Page 11 of Weir travels Travel Blog Posts


Africa » South Africa » Eastern Cape December 6th 2006

The last port-of-call on my 2006 trip to southern Africa was the Eastern Cape. As I mentioned at the end of my last blog, I’d met the inspirational Dianne Lang on the train from London to Edinburgh in June this year and was so overwhelmed by her work with AIDS orphans and abused children that I’d arranged to visit her Children’s Home for a few days at the end of my trip with a view to seeing whether or not I could “handle” coming back to work there for a longer period next year. First stop was Port Elizabeth where, for a number of reasons, I really did stop and wonder what on earth I was doing. The fact that PE had yet to switch on its summer weather didn’t help: the cold, grey, wet skies ... read more
the Children's Home
the playground
with Lisa, Beverley, Joyce and Luke

Africa » Namibia November 13th 2006

I’m sitting at a friend’s PC in Johannesburg where, blu-tacked to the screen, is a quotation from Jennifer Aniston: “There’s nothing better than contagious laughter.” And nothing could better encapsulate my recent trip with my oft-travelling companion and long-time friend, Amanda Burge… (There was also “that Keane song” which we played as often as the road conditions would allow and which will forever conjure images of Namibia for us. Every trip needs its theme tune, although this one, it must be said, didn’t exactly capture the ebullience of our travels; nevertheless, we both loved it.) Travelling with Amanda has always been easy. We have known each other since the half-student/half-living-like-a-grown-up days of Law School at Chester and, although we’ve never done a Big Trip together, she joined me and my then-travelling companion, Delia, for three weeks ... read more
a hopeful would-be passenger... or driver?
Andrew trying to get a line in
leopard work-up in the field

Africa » Namibia November 13th 2006

My sister suggested that it might be useful/interesting if I filled in some of the blanks of living and travelling in Namibia that I now take for granted and which would have been too run-of-the-mill to feature in any blog. Please feel free to skip through the blurb and go straight for the photos which, I’ll be the first to admit, have little to do with the blog itself but are intended to brighten up the black and white text. In the meantime, as you may have spotted from an earlier blog, I’m now in South Africa. Prising myself away from Namibia was hard: it’s a fabulous country and I am still in love with it. Now to find the excuse to go back… COMMUNICATIONS (1) MOBILE PHONE Given the humungous charges imposed by European networks ... read more
the road north from Windhoek to Otjiwarongo
sunset at Okaukuejo waterhole
no blog would be complete without an elephant photo!

Africa » Namibia November 12th 2006

The various places that Amanda and I visited during the second week of our trip have one thing in common…. well, the heading for this blog entry has somewhat given it away… yes, SAND. When we were planning this trip, the one area that I’d insisted on including was the Skeleton Coast. Amanda, fried from juggling what really amounted to two jobs at once (someone should do away with the concept of “part-time secondment” once and for all - there ain’t any such animal: you just end up doing your fulltime day job squished into whatever time is left from your allegedly part-time role in the client institution which role, itself, tends to expand beyond the agreed limits), was afraid that this would involve just too much driving and, a valid point, what was there to ... read more
first view into the Skeleton Coast National Park
nothing, nothing and nothing - the emptiness of the Skeleton Coast beggars belief
yet there is life

Africa » Namibia November 6th 2006

What do you do with a free ten days in Namibia when the early appearance of the rainy season (6-8 weeks ahead of its anticipated arrival) makes driving on your own to the few parts of the country that you haven’t yet visited somewhat unwise? Faced with the option of kicking my heels in Windhoek - don’t get me wrong, I’m fond of the place: it’s just that there isn’t a vast amount to do and I feel as if I’ve “done” most of it - I arranged to go back to the Cheetah Conservation Fund where I’d had such a ball back in September. But first to “pay” for the loan of a vehicle to get me up and down the country. Keith Leggett, the scientist with whom I’d worked on the desert-dwelling elephant ... read more
chameleon
black-backed jackal in the late afternoon light
CCF after the rains

Africa » Namibia October 30th 2006

What do you do with a free ten days in Namibia when the early appearance of the rainy season (6-8 weeks ahead of its anticipated arrival) makes driving on your own to the few parts of the country that you haven’t yet visited somewhat unwise? Faced with the option of kicking my heels in Windhoek - don’t get me wrong, I’m fond of the place: it’s just that there isn’t a vast amount to do and I feel as if I’ve “done” most of it - I arranged to go back to the Cheetah Conservation Fund where I’d had such a ball back in September. But first to “pay” for the loan of a vehicle to get me up and down the country. Keith Leggett, the scientist with whom I’d worked on the desert-dwelling elephant project, ... read more

Africa » Namibia » Kaokoland October 19th 2006

For reasons that I’m not sure I’ll be able to convey to anyone who has never been to the big open spaces of Africa, I fell in love with Kaokoland during my work on the desert-dwelling elephant project there in August. Truly, to paraphrase, I can "never shake the ancient dust of Africa off" my boots. It’s not a kind environment. The adage “if you don’t like dust, don’t go to Kaokoland” is all too true, and that’s even when the afternoon winds aren’t whipping up the dust, obliterating the surrounding hills and getting it in your eyes and ears, not to mention turning your clothes and skin a paler shade of grey. Temperatures in the hot dry season of which October is supposed to be the beginning reach at least the mid-40s in the shade ... read more
dust storm in the Hoanib
the eclectic collection of things on sale
schoolwork at Purros campsite

Africa » Namibia September 30th 2006

Sitting here at a keyboard on a muggy spring night in Outjo, unable to sleep thanks to the efforts of a particularly noisy mozzie in my room and a probable OD of caffeine earlier in the day, I feel as if I am back at school with an essay crisis (except for the fact that I wrote essays by hand in those days). Admittedly, this is an essay crisis of my own making: I want to get the blog for the most recent part of my trip written up before I go bush on Sunday and forget all about the last month’s experiences. I think that it is safe to say that, when I was describing my trip to friends in advance, this second conservation project in which I was going to get involved as an ... read more
view on the way to work in the morning
Tylee's puppies at 5 weeks
one of many sunsets from the Tower

Africa » Namibia September 3rd 2006

As you might have noticed, I have been very happy to put up with, shall we say, a variety of accommodation arrangements in the last few months. (I described one type of overnight arrangement as "basic camping", promting the question from one friend, "what's more basic than camping?".) However, I could not really expect Colin to enjoy other than a reasonable amount of luxury when he flew out to join me in Namibia for a snatched nine-day vacation at the end of August. And, it must be said, I didn’t resent the five-star treatment too much - though I found it interesting how much less comfortable I felt in the company of the majority of my fellow four/five-star guests than I had with my co-travellers and co-volunteers in Namibia to date. The trip started and ended ... read more
Etosha Pan from the air
traffic jam at Okaukeujo waterhole
making "baby monitors"

Africa » Angola » North » Luanda August 23rd 2006

Eight things that I didn’t know about the capital of Angola a week ago: (1) It is one of the most expensive cities in the world; I assume, the most expensive in Africa. US$10 for an iceberg lettuce, for example. And I’m assured that eating out in London seems modestly priced by comparison. (2) The US dollar is, effectively, a second currency, thanks, in no small part, to the booming oil industry here. (3) Along the coast, the most oft-sighted bird is the common egret; a curiously spectacular bird to be apparent in such numbers. Not a seagull in sight. (4) There is, effectively, no tourist industry; not even a scruffy photocopied handout at the Luanda Fort where nothing is labelled, and street-sellers simply sell goods targeted at the general population rather than hassling the (non-existent) ... read more
view towards central Luanda from where I was staying
plaque commemorating David Livingstone on the British ambassador's residence
view of Luanda Fort from PwC's offices




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