A Travellerspoint blog

March 2019

Feb. 28 – PORT LOUIS, MAURITIUS

sunny 90 °F
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Land! After seven days at sea! We drove to an animal park as soon as the ship was cleared by local authorities.

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The park’s grassland safari area is home to Blue Wildebeest, Cape Eland, Waterbock and Blisbok, among others.

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Their two white rhinos are named Ella and Benjie.

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The zebra had something on his mind

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The jagged peaks in Mauritius are spectacular!

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We stopped at beautiful Flic en Flac Beach

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And the Albion Lighthouse, still functioning since 1910

Posted by Swenigale 03:13 Archived in Mauritius

March 1 – PORT DENIS, REUNION ISLAND

A FRENCH DEPARTMENT IN THE INDIAN OCEAN

sunny 90 °F
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Oo La La! Nous sommes arrivé á Réunion! Sorry – it’s so much fun to use my college French – even if it’s not quite right! The map shows the island and the route of our amazing helicopter tour!

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We flew for almost a full hour over the volcanic interior of the island

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I sat up front next to Vincent, our handsome young French pilot 😊

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Ed was photographing from the seats in the second row while I was lucky to be watching the beauty beneath my feet and all around!

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Piton de la Fournaise (Furnace Peak!) is among the world’s most active volcanoes.

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Today, it is active!

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Oui – were very close!

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Vincent checking on his passengers – okay?

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The cirques (calderas) are the sheer walls of collapsed volcanoes.

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Yes, people do live in some of them. Isolated and without roads.

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Time to return to the home base

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The lovely lagoon below, closing out our most excellent adventure!

Posted by Swenigale 02:09 Archived in Reunion

March 3 – TAOLANARO, MADAGASCAR

sunny 93 °F
View Serenity 10 on Swenigale's travel map.

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Our port is on the southeast coast of Madagascar. We drove inland on Sunday morning. The road was full of families going to church……..

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And to the markets. Imagine balancing loads of charcoal on a bicycle!

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Our 1 ½ drive to Andohahela National Park was like a thrill ride as our driver navigated the crater-like holes and avoided the foot and bike traffic.

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Heading toward the highlands -

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Across bridges,

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Through villages,

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And around livestock

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We’re here!

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Our hour-long trek in the hot, humid forest was not nearly as exciting as the drive here!

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We did see the Triangle Palm trees (only growing here, and endangered, according to our guide).

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Thank goodness this was not our transportation back to the port!

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Madagascar is a beautiful but very poor country. The rice fields are for local consumption only.

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The new president has promised to repair this essential thoroughfare.

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Now back to the Serenity to lead the Sunday Protestant service at 5:15pm.

Posted by Swenigale 02:24 Archived in Madagascar

March 6 – MAPUTO, MOZAMBIQUE

sunny 88 °F
View Serenity 10 on Swenigale's travel map.

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Scenes from Maputo Craft Market

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Recycled tires garden art

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This one is live

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Me and George

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The Maputo Train Station – voted 3rd most beautiful in the world by somebody

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Home again, home again, jiggity jog

Posted by Swenigale 11:16 Archived in Mozambique

March 7 – RICHARDS BAY, SOUTH AFRICA

sunny 85 °F
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This is the first of our stops in South Africa. Please enjoy a few favorite pictures from our game drive in scenic Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve, a 90-minute drive from Richards Bay in Zululand.

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Thanks to conservation efforts that began with Operation Rhino in the 1950’s, the Reserve now has the largest population of White Rhino in the world. Brought back from the brink of extinction (there were only 20 in 1900) there are 10,000 today!

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Nests of the peculiar Weaver birds, entrance at the bottom of the nest!

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A Cape Buffalo and feathered friends

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We had had only a glimpse of a sleeping lion but there was no problem finding the Warthogs!

Posted by Swenigale 05:01 Archived in South Africa

March 8 – DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA

semi-overcast 75 °F
View Serenity 10 on Swenigale's travel map.

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Durban is reinventing itself as a resort city, with amazing beaches, great weather and beautiful landscapes.

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My assignment: “Durban Coastal Drive”, with Hästa as my mascot.

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South Africa’s often violent history is the topic of many of the lectures onboard the Serenity as we travel these waters. The haggard pose of Dick King recalls his epic ride from Durban (then Port Natal) to round up reinforcements for the British Army in 1842.

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Waiting for passengers along Durban’s “Golden Mile”

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We left the city behind and drove north toward the “new city center”, passing suburban villages.

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Most businesses have relocated here, away from the crumbling city and its problems.

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Communities have sprung up, touting beauty and safety.

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Back in the city our guide on the coach warned us not to walk here.

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The unused former Tourist Information Center

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This 36-foot-high Cenotaph with two angels raising the soul of a dead soldier is a memorial for the soldiers who died in World War One.

Posted by Swenigale 03:35 Archived in South Africa

March 10 – PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA

semi-overcast 73 °F
View Serenity 10 on Swenigale's travel map.

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In past visits to Port Elizabeth, we have had excellent game drives but have never seen the city. Today we planned to walk from the port …….

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To the old city center and the Donkin Reserve, shown here.

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Ship’s agents, however, warned us about recent muggings and strongly advised against it.

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Instead, for safety’s sake, we took the ship’s shuttle bus to the Boardwalk resort complex.

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The good news was that we could walk by the beautiful beach.

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Lifeguard training

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Love this 😊

Posted by Swenigale 07:46 Archived in South Africa

Mar. 11-12 – CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

semi-overcast 65 °F
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What an amazing sight! Cape Town and Table Mountain appeared out of the clouds as we sailed in Monday evening after hours of clouds and rain!

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On Tuesday we drove toward Chapman’s Peak, a scenic drive that would take us along the Atlantic coastline.

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The curvy Chapman’s Peak road was carved out of the sandstone cliffs, and atop the granite below.

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Coming back to Cape Town

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Near the port – a Brass Foundry displays their art – in the form of a little Warthog family’

Posted by Swenigale 11:15 Archived in South Africa

Mar. 12 – CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

EVENING

sunny 65 °F
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Our stay in Cape Town extends over 3 nights and 4 days! What a treat, since there is so much to do in and around this great city! Tuesday evening the setting sun turned the “tablecloth” on Table Top Mountain golden!

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Our evening entertainment was extraordinary! Precision flag twirling by the Hottentot High School majorettes ……

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And……more than 20 bagpipes and drums, all on stage!

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It was a wonderful blending of peoples and talents and ages – the future for which South Africa is striving.

Posted by Swenigale 07:04 Archived in South Africa

Mar. 13 – CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

GAME DRIVE near the town of Touws River

sunny 75 °F
View Serenity 10 on Swenigale's travel map.

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Today is the start of the 4th and final segment of the 2019 World Cruise.

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We joined friends for a day that would find us far from Cape Town, at Aquila Private Game Reserve. Our guide and driver, Maximillian

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Narrow tracks for the people-transporters also make easy paths for elephants!

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We slowly followed this guy until he decided to move off for some breakfast.

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Pretty close, we were!

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The reserve is huge, but it is still only large enough to support two juvenile males.

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A White Rhino family urges baby to wake from his nap.

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Another baby – about 2 ½ months old

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Lions were sunning themselves and resting in their own secure part of the reserve.

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A gathering place

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Cheers!

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A beautiful Springbok

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Hästa and I emerging from a “dinosaur egg” in Aquila’s educational project, Eco-Synergy.

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Two young lions are almost set to be released from the animal rescue center.

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Posted by Swenigale 02:37 Archived in South Africa

Mar. 14 – CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

sunny 73 °F

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Our final day in Cape Town, time for Ruth to get a haircut on land and one last time to wander around the Waterfront

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In the harbor fur seals were hanging out.

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Water birds were lazy, too.

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Posted by Swenigale 05:45 Archived in South Africa

March 16 – LÜDERITZ, NAMIBIA

sunny 70 °F
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After leaving South Africa we came to this small port town in Southern Namibia.

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The town was founded by Germans in 1883 and became very wealthy due to fishing, whale and seal hunting, guano harvesting and eventually diamond mining.

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We drove into the Namib Desert to see a “Ghost Town”.

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The discovery of diamonds in 1908 caused a “Diamond Rush” and an extravagant village arose providing homes and many amenities for the miners.

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Those Germans, they even had a bowling alley!

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Cooking for a crowd

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Within forty years, this town in the desert flourished and then disappeared when diamonds were discovered elsewhere.

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Posted by Swenigale 03:24 Archived in Namibia

Mar. 17 – WALVIS BAY, NAMIBIA

semi-overcast 65 °F
View Serenity 10 on Swenigale's travel map.

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The Namib, the oldest desert on earth, reaches the sea. Our tour today was aboard a catamaran in Walvis Bay Lagoon.

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The best part – the white pelicans that joined us!!

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Seals climbed aboard, as well.

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Oops!

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I didn’t know those webbed feet could grip!

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Oysters are farmed here – they are cultivated on ropes tied below the barrels. The lagoon is also a safe place for ships that need repair to anchor and wait their turn in Walvis Bay shipyards.

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Colonies of fur seals line the lagoon.

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So many babies!

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Our boat for the three-hour tour.

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Our driver 😊

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Yes, they served those fresh oysters!

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Seals were still working for their food on our return trip!

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Posted by Swenigale 04:23 Archived in Namibia

Mar. 21 – JAMESTOWN, ST. HELENA

BRITISH OVERSEAS PROTECTORATE

sunny 75 °F
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In 1815 the British sent a defeated Napoleon to this remote volcanic island to live out his days in exile.

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Jamestown is the only port and it is nestled between the towering cliffs of the James Valley.

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The seas were calm enough for us to safely tender ashore.

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See the stairway on the cliff? Called Jacob’s Ladder, it was built in the 1800’s up Ladder Hill to Ladder Hill Fort.

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A drive along steep switch-back roads and then a walk on a beautiful path led us to Napoleon’s now empty tomb.

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He was buried here in 1821 and in 1840 his body was brought to Paris.

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Napoleon lived in Longwood House, now a museum with a wealth of memorabilia.

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Exposed cliffs and lush interior vegetation create a remarkable contrast.

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We saw the Governor’s house

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And met the Island’s oldest resident Jonathan the tortoise.

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Driving to the upper town -

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To decide whether to climb down…….

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Um, no. But – many from the ship did!

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Posted by Swenigale 08:48 Archived in St Helena

MAR. 23 – GEORGETOWN, ASCENSION ISLAND

BRITISH OVERSEAS PROTECTORATE

sunny 85 °F

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We’ve sailed 800 miles northwest from St. Helena to arrive at Ascension Island, about midway between Africa and Brazil!

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Though the water looked calm and beautiful our visit to the island had to be cancelled.

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The tide was high and tenders would not be able to safely bring guests to shore at the rudimentary dock.

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We had all received our one-day landing permits, with strict warnings not to go outside the town!

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The island’s strategic location is and has been used by the British and the Americans for military purposes. The long runway was an alternate landing place for the Space Shuttle and is still a NASA tracking station.

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The first underwater telegraph cable between South Africa , Brazil and Europe ran through Ascension Island.

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But, we didn’t go. One speaker, addressing the disappointed guests, quipped – given the secret nature of the island, was it really there…..or was it a hologram …..sort of like Brigadoon.

Posted by Swenigale 04:22 Archived in Ascension Island

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