While in Botswana, safari camping was at the top of our travel list. But it wasn't without challenges, like how to stay clean.
This picture of me, taken after one day of Botswana safari camping, says it all. I'm wide-eyed and smiling but you can see the worry in my eyes. You can also see plenty of sweaty hair and a cooling, wet handkerchief draped around my neck. And that was my northern Botswana and Chobe safari experience in a nutshell: awe-inspiring, monumental, a bit overwhelming, and really, REALLY sweaty.
In so many ways, I was ill-prepared for the rigors of Botswana wilderness safaris. I had done exhaustive research. I had been camping dozens of times. Heck, I had even lived in southeast Africa before. But the heat, sand, dirt, and sweat hit me like a ton of bricks. It wasn't that I was unhygienic, per se. I was just out of my element in so many ways and feeling cruddy sure didn't help.
Ryan, I suspect, was absolutely in his element. But I was at the outer limits of my comfort zone. And, trust me, life does NOT begin there, no matter what the philosophers say! This is the blog post about keeping clean on camping safaris I wish I could have read before my trip.
We hiked the Victoria Falls Bridge on foot FOUR times in order to cross the Zimbabwe Zambia border. Here's everything you need to know so you can do it too.
At 128 meters high, the Victoria Falls Bridge is a graceful, lacy arch, a throwback to the dreams of a Cape-to-Cairo rail link and what was once one of the most ambitious engineering feats in the world. Today, the beauty is still there, albeit faded and battered around the edges as commerce and trade push bygone nostalgia aside. Connecting Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe to Livingstone, Zambia, the bridge is a busy border post for commercial trade, as well as for travelers eager to explore both sides of Victoria Falls, the Zambezi River, and the Batoka Gorge.
It wasn't long into our trip to southern Africa before the Victoria Falls Bridge border crossing felt like our old stomping grounds. All told, we crossed the bridge four times! We entered Zimbabwe via Victoria Falls Airport and after three days, we walked across the bridge into Zambia to spend four days in Livingstone. Crossing number one!
We then walked back to Zimbabwe (number two!) for breakfast and to meet up with our Botswanan safari guide. After a week in Botswana, we returned to Zimbabwe. We had lunch post-safari in Victoria Falls before leaving Zimbabwe and walking across the bridge (number three!) for an extra three days in Livingstone.
Finally, we crossed back to Zimbabwe a final time (number four!) for breakfast, some last minute shopping, and to catch our outbound flight. Whew!
Believe it or not, all travelers really need to explore the Victoria Falls Bridge and cross the Zimbabwe Zambia border is their passport and their own two feet. Having the right visa helps as well. For us, that was the Kaza Univisa, a relatively new option that allows unlimited crossings between Zambia and Zimbabwe (as well as day trips into Botswana via Kazungula Borders) for 30 days. We purchased the visa twice as we departed the visa zone during our extended time in Botswana. This proved to be an economical and convenient choice for us, but other options - including single entry and multiple entry visas - might be better suited to your bridge adventures.
Speaking of bridge adventures, here's all you need to know for your crossing, regardless of which country you start in.
Want to know where to eat in Maun, Botswana? The Wax Apple Cafe is the apple of my eye!
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In my early years of travel, I relied heavily on the advice and encouragement found in Lonely Planet's online "Thorn Tree", a messaging board for travelers to exchange information. Back in the olden days, each section of the forum had a clever, witty byline in its description. Case in point: For female travelers, there was a quip about covering everything from crampons to tampons. And in the section for Africa, they appealed to travelers "looking for a latte in Lesotho". This has always stood out in my memory, both in part because I so appreciated the alliteration and also because I was bemused. Who on earth would care about tracking down a latte when they were in a gorgeous African country?
Now I know, readers. NOW I KNOW.
I have become the very traveler I once eschewed, hysterically hunting for cappuccinos and vanilla lattes in the most implausible environments. And thus, when I had the chance to visit the Wax Apple Cafe in Maun, Botswana for an unexpected dose of espresso, I had a real moment of "latte in Lesotho" jubilation - albeit being just a little bit out of jurisdiction.
Do you dream of walking on the wild side? A rhinoceros safari walk in Zambia is for you!
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When is it good manners to snort, grunt, and guzzle your food with no regard to your company? Only when you're a wild rhinoceros and your guests are part of a walking safari! This walk on the wild side definitely stands out as one of the most unique and exciting things we've ever done.
A walking rhinoceros safari can only be experienced in Livingstone, Zambia, at Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park. "Mosi-oa-Tunya" translates to "the smoke which thunders" in reference to the power of Victoria Falls. And during our visit, it wasn't just the water which was thundering. Between our beating hearts and the stomping of feet and hooves, there was a lot going on during our morning with the rhinos.
In 2013, we created the most incredible reward trip with Aeroplan, circling the globe with Star Alliance. And in 2018 we're doing it again!
TurnipseedTravel debuted nearly six years ago (and does anyone else remember our very first green and grey template?). Nearly 18 months later, that debut became a fully fledged launch when Ryan and I took our readers along for the journey of a lifetime.
We cashed in all our points for what was technically a trip to Australia but instead embarked on an amazing round-the-world trip fueled entirely by Aeroplan. See, we had learned about all the reward flight loopholes needed to "hack" our travel plans and create a mini round the world trip with Star Alliance partners. With stops in Europe, Asia, North America (and, of course, Australia), we had 9 flight segments on Star Alliance flights (and visited about 15 different locations) and paid about $300 each for taxes and fees. As you can tell from our nostalgic photos, thanks to Aeroplan, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Or so we thought....
There’s no getting around the fact that the Egyptian pyramids are remarkable. The only one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World still intact, it’s not surprising this site is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the world. However, there’s so much more to Egypt than just the pyramids. Here are five suggestions of what else to see when you’re in this historic Middle Eastern nation:
There's a great arts scene waiting to be discovered in Tunisia.
The last several years have been tumultuous for Tunisia and it's coverage in the press has reflected that. Tunisia was at the forefront of the Arab Spring, disposing its less-than-democratic ruler and triggering revolutions across the Middle East and North Africa.
But unlike its more tempestuous neighbours, Tunisia has made huge strides towards democracy and is no longer embroiled in the conflict it found itself in back in 2011. Once again safe to visit, Tunisia sits perched at the top of North Africa and has a lot to offer tourists. One event that’s certainly open for visitors is the International Festival of Sousse, that runs in July and August
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