July 2012

7 countries:

Spain, South Africa, Botswana
Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique

Purpose of the month:
1) Soak up 5 more sunny days in Mallorca, Spain
2) Back to nature in Africa - 3 week camping safari - Internet disconnect

Start off the month in at the chic Puro Beach club. The 1600 euro bottles of rosé Dom look tempting, but I stick with trusty Evian, served by stylish people in fancy sunglasses.

Stay a night in Palma, at hotel tres, right in the center of all the action. Crazy fĂștbol fans, great tapas, mmm.

Close a fairly big deal in Qatar, routed through South Africa and Hong Kong. A perfect trifecta of global hustlin'. From the beach.

I've got to bring this huge bag of camping gear from Mongolia to Africa. Look forward to dump the duffel bag, and just travel with the 3 or 4 essentials: 11" MBA, iPhone, AMEX, and passport. With those, life can be re-created anywhere in the world, except maybe Antarctica.

Flight from Palma to Frankfurt gets re-routed to Munich because of heavy rain. End up missing the connection to Joburg that night, so go into the city. Was originally on biz, but managed to get re-booked on first. From Frankfurt, that's really good news because of access to Lufthansa's new private first class terminal.

They greet you at the curb, take your passport, and walk through security. They keep your passport, so they can do the check in an pre-clear you through customs.

The lounge is a touch nicer than BA's T5 Concorde Room.

At the very last minute, they find you in the lounge, take you downstairs to collect your passport from customs, and put you in a Porsche Cayenne, or Benz to drive you about 5 minutes through the airport. It's a massive area, and you go right past all the planes, service trucks, etc. A pretty surreal, ground level view.

Drive right up to the massive bird, the full double decker A380, and hop in a lift to the first class cabin, bypassing all the hoi-polloi.

Lufthansa's A380 is famous for its humidifier which keeps the cabin air really nice. And it's got two insanely large bathrooms for eight passengers. Maybe 15 feet long at one point.

Get in to Joburg around 8 am, well rested on the night flight down. Same time zone, so no jetlag or anything. Wander around Nelson Mandela square and Sandton mall area.

Crocodile for lunch. Ostrich for dinner.

Drive up to Nata, Botswana. Camp the night.

Game drive in Chobe, and then cross into Zimbabwe, for a few nights in Vic Falls.

Awesome village tour, especially visiting the high school. And getting private tour by principal.

Gorge swing - twice in a row :)

Incredible lion walk, and took cool photos with the cubs, about 1 yr old.

Cross into Zambia and camp near Livingstone.

Go to lower Zambezi for 2 days of canoeing on the river. Lots of hippos, elephants, and crocs.

Night sky among the best. Camping right on the river shore, with all the wild animals.

South Luangwa park, for a few nights, and did a few game drives. Really lucky to see three leopards in a tree, just a few meters away. A mother and two cubs with a fresh impala catch, and some hyena stalking below. Stayed with them for a good 15 minutes. Beautiful creatures.

2 nights camping on lake Malawi @ Senga Bay. Great village tour, kids got a lot of energy, and fun to be around.

2 nights camping @ Mount Mulanje. Five hour hike in the mountains, and cooling off in waterfall.

Cross into Mozambique which was a Portuguese colony, so I can understand a bit of the language. Vilankulos, a strange beach town, really no foreigners, just locals.

Then head to Inhambane for 3 nights on Barra Beach, really nice! Went on a boat saw humpback whales really close, dolphins, but couldn't find the whale sharks. Hung out at Flamingo resort for lunch and spa which has idyllic over-water bungalows built on the mangroves.

Head to Maputo, the capital for a night.

Head to back into South Africa for Kruger camping.

Back to Joburg.