1. Where did you go in Africa?
I went to Morocco, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Kenya, and Tanzania.
2. Do I need to get inoculated before I go?
Absolutely. Check out Do I Really Need to get Vaccinated? for more information.
3. How do you choose a good tour company?
First, research what you want to see. I began with Trip Advisor, read reviews, then emailed my choices for quotes. I asked lots of questions and eventually narrowed it down to 3.
4. What type of clothing should I take on safari?
Take clothes that are easy to wash and dry quickly. Choose earth tones; no whites or bright colours since they make you stand out. Don’t take camouflage clothing that can be confused for military uniforms or dark colours such as black or dark blue because they attract Tsetse flies.
Think casual, comfortable and easy to layer; t-shirts, light weight long-sleeve shirts made with UV protected fabric (great for keeping bugs away), a light fleece, rain-jacket, pants with zip-off legs, comfortable walking shoes, polarized sunglasses, a versatile scarf and a swimsuit. A good hat with a chin strap to keep it from blowing away is important. You’ll need gloves, scarf, toque, and a warm jacket for when the temperatures really drop after sunset if you visit during winter. Women, don’t forget a good sports bra for bumpy jeep rides. Don’t forget a casual but sophisticated outfit in case you go out for supper.
5. What were your favourite African foods?
So much delicious food, so little time. I love the North African tajines. These moist and flavourful stews are named after the earthenware pointed pots they are cooked in. Tajine recipes include vegetables, meat, spices and dried fruits. Snacking on South African biltong, a dried, cured meat similar to jerky, was also a treat. I tried many wild meats prepared in a variety of ways such as ostrich, warthog, zebra, springbok, oryx and heartbeast.
6. Can you pet the penguins near Cape Town?
Tempting, but no. These penguins are endangered because of loss of habitat and declining food sources. Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town is the only place in the world where you can observe a wild colony of these birds close-up. The reasonable entrance fee funds much needed conservation efforts.
7. What is it like to ride a camel?
Not comfortable, but so much fun! Getting on a camel is not a graceful procedure. Start by swinging one leg over the sitting camel’s back, quickly grab the wooden handle and hold on for dear life. Next, lean backwards because you will be pitched forward as the camel raises his back legs first when getting up. Finally, lean forward because you’ll suddenly be pitched backwards as the camel raises his front legs. The ride itself is jerky, especially when going up and down steep sand dunes. Same goes for it is time to dismount.
8. What was your favourite part of sleeping in the desert?
The silence and the sky. After sunset, the black velvet sky is a perfect backdrop for shooting stars and a well-defined Milky Way. Dawn over the desert dunes is magical.
9. What can elephant poop be used for?
Botswana has an abundance of this poop since it is home to the world’s largest population of pachyderms. In one day, an elephant spends 12 to 18 hours eating a whopping 200 to 600 pounds of food. Their herbivore diet consists of grass, trees and other vegetation. Locals have many creative uses for this resource, such as using the smoke from burning dung as a mosquito repellant. Inhaled, smoke from burning elephant dung can also be used as medication to dull pain, clear sinuses and cure a nose bleed. Since there is very little bacteria in elephant poop, water squeezed out of it can save you from dehydration. Much of the fibrous diet that passes through an elephant is undigested, making it perfect for creating products such as rough paper, teas and beers.
Have a look at all travel tips by Lola and Stuart!
And don’t forget to watch Lola’s snowball fight…