Located in Northern Vietnam the Ba Be National park is truly spectacular and unspoiled by large tourist groups and people in general. With only small villages surrounding the lakeside it was the epitome of tranquil in comparison to Hanoi city. We walked around the lake during the monsoonal rain, with every motorbike riding past us thinking we were legitimately crazy to be outside. That evening we enjoyed staying with a local family who could not speak a word of english which was really quite funny as in the name of good budgeting we declined bringing an english speaking tour guide. The following day we took a boat trip out to the caves which was stunning in every sense. As our final venture in Vietnam, Ba be was great, far greater than the 26 hour bus trip to laos that evening…. but that is another story
From the empty deserts of Namibia to the hustle and bustle of Hanoi city, least to say there has been a slight change of scenery. As I Embark on my backpacking journey throughout southeast Asia, it should be interesting with our minimal daily budget and tendency to get ourselves in a struggle. We first went out to Ha long bay, a collection of 1969 limestone islands off the coast of Vietnam. They traditionally believe that a dragon burrowed beneath the bay and spat up these islands, hence the name “Ha long”, meaning “Descending Dragon”. Considering it is the peak of monsoon season, we were blessed with blue skies and still waters. It was so beautiful and just unbelievable. I am excited to see what Asia has in stall for us over the next few months, the cultural differences are enormous and hilarious, I don’t think I will ever quite master the art of crossing the road here.
Photos from our safari throughout the Namibian desert encompassing the Fish River Canyon, Dune 45 and Deadvlei…. a long with a few highway shots, it seems as though our boredom during a 4 hour breakdown in the middle of nowhere became somewhat productive
Whilst touring through the Namibian Desert we had the privilege of being introduced to the Himba Tribe. The Himbas lead a completely traditional lifestyle, resisting western influence and remaining true to their traditions. It is largely a female society wit few en (due to polygamous relationships) and many children, both maternal and adopted kids that were otherwise abandoned. The women coat their hair in vibrant red okra denoting various symbols such as when they are fertile/ready to marry. The women were never allowed to wash themselves with water once they reached puberty, they even washed their clothing (what little of it they had) with a variety of herbs and smoke. It seems to work. They dress for the heat, not wearing all that much and leaving their bodies entirely exposed with the exception of leather garments they had crafted.
Whilst their culture is fully intact, they have not been left behind in the world with the government supporting their small school where the kids proudly demonstrated their ABC’s and other songs. The people of the Himba tribe were exceptionally kjnd and inviting, not only to purchase their crafts but to invite you into their lives whole heartedly. Their beauty is so radiant, their intentions pure, there is definitely something sacred about such unspoiled places and people like this.
The Green Pop Earth Festival was easily the best night we had in Zambia, the atmosphere was beautiful and we were surrounded by some of the coolest people. The music festival itself was adorable, with marquees lined with fairy lights and lanterns hung from all the trees. the night was just perfect with all the fun music, especially Jeremy Loops who is a seriously cool human (go look him up on youtube asap). The aim of the entire night was to raise money for the Green pop project, an initiative to plant trees all over Zambia as the country with the second highest deforestation rate in Africa. Us lion volunteers also planted 500 trees the following wednesday so we definitely put our fair share of elbow grease into the Zambian farmland and I a definitely feel all that extra oxygen in our atmosphere….
Tokaleya Tonga – the smoke that thunders or the Victoria Falls is the world’s largest sheet of falling water standing at 108m tall. So it is not the largest waterfall in the world but I had to go to Victoria Falls twice because I think you have to go back and make sure what you are seeing is real. Seriously. The falls are absolutely huge and so incredibly powerful its mind blowing. Our little group covered every trail and possible route….we also invented a few to get a better perspective. You could too easily spend all day roaming the trails, watch the rainbows fade in and out of the mist, get soaked on the bridges and take it all in. I’ll always have such fond memories here and Livingstone in general as we move forward in our Journey through to Botswana, Namibia and return to Capetown on our camping safari trip. It should be interesting to say the least… I am dearly missing our morning lion walks already though and all of the amazing people I met at Lion encounter, it was such an invaluable experience that I recommend to anyone in search of a good adventure and down right fun.
Zambia, you will always hold a very special place in my heart .