2014…What Comes Next

24 Dec

Screen shot 2013-12-24 at 9.50.16 AM

I haven’t been posting much on this blog recently. I created it to complete my European vacation last summer. Since then I have taken hikes around the city carrying my DSLR camera. I do have a new adventure planned for 2014, and that is a 10-day safari in Botswana in southern Africa. I am in the process of doing research for my trip: that includes reading books and practicing animal photography at the zoo. I love maps and I went to Google maps to take a look at some of the camps where I will be staying out in the bush. Here is a bird’s eye view of one of them situated in the Okavango Delta in northwestern Botswana. As you can see there is an airstrip and not much else visible. This will be the first time that I have ever gone somewhere so isolated. I think it will make me feel small, but also big at the same time. Small to be one tiny person in the middle of nature, where I am intruding on the lives of the those in the animal kingdom. Big…to think that I am a part of the fabric of all of this.

Some of the books that I have read so far:

Dark Star Safari by Paul Theroux, the account of a one-man safari from Cairo, Egypt to Cape Town, South Africa. His adventures would frighten one from ever going there. They say that Africa is not for sissies.

Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton, a heart-wrenching novel dealing with the effects of colonialism and apartheid in South Africa.

Whatever You Do, Don’t Run: True Tales of a Botswana Safari Guide by Peter Allison, a humorous book written in the style of Bill Bryson. Only food runs.

Safari for Sanity by Phil Gray, a travelogue of a safari in southern Africa taken to bring perspective back into a crazy life.

The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series by Alexander McCall Smith. There are 14 books in this series now. The beloved characters are Mma Precious Ramotswe, Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, Mma Grace Makutsi, and others. I originally bought the first book in the series because it would be a light read and it only cost a dollar. I was hooked from the start. Whenever I sat down to read, the syntax of the language and the description of the land and the people made me feel that I had been transported to an exotic locale. These characters seem like old friends now, and I am amazed at the way that a Scotsman can evoke such authentic characters. He obviously has a great love for this country. I am currently reading #13…The Saturday Big Tent Wedding Party. Though I considered Kenya and Tanzania as a safari destination, it was first and foremost these books that kept bringing me back to Botswana.

I am thinking of re-reading Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad. That was required reading when I was in high school.

I will probably post here from time to time as I make myself ready for departure in six months.


16 Responses to “2014…What Comes Next”

  1. Leya December 24, 2013 at 10:49 pm #

    You really do it thoroughly, your plannings and preparations for your trips. It prolongs the adventure and it helps you keeping it alive for a longer time afterwards too. Conrads “Heart of Darkness” was one of my favourite books – but my students usually think it is difficult and strange.

    Happy New Year of travels!

    • Rosemarie December 24, 2013 at 11:13 pm #

      Thank you, Anne Christine. Happy New Year to you. When I was in high school I did not like the book at all, but somehow I think that I will find much more in it now with years of life experience behind me.

  2. Linda Arthur Tejera December 25, 2013 at 1:10 am #

    I think it’s wonderful what you’re doing. It sounds scary and fascinating! HBO did one season of The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency and it was good. Apparently they canceled it and said they might make a couple of movies. Anyway, your trip sounds fabulous. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas! 🙂

    • Rosemarie December 25, 2013 at 1:32 am #

      Thank you, Linda. Merry Christmas to you also. I admit, this will be more adventure than I have ever experienced, but I think I have a great support team in Africa Adventure Consultants. Rosemarie

  3. Heyjude December 25, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    I recommend two more books by Paul Theroux: ‘Last Train to Zona Verde’ and ‘Lower River’ and also ‘Blood River’ by Tim Butcher – all of these are very dark books though. And of course Nelson Mandela’s ‘Long Walk to Freedom’. I love the No 1 Detective Agency books and the TV series – wish they’d make more. They leave you with a very warm, happy feeling. I think Botswana is the most stable country in Africa so a good choice for your first visit there. I hope you have a very good zoom lens – you’ll need it!
    Jude xx

    • Rosemarie December 25, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

      Thank you for the book recommendations. I will add them to my reading list. As for the zoom lens, I have one. Not sure how great it is. What did you use? I must admit the political stability was one of the determining factors in my choice.

      • Heyjude December 25, 2013 at 5:42 pm #

        Sadly I did my BIG trip pre-digital and only had a small point and shoot film camera with no zoom whatsoever (which is why my photos from then feature tiny blobs of animals in the background), I hadn’t realised we would see so much wildlife! But a friend of mine uses a Nikon and bought a new long zoom for her African trip a couple of years ago – I’ll see if I can find out what she bought and let you know.

      • Heyjude January 3, 2014 at 5:42 pm #

        My friend has a Nikon camera and her zoom lens is a Sigma 120-400. Its only problem is that it is VERY cumbersome. She recommends that you take some sort of beanbag to help stabilise a big lens when you are travelling in a truck or boat (obviously you can’t use a tripod in these circumstances).

      • Rosemarie January 3, 2014 at 7:25 pm #

        Thanks for letting me know, Jude. I cannot spend almost $1000 on that lens. The local camera store has advised me to stick with my 55-300mm lens and blow up the images in post processing. They too said that the 120-400 was very cumbersome and not a good idea when trying to travel light.

  4. Heyjude December 25, 2013 at 3:50 pm #

    Oh, and if you have time you may be interested in my latest blog posts about my trip to southern Africa back in 2000. Some of it was in Botswana.

  5. Ruth December 27, 2013 at 4:45 am #

    Somehow I lost you. Thought you had disappeared. Glad to find you through a comment on Angeline’s blog.
    Happy New Year.

    • Rosemarie December 27, 2013 at 5:22 am #

      Happy New Year to you, Ruth. I have not disappeared.

  6. cocoaupnorth January 5, 2014 at 3:16 pm #

    All the best for your 2014 travels. When in Botswana, do try their delicacy of Mopane worms:-)

    • Rosemarie January 5, 2014 at 3:17 pm #

      Yikes! Really?

      • cocoaupnorth January 5, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

        Not to everyone’s taste but worth a try:-)

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