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Middle East » Qatar » Doha
May 22nd 2018
Published: May 22nd 2018
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Bo Kaap. Bo Kaap. Bo Kaap.

Muslim quarter. Originally Cape Malay Slave Trade area
Well, here we go. After an afternoon shopping in CapeTown’s upmarket waterfront last night, obviously punctuated by the odd glass of Paarl estate Sauvignon Blanc to ease the stress of parting with hard earned cash, we had our last African dinner in a sauve Belgian Restaurant (Den Anker) recommended by our Safari pals, Bruce and Nancy. And very nice it was too. Needless to say, on our taxi drive to the airport, the sun was shining again and we had a great view of table mountain from the taxi window!! Ah well, next time maybe. If we’re spared.
So now writing this in the air somewhere over Mombassa, about an hour from crossing the equator and need to fill the sink to do the old down the plughole thing…..you know, south, anti-clockwise, north clockwise…..or is it the other way round. Who knows. More to the point, who cares. Transfer at Doha (Qatar) after 10 hrs, to Edinburgh flight at stupid o’clock for another 9 hrs in the air. Then 4 hr drive home. One has to suffer for one’s art.
So. Usual post trip ruminations. Skip this if you’re bored and just look at the pictures.
Fantastic trip and met some fantastic like minded global independent travellers. A lot of road mileage, 2 internal flights, including the wee Cessna, several boats, a Mokoro (canoe), some great Safari lodges and one dodgy one, a quirky guest house (JoBurg) and 3 hotels including the superb Dysart Boutique Hotel in Cape Town. 5 Game reserve safaris, Kruger, Karangwe (South Africa), Hwange (Zimbabwe), Chobe, and Okavanga Delta (Botswana), and the immense Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe and Zambia).

Cities;
Johannesburg. Keep it! Business centre but very dangerous with high crime and security fences and guards everywhere. Not safe to go out alone and definitely not after dark. Visit to Soweto was great, and an eye opener. No inclination ever to return. Our guest house (Malikana) and owners Soukie and Ben were superb.

Cape Town; wonderful cosmopolitan modern city with great backdrop of Table Mountain and beautiful surrounding country and beaches. Much safer than guide books suggest although not wise to venture out alone at nights. We used Uber taxis to restaurants, which were door to door. Local people were universally so polite and helpful. Never felt threatened. The local non- white population are generally optimistic but sadly feel that Apartheid is still alive, at least
V and A V and A V and A

Table Mountain in background. Honest
economically. Even more sadly, my observations appear to confirm this. We visited 3 restaurants. All but a handful of diners were white (that’s in total), and all but about 3 waiters, chefs, etc were black or coloured. There were large groups of unemployed on several street corners waiting for a day’s casual work. They are picked up by builders, etc looking for cheap labour but for only one day, to avoid contracts, etc. The pay is around £15 for the day. There is little or no state benefit other than for disabled. All the street beggars seen (not many) were black.
Having said that, the white population are very nervous about the governments intention to take back all land owned by whites and lease it back to them. So even if you own your house, business or farm, you won’t own the land it sits on. No one yet seems to know how much the leases will cost. Rather unsettling! The last quotation on the walls of the Apartheid museum in JoBerg loom ominously. ‘There can be no guarantee that yesterday’s oppressed will not become tomorrow’s oppressors’. Enough.
The water restrictions are no great hassle and the recent rains are
Table Mountain Table Mountain Table Mountain

From airport bound taxi!
refilling the reservoirs. Would love to return (and do Table Mountain) but so many other unseen places to visit first

Animals seen? Wow. That’s what we came for, and we certainly got it. In bucket loads. And mostly at VERY close quarters, including the ‘big 5’ (name is a tourist gimmick), lion, elephant, hippo, buffalo and leopard. In all 30 different mammal species, 67 birds ( all ‘lifers’) 7 reptiles, and many many insects. Although very few mosquitos thankfully, and only a few spiders, and no snakes (that’s a first!). And sorry, Freya, no unicorns either.
Animals eaten? Skip this bit if you're squeamish! Cow, lamb, pig, Impala, kudu, springbok, eland, blue wildebeest, buffalo, chicken, ostrich, crocodile, kingklip (Cape Town fish), mopani worm (caterpillar). But not all at once. Favourite? Botswana beef and blue wildebeest steak. Least favourite...you got it..the worms. Flash fried until crisp and black outside but still juicy and squishy inside. I warned you to skip it! When in Rome, etc etc.

So, in closing this episode of ‘Duffs on tour’, I reiterate that we never take these trips for granted, never a day passes without us feeling very privileged and blessed for being able
Table Mountain side viewTable Mountain side viewTable Mountain side view

From back window of taxi!
to do this, and grateful for the opportunity we had to have an education and subsequent career that enables us to do it. Our global sojourns constantly bring us into contact with many lovely and intelligent people, who by accident of geography, ethnicity, government ineptitude and corruption, wars and poverty, just do not get that opportunity, and for whom life is a constant hand to mouth struggle for survival. We feel impotent to change that, but our use of Eco savvy organisations such as Intrepid, or GAdventures (now teamed with National Geographic) for our small group travel puts a significant contribution directly back into local schemes to help the communities we visit. We also always try to buy from, or eat with local people wherever possible.
Finally, huge thanks must go to daughter and daughter in law, Emma and Jane for looking after Dougal, our gentle giant of a dog for nearly a month, without which it would have been very hard to contemplate this trip. Hope your house is still relatively intact!
So if you’ve managed to read this far, (good grief, have you nothing better to do?), thank you for coming, hope you enjoyed it, and close the door quietly on the way out. Just crossed the equator and I’m off to sleep now
Over and out….






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8th October 2018

Trip
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