswana. (MK)

24 July 2011, Gaborone. A grassfire traveled up the alley behind the house, sending billows of smoke over the wall between it and us. I called the emergency dispatcher, even though Kamau said nobody would come. He was right--nobody did, and eventually the fire went out by itself. (KK)

23 July 2011. Chobe National Park, Botswana. (MK)

23 July 2011, Gaborone. My landlord, Kamau, with his dogs Wailer and Zawadi up on Kgale Hill. (KK)

22 July 2011, Gaborone. Schoolboys heading home on Friday afternoon. (KK)

21 July 2011. Getting ready to cross the Zambezi at the place where four countries meet--Botswana, Namibia, Zambia and Zimbabwe. (MK)

21 July 2011, Gaborone. I couldn't do it. I got as far as putting the dried caterpillars in a bowl, but the whole boiling and frying thing? Uh uh. (KK)

20 July 2011, Maun, Botswana. Kunyima demonstrating basket weaving technique. (MK)

20 July 2011, Gaborone. I ate a dried caterpillar for this picture. Actually, I ate a dried caterpillar to be polite and then these women let me take their picture. They didn't speak English, but the woman in the next booth told me you can eat the little critters, called pane, raw. (That's them in the very front of the picture, in the orange cup.) She popped one in her mouth and all three women looked at me expectantly. What could I do? They taste, um, unusual--dry and crunchy and not a bit like chicken. I bought a cupful and got the recipe for cooking them up. Not tonight, though. Maybe tomorrow night. Maybe . . . . (KK)

19 July 2011. I go on a mokoro trip, Okavango Delta, Botswana. (MK)

19 July 2011, Gaborone. My landlord and his friend took me on a ride through the in-town game reserve. We saw impala, dassies, kudu, ostriches, lots of monkeys and this warthog mother and baby. (KK)

BONUS PICTURES! Rie's in northern Botswana while Kath hangs out in Gaborone to write--so some days will have two pictures for a while.

18 July 2011, Gaborone. The city has many tiny businesses, often just a table on the sidewalk selling candy or a guy on a street corner selling cellphone airtime cards from the top of a beer box. This one's a little more substantial. (KK)

17 July 2011, Gaborone. Big ole termite mound. I think it's a termite mound, maybe an anthill. In any case, they're all over the city, though this is a particularly large one. (KK)

16 July 2011, Gaborone. Ntsoane Ramontsho dressed in national colors and playing the segaba in the traditional instruments competition to celebrate President's Day. It's kind of a screechy instrument--what do you expect from something made from a bashed metal can, a stick and one steel string?--but he has a wonderful voice. (KK)

15 July 2011, Gaborone. Always good advice. Mothers, tell your children. (KK)

14 July 2011, Gaborone. Funky foliage in the 'hood. (KK)

13 July 2011, Gaborone. Another one for all you No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency fans. (Happy Birthday, Teag!) (KK)

12 July 2011, Gaborone. We are the world!
Sorry, in joke. Rie and I heard that song a few too many times in Madagascar, where it seemed to play in every single establishment that catered to Westerners. (KK)

11 July 2011, Gaborone. Many beautiful gardens behind many high walls. (KK)

10 July 2011, Gaborone. Botswana's retro cool parliament building. (Happy Birthday, Meg!) (KK)

9 July 2011, Gaborone. The courtyard at the National Museum, which seemed to have started out with good intentions in the 1970s and then kind of lost steam. (KK)

8 July 2011, Gaborone. My so-called kitchen. Open air, no running water. . . . It does the trick though. (KK)

7 July 2011, Gaborone. My landlord has a couple dozen rabbits in a big hutch in the front yard. (KK)

6 July 2011, Gaborone. Rie's staying just outside of town, and I've rented this little cottage. Well, really it's servants' quarters just like those in backyards all over Gaborone. But a good little place to hole up and write. (KK)

5 July 2011, Gaborone. One of my landlord's dogs hanging out in the dirt yard. I later learned he's called Wailer (pronounced Way-la, as in Bob Marley and the Way-las) because of his shaggy coat. (KK)

4 July 2011, Gaborone. Two worthy efforts, for sure. But I'm not sure why they are on the same sign. (KK)

3 July 2011, Gaborone. Volleyball with the expats, playing by Botswana street rules! (KK)

2 July 2011, Gaborone. Tea at the Mma Ramotswe Tea Corner at the President Hotel. (KK)

1 July 2011, Gaborone. My new office--at least when the winter weather is warm enough to sit outside. (KK)

30 June 2011. Johannesburg from the bus window, on our way to Gaborone. (KK)

29 June 2011, Pretoria. Just don't do it. (KK)

28 June 2011. We came to Tshwane/Pretoria to get visas. Mozambique--check. All done Friday morning in 20 minutes flat. Then we stayed the weekend so we could be at the India High Commission when it opened this morning. Alas, alas, they do diplomatic visas in Pretoria, they do business and student visas in Pretoria, but tourist visas, nope. Ah well, at least we had a pleasant place to stay for the weekend. (KK)

27 June 2011. We had a picnic lunch on the grounds of the Union Buildings, Tshwane (formerly Pretoria). When I was in college, this place symbolized the apartheid regime. Now it's a place for people of all colors to have a Sunday afternoon stroll and take pictures of each other. One well-dressed black man posed on a wall with the city and its hills behind him, gestured with his silver-topped cane and said, humorously but seriously too, "Africa, my land!" (KK)

26 June 2011. Sadly typical of South African cities--high walls, metal gates, window bars and razor wire. (KK) 

25 June 2011. Jacaranda trees, Pretoria/Tshwane. (KK)

24 June 2011. Figured you'd get a kick out of this one, Bren. Happy Birthday from Pretoria! (KK)

20-23 June 2011. Into any traveler's life, a little illness must fall, and we had to hole up in a Johannesburg airport hotel for three days. Then for some really big excitement we took the shuttle bus back to O.R.Tambo International to eat dinner at the food court there. Yes, we know how lame this sounds. Even lamer, we actually had fun! (KK)

19 June 2011. Another addition to the No Form of Travel in Madagascar is Easy series. We arrived at the Toliara airport early this morning to find it absolutely deserted, this sign on the door to tell us our 8 a.m. flight will (maybe) leave this afternoon. (KK)

18 June 2011. Pachypodium, Arboretum d'Antsokay, Toliara, Madagascar. (MK)
17 June 2011. Baobabs! Réserve de Reniala, Mangily, Madagascar. (KK)

16 June 2011. Pirogue on the beach at Mangily, Madagascar. (KK)

15 June 2011. Moonrise at Mangily, Madagascar (MK)

14 June 2011. Our driver stopped unexpectedly by the side of the road. "If you want to buy rum for your family, this is a good place," he said. Then he showed us around the open-air distillery: the sliced sugar cane buzzing with flies, the mash of cane and tamarind left in open barrels to ferment and collect debris, the covered barrels sealed with zebu dung, the grubby cement troughs for the distilling process. One of the rum-makers offered us a taste in a gas canister lid, and of course we had to accept. Rie's face says it all. (KK)

13 June 2011. Sunset at La Fenêtre de l’Isalo, south of Ranohira, Madagascar. (KK)

12 June 2011. The ring-tailed lemur contemplates the beginning of tourist season. Happy birthday, Jen! We know you know just how he feels. (KK)

11 June 2011. To the Bara in Madagascar, zebu stand for health, wealth, beauty, strength, fame, happiness and security--and rustling one qualifies a young man for marriage. Teagan, this picture's for you. Congrats on your graduation and may your future bring all these things! Well, maybe not the cattle rustling part. . . . (MK)

10 June 2011. After two days off from poky and uncomfortable forms of transportation, we braved the world of bush taxis again. Here’s Rie at Manakara’s gare routière, killing time between the theoretical 8 a.m. departure and actual take-off two hours later. (KK)

9 June 2011. The end of a perfect day--passing under Manakara's main bridge after touring Canal des Pangalanes in a pirogue. (KK)

8 June 2011. After three days of somewhat grueling travel, we finally got to put our feet in the Indian Ocean. Manakara, Madagascar. (KK)

7 June 2011. Slow transportation being our specialty these days, we took the train from Fianarantsoa to Manakara, 150 kilometers in 13-plus hours. The best parts: amazing mountain scenery and being greeted in every town by what seemed like the entire population, most of whom had tasty snacks for sale. The hard part: how many of the people were heart-wrenchingly poor. (KK)

6 June 2011. The scenery in Madagascar's central plateau is stunning--terraced rice paddies, mountain ridges, hilly towns with steep-roofed adobe buildings--but it's tough to capture it from a moving taxi-brousse. Here's one of the hill towns. (KK)

5 June 2011. From the taxi-brousse between Tana and Ambositra, we saw road-side stalls selling plaster Virgin Marys, drums, banjos, fiddles, brightly painted wooden trucks and lots of fruits and vegetables. (KK)

4 June 2011. Saturday afternoon in the hotel bar, Antananarivo. (KK)

3 June 2011. We got brave today and rode not one but two taxis-brousses (bush taxis) all on our own, transferring at Moramanga's totally chaotic gare routière. That’s where we saw these rickshaws, which are called pousse-pousses in Madagascar. (MK)

2 June 2011. This frisky pair of diademed sifakas groomed and played and leaped through the treetops for about half an hour--and had about a dozen humans completely charmed. Réserve d'Analamaozatra, Madagascar. (MK)

1 June 2011. Our first lemur in Madagascar! This young female indri has gotten very used to humans at a community-run preserve near Andasibe. Maybe not great wildlife management, but it was very exciting to be able to see her so close-up. (MK)

31 May 2011. Andasibe, Madagascar. Our hotel brochure said, "In case of stress, choose the nature, listen to the murmur of the rivers and . . . Cheer up those moments of happiness!" Happy Birthday, Mom and Andrew. May you have many cheerful moments of happiness! (KK)

30 May 2011. We had a couple of stressful days (blog post coming soon), so a little friendly chat made a big difference. These guys, running a little restaurant near Antananarivo's market, turned my mood around. (KK)

29 May 2011. Kids in Antananarivo playing soccer on a packed-mud pitch that drops off a couple feet on all sides. Happy Birthday from Madagascar, Jean-Guy! This one's for you! (KK)

28 May 2011. Air Madagascar in Madagascar. Apparently I wasn't supposed to take this picture. But they still let us in the country. (KK)

27 May 2011. Last day in the beautiful city of Cape Town. (MK)

26 May 2011. Planning the next stage of the journey is a little easier in surroundings like these, especially when Johann brings you mint tea and cookies. (KK)

25 May 2011. Rainbow over the Atlantic. (KK)

24 May 2011. Nelson Mandela's prison cell, Robben Island. (KK)

23 May 2011. The heavy surf at Sea Point doesn't bode well for our trip to Robben Island tomorrow--but it's pretty! (KK)

22 May 2011. We celebrated five months on the road with high tea at the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town. (KK)

21 May 2011. Rie in paradise. We spent the day at Cape Town's Kirstenbosch Gardens, which even the non-botanical sister found amazing. (KK)

20 May 2011. From our B&B window, Sea Point, Cape Town. The sunset later got much more spectacular--the sky turned deep pink and the water turned purple. (MK)

19 May 2011. Big ole aloe by the seaside. Clearly this is Kath writing the caption--Rie would be a little more precise. (MK)

18 May 2011. Hiking in Fernkloof Reserve today, we came across two groups of baboon mothers and babies. Apparently baboons are as common here as deer are in the suburban areas of the U.S. Northeast. Still, a thrill for us. (MK)

17 May 2011. Fernkloof Nature Reserve. (MK)

16 May 2011. Rock dassies, calm, curious creatures that look like big guinea pigs and are said to be related to elephants (!). In the background, cormorants, and out of view, a whale breaching, blowing and then submerging again. This place is just impossibly beautiful! (KK)

15 May 2011. A sundew, an insectivorous plant, in Fernkloof Reserve. (MK)

14 May 2011. Baboon alert, Fernkloof Nature Reserve. We didn't actually see baboons until the next day--and we didn't feed or approach them! (KK)

13 May 2011. Hermanus, South Africa. (KK)

12 May 2011. Passing Table Mountain as we flew into Cape Town, South Africa. (KK)
To see pictures of the day from South America, click here. More recent pictures of the day--from India and Thailand--are here.