Sunday, July 22, 2007

Planning for Africa

The trip to Africa feels more and more real as each day passes. We are not quite a month away from departure.

As we were planning this trip, my good friend, Linda reminded me that we would need shots. So before we even had our flights booked we went to the Austin Diagnostic Center Travel Clinic. We did not have a firm itinerary at the time, just a general idea of which countries we would be visiting. Our initial list included South Africa, Namibia, Zambia, and Botswana. After checking their information, we got pills to take to prevent typhoid, shots against two kinds of hepatitis, meningococcal vaccines, polio and influenza. Henry needed a new tetanus-diptheria shot - mine was current. We also were given information to be thinking about in terms of malaria prevention.

We went back this week to get the booster shot for the hepatitis A&B. We'll need to go back in December to finish that series. We've also gotten our prescriptions for malaria (malarone) and traveler's diarrhea. We also picked up their Travel kit which has single dosages for a variety of common over the counter meds and first aid treatments - including throw away thermometers. While I hope we won't need any of it, it will be good to have it with us.

We booked our flight back in early May - utilizing air miles that I had built up on one of my credit cards. While it did not fully pay for the trip, it really cut the cost of the airfare. We will be getting up VERY early as our flight leaves at 7:00 in the morning. Since we are international travelers, I figure we need to try to be at the airport by 5:00. We're thinking about getting one of the shuttle vans to pick us up.

7:00 A.M. Leave Austin
11:14 A.M. Arrive Dulles, Washington DC
5:26 P.M.Leave Washington DC
2:35 P.M. Arrive Johansburg, South Africa
5:00 P.M. Leave Johansburg
7:10 P.M. Arrive Cape Town, South Africa

If my calculations are accurate, we will be on a plane 14 hours from Washington to Johansburg. Because of the expensive camera equipment - somehow, we've got to carry that on. This will be interesting.

We have one day to explore Cape Town. Unless I get more sleep on the plane than I expect, jet lag is very likely to be an issue. I still need to book two nights in a Cape Town hotel. From something Henry sent me, I think I'm going to try for the hotel that is near the airport, because our flight Thursday leaves at 8:00 in the morning.

We will be flying to Namibia, Windhoek, the capital of Namibia. We'll take another flight to Sossusvlei Mountain Lodge. When I first saw the information, I knew this had to be on the list. For one thing, I've written a desert book and this is the oldest desert in the world. It also has the highest dunes. It also looks to be very luxurious. We'll have two nights here.

From there, we'll go to Wolwedans Dune Camp. This will be much more rustic. We will be staying in tents, but they describe beds in the tents. They also mention that this is for the younger and more adventurous traveler. Hum . . . . younger -no . . . . adventurous-yes. Two nights here right in the dunes.

Back to the airport at Windhoek to catch a plane to Lusaka, the capital and largest city in Zambia. I still need to book a hotel for our one night there.

We'll fly out Tuesday, September 4th, to Mfuwe, where we will be staying for four nights at the Luangwa River Lodge. We will be exploring the South Luangwa National Park.

From there, we'll fly to Livingstone, Zambia home for Victoria Falls.

We'll be spending two nights at the Chobe Game Lodge. We'll be visiting Chobe National Park in Botswana.

We then spend two nights at Chobe Savannah Lodge.

We'll come back and spend a couple of days in Livingstone at
Chanter's Lodge. I've heard Livingstone is a charming town, so I'm hoping to rest a little and take a few photographs.

From there, we are looking forward to spending a week or so with our friends, David and Linda Gregersen at the Namwianga Mission.

We'll fly from Livingstone back to Cape Town on Monday, September 24th. We'll leave Africa on September 25th arriving back in Austin, September 26th around 11:00 in the morning.

I suspect we'll spend the next few days sleeping.

I'm looking forward to the adventure!


Ionathas said...

Are all times CST?

Mary Ann Melton said...

No. I think I tried to put the times when we were going to arrive at the time zone where we are arriving. That's how the tickets read.

I think I made an hour mistake on the travel time from Washington DC to Johannesburg - I think it is 15 hours rather than 14 hours.

Susi said...

I wish you a great trip and yes, the plane hours are really tough ones unless you are a napper (I'm not) but of course all worth it!
Mary Ann, can you e-mail your credit card info that gives free miles, I am interested in that!

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