A Travellerspoint blog

May 17– TAKORADI, GHANA

semi-overcast 84 °F
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This is our second port in Ghana. The country is located on the Gulf of Guinea, the great inlet of the Atlantic Ocean on the western African coast.

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Again, this is not a regular cruise ship port.

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Local Vendors are set to sell their crafts close to the ship.

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We’re out on the road, again. On previous visits we visited Elmina Castle and Cape Coast Castle, places that are reminders of the horrors of the slave trade.

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Pictures just don’t do this road-riding experience justice!

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And in the midst of everything – A shiny new mall!

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Tinted windows in the van we took back to our ship gave an other-worldly look to our street scenes.

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It is a hopeful society 😊

Posted by Swenigale 16:30 Archived in Ghana

May 16 – TEMA, GHANA

OUT TO THE HILLS

semi-overcast 86 °F
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Tema is Ghana’s largest port. Although it is a massive facility, a local fishing boat seen from our ship is a reminder of the origins of the port as a small fishing village.

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A drummers’ welcome

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We left the busy port area, and Ebenezer, our local driver, drove on the Tema-Akosombo highway. Anything you want to buy is available – roadside!

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The unbelievably “bombed-out” road surface was like something we have never traveled before! Drivers are expert at navigating into and around unbelievable pits (and each other)!

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Our destination: The Shai Hills Resource Reserve. An armed guard welcomes us, but not poachers.

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Dozens of beautiful butterflies fluttered around our parking area.

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We walked to the small Museum of Natural and Cultural Heritage at Shai Hills, where Hästa got in the picture with me and Jennifer, our young guide.

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Back on the road travelling to another area of the Reserve, we passed a few baboon family groups.

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We drove into the savannah, passing Bushbuck antelopes until we parked at a trail. Our destination: caves the Shai people inhabited in these hills for more than 10,000 years!

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Going up!

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The Baobab tree at the top is probably thousands of years old. The drought-resistant tree is called “the Tree of Life”.

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We’re up!

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This narrow cave entrance is to the “Virgins Cave” where unmarried Shai women slept.

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The Reserve encompasses several of the hills and larger caves of the Shai Clans.

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This colorful lizard seems surprised to see us. We surprised ourselves, too!

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This is how climbed up and down the rock face 😊

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Posted by Swenigale 10:14 Archived in Ghana

May 14 – SAO TOME & PRINCIPE

ON THE EQUATOR

sunny 90 °F
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This is Africa’s second smallest Island Nation, part of which lies right on the Equator. Hot and Sticky!

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Our ship anchored far offshore. We arrived in the city by tender boat and by bus. A troop of dancers was enacting a famous local play in the square.

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We drove far inland into higher elevations and came to the site of the largest coffee plantation on the island, now a coffee museum.

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Unfortunately, the many photos we thought we took with our camera disappeared, so we snatched the following photos from the internet.

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This part of the coffee bean processing machinery was manufactured in Buffalo, NY!

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Later, we returned to the city of Sao Tome. This is the Presidential Palace.

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Our Lady of Graces, the Cathedral of Sao Tome.

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The Cathedral was started at the end of the 15th century and it has been rebuilt and renovated over the years. The blue and white tiles are a reminder of the island’s Portuguese heritage.

Posted by Swenigale 16:49 Archived in Sao Tome and Principe

May 12 – LUANDA, ANGOLA

May 12 – LUANDA, ANGOLA

sunny 85 °F
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Happy Mother’s Day!

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We are in the capital of Angola

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Angola became independent from Portugal in 1975 but was then engulfed in a Civil War. Portuguese is still the official language.

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We drove outside the city along the Atlantic coast.

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Our destination: Miradouro da Lua, “Viewpoint of the Moon” was something we wanted to see.

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The lunar-like landscape was formed through erosion of soft rock, leaving the hard karst formations.

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And Hästa, too 😊

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Driving back to the city – an open-air market

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We drove through the national government buildings district

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This is Sunday, ladies dressed for church

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The Parliament building is in the prettiest section of the city, along with the President’s house and other government buildings.

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Church of Our Lady of Remedies

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The Iron Palace – the story goes it was designed and made by Gustave Eiffel, then disassembled to be shipped to Madagascar from Paris. The ship was wrecked on the “Skelton Coast” of Angola, retrieved by the Portuguese, and brought to Luanda. Maybe.

Posted by Swenigale 07:58 Archived in Angola

May 10 – NAMIBE, ANGOLA

THE CITY BETWEEN THE DESERT AND THE DEEP BLUE SEA

sunny 75 °F
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We’ve been sailing north up the west coast of Africa. Here we are in the Port of Namibe, a working port with very few cruise ship visits.

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Our welcome dancers and drummers

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We traveled a short distance from the port to a seaside restaurant and beach.

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Tourism is still developing and we couldn’t find a car to hire to go up into the town.

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Daily life and customs – so different to our Western eyes

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Love this!

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It was a brief visit for us today. We hope to see more in our next Angolan port in a few days.

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Inspectors at work 😊 This province in Angola has many reserves of marble, granite, and quartz. Marble is especially consumed at the local market, while black granite is in demand and exported to the United States and Japanese markets.

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Posted by Swenigale 13:04 Archived in Angola

May 7-8 – WALVIS BAY, NAMIBIA

SWAKOPMUND AND FLAMINGOS

sunny 66 °F
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The flag of Namibia

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Walvis Bay is a natural deep-water harbor used on trading routes for centuries. The town is built on the edge of the Namib Desert, one of the driest places on earth.

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We could see the Lagoon in the distance, a popular spot for flamingo watching.

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We awoke to a foggy morning where the desert seemed to have vanished.

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On a drive later in the day we stopped at Sand Dune number 5 😊

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The highway cuts between the surf and the dunes!

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This is Swakopmund, a city that has preserved much of its colonial German architecture.

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The Lutheran Church and School

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The Roman Catholic Church

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It’s my birthday!

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Fog found us

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Flamingos in the Lagoon

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Not far from our ship

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Posted by Swenigale 14:45 Archived in Namibia

May 4 – CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – DAY 2

sunny 63 °F

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Cape Town is located at the Southernmost tip of Africa and is South Africa’s oldest city. The flat top of Table Mountain is frequently covered by clouds, a fluffy white tablecloth.

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The Lion’s Head Peak wore a lion’s mane this morning 😊

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Shifting clouds change the look all day long.

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A cable car takes visitors to the top of the mountain for amazing views and hiking trails.

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We sailed at sunset, bound for ports on the West coast of Africa.

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Later that evening we were treated to another excellent production by Serenity’s amazing entertainment team.

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Posted by Swenigale 06:25 Archived in South Africa

May 4 – CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA – DAY 1

AQUILA PRIVATE GAME RESERVE, TOUWS RIVER, SA

sunny 60 °F
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The game reserve is a little more than a two-hour drive from Cape Town into the Southern Karoo. This is the semi-desert natural region of South Africa.

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A welcome drink at this luxurious South African Reserve – we are dressed warmly for the cooler weather

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Why did the Ostrich cross the road?

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Elephants on the move

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A rare sight! The skin of a Hippo can get burned by the sun, so they typically stay submerged in the daytime. They feed later when the sun goes down.

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Back into the water

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Gather round! This was a “Sunset Safari”, starting at 4pm. The golden light is starting to appear.

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Acquila is home to the “Big Five” (Lion, Leopard, African Buffalo, Rhino and Elephant). Big game hunters from the past dubbed them the Big Five as they were the most difficult animals to hunt on foot.

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The Reserve encompasses more than 18,000 acres. Part of the Reserve is fenced as a large enclosure for the lions for the safety of the other animals.

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The male eats first!

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He guarded his food and didn’t let the females near!

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Posted by Swenigale 12:03 Archived in South Africa

May 3 – MOSSEL BAY, SOUTH AFRICA

BOTLIERSKOP PRIVATE GAME RESERVE

sunny 70 °F
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Eager to set out on another game drive, we stopped first at the 19th-century Cape Saint Blaize Lighthouse.

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The beautiful hills and valleys of the Botlierskop Reserve are a drastic contrast from the trees and tall bush of yesterday’s adventure. Today’s drive was harrowing at times – safari vehicles and drivers can handle almost any terrain!

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We started in a low valley, passing a sleepy Waterbuck.

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Our first view of a Musk Ox

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Blue Wildebeest like the warm sandy road.

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We’re up!

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White Rhinos in the distance

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Sunlight shining on the thicket hides the antelope.

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The Bontebok has a distinctive candle and flame marking.

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These hills are covered with Protea, the South African flowering plant.

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A Cape Eland, the largest of antelopes

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This Bull Elephant was feasting on a tree!

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Yikes! We would drive up to what I thought was a viewpoint, and then drive over and down!

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Close-up and personal with a White Rhino

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The Moordkuil River snakes through the 10,000 acres owned by the Reserve.

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Cape Giraffes – smaller than their tall cousins….

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But still a long way down for a drink 😊

Posted by Swenigale 08:54

May 2 – PORT ELIZABETH, SOUTH AFRICA

SCHOTIA SAFARIS PRIVATE GAME RESERVE

sunny 75 °F
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Warthogs and their babies ran away every time we drove near. Four of us were on a game drive on a gorgeous and cool South African morning.

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Schotia claims to be the most densely stocked Reserve in Africa. Our 4-hour drive today was proof of that! Here is a beautiful Sable Antelope.

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The songs of the Bokmakierie were like whistles.

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Impala and Nyala roam free.

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There has been a lot of rain lately and elephants were feasting on the succulent grass.

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This was the first Reserve in the Cape Province to have free-roaming lions. A lioness basks in the morning sun.

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The big guy was not far away.

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This is either a yawn or intimidation by this Hippopotamus.

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The Reserve has been owned and operated by the same family for six generations. There were many Red Hartebeest with their distinctive curving horns.

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One of the largest mammals on earth, male hippos can weigh up to 10,000 pounds!

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We watched this White Rhino take a mud bath 😊

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Four male elephants were enjoying the water.

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Boys will be boys!

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The bull elephant decided to challenge a Rhino that got too close.

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Face off -! We watched the pursuit and the challenges until the Rhino seemed to put it aside for another day and called it off with a slow retreat. What a show!

Posted by Swenigale 15:27 Archived in South Africa

April 29-30 –DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA

TALA COLLECTION GAME RESERVE

sunny 80 °F
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After many wonderful days and ports in the Indian Ocean we’ve reached South Africa! We docked in Durban, the third largest city. Our tour was in the Tala Reserve.

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Zebra stripes, like human fingerprints, are all different! How do they know? 😊

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The sanctuary is in the hills an hour's drive from Durban in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

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This baby is not very old!

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The Wildebeest (also called Gnu)

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A mama White Rhino and her very young baby

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Plum tuckered out

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And mom keeps eating! There is no color difference between White Rhinos and Black Rhinos. The difference is their size and the shape of their heads and mouths.

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There are no predators (like Lions and Tigers) in this Reserve, as it is too small and too close to human habitation. There are several kinds of Antelope.

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The landscape is a mix of acacia thornveld, open grass land and sensitive wetland.

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Look up! And come see my family!

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I chose these few photos – out of 200 plus!

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A male Ostrich (he has black feathers, and the females have gray feathers)

Posted by Swenigale 12:13 Archived in South Africa

April 26 –FT. DAUPHIN (TOLAGNARO), MADAGASCAR

LOOKING FOR LEMURS

sunny 83 °F
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large_5a1d2750-03c7-11ef-a64f-3ff1d5fee08f.JPGMadagascar is one of the world’s largest island countries. It is 250 miles off the east coast of Africa.

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There is extreme poverty. Sadly, over 70% of the population live below the poverty line.

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We were on our way to Nahampoana Natural Reserve to see lemurs in the wild.

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The spectacular setting of the reserve

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First, a visit to some land turtles.

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Now for the lemurs!

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These amazing animals are found nowhere else on earth.

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The 50-acre reserve is home to several species of lemurs.

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Ring-tailed lemurs

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Somehow we got ourselves into a flat bottom boat (with people to paddle) and searched for lemurs in the trees by the river. There had been a lot of rain overnight so the group had moved elsewhere to find food.

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No more lemur-spotting, but we had a wonderful glide through still water in the jungle.

Posted by Swenigale 13:21 Archived in Madagascar

April 24 –ST. DENIS (LA POSSESSION), REUNION

A BIT OF FRANCE IN THE INDIAN OCEAN


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We have been privileged to visit this beautiful, remote island a few times. We saw inland waterfalls in 2011….

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Beaches in 2015….

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And in 2019 we were in a helicopter that took us close to one of the world’s most active volcanoes!

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Today, however, with no excursions planned, we simply went to a mall! The Hindu Temple made for an unusual bus stop 😊

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Reunion is a French “Department” in the Indian Ocean (yes, we’re still in the Indian Ocean!)

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French and Creole and some English are spoken here.

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Of course, baguettes!

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Yum!

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It wasn’t hard to find the bus stop!

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There is a lot of security around the port.

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This is back on the ship, but it looks like it could be in a French Patisserie 😊

Posted by Swenigale 09:56 Archived in Reunion

April 23 –PORT LOUIS, MAURITIUS

CASELA NATURE PARK

sunny 85 °F
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Letting the pictures speak for themselves! We had an amazing day!

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First drive of the morning – this is our own personal “cage” 😊

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The Queen climbed to her throne

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Ahh

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Keeping an eye on the locals

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Her three female offspring always nearby

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Papa doesn’t need to climb.

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White tigers!

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A different part of this park – away from the carnivores!

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Hello!

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Magnificent!

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Technology can be fun!

Posted by Swenigale 14:31 Archived in Mauritius

April 20 –VICTORIA, MAHE, SEYCHELLES

DAY 2

88 °F

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In the morning we walked to the port gate and hired a driver to take us to some viewpoints in the north and west part of the island.

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The mountain roads are well-constructed, but VERY curvy with no shoulders, and few guard rails. AND they drive on the wrong side of the road 😊

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We are in the Western Indian Ocean.

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This National historic site was known as Venns Town. It was the boarding school for children of freed slaves in the late 19th century.

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A view of the western coast

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Our driver and guide, Roy, was great!

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Ticket booth to trek to a waterfall

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Tricky trekking

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Hmm. For a full view – swim to the other side ☹

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In town we drove past the Victoria Clock Tower, which honors Queen Victoria,

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The Bicentennial monument, with three wings honoring the African, European, and Asian origins of the people

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The Unity Monument

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Haircuts with a view 😊

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Posted by Swenigale 08:31 Archived in Seychelles

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