Friday, September 30, 2011

THAT'S A LAKE!!!!???

I write to you from the shores of Lake Malawi – Africa’s third largest fresh water lake (it’s roughly twice the size of Wales…..and I’m telling you, it looks like the ocean). Anyway, lets go back to Zambia for a moment.
When our 4 days in Livingstone were up we packed our things and headed towards Lusaka, not without visiting The Mighty Victoria Falls first though. One of the largest waterfalls in the world (about 128 meters high) this natural wonder never fails to evoke goose bumps. Mosi o Tunya (known locally, meaning the smoke that thunders) was however a little dry, with the Zambezi water levels low the falls tends to peter off to a slight drizzle in comparison to the thundering “smoke” seen in high water, however still very impressive. From Lusaka (Zambia’s capital) we headed to the boarder town of Chipatta where we spent one night before crossing into Malawi – the friendliest country on the continent.
We spend 5 nights all along the coast of Lake Malawi. Our first night saw us setting up camp literally on the ‘beach’ at Senga Bay…I think the water must have gone to our heads as we later decided to partake in some not so light aerobics which saw us all a little crippled the next day as we headed to Kande Beach – our next stop, where again we spent 2 nights on the beach.
Our last 2 nights on Malawi are spent at Chitimba Beach Camp (my personal favorite) and we have so far spent the time swimming and relaxing, before we head to fast paced Tanzania.
Tomorrow we have long day ahead of us as we head toward the Songwe boarder post and enter Tanzania, but it will all be worth it as in a couple of days we’ll be crossing the Indian Ocean to Zanzibar!!! ☺
Until next time xxx

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

ZambEZI Living

Since I last wrote, we’ve left Namibia, entered Botswana …..left again and hit Zambia…..But lets start from the beginning.

With Joe’s famous game meat now just a memory we left Windhoek early doors and headed towards Botswana’s gates. Our first port of call was the town of Ghanzi where the peeps walked through the bush with some of the remaining Bushmen in the area learning about their traditional medicines, the way they hunt and even how they make fire.

The evening was spent huddled around the camp fire as the temperature dropped at this unusually cold and eerie campsite…..maybe it’s because of old bushmen spirits….or maybe because Ghanzi is so flat that we fell victim to the cold eastern winds.

The following day was an easy 300km’s to Maun….the gate way to the Okavango Delta where we spent one night at Sitatunga camp before venturing into the watery wilderness of the Delta. …
We hopped off the truck and into a mokoro as we made our way to our bush camp.

1 hour of idyllic mokoro ride through the water ways of the delta as the reeds rise over your head (and sometimes smack you in the head..) sees us to our camp for the evening, and bush camp it is….which mean there is nothing!!! No shower…the toilet is dug on our arrival, no electricity …and no tap (yes I was asked). The afternoon was spent relaxing and taking in the atmosphere of this amazing place before heading off on an afternoon game walk. Giraffe and hippo were spotted along with a lot of elephant pooh (sadly no sign of the real King of the jungle though). This time of year sees the delta in flood, which means with so much water available game viewing can be hard but everyone was pleased none the less!!! The night saw us competing with the frogs and crickets chorus and singing into the fire (singing could be overstatement but we’ll stick with it) and sharing ghost stories, which meant when the inevitable need for the toilet (hole in the ground) hit a few of us in the night, we decided to wait for the sun to come up instead! The early morning saw everyone off on one last game walk before heading back into the Mokoro and back to Sitatunga camp for one last night.

The next morning saw the loving tour leader (me) up while the moon was still awake preparing breakfast for what was a looonnng day. A whopping 620km’s was travelled from Maun to Kasane but all was good as the next day saw everyone LOVING a morning game drive through Chobe national park and then later on an afternoon boat cruise on the Chobe river.

Next stop Zambia – Livingstone to be more precise and brings me pretty much up to date. For the next 4 days we’ll be relaxing, riding elephants, white water rafting through the mighty Zambezi possibly even throwing our selves of bridges…I think I’ll stick to relaxing watching over the Zambezi. .. . . ;)
Until next time folks xx

Tuesday, September 13, 2011


Here are some of the thoughts, quotes and quirky anecdotes from the class of Acacia 3.9.11 …………They kindly ask you not to judge them (might be hard though)

Chili biltong is the ultimate beer snack

Girls like stars and hugs

Tents can move spontaneously

Giraffes are stupid

The water hole at Etosha is lit up so the animals can see what they’re drinking

Talkumpowder changes lives

All spiders and scorpions are coldblooded killers

Real men eat biltong

Mopanie worms take like the seals smell

You can never have enough garlic

Getting changed inside your sleeping bag makes you look like a mental patient in a straight jacket

Set the right time on your alarm

Flip Flops don’t like being in pairs

If you’re not quick enough your mat will be pulled out from under you while you sleep!!

Mornings are some thing you’re up before

Kudu is best eaten dead…..


The comfort of Swakopmund is now a distant memory as we spend a night under the stars at Spitzkoppe (pointy heads….see there is a reason for the bizarre title!!) but first having left Swakopmind at 8.00am , we make our way to Cape Cross Seal Colony. 

Cape Cross is where the Portuguese first landed in Namibia so has great historical connotation, but it’s also a breeding ground for the Cape Fur Seal (actually a type of Seal Lion…fact of the day!) of which there were many lounging on the beach and rocks and flopping around in the sea, every one braved the smell to go and check them out. An hour later and considerably wind swept we made our way to one of the most magnificent places I have been. (Mushy moment) I can honestly say this is where my love affair with Africa began…..Spitzkoppe..

Set in the heart of Damara land, these molten rocky outcrops really do stand out like pointy-heads in the midst of flat savannah. Fueled with Bushmen history, an abundance of bird life and breath taking views these 100,000,000 year old mountains are simply sensational. We arrive with time to visit Small Bushmen Paradise to take a look at the old Bushmen paintings, which have survived 1000’s of years and allow us a sneak preview into the lives of the tribe. As the afternoon wore on some decided to go for a leisurely stroll others were more interested in trickier feats and opted to climb some of the steep rock faces for sunset. While a few people set up tents, others decided to brave the snakes, scorpions and the 1 rogue leopard (which apparently scales the rocks every so often) and sleep under the stars.

Next on the agenda is one of Southern Africa’s most famous game parks. Etosha national park.
Everyone is happy and smiley just knowing they don’t have to put their tents down in the morning as we’re here for 2 nights! The first afternoon game drive proved fruitful, spotting elephants, lions, and black rhino, heaps of various antelope, zebra and giraffe. After dinner the night was spent huddled around the waterhole as a heard of about 30 elephants and 4 black rhino descended up on us. The following morning was out the gates early for a full day of game viewing and a visit to the Etosha saltpan. Although no lions or rhino wanted to play today (it really was very hot so probably hiding away in the shade) it was another successful day, with lots of elephants bathing in various water holes, zebras, giraffes, antelopes and a collection of different birds of prey.

As the afternoon progressed and the heat continued to rise we headed back to camp for a late afternoon swim. Once again the water hole was a winner with more elephants, rhino and this time lion too!!! As bed time approached the lions woke and the jackals became even more mischievous, sleep was interrupted by the big cats roaring and the jackals……tipping over bins and trying to break into the kitchen area!
Today we are headed to Namibia’s capital city Windhoek….our last look at proper infrastructure for a while and it will be well spent indulging in some retail therapy this afternoon, good food at the famous Joe’s Beer House (if it’s not famous it should be!!) and a night in a proper bed at The Cardboard Box Hostel.

Until next time!! Xx

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The day before THE DAY!

The blog is back baby!! Guys my name is Lauren Lees and I am a tour leader here at Acacia, follow me here to get all the inside info over the next 110 days while myself and TJ (my dreamy driver) take a truck full of eager passengers around Africa. Over the next 3 ½ months we’ll be touring all the way to Uganda and back again! Experiencing and soaking up probably the BEST continent on earth!

Having flown in from taking a holiday back home in England it was straight to the office as we wasted no time in getting our truck together.  I should probably introduce you to our truck, her name is Mara named after the Mara  River which separates The Serengeti and The Masai Mara (all of our trucks are named after rivers in Africa) and she is a beasty 18 tonne 224 horse power MAN. Having been worked on for 2 weeks she now looks clean and shiny and ready to rock and roll us safely around Africa over the next 20,000 Km’s. Massive thanks to the boys in the workshop for making her look so beautiful!! After 2 days in the office sorting out all the paperwork (thank you operations team for putting up with us….and buying me a mcflurry when in need) we are ready to head to our pre departure. . . . Tomorrow is DAY 1 and my 19 passengers will be heading straight into the depth of Cape Town visiting Langa township for the morning, drinking some of the local home made beer and having lunch at the popular Mzolis. 250Km’s later we shall be hitting Highlanders campsite near the town of Trawal where I am hoping everyone is keen for a spot of wine tasting……if we’re lucky Sparky will turn up in his kilt!!.....we can all hope!! Shall keep you all posted but in the mean time keep groovy. xx

Friday, September 9, 2011


So we’ve been really busy darting all over the place since the last time I wrote. We crossed the boarder into Namibia – my personal favorite country!! Our first day was spent driving to the Fish River and visiting the Fish River Canyon, the second largest canyon in the world. The weather was spot on and despite the bumpy roads we got there with plenty of time to take in the fiery sunset. Next stop was straight into the heart of the Namib Desert, and 539 km’s later we arrived at Sesriem campsite situated within the boarders of The Namib Nauklauft National Park. Next morning we woke early and raced the sun to the top of dune 45 before heading to sossusvlei and deadvlei. The afternoon saw us 150 km’s down the road visiting Boesman’s farm and spending a couple of hours exploring the desert from there.Not before stopping at Solitair for some of their famous apple pie!!!

After a long and busy day we felt a feast was in order so Kudu steaks, home made bread and salads all round, I even quote one of the passengers when I say “kudu has changed my life” lol we had visits from toktokies and red romans round the fire and heard the Jackals laughing into the night.

Next morning, and everyone was in good spirits knowing that for the next 2 nights they would be in beds in ACTUAL rooms with ACTUAL walls and PROPER bathrooms. The roads from the farm to Swakopmund were much bumpier than normal….in fact a few stretches definitely rivaled the roads in East Africa. Thank God for TJ who mastered them with great precision and got us safely to Swakopmund!!!

Amanpuri lodge!!! Ahhhh Swakopmund, where to begin…….Skydiving, sand boarding, quad biking, boat cruises and Township tours, if any of the above floats your boat then “Swakop” is THE place to be, situated on the coast this tiny Germanic town is epic!!! The first night was spent in probably the most popular restaurant in town Napolitana’s where the low prices certainly don’t mirror the ENORMOUS portions, a couple of hours later, a few pounds heavier and carrying doggy bags we made our way to Grunies for a few drinks before heading “home” to sleeeeepp zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Today saw everyone off on a quest for adrenaline, jumping out planes and shooting down sand dunes…(and climbing back up them again for more).

Unfortunately tomorrow marks the end of comfort but it’s all good as we continue further into this amazing country. Nearly time for game driving in Etosha but first we’ll be journeying to Spitskoppe in the depths of the old Damara Land, spooky, eerie and simply incredible!!! Until next time chaps, keep groovy!! xx