S: 2012 Cotton Uganda and South Africa
FC: Uganda and South | 2012 | Great Cotton Safari | Africa
1: Seattle to Dubai to Uganda to South Africa | Travel Times: - Seattle to Dubai to Uganda, 19 hours plus overnight layover - Uganda to Johannesburg to Kruger, 5 hours airtime - Drive from Kruger to Drakensberg, 8 plus hours - 3 hour drive to Durban then 2 hour flight to Capetown Return trip was 23 hours of flying, Capetown/Dubai/Seattle | I want to thank Mark's friends for the photos of his home, cooking, school and bus ride in Uganda!
2: After 14 hours flying, we arrived at Dubai where we had an overnight layover. We took advantage of our stay and went on a night time tour of the city. It was 111 degrees Fahrenheit at night!
4: Uganda | Our time in Uganda was hot/warm, but nowhere as hot as Dubai. The only air conditioning we experienced was at the malls (whereas Dubai even had air-conditioned bus stops!). But usually we slept okay with just fans, mosquito nets, and the sheets kicked off. I didn’t notice any mosquitoes, but I understood the importance of keeping the mosquito net tucked in under the mattress—it is to keep those other creepy crawlers out! | Most of the places used rain water for their water (it was the rainy season, but it only rained once), so all the water we drank was from bottled water, which was warm. No ice in the drinks, no ice anywhere that I saw. You could get a cold drink from stores (there are 2 super grocery stores and 2 movie theaters) in Kampala, but outside the city the drinks were made cold in coolers that ran on generators. I did not notice any diet pop. | Uganda is the about the size of Oregon
5: Kampala | We arrived at Entebbe and headed off to the equator. It was quite a wild drive. There are lots of rutted roads and wild drivers. I can understand why I didn't notice any car rental agencies at the airport! | Mark booked all our travel plans and was quite thrifty!
6: (1) Cars drive on the left and appear to have the right way over people and motorcycles. When crossing a busy street you need to dodge cars because they will not stop for you. There really are no lanes, motorcycles will squeeze in between and alongside cars, where ever they can. (2) A private hire is a car in any running condition, which is the closest thing they have to our taxi. (3) A taxi is a van that runs on a route with a large grill in the front to protect it when it runs into something. There are real buses, like our Greyhound buses, that travel to the towns outside Kampala. (4) Boda boda (motorcycles)—Bicycle owners would shout out boda-boda (border-to-border) to potential customers crossing borders through no-man’s land. Women usually ride side-saddle, and there can be 2 or more passengers. | Transportation
7: Vendors selling food and souvenirs at a bus stop | Cattle loose on the side of the road
8: Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary | White Rhinoceros | Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
9: On our way to Murchison falls we stopped at the Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary. The Black and White Rhinoceros had been wiped out in Uganda by 1982 due to wars and poaching. | This sanctuary is home to the only wild rhinos in Uganda and is working towards re-introducing them back into the wild. The first baby White Rhino born in Uganda after 28 years has been named Obama, after the our President, because he was born to a Kenyan Father and an American mother.
10: Murchison Falls National Park Uganda's Largest Park | The Nile, the world's longest river, winds its way through the park and plunges through a narrow gap at Murchison Falls. Predominantly a wooded savannah, the park is home to many of Africa's plains animals including giraffe, lions, leopards, elephants, buffaloes, and hartebeests. | Mark arranged a 3-day safari, through Red Chilli Tours, which was wonderful. We had our own personal guide and were the only passengers in the vehicle.
12: Sambiya River Lodge is where we spent our first night. We stayed in 2 one-room bandas. We were instructed to go back to our banda with an escort after dinner. After dinner there were a bunch of men lounging outside and they said we could go back without an escort. We started to walk off when a man with a gun came and told us to stop. There was a water buffalo close by (lone male buffalo are very dangerous). We waited until it moved on and then were escorted back. Very early in the morning, before dawn, I awoke to loud snorting and walking right outside our window! When I finally got up my nerve, we looked out and saw a heard of buffalo eating in a nearby field. We decided to wait to go to the outside toilet until we heard other people up! It was so dark that morning when we got up before 5 am, because the generator wasn’t running yet to provide electricity. | Water Buffalo
13: The Girls (well maybe not)
14: Baboons like to warm themselves on the road, and don’t care who wants to get by | We spent the 2nd night at Red Chilli Rest Camp. Whereas the last place was known for the buffalo, his place was known for the hippos that might wander through the camp at night. I was glad we had a toilet in our banda. | Red Chilli Rest Camp | Baboon | Warthog
15: Vervet Monkey
16: Grey-headed Kingfisher | Little | Bee-eaters
17: Long-crested Eagle | Kingfisher | Red Bishop
18: Nile Cruise to Murchison Falls | Crocodile | Plover | Ferry | Cotton Men
20: Elephants along the Nile
22: Murchison | Falls
23: This is where we were sitting, in the middle of the Nile
24: Hartebeest | Giraffe | Impala
25: Impala | Which way?
28: Chimpanzee Trekking | Early in the morning we went with our trusty guide to trek into the forest in search of chimpanzees. We had to walk quietly so we could listen for them. When a chimp finds food he yells and makes a great racket, banging on the base of a tree like a drum to let the other chimps know where the food is. Then others join him and they yell and drum also. Carl didn’t listen to the guide when he told us about what the noise was about. He was concerned because he thought they were yelling at us.
32: Parombo | This is where Mark lived and worked teaching math and computers. He put in his own rain barrel and solar panels to run his lights and laptop. | Mark's home | The rain barrel. Pipe to the right goes to a sink in his home, the pipe to the left goes to his outdoor shower. | Neighbors Mr. and Mrs. Robert | Their son Mark, and our son Mark
33: Looking towards the village | Shower | The goats and chickens roam free. I don’t know how they keep track of their animals.
36: The Kitchen | A large clay pot is used as a cooler. You put an item in the pot and surround it with water. As the water evaporates it cools what is inside.
37: This man was the head teacher at the school where Mark taught. We were invited over to their home for a wonderful meal. I didn’t realize it but the wife left right before dinner to go to the village to get us some cold pop to have with the meal! They are so gracious and generous!
38: Mark learned how to make cheese. His PC friend, Kirk is making the cheese. After it is assembled it is put in a Dutch oven and cooked outdoors over coals. Party time! | Pizza Pie | Mark’s friend Robert (pronounced Robot)
39: The Ministry of Education brought solar-powered computers to Mark’s school! He is in his element teaching computers! The students are learning his computer lingo. Phrases like start menu, double click, scroll, maximize, and close. Remember when you first learned how to use a computer? If you are young enough you probably grew up using them, but for us older folks we can still remember trying to get the mouse to move the way we want it to!
41: New-improved Bull Washing Bar? At Bob Shopping Centre | Signage | Furniture/Hardware Store and Police Station | Signs
42: Kruger National Park, South Africa | This park is located in northeastern South Africa and is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. It covers an area of 7,523 sq mi, and extends 220 miles from north to south and 40 miles from east to west. All the Big Five game animals (lion, elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros) are found here, and this park has more species of large mammals than any other African Game Reserve. Mark saw all of the big five here, but Kathy and Carl weren’t quick enough to see the leopard, and the lion was too far away for our old eyes to see. | We stayed at the Berg-en-Dal Rest Camp which is situated on the banks of the Matjulu spruit, in the south western corner of the Park.
43: Berg-en-Dal Rest Camp This is the bungalow were we stayed. Indoor toilet, shower and a kitchen with a refrigerator. Cool drinks and ice cream. Yum.
44: Water Baffalo | Owl | Night Drive | August 16
45: Hyena | Elephant | We went on a night drive on our anniversary. I felt like we were spying as we aimed huge spot lights on the animals. On the road there was a hyena eating some garbage. The ranger got out of the vehicle, ran after it waving his coat and the hyena dropped the garbage and ran off. During the drive our son, Tim, texted from the U.S. about Seattle Mariner’s Felix Herandez pitching a perfect game the day before: Carl was a bit distracted.
46: We signed up for a morning walk. I thought we were just going for a walk around the campground, checking out nature. But we drove out into the bush and went out in search of rhinos. We climbed up that mountain (okay, it’s a hill). Besides seeing the rhinos we saw a rhino beetle, wild cotton, and rhino dung.
48: Magpie Shrike | Cape Glossy Starling | Lilac-breasted Roller | I thought this was just a dull black bird, until I saw it in bright sunlight, then it showed its true color – an iridescent dark blue that shimmers vividly as the bird moves and the sun dances off its feathers.
49: Woolly-necked Stork
50: Red-billed Hornbill
51: Southern Ground Hornbill | Hamerkop and Egyptian Goose
56: Greater Kudo | The greater kudu, a woodland antelope, is one of the largest species of antelope. Males weigh 420–600 lb, and stand up to 63 inches tall at the shoulder. The ears of the greater kudu very large and round. We almost missed this male because he blended so well into the background. The small animal opposite is not a baby, but an impala.
58: I thought this was just a serene scene of a river and a couple herons. When I enlarged the photo for the photo album I noticed that the rocks around the birds looked strange. There are pointed ridges, legs and eyes on those rocks. The poor birds were surrounded by crocodiles!
59: African Darter | Goliath Heron
60: We were told there were some lions off in the distance. Which tree... which bush... what binoculars? We only spotted them after the photo was enlarged - our only sighting of lions. Mark saw a leopard on the side of the road, but it was gone before we saw it. | Klipspringer | Rock
62: Impala | Impala
64: Egyptian Geese | Impala
66: Warthog | Wildebeest
68: Carl being silly. | There was a herd of elephants leaving the river, behind us.
69: Crocodile | Hippo | Crocodile Bridge | We were not sure if this bridge was open to the public, but we went across anyway.
70: South Africa | Drakensberg | Drakensberg Sun Resort | African Sacred Ibis | Mark
71: The view from our condo
73: Castle Rock in the distance
74: The Cruise | There is a small man-made lake where the resort offers free cruises. Wasn't a very long ride, but we had fun.
76: Married 27 years! | I am glad we decided against the 2-hour horseback ride. One hour was more than enough on wooden saddles without any padding!
78: Weaver | Heron
79: Vervet Monkey | Weaver | Antelope
80: Drakensberg Canopy Tours | I can’t believe we did it! Riding zip lines from trees and cliffs. We went with another family of 3. I think the little boy was 5 or 6 years old, and he went on a few of the shorter runs, by himself. I think he was braver than us. You really have to put your faith in your equipment as you lean back and step off that platform. What a rush!!
84: We really enjoyed our nature walk with our tour guide King Steve, the "humble African guide." He took us to view ancient San rock paintings and a tree where eagles nest. He was so informative! | Tree where an eagle nests | Skeletons of baby antelope and baboon which the eagle fed to her babies
85: The San people near Drakensberg were hunter-gatherers who lived in the rock overhangs beginning in the 13th century. They disappeared by the end of the 19th century due to European colonization, leaving behind the largest collection of rock paintings in Africa south of the Sahara, dating back about 2,400 years. | San Rock Paintings
87: Falcon Ridge Bird of Prey Centre | Cape Eagle-Owl | Peregrine Falcon
88: South Africa | Durban
89: We drove to Durban from Drakensberg to catch our flight to Capetown. We had a few hours before our flight and planned to take a boat to go whale watching (it is noted as the best place to watch whales), but they had engine problems. So we settled on enjoying the beach, going to the aquarium, and eating whale-sized fish and chips! | Surf fishing
90: Durban Sea World Aquarium
92: South Africa | Cape Town
93: Camps Bay Resort | Famous for the bathing beauties
94: We arrived late at night at our resort which appears to be a converted apartment. There was a loud noise which we didn’t investigate at the time. The next morning when we opened our window blinds we found out that we were close to the beach and it was the roar of the ocean we heard. We had a wonderful view of the beach. | I wonder why the door knobs are so high. | The bathroom was extremely narrow, with a tiny narrow sink. | Ice cream floats, but no rootbeer.
96: The Twelve Apostles (cliffs) | Birds, positive | Birds, negative
99: Check out what Mark is not sitting on.
100: Cape Town This sculpture is made of Coca-Cola crates. The six metals this “Lego” man wears represent metals South Africa won in the 2012 summer Olympics.
102: We hoped to go whale watching and go to the top of Table Mountain, but the 1st two days we had inclement weather, but that still provided an awesome time to view God’s handiwork.
105: Instead of whale watching we went on a tour to the Cape of Good Hope which included a stop at Simon Town to see the Penguins which nest on the beach. They are called Jackass penguins because of the noise they make. | Simon Town
107: Cape of Good Hope
108: The weather was wonderful that last morning of our trip. Unfortunately Mark had to leave early to return to Uganda, but we were able to visit the mountain before we left that afternoon.
109: Table Mountain
110: Journey | into the | clouds | In 2011, Table Mountain was voted one of the new seven wonders, but the official result is still to be presented. The cable ride starts at an altitude of 990 ft and rises up to top to an altitude of 3,500 ft. The mountain offers views over Cape Town, Table Bay and Robben Island to the north, and the Atlantic seaboard to the west and south The cable cars carry 65 passengers. There were some rather rude tourist who barged past us to get a window view looking down. I was delighted when the car started to rotate, so they soon lost their view and shared it with us!
113: I walked a little ways away and was changing my batteries when I looked up and I saw him staring at me. He was just a little too close for my comfort. | I was taking some photos of this rock dassie (rock hyrax) when he ran off.
114: Robben Island | Camps Bay
116: Whale | We finally saw a whale, while on our tour to the Cape of Good Hope, right from the side of the road!