zambia, Namibia and South Africa
A.S.S. departs for Africa with Shahar
Note: A.S.S. – In Hebrew, Abba shel Shahar, means the father of Shahar
Introduction – A.S.S. departs for Africa with Shahar
It has already become some kind of routine in the past twelve years and as usual put my backpack on my back and depart with my "shadow" for some distant country, this time for the southern part of the black continent. Unlike my previous books, I will this time only be telling "our" story and all "I" 's should be read as "we".
Full and even overflowing, bursting with laughter, love eating and traveling, like to smile until another wrinkle is added around my mouth, having a long-time memory, preferring to forget rather than getting disappointed or angry, full of gossip… like to philosophize, adore music, love loving, like people and love life, especially love to write about life!
This entire wonderful and colorful world is swallowed up by my hungry eyes, the sights find their place in my memory cells, the rising smells drift through my nostrils and the tastes settle in the centre of my taste sense. Love to touch and feel, happy about all the wonders I experience, thank God for all the good he gives me, for a wonderful life, full of magic and variety, for the ability to love and be loved by my closest circle of dear ones, for the ability not to be restricted by set and known boundries. At the end of the day, when things weigh heavy, lie back and say "cabeza arriba", meaning in Spanish 'head high'!!!
I miss you son, do you hear me? I miss you!!!!!!
This summary is for those who lack time but still want to travel to the south of the black continent.
The Victoria Falls and the Zambezi River
The Victoria Falls are definitely the most impressive waterfalls in the world. They are located on the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe on the magnificent Zambezi River, their maximum width is 1.7 km., the waters fall to a depth of 108 meters causing a cloud of water-drops and mist which reaches several kilometers into the sky and can also be seen from a distance of 40 km. The Falls were discovered by David Livingstone who named them after Victoria the Queen of England at that time. In the language of the natives the Falls are called "Mussi Oawa Tonia", which can be freely translated as "The Smoke That Makes Thunder".
Located in the south-west part of the African continent, with a population of approximately 2,000,000, mostly blacks, most of its enormous territory is noy populated. Namibia is a country full of nearly impossible contradictions, the Kalahari Desert in its southern eastern part, the Namib Desert in the west and other salty desert-like areas crossing it at all angles.
Unspoiled nature reservations, red sand dunes, salt roads allowing tourists to reach magnificent sunrises and sunsets, the Atlantic Ocean abundant with fish and creepy, ghost-like mists covering the shores during most of the hours of the day. A reserve of 800,000 sea lions, waters alive with dolphins and whales, savannas populated by grass-eating reptiles and other small animals together with the majestic rhino and elephant.
This is Africa of striking contrasts, a tiny minority of whites ruling the economics of the country, this is Africa of unspoiled nature, uranium mines in prohibited areas, 1,000 year old Welwitischia plants, the Etosha Reserve with its numerous examples of the animal world and Lichen Fields, landscape resembling that of the moon and a language called Afrikanas which is a mixture of German and Dutch with a sprinkling of English.
Let's begin with Capetown …. lying at the north of the peninsula which leads down southwards to the Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point at the meeting point of two strong currents, the Aguluis Current coming in from the Indian Ocean and the second, the cold Binguela Current from the Atlantic Ocean. Traveling along the long coast, going from one bay to another, one cannot decide which stretch is more beautiful than the other.
Together we shall pass through quite a few picturesque towns that seem to be have forgotten by time. After visiting Hout Bay we shall join many others who have also come to see the meeting point of the two mighty oceans. We shall climb to see the breathtaking view unfolding beneath us, we shall stop at the small town of Simonstown to see the penguin colony, populated with tiny creatures wearing black waistcoats, courting after their future spouses. We shall continue to Hermanus and there above the cliff we shall watch the whales frolicking in the waters just off the shore, sprays of water coming out of their scarred heads and their tails leaving a trail to be seen even after they have dived back down below the surface. I must warn you that our journey will zig-zag back and forth between the Garden Route which mainly follows the shore of the Indian Ocean and the Wine Route which is further inland. Trying to see as much as possible on both routes makes us go back and forth from one to the other. We shall visit places like Stellenbosch, Franchishoek and Paarl, the surrounding vineyards specializing in both white and red wines and a famous local brandy distillery, tasting as much as possible and then dragging our tired feet to fall into bed in 100 year-old estates, warmed by an open fireplace (it's winter on the other side of the globe) and then on the morrow make our way down through the various passes towards the bays and coast line, to towns like George to visit a museum of transportation, specializing in old trains and cars. We will take a short journey of about 50 km. on an old train pulled by a steam engine called Chuchu, towards Mossel Bay and the again zigzagging turn towards the desertlike areas of the Klein Karoo, passing through the Robertson Pass up to the town of Oudshorn, once called Little Jerusalem. At the beginning of the 20th century hundreds of Jewish families fled from Lita and built a magnificent Jewish community which now consists of three Jews. We shall try to have fun riding ostriches and eat their tender meat which is known to be cholesterol free.
Before heading back to the shore through the Outenga Pass towards Jeffrey's Bay to try and surf with the locals on waves that reach 3-4 metres and gather huge multi- colored sea shells, we turn further inland towards Prince Albert, located in the middle of nowhere and enjoy ourselves at the local farmers' market, tasting all the varied dried fruits that are a specialty of the area. Heading at last for Port Elizabeth we still have to drive 80 km. to the beautiful Addo Elephant Park to take a look at the Kudo deer, antelopes, cheetahs, elephants and baboons, if I have forgotten someone, please forgive me! Staying in the beautiful city of Port Elizabeth for two days, we will walk the different bays and taste the fruit of the sea and the fruit of the land in the many restaurants along the way.
The end has come; you must have noticed that all along the route I have not mentioned the blacks or the coloreds who are the majority of this great land, living in shantytowns, shambles of "houses" worse than the Ma'abarot that filled Israel after it gained independence. It is not just by chance that they have not been mentioned, one is unable to tour them, one is unable to meet their residents…..
And now – the real story begins……………………………….