Wednesday, February 1, 2012
Back in Southern Africa
I was in Southern Africa last winter and I'm back again. In 2011 I worked in Angola, Mozambique, Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana and Rwanda. I'm currently in Pretoria, Republic of South Africa, and will travel to Malawi, Tanzania, Madagascar, Kenya, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea before returning home in early March.
Perhaps you know that the RSA has three national capitals -- Pretoria where the President and cabinet have offices; Cape Town the seat of Parliament; and Bloemfontein the home of the Supreme Court (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Africa). In the US we believe in a constitutional separation of governmental powers; in South Africa the separation is even geographical.
Last February I spend a very pleasant weekend safari in Midikwe Game Park on the RSA/Botswana border which I described in this blog. Unfortunately I won't have any time for pleasure on this South African stop. My most extensive South African travel was in 2007 when I was able to tour both the Western Cape and Gauteng provinces. Western Cape Province includes the Cape of Good Hope, extensive vineyards producing some of South Africa's best wines, and several interesting cities. Highlights included a few nights at Cape Town's elegant Victoria and Alfred Hotel where I especially enjoyed watching the fog rise off of famous Table Mountain during breakfast, a tour around the Cape of Good Hope which included a hike up to the Cape's lighthouse, a visit to a large penguin colony;
and a tour of the wine village of Stellenbosch with its charming Dutch architecture. In Gauteng I spent a day at Soweto Township recalling the events that brought an end to South African apartheid. Those of us who have reached a certain age will vividly remember the historic Soweto uprising in 1976. Here are a few links on the Western Cape and Soweto:
In 2007 I also flew from Johannesburg to the Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls after having seen it from the Zambian side in 1986. The magnificent Falls are on the Zambezi River which forms the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe. It is truly one of the seven wonders of the natural world, falling 108 meters from a wide bend in the river into an extremely narrow gorge, causing tall plumes of mist to rise high into the sky and to be visible from a great distance by approaching aircraft. When viewing the Falls up close, one must wear a poncho or trench coat to avoid get sopping wet. I wore only shorts and a shirt and was drenched to the bone. My accommodations were in the world famous Victoria Falls Hotel (http://www.africansunhotels.co/Index.cfm?fuseaction=hotels.info&na me=the_victoria_falls_hotel) built in 1904 and frequented by colonialists and aristocrats. It has the Livingston Dining Room and the Stanley Bar and is thoroughly British, serving high tea every afternoon. In 1855, David Livingstone was the first European to view the Falls and named it after Queen Victoria (http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/livingstone.htm).