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Friday, November 5, 2010


If you ask the question, which is Africa's best country, you need to be more specific.  Regarding the economy, then Nigeria, South Africa and Kenya can be mentioned.  For government stability, then Botswana and Tanzania.

A few interesting facts and thoughts:

1.  Tanzania and Kenya safari locations are generally cool to chilly.  Oldupai Gorge, for example, is at an elevation of 4,400 feet.  I was not once uncomfortably warm.

2.  I can highly recommend Tauck if you can afford them.  Everyone was surprised by the general absence of mosquitos.  However, those game safaris will test your bladder control and are uber bumpy/dusty.  The meals were outstanding, and as I was having too much steak, shifted to vegetable curries, very much enjoying them.  A large bottle of Konyagi gin from Tanzania at a duty free shop cost me $6.  A double martini at the Fairmont Mara Safari Club was about $20 with the tip.  Ice is generally free, so you get the point.  I should add that I had to pay because I stored my gin in the wrong bag (which went back to Nairobi).  Hugh Powell (above photo with Elizabeth Barr and Rebecca Collier) had a bottle of Johnny Walker Black, so we had a fine pre-dinner series of drinks.  However, we purchased some excellent cabernet shirahs from South Africa with dinner for less than $30/bottle.

3.Interesting quote from Abdi, one of the local guides:  we marry for children..not love.  Polygamy is legal, up to ten wives, and, apparently, there is little jealousy among the wives.  However, the trend these days leans in the direction of only one.

4.  The Nile starts at Lake Victoria and flows through Kenya.  Kenya, thus, controls Egypt.

5.  We never once entered a jungle.  Just grassy plains with trees and a few lakes, ponds and rivers. Nature can be cruel and violent.  The wildebeest is the meal of choice for predators, but a recent study suggests that more times than not, those hyenas do the killing and lions scare away the pack.  A few of the more interesting photos:

But it can get tranquil.

As if they haven't had enough problems, Hurricane Tomas, now at 85 MPH, is battering Haiti.


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