An African Adventure

Written by Harold McNeill on July 10th, 2017. Posted in Travelogue, Adventure


Nat-Geo-Journeys-Header-Botswana-Makora-640x224

An African Adventure/G Tours

Victoria, B.C.

One afternoon in late June, my cell phone rang.

“Hello.”

Hi, Harold, Garth here.” (Nonchalantly): “Hey buddy, you interested in an African adventure?”

(…thinking…sure Garth, what’s the catch? I thought we were all going Russia, right? St. Petersburg, remember?)

Garth (excited): “Guess what? I just won an all-expense paid trip for two compliments of the BC Lottery Corporation.

(…Wow…are you asking me if I want to go with you? Awesome, but what about Esther and Lynn? Don’t you think they might be a little upset? No kidding, you won again, you lucky bugger.)

Garth just wins these sorts of things. Not that long ago we were at a Rotary fundraiser in Sidney when Garth won an all expense paid trip for two to Ireland. Am I surprised? Not one bit. Jealous? Perhaps a little, but hey, it’s inspiring, and it keeps these old bones moving.

Besides, Lynn and I were also winners that night in Sidney, as just when they were drawing Garth’s ticket for the Ireland trip, I received a cell call from the Victoria Humane Society telling me Lynn and I were approved to take that little Shih Tzu puppy we had our hearts set on.  It was Garth who tipped us off about that puppy.

He interrupted my thoughts: “Think you and Lynn can join us?

(…awe, not just me then… silly question. After so many shared adventures and so much fun traveling with the two of you, we couldn’t let you head out to deep dark Africa without us.  Remember we did the Middle East in the middle of a war.  So here we go again as this is obviously a Dunn Deal.

Harold: “For sure Garth, let’s look at the numbers. Have you told Esther?”

Garth:  “Not yet.

While Mr. Lucky (Garth D.) picked up his trip through an online lottery, I didn’t feel totally left out as I won a similar lottery when I married Lynn. She’ my Ace in the Hole for, as many of you know, she is a well-connected Travel Consultant whose Best Bets have never failed the Dunn’s, McNeill’s or other clients over the past several years. Was there ever any doubt our new travel plans would merge with the Dunn’s?

1. Going off the Grid

Wadi Rum

Jordan (2015): Small groug tours offer the best chance for an off the grid tour. In te photo above, a camel ride awaits Garth, Esther, Lynn and Harold as we head to at Bedouin Camp in the Wadi Rum desert (full set of photos).

As in our other small group tours — the Mediterranian/Middle East/Suez Canal with Oceania, and Cambodia/Viet Nam/Mekong River with Uniworld — National Geographic provides exciting, close up and personal tours with local guides who know their business and the people whom we shall visit. The ability to move away from the regular tourist routes provides a unique opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the local culture and customs as we found when traveling the backwaters of the Mekong River.  Even when traveling through the heart of Europe we often found ourselves well off the beaten track.

2. First Stop Pre Tour Extension: Cape Town

Cape Town, South Africa

Over our first few days in Africa, we will enjoy the delights of Cape Town, the Legislative Capital of South Africa. As a matter of interest, South Africa is among a select few nations having multiple Capitals. In South Africa, the other two being Pretoria, the seat of the President and Cabinet, and Bloemfontein, the Judicial Capital.

I wonder how it would work in Canada if we split our capital between Ottawa, Edmonton, and Montreal? Boy, that out to stir things up. What about the United States, say between Washington D.C., and Mar-a-Lago? Oh, that’s already being done you say? Fair enough, it seems to work on a week-by-week basis. Now back to travel.

Also, during our visit, one of our early tours take us to Table Mountain National cape-1Park park which includes the Cape of Good Hope. Although Good Hope is often named as the southern tip of Africa, that is in error, as the most southerly tip is Cape Agulhas some 150km south-southeast of Good Hope. Hence, Good Hope as more often referred to as the ‘south-westerly’ tip of Africa.

The last time Lynn and I traveled that far south was on a visit to Invercargill, NZ (2009). While there we spread ashes of my mother, Laura Isabel Skarsen, at 46° S. There was no particular reason for spreading her ashes at that point other than in later life mom became an adventuresome soul and knew she would appreciate the gesture.

The tip of the South Island of NZ is about 1300 km closer to the South Pole than is the Cape of Good Hope at 34° S. Given Canada’s Southern boundary rests along 49° N, it is evident the majority of our country is much closer to a pole than either Africa or NZ. Hey, and we even own the North Pole, don’t we? However, believe that as we may, the Russians, United States, and a dozen other countries disagree.

As for Good Hope, I suppose a place called Good Hope is an ideal spot to set off on this adventure as during our Indochina travels, our companion, Garth, dodged a bullet as upon his return he was waylaid for a few months for a little repair work to the old ticker. Now that he is again fit as a fiddle and back to those 10k walkabouts, he will be called upon to set the pace on our upcoming adventure.

3. Johannesburg and Kruger National Park

Kruger

After a few days in Cape Town, we head north to Johannesburg where we prepare for a six-day land cruiser/camping/hiking visit to Kruger National Park and surrounding game reserves. It’s by no means raw back-country backpacking, but we do get to experience the outback in 4 X 4 Land Cruisers with pre-set camps along the route.  We are heading out in late spring, so the temperatures are still moderate and the verdant countryside filled with migratory birds. Big game, is a little harder to locate because of the lush vegetation, but I’m sure our tour guides are well aware of the best sighting locations.

4. Victoria Falls, in the southern heart of Africa.

GC_Africa_Zambia_Victoria Falls_Aerial View_APT_LR

Upon returning to Johannesburg, we head for the southern central core – the juncture of Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Angola, and Zambia – the very spot where a gentleman by the name of David Livingstone, first set European eyes on the majestic Victoria Falls.

Who could forget the immortal line uttered by Henry Morton Stanley after finally tracking down the good Doctor on the shores of Lake Tanganyika: “Dr. Livingstone, I presume”. A simple greeting to be sure, but one that survived the vagaries of time. Much water has flowed over those falls since Dr. Livingstone first discovered the majesty and mystery of that dark, secretive continent.

As it is well established the human race began its long trek to the present day fromBushmen of Kalahari
the core of Africa (Ethiopia I think), one has to wonder how the African people
might have fared had they been left to their own devices rather than the social systems and religions imposed by colonial powers? Perhaps the Bushman of the Kalahari, into whose territories we shall intrude, might have set the standard for peace and goodwill that was, for the most part, absent among nations whose primary goals were to colonize, subjugate, and plunder.

As I have gone political again and with Canada celebrating our 150th anniversary,
I wonder why it is we have wiped from our history the fact this geographic
territory we now claim as our own, was originally claimed and settled over a 12,000 year period before the Nordic, British, French and others even knew the Canada-Native-Indiansearth was round. As the old saying goes, “people in glass houses…”

Video: The First Canadians

Given I won’t likely be able to resolve these issues, the opportunity to visit such a unique area of the world and being able to learn (first hand) about the people, it impossible to turn away. Also, as a bit of salve on those old wounds, background reading and information from others, suggest National Geographic Journey’s/G Adventures, to be extremely sensitive to the local people and places upon whose lands we will intrude.

As time and internet connections permit, we shall keep you posted as to our progress across part of Africa and if you have any questions about the best way to put together your next adventure (perhaps you could join us on a trip to Africa). Just give “Travel Lynn” (TM pending) a call.

Cheers

Harold

Area Maps and Web Sourced Photos

17_CW_SA_Cape_Town_EXT_Map

DSKB

sabi_sands_lrg

19684-004-BE3C1ADF

c0f2541a01cfaa797f2e60ae5bcc954b

Sabi-Sands-Savanna-game-drive

Timbavati-Ngala-Game-Drive

Screen-shot-2012-07-26-at-2.56.08-PM

c6504c18e45d4cf9f7e8d027b7042528

TvyamNb-BivtNwpvn7Sct0VFDulyAfA9wBcU0gVHVnqC5ghtZn2lucEL-9HKXLW159n1T-VIWo7ZF058Cg

Rencontre_de_Livingstone_-_How_I_found_Livingstone_fr

Henry Morton Stanley meets Dr. Livintstone

(168)

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Trackback from your site.

Leave a comment

 

Stay up to date

* = required field

Social Bookmarks

Comments

  • McNeill Life Stories Illegal Aliens intercepted in Sarnia - McNeill Life Stories

    August 23, 2016 |

    […] Maxime Bernier, a leading contender in the Conservative race is calling for a “wall to be built along the border and claims that if he becomes the next Prime Minister he will force the Americans to pay for the building of that wall. (Border Security Gone Crazy) […]

  • McNeill Life Stories Keep the peace and be of Good Behaviour - McNeill Life Stories

    August 21, 2016 |

    […] If you happen to support Bill C-51, a bill that is related solely to ‘terrorism’ and, perhaps, support an even more invasive laws being included, what would you think about the entire Bill (present and proposed) being folded back into the Criminal Code and made applicable to every Canadian?  Would that give our police to much power to simply bypass checks and balances developed over the past 150 years. (Oversight) […]

  • Maurice Smook

    August 13, 2016 |

    Hi Jillian,

    I don’t know if you are still checking this site but I had to respond again. February of 2017 it will be 72 years since this battle occurred.

    What caught my attention about this incident was on the Go Deep Documentary that aired on the History Channel. First of all I never known that this battle having ever occurred.

    According to my grade 3 teacher WW2 had never occurred. That grade 3 teacher stated that the WW2 and the holocaust was all propaganda. All of my classmates they believed her. I hate to say this but all I knew was that soldiers shooting at each other.

    I almost was expelled from school. My

    Mom my Dad my brother and my Uncle would have been arrested for propaganda. I paid the price. It was ironic a grade 5 teacher told me that Smooks are all commies. Dad was Conservative.

    All the Smooks that I known are all Conservative. If I had the money I would have loved to sue those two teachers.

    As I said I never heard of this Battle. If it were not for that program I would have never had known.

    I started to do more researching to find out more about the history of this battle. The narrator of Go Deep mentioned the names of the pilots who died that battle.

    I missed 20 minutes of that program but the camera crew had the camera’s pointed towards the sign with the names of the deceits. That is how I known.

    According to the narrator There are three who are still missing. W.J. Jackson, Harry Smook and A. Duckworth. A couple of months ago the staff of Go Deep have located Harry and A. Duckworths aircraft. This is on you tube. Harry and A. Duckworth craft is approx 650 feet deep in the Fjord. The individual who is heading this expansionary mission made it known he will not rest until all three of the missing pilots
    will be retrieved. I am sure that A. Duckworth’s kin are hoping for the same.

    What really puzzles me is that I have sent emails to the Smooks. Not one ever replying. I presume its the same with you. Sad. Dad rarely spoke about his family. It appears there is a big secret of the Smooks. I too assume Harry is a kin to my Dad. Harry maybe a 4th 5th cousin to my Dad. I too would like to know. Harry and A. Duckworth served and died for our country. The other is W.j. Jackson – who is also still missing – having died for our Country.

    In conclusion I still ask myself why is this a huge secret.

    If you are still checking this site please contact me. Maybe we may be kin.

    Take care.

  • McNeill Life Stories Wedding Bells: Gordon McLean and Megan Corns

    June 28, 2016 |

    […] More amazing still is that many of those I met are now living and working in communities in or near cities and towns where I spent much of my early life (e.g. Vermillion, Turtleford, Westlock, Edmonton, etc.) For that matter one family from Edmonton lives no more than a stones throw from the home in which my family lived in 1949 at 12237, 95th Street, a time when Edmonton boasted a population of 137,000 and our home was on the very west edge of the city. Today the next block contains the Yellow Head Highway. Link: http://www.mcneillifestories.com/mcneill-family-edmonton/ […]

  • Valerie Heuman (Roddick)

    June 19, 2016 |

    Having just returned to the Okanagan Valley from a weekend in Pibroch, I am delighted to have stumbled on your blog to see the picture of the main street. My aunt and uncle Peggy & Gordon McGillvery owned and lived in the old Post Office on the North east corner of the main intersection and my brother Adrian currently lives south a bit backing on the School yard. We are Sheila’s cousins and still have a close connection to the town.

  • Sheila(Roddick) Allison

    May 19, 2016 |

    Hi. So fun to find your blog. I remember going to school with you and Louise. I loved my childhood in Pibroch which incidentally was named by my grandfather Aaron Roddick. I will never forget the night the garage burned down. Nice to see the landmark photo before the big fire!

  • George Dahl

    April 12, 2016 |

    What a great site. I’m trying to locate a woman named Sally Jennifer who was from the Cold Lake area back in the early sixties. I met her when I was stationed at Namao air base in Edmonton. I was serving with the USAF 3955 air refueling squadron from rhe fall 1963 till the spring of 64. Sally was 22 at the time I was 21. Sally was my first love. I had orders to ship out to South East Asia and we lost contact after that.
    If any of you know the where abouts of Sally I would like to get reacquainted with her. She is First Nation, Blackfoot I believe. She is Catholic and may have attended a Catholic school in Cold Lake.
    Thank You in advance, George Dahl

  • dave armit

    March 23, 2016 |

    good old fashioned police work done by good old fashioned policemen……….in regards to mr cain..i learned a few years ago that he was born on the same day in the same hospital that i was..my father was a close friend of the cain family…!!! interesting..d a

  • Joyce McMenamon

    March 1, 2016 |

    Haha, love it! We should probably eat rats and rabbits rather than beef. Also I’ve noticed that there are a lot less pests where dogs are not kept on leashes.

  • Kari

    February 27, 2016 |

    Thanks for a wonderful trip down memory lane Dad!!! That was an amazing trip and I am so glad that we had the opportunity to share that experience together!
    ❤️