This and the posts that follow are set up to provide an overview of our recent trip to Southern Africa, with easy references to recommended places, hotels and other highlights, for those who might want to make a similar trip in the future.
We visited four countries: Zambia, Bostwana, Namibia and South Africa for three weeks in mid-January to early February. Weather was generally warm/hot, though rarely ‘stifling, Houston in summer’ oppressive. We had a lot of rain, which interfered with some flights, but generally it didn’t impact the trip. It was very evident that the global economic crisis has reduced tourism: we stayed at a couple places where occupancy rates were less than 20% (with the exception of Cape Town and the Winelands). With the exception of Singita near Kruger in South Africa, Americans are really in the minority, often about 10-15% of the tourists. All of the places we stayed were air conditioned, so we were able to limit our exposure to mosquitoes. In fact, we saw only a total of about 20 of them during the whole trip, and only a couple in our rooms.
Zambia (Victoria Falls) - The Zimbabwe River was running high for this time of year, so the Falls were spectacular. We stayed at the Royal Livingstone(accomodations, food was excellent), which is very close to the Falls. Here are pics from the hotel to show just how close we were to the Falls, and then a shot Jen took when she took a helicopter ride: