So I've finally grabbed some time to update on the last of the African experience and the beginning of the Indochina tour.
The rest of my time in Zimbabwe was amazing, I tried the local delicacy of mpangi worms dipped in chilli sauce (not something I would ever recommend), and also had a taste of crocodile and warthog. Crocodile was actually quite nice, warthog wasn't horrible. We went to see Victoria falls the day after my last blog and it really was incredible, it has a kind of mystical magical feel to it, and the spray from the waterfalls look like clouds. I definitely understand why it's one of the seven wonders of the world. We walked all the way to the further most point we could walk, it's quite odd because you start in sunshine and by the time you get further down it's like torrential rain due to the spray, but so beautiful. That evening Hannah, Kitty and I headed out to a local restaurant for dinner and walking back we saw a herd of elephants on the other side of the road. Apparently they'd wandered over from a nearby national park and had come to chill out amongst the fake metal elephant statues! The next day Hannah and I jumped in a taxi who took us around the local village, and we stopped off at some local markets and went to the national park to see a reallly old baobab tree (can't remember how old).
After Zimbabwe we crossed over to Botswana. We had to cross the border on foot for foot and mouth disinfectation but I did take an instant liking to Botswana. It's a very beautiful country, and lots of donkeys! WE went on an evening boat ride on the river there and it was stunning. We saw elephants taking mud baths, some crocs, some baboons and hippos (with a baby). It was sunset and the view on the water was amazing. After that we headed off to the Okavango delta for 3 days, which has definitely been a highlight of the trip (despite having over 100 mozzie bites from the previous night). We had a 2 hour truck drive to reach the delta and when there we had to go in these mokoro boats for another 1 and a half to get to the island we stayed on - literally the middle of nowhere. The mokoros are like dug out canoes and so much fun to ride in, the top of the boat is only about an inch from the surface of the water and we poled through all these lilies and reeds. While we were there we went on several game walks, and saw zebra, giraffe and elephants standing about 50 metres away from us. We had to hide behind a bush from the elephants, they really are massive when you're just standing!
After Bostwana we went to Namibia, which was also incredible and our last stop before SA. There we went to Etosha game park, and did a few more game drives. We saw these very sweet, tiny little deer called dik diks, which I'm told are pretty rare to see so lucky us, we also saw a sick lion under a tree but sadly he moved on pretty quick. After that we went to a cheetah park for a night (another highlight of the trip). There we got to go and play with these tame cheetahs - reared as pets when their mums rejected them. We also saw the resident giraffe, which I managed to stroke before it started chasing me which was vaguely scary! We then went on a drive to feed the wild cheetahs, it was an incredible sight to see them all running up behind the car! After the cheetah park we went into the deset, the first night of which we spent at a place called spitzkoppe (apparently parts of 3000 where filmed there) which was pretty much in the middle of nowherre with a lot of giant rocks. I slept out with a couple of others under the stars on a big rock, it was really wonderful, and I got to see my first ever shooting star just before I went to sleep - can't get much better than that! We then headed out to Swakopmund where we spent 3 nights in a hostel - very welcome break. There a few of us went sandboarding, so so much fun. I did stand up and lie down. The stand up is similar to snowboarding, and I fell over a lot, but when I did get to do it it was very cool! The lie down is just pure fun, I lay on this board and got pushed off the top of this 90 metre high sand dune. You go so fast down you go up the other side, and I reached the top (joint top) speed of 73 kph! We also went and climbed Dune 45, which is amazing, it's hard to describe but the pictures also don't do it much justice!
Arriving in South Africa, the first thing we did was go to see Fish River Canyon, which is stunning. After that we headed to the Cederberg area where we did some wine tasting - although more of an excuse just to drink it as none of us really knew what was going on (although I did try and follow grandpas teachings!) We then finally arrived in Cape Town. We had a day there and went out to Long Street that evening, which was pretty good fun. The next morning I flew over to Jo'burg to meet my cousins, and spent a wonderful week recuperating there. While I was with them I got to meet the beautiful baby Troy. I also went on a soweto tour of one of the squatter camps, and visited the Hector Peterson museum which was very moving. Jay took me ziplining, which was so much fun, and I got my own personal tour as I was the only one who could do it (sadly for Jay pregnant women not allowed). Auntie Jilly took me to see the caves on my last day, which were stunnning. On the Tuesday night after I arrived Auntie Jills, Jay, Sara and I went to get foot and full body massages as a treat for them for mothers day - I obvs planned my time well! On the Thursday night we went to see a very funny comedy show called "Defending the Cavemen" which was this guy trying to explain why men where such idiots. On the Saturday morning I waved goodbye and set off for Thailand.
On Sunday evening I arrived in Thailand, after 24 hours worth of travelling, including a 9 hour stopover in Abu Dhabi. Luckily I met some people at the airport who were also going to Khao San Road so I shared a taxi with them and they then helped me find a hostel. Very basic but cheap and clean. That night I went for a wander with them through Khao San Road. It wasn't at all what I'd expected, but an amazing atmosphere, as well as some very strange people! The next day I popped back to do a little shop before I headed off to the Bangkok Centre Hotel to meet my tour group. They are all really lovely which is a relief and makes the trip much more fun!
The next morning we all set off for Cambodia, after crossing the border we got to our hotel and then went out to visit this charity called New Hope. It's a school that has been set up to educate the street children of Cambodia, and does an amazing job, the poverty here is heartbreaking. We had a meal at their restaurant, spring rolls and curry and the likes, then stopped off at "The Temple Bar" for some 2 for 1 cocktails before bed. The next day we all got up early to visit Angkor Wat. Sadly it was pouring early in the morning so we didn't get to see the sunrise (but did allow us to sleep a little more). We first visited the temple that is used in Tomb Raider which was cool, and then visited the Leper Kinds Temple before lunch. We were all pretty tired by this point as it's so hot here and we climbed a lot of steep steps, but lunch perked us up a bit before we went to see Angkor Wat which was incredible. We then climbed to the hilltop to see the sunset, which was beautiful. That evening we went to a restaurant, and I tried some frog, it's true what they say, it really does taste like chicken, but it doesn't look as nice!
After this we set off for Phnom Penh. Today we visited the Killing Fields and S-21, which is where the victims of the Pol Pot regime where held and tortured. It was truly horrific, and seems to make very little sense. In the afternoon we went to another restaurant that takes in street kids and teaches them how to cook etc. The charities people have set up here are great, Cambodia is a strange country in the fact that it's still so evident how much the Pol Pot era has devastated the country, but it was very recent so it's not so surprising. In the afternoon we went to visit the museum, the Royal Palace and the market. In the evening we went and spoke to some children who were taking English Class (another charity, this man teaches the children English for free in the evenings) and then had dinner at the family house. Here we sampled tarantula, which I did not like, and then did a shot of tarantula stewed rice wine, which I also did not like, but it's good to try!
So that's me finally up to date
Looking forward to seeing you all in not so long
Love you lots xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx