2023 SOUTH AFRICA | BOTSWANA | ZIMBABWE
Brilliant excursion to the Holy Wild! My reason for trip was to attend the International Society for Systems Sciences conference at Kruger National Park. This was a great professional experience. Erik, my sweetheart, and I rented a self-drive safari 4X4 Toyota Land Cruiser. We drove from JNB to the Khutse Gate of Central Kalahari Game Reserve, headed north through an ocean of deep sand single track roads, made it to Makgadikgadi NP then onwards to Zim through the Pandamatenga Gate. Three glorious nights at Robin's Camp before heading south on the Hell Road aka Victoria Falls Hwy, passed through Bulawayo and camped at Matopos, and then a beautiful final night at a farmstay campsite in Limpopo Valley.
I got a scholarship to attend the Middlebury International Institute design thinking course in Mombasa. This was a fantastic program facilitated by Munir Ahmad from the Aga Kahn Foundation. I loved every moment of that two weeks. On return to Nairobi, I visited the Wildlife Works Conservation Enterprise at Tsavo Conservancy Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary REDD+. I stayed in their guest house for 3 nights - this is a wonderful partnership project. In Nairobi, I stayed with the Ng'weno's, had a joyous reunion with Rosemary, and the privilege of guided bird walks with Fleur among Nairobi gardens.
Highlights in Nairobi were attending the Shared Values Initiative Africa Conference and the Africa Yoga Project Nairobi yoga studio.
It was the just the four of us, my mom and her two friends. This was my mom's last trip to Africa. She was already experiencing many Alzheimer's symptoms. Actually, this was a very difficult trip. My mom wanted elephants and gorgeous plains, instead we had hundreds of kilometers of endless sand, monumental dunes in Namib-Naukluft NP, and even in the mighty Etosha NP, very few animals said hello. The most thrilling moment was spying porcupines one evening.
We went to /Ui-//aes (Tsieb Conservancy) and saw the painted imaginations of our great ancestors. After a great visit to Damaraland, where we did see the famous desert elephants after a large battle with the sand. We visited an authentic Himba village and had a proper courtesy and gift exchange.
These are a gorgeous people somehow, against all odds, keeping their culture alive.
My mom took me on this trip curated by the Smithsonian Museum. We had excellent Guides. But I remember how we didn't fit in so well as the clientele was very expensive and our background and motivations were different. My mom got so upset when we finally saw a beautiful elephant family with several babies and after 30 seconds and a few photo snapshots the other guests insisted we move on!
I learned about the global slave trade on the east coast of Africa at the Zanzibar Slavery Market.
I felt a visceral horror that echoes across time.
Serengeti NP Arusha NP Ngorongoro Conservation Area Oldovai Gorge Sadani GR
2012 BOTSWANA | ZIMBABWE | SOUTH AFRICA
This was the last trip we went on with Adam; it was the absolute best!! My mom organized 6 of us. We had two vehicles and we camped all of the way from Kasane to Moremi. In Moremi, a hippo joined our campsite - thrilling! On another day we go stuck for hours in pit of water - extra thrilling.
And in the Great Savuti, we were savagely threatened by a mated pair of Honey Badgers.
Chobe River NP Savuti Chobe River NP Moremi Game Reserve Victoria Falls NP
I left the group in Maun and made my way to Kasane and then by bus to Bulawayo and spent a few days visiting our friend Adam before flying onwards to Cape Town. I was hosted by the awesome Cape Town Nia community and presented my workshop Creating A Sacred Livelihood.
2011 KENYA | TANZANIA
BEHOLD The Great Migration!! Tens of thousands of wildebeest and zebra marching in lines and rows followed by jackals and lions and vultures oh my! This was stunning and majestic beyond on all vocabulary and measure!
My mom took me on this trip curated by International Expeditions. We were joined by Gloria and Joel Weintraub - my mom's longest time friends! Joel is a world-class birder. I already had really good basics from Fleur, but Joel helped me get to the next level of identification and spotting.
Maasai Mara National Reserve Amboseli NP Tarangire NP Serengeti NP Ngorongoro Conservation Area Oldovai Gorge
2009 BOTSWANA | ZIMBABWE
This was another great trip my mom took me on. She organized her book club and hired Adam Pumfrey to guide. We had an incredible time seeing the great Chobe River!
Chobe River NP Victoria Falls NP
2007 KENYA | NETHERLANDS
I traveled with my best friend, Palma Vizzoni, to attend and present at the World Social Forum in Nairobi. We stayed in Kenya for a month hosted at the Ng'weno's residence. This was a brilliant experience. Fleur lent us her Peugot and we drove all around Nairobi - and even took a spin through Nairobi National Park! We went on a camping trip in the wild, exhilerating seeing the glowing eyes of hyenas at night. We adventured to the coast and where we met a traditional healer and had a powerful experience.
Maasai Mara National Reserve Amboseli NP Hell’s Gate NP
2001 SOUTH AFRICA | UNITED KINGDOM
On our way to South Africa, we stopped in London. We were traveling with Patty Finfrock - my mom's best friend. The highlight was visiting the Great Holy Stonehenge!
I had an interview at the Institute of Development Studies in Sussex. That was my top pick for a PhD, before I decided to go the route of an MBA.
My mom led a safari trip to Kruger National Park. She hired our friend Adam to guide us. It was a stunning 3 weeks in the wild. 9/11 happened while we were there - I remember at one of the camps they set up a tiny TV and we watched CNN report. That was strange.
On my own, I traveled to Cape Town to meet Joy. I was a brand new Nia teacher and serendipity connected me to Joy. I taught several Nia classes around Cape Town - the first Nia classes ever in Africa!
On my year abroad in Zimbabwe, I visited my SIT classmate, Amy Burke at her internship in Kampala for Christmas. Memories...
The city looked like the day people fled Idi Amin but the potholes were much larger! Bananas grew everywhere. Huge fruit bats descended from their perch at twilight each night. A harrowing trip by matatu to the Rwenzori Mountains and getting chased as we left the sauna by a predatory older man - that was terrifying. On New Year's day we saw a boy drown at the royal hotel in Entebbe.
Queen Elizabeth NP Rwenzori Mountains NP
1992 SOUTH AFRICA | ZIMBABWE
I did this strange thing where I bought a r/t flight from SFO-JNB via Hong Kong! I had a 3-day layover. All I can remember is walking down alley ways stacked 3-stories high with birds in beautiful bird cages. I bought a plastic green comb that I still use. On the plane to JNB, I met an Afrikaans man who invited me to stay at his family's ranch near Johannesberg. They were a Godsend - I had no plans on how to get from JNB to Bulwayao and they helped me get a bus ticket.
This was a different time for traveling - no cell phones, internet. Being a solo girl traveling was precarious. I did it. It made me. But gosh, I wouldn't take the risk again!
In Zimbabwe, I was on my senior year internship from the School For International Training. I worked for an amazing woman leader, Gladys Maseko who founded the Africa Community-Based Development Initiatives. I rented a small casita from the Sibanda Family on the Victoria Falls Hwy just north of the town. Riding the bus to town every day is how i made my best friend in Zimbabwe, Bukhosi Ngwane.
1990 ZIMBABWE | KENYA | ISRAEL
I was 19. I traveled alone - no Internet, no maps - only a plan to buy a ticket to Zim once I got to Nairobi. I bought a student ticket at UCD on El Al Airlines that routed through Tel Aviv. I had extended layovers on both sides of the trip. On arrival, my podunk camera was confiscated by security. Two months later I picked it up in Nairobi at the Israeli consulate. That was strange.
I was welcomed at the beautiful home of Fleur and Hilary Ng'weno. Fleur is Kenya's top birder; she is an international treasure! HIlary started east Africa's first independent press. I met Rosemary who became my very dearest friend.
I traveled to Lamu island and got horribly sick. Ran out of money and a Japanese traveler gave me enough cash to take a bus to Mombasa.
On my first trip to Zim, I made a lifelong friend, Adam Pumfrey. We met at Hwange Safari Lodge where he was working at the time. On this trip, I spent a month in Bulawayo and assisted his family's safari business, Black Rhino Safaris, on day trips to Matobo NP.
More than ever, I wished an impossible dream to spend my whole life in Africa!
My mother took me on a photographic safari to Zimababwe. I was 16. I had never been anywhere. I knew nothing about the world. I had never met the wild before.
And then, one night on the banks of the Zambezi River at Ruckomechi Camp, the wild came and my life changed forever.
Victoria Falls NP Hwange NP Mana Pools NP Lake Kariba NP