Page 3 of Craig9563 Travel Blog Posts

Africa » Namibia September 17th 2017

September 17, 2017 Episode 4: The incredible Namib desert, flamingos, geckos…..and Germany! I was giving a lecture at Uni, but when I looked up, all the students were giraffes wearing glasses, craning their necks to see over each other. WTF? Then I woke up, and realised I was simply dreaming. No, I was not back at work, but still here in Africa. We are currently on the road in a hire car in Namibia, having an excellent time. The country of Namibia is large (about the size of NSW). Unusually for Africa, it is very sparsely populated. Only about 2 million people in the whole country. It is a vast land of striking arid scenery, including the oldest desert on Earth, the Namib, from which the country gets its name. It is a safe and easy ... read more

Africa » Namibia » Windhoek September 11th 2017

Monday, September 11, 2017 Episode 3: The Okavango Delta and the case of the smuggled Frangelico. I have often thought that the admiration we as humans have for beautiful landscapes is an evolutionary adaptation. Our brains are probably wired to appreciate pristine environments to ensure that we preserve them for our own benefit - we need them because they supply us with food and shelter. The Okavango Delta is surely one such place. We completed our Botswana leg of the trip with an exploration of the Delta. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Okavango was a firm bucket list item for me. A massive inland Delta, it is produced each year by seasonal flooding of the Okavango River during the wet season. Unlike most river deltas, the water does not reach the sea. It spreads out ... read more

Africa » Botswana » North-East September 7th 2017

September 8, 2017. Episode 2: Seven days in the heart of the African bush. Greetings from beautiful Botswana, where we spent the past several days on a mobile tented safari, moving around the Northern National Parks and reserves. Home to both the Kalahari Desert and Okavango Delta, Botwsana is one of the top travel destinations in Africa. Much of the country is arid or semi-arid. Yet beneath its parched soil lies a glittering prize, as Botswana is the leading diamond-producing country in the world (in terms of value) and the second largest in terms of volume (after Russia). Such a lucrative resource has driven Botswana’s prosperity, and hence it is a stable, safe and tranquil place with a generally good standard of living, at least in cities. The over-arching national principle here is equality. The proud ... read more
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Africa » Zimbabwe » Victoria Falls August 29th 2017

August 29, 2017 Episode 1: Victoria Falls; The smoke that thunders. Dear family, friends and colleagues, I am thrilled to report that we are back here in Africa, easily my favourite travel destination in the world. Like a chilled glass of Frangelico, Africa is intoxicating and addictive. It never ceases to amaze me with its wonderful people, landscapes and - most of all - its incredible wildlife. This time, I was particularly interested in going to Botswana, home of the legendary Okavango Delta – to spy all sorts of animals - but wild dogs in particular. And then a self-drive in the neighbouring country of Namibia, home of the vast red sand dunes of the Namib desert and incredible Etosha National Park. Most people traveling from Australia to Africa enter via Johannesburg in South Africa. We ... read more

North America » United States » Alaska July 12th 2016

Tuesday July 12, 2016 Episode 6: Bears galore – and a near death experience. Awesome. Incredible. A once in a lifetime experience, and a fitting highlight to the end of our Alaskan journey. This is how I describe the last three days of our Alaskan trip last week, watching massive brown bears feeding on salmon at Katmai national park. This remote place is on the Alaskan Peninsula, inaccessible except by air or sea. We first caught a commercial flight from Anchorage to the small town of King Salmon. From there, small float planes (seaplanes) ferry people back and forth to Brooks Falls, the entry point to Katmai (a short 20 minute flight). At Brooks, there was a visitor centre, national park office, a lodge/bar/eatery and a campground. The campground was encircled by an electrified fence, which ... read more
Brooks Falls
View from platform
Bears at the falls2

North America » United States » Alaska July 5th 2016

Tuesday July 5, 2016 Episode 5: Fashion meets fur at Denali National Park Hello to all. After visiting the Kenai Peninsula in the South, we drove North, to the Denali National Park area. We stopped first at Talkeetna, a quintessential Alaskan town that sits in the shadow of Mt Denali. Talkeetna is a charming place with some fine old buildings, with wooden facades bearing moose antlers or bear skins. Several good pubs too. “Talkeetna was the inspiration for the TV show “Northern Exposure”,” said the shrill tattooed woman behind a bar that we found ourselves in. “But it was actually filmed in Washington state.” We stayed at the Talkeetna Roadhouse, a great atmospheric place and something of a local institution. We especially enjoyed sitting in rocking chairs on the front porch of the Roadhouse in the ... read more
Alaska Range2
Glacier landing
Glacier @ Denali

North America » United States » Alaska June 28th 2016

Tuesday, June 28, 2016. Episode 4: Wildlife spotting and beer tasting on the Kenai Peninsula. If you drive three hours South of Anchorage, you come to the wonderful Kenai Peninsula. This place basically showcases all of Alaska in one hit – glaciers, snow-capped mountains, terrestrial and marine wildlife, forests, national parks and quaint towns. It is a “must-see” for a first time Alaskan visitor who has the time. In a hire car, we drove down here to take it all in, stopping at the towns of Seward on one side of the peninsula, and then Homer on the other. There is a massive icefield in the middle that spawns numerous glaciers and much of it is protected as the Kenai Fjords National Park. This is best seen from the water, and we did a full-day boat ... read more
near Seward

North America » United States » Alaska June 22nd 2016

Tuesday, June 21, 2016. Episode 3: Glacier Bay and then on to Anchorage. Hand railings, door handles and salt and pepper shakers. Theses are apparently the main sources of spreading gastro bugs and/or the norovirus around cruise ships. There were sanitation stations all over the ship, where you place your hands and a pleasant smelling disinfectant squirts out. Everyone happily did this before and after entering eateries and bars on our cruise ship. There were also staff around with little spray bottles of the same stuff, constantly exclaiming “Washy, washy” and spraying your outstretched hands every now and then. They became friendly faces that we got to know. On the last day of the cruise, one of them was on guitar and they were singing. We noted that their repertoire included this corruption of a Beatles ... read more
2..Glacier Bay
3. Glacier Bay
4. Breaching humpback

North America » United States » Alaska June 19th 2016

Episode 2: The “Alaskan Panhandle” June 16, 2016. Dear all, I hope all is well there in the Antipodes. Very happy we are not still being ear-bashing by Australian election crap. Mind you, it is not much better here in the USA. We are now half way through our Alaskan cruise (a seven-day trip). We are having a great time and the scenery here is superb. Before boarding, I made a quick trip to Vancouver Aquarium, with the prime aim of seeing their captive beluga whales (unlikely that I’d ever see them in the wild). Bryan will recall that we also saw orcas there at the aquarium in 1988, but they have since conceded that keeping orcas in captivity is not right and killer whales no longer feature here. Yet somehow this sentiment does not extend ... read more
1bLeaving Vanocuver
2.Saling out of Vancouver
3.Ketchikan Alaksa

North America » United States » Alaska June 13th 2016

Episode 1: Northern Exposure June 12, 2016. Hello everyone. This trip sees us heading North, way North………to Alaska. Buoyed by the prospect of epic scenery, vast open spaces, unique wildlife, and cruising the famed Inside Passage, we eagerly boarded our flight to North America last week. As neither of us handle long haul flights very well these days, we broke the trip by spending two languid days in Hawaii, before pressing on to Vancouver, Canada, where the cruise was leaving from. Now, we don’t normally relish the prospect of being confined to a floating mega-hotel, dodging gastro-bugs and screaming kids each day, and indeed we have never been on a cruise previously. It’s not our scene. However, in this particular case, it really is the best way to see the Alaskan panhandle as much of it ... read more
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