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South Africa Parks
Uganda & the Apes
Index on Africa
New Africa Travel
CDC Health Pages
Lonely Planet - Africa
Well, in July 2000 Janet would attend the 12th International Aids Conference held, for the first time in the developing world (and also for the first time in the southern hemisphere). It would be in Durban, South Africa. Janet has always wanted to visit some of the great game parks of Africa and Harold had not been in Africa for almost 30 years and so a great plan was hatched.
Further, we had a friend we wanted to visit in Kenya and another in Uganda who could facilitate our getting permits to see the mountain gorillas in Uganda. And the time was right for a protracted vacation. Throughout the winter and spring our plans developed and evolved.
We ended up with a fluid plan that actually was flexible enough to roll with events:
click map for larger scale
- One week in Durban for the AIDS Conference.
- About 10 days touring South African Parks north of Durban.
- A week in Uganda for the mountain gorillas.
- A standard 8 day Tanzania Safari.
- A week or so in Kenya.
Come along with us to relive our travels. Please provide comments and suggestions for other elements and links that could make this more enjoyable and add utility for those planning similar trips or just wanting to learn more about Africa. For now only the Kenya section is online but the others will be coming in the upcomng weeks.
Our photos are, in general, disappointing. It is difficult to take good gorilla or chimp shots without a very fast and powerful zoom. It is dark in the forest, flash is prohibited, tripods cumbersome and we had an automatic camera for ease of use. If you want good animal shots you need at least a 300mm zoom. Also we had our film processed online. Shutterfly lost some of our film and took three weeks to process other rolls (by the way, it took them 3 weeks to respond to my queries). Ofoto was quicker but while both allow you to order prints from the high resolution images they keep on file neither allow access to those images for online use. Photoworks can provide the images on disk.
Internet access made this trip totally different from our other interrnational epics. The first week in Africa, while in Durban at the AIDS conference, we had constant access and were able to keep up to date with news from home as well as with the Tour de France. After that we were never more than about 7-10 days from online access.
In Kampala there are a number of Cyber Cafes - we mainly used 'The Dome' an impressive place with about 50 new, fast machines with fast access for about $4/hr. Uganda's young and brightest used this place as a hangout and it was common to see many users with cellphones while on the internet.
Then, surprisingly, in Arusha, Tanzania's 4th city but really more of a large town, there is internet access all over the place - for about $1/hr! but slow. We actually set up a fellow who guided us on a hike on a nearby mountain with an email account.
Nairobi, of course, is the most sophisticated of these places and we found a 'Cyber-Dome' inside the 'Burger-Dome' with fast satellite access at about $2.50/hr.
So all in all we kept in touch pretty well and it was quite enjoyable. In Addis Abbaba, by the way, we had a 7 hour layover and were treated to an afternoon at the Hilton. There, internet access was $20/hr!!
On with the adventure! While the text is mostly complete more photos and links are coming. After all, we've only been back 10 weeks!
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