03 Apr 2014

Luanda, Angola, 2014

Angola, a booming African nation centered around oil, is the highest cost city in the world for expats, yet over 50% of the people live in poverty.

They still get their TV though. Many homeless seem to live on the beach.

Construction cranes are ubiquitous here. Oil tankers dot the harbor. The waterfront is often beautiful, but much of the city is rubble.

Luanda’s 5 million population makes it the world's third most populous Portuguese-speaking city, behind only Sao Paulo and Rio. It is bigger than Lisbon.

Angola achieved independence from Portugal in 1975.

Luanda was the main Portuguese slave port. 

31 Mar 2014

Walvis Bay, Namibia, 2014


Since we had a great flight-seeing adventure last time here in 2010, we decided to do a Bay Cruise this time.

Talk about tame. The seals joined us on board.

Even a pelican spent about 15 minutes on board.

Oyster beds.

Russian trawlers are prevalent here stemming from a political/economic deal where Russia helped with Namibia's fight for independence.



Flamingos are pretty. Seals as well as many bird species are plentiful. In fact, there are more seals than people here.

30 Mar 2014

Cape Town, 2014


Many consider Cape Town one of the most beautiful arrival ports, primarily because of its iconic Table Mountain, a level plateau of approximately two miles (hence the name). It is flanked by Devil’s Peak and Lion’s Head creating a nice backdrop to the city. (You can figure which is which).

In 2010 we did significant heavy duty sightseeing and recommend those blogs for good photos and information – Beautiful Cape Town, Jewish South Africa, and Kayamandi Township.




This year we relaxed enjoying time at the dynamic V & A Waterfront (named after Queen Victoria and her son, Alfred). It was patterned after San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf.





Then we took a relaxing drive around the city on a Hop On – Hop Off Bus. 

29 Mar 2014

Robben Island, (Mandela's Prison), South Africa

By guest blogger, Allyn

 "During my lifetime I have dedicated myself to this struggle of the African people. I have fought against white domination, and I have fought against black domination. I have cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society in which all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities. It is an ideal which I hope to live for and to achieve. But if needs be, it is an ideal for which I am prepared to die."

-Nelson Mandela during the Rivonia Trial 4/20/64


For almost 400 years, colonial and apartheid rulers banished those who would threaten their rule, including political prisoners, lepers, and others.

Upon arriving at Robben Island by a twenty minute ferry ride from Cape Town, visitors are greeted by an appropriate and meaningful sign:  “Freedom cannot be manacled.”   (A manacle is a shackle.)

Nelson Mandella spent 18 of his 27 years of incarceration on Robben Island after a trial that has come to be known as the Rivonia Trial, where Mandella and other political prisoners were sentenced to life in prison. 

Mandella’s crime?  He was a member of the African National Congress (ANC) and spent 20 years supporting the ANC’s methods including boycott, strike, civil disobedience and non-cooperation, with policy goals of full citizenship, redistribution of land, trade union rights, and free and compulsory education for all children.

Mandella’s pitiful 8X7 prison cell was where he called home for almost 18 years while he wrote such things as:

"Prison itself is a tremendous education in the need for patience and perseverance. It is above all a test of one's commitment."

 "Those who conduct themselves with morality, integrity and consistency need not fear the forces of inhumanity and cruelty."

"I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it....The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."

Other political prisoners were housed 30 at a time in a room such as this, sleeping on a small piece of carpet.


No one ever escaped Robben Island.

In 1985, President P.W. Botha offered Mandela's release in exchange for renouncing armed struggle, which Mandella flatly rejected.  It wasn't until five years later when Botha suffered a stroke and was replaced that Mandela was finally released in 1990.   

The new president, Frederik Willem de Klerk removed restrictions on political groups, suspended executions and unbanning the ANC.

In 1993, Mandela and President de Klerk were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for their work toward ending apartheid.

On April 27, 1994, South Africa held its first democratic election. Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the country's first black president on May 10, 1994, at the age of 77, with the former President de Klerk as his first deputy.

On December 5, 2013, at the age of 95, Nelson Mandela died at his home in Johannesburg, South Africa. The South African President spoke to Mandela's legacy: "Wherever we are in the country, wherever we are in the world, let us reaffirm his vision of a society .. in which none is exploited, oppressed or dispossessed by another."

 "I can rest only for a moment, for with freedom come responsibilities, and I dare not linger, for my long walk is not yet ended."

26 Mar 2014

Phinda Safari, South Africa, Day 2 - Fun Facts


Elephants can lift 1/3 of their body weight with just their trunk. To put it in perspective this one could easily pick up our vehicle and us and toss us around without having to put his body in it.



Zebras like to cuddle a bit and constantly face opposite directions to keep an eye out for predators.



White Rhinos are not white. When the Dutch came they called it wide “wijd” lipped for obvious reasons but the British heard the word as “white”.



Having a sundowner midway through the afternoon game drive.