summer vacation 2019 | south africa and zimbabwe

by sam on 08/30/2019

In March, when I started investigating places to go on vacation, I had a few ideas in mind. As always, Africa gets put on the list, but unlike most years, it actually stayed on the list this time rather than succumbing to my normal dread of flying for that many hours. Then, when I went to look for actual trips, my favorite trip provider (National Geographic Journeys by Gadventures) happened to have TWO slots left for the their trip on the dates that worked for me, so I jumped on it without much more thinking.

This trip might go to the top of the list of the best ones I’ve taken (between this and the Galapagos and Machu Picchu, it’s a tough decision). But anyway…

I spent about 30 hours flying (with layovers) to Cape Town, South Africa, where I spent a few days, taking the cable car (thankfully reopened a week early!) to the top of Table Mountain and going to the Cape of Good Hope. We visited the Penguins (a major tourist attraction at this point) and got a private tour of the botanical gardens, which are some of the best in the world.

Then we flew to Johannesburg where we spent not much time, just a quick stop in Soweto for lunch and to visit Nelson Mandela’s house. It’s very small (only three rooms), and crowded with tours, so not much opportunity for good pictures, but certainly a worthwhile experience to understand the great man’s life.

Johannesburg was just a way station on our way to Kruger, which involved an all-day drive on the Panorama Route, which took us past some very scenic vistas before we got to our tented lodge, and then we did an all day drive in Kruger, where we got stalked by an entire pride of very boss lady lions before they killed several impalas right in front of us.

From Kruger, we moved to Karongwe, which is a private game reserve, where we did several more days of game drives and saw just an absolutely ridiculous number of things, and I might have gotten carried away with the Cheetahs. After Karongwe, we headed back to JoBerg to fly to Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls, which was very nice and relaxing and involved a very luxe river cruise on our last night.

I took over 7,000 photos, and somehow managed to edit that monster pile to the following 85. As always, wait for the page to finish loading and then click on the thumbnails to view the actual pictures. Enjoy!

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