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SOUTHERN AND EAST AFRICA

Botswana: in search of the next Precious Ramotswe Leave aside the luxury safari camps of the Okavango Delta, and you are not left with many obvious reasons to visit the sprawling, semi-desert republic of Botswana. However, since Scots author Alexander McCall Smith introduced the charmingly unaffected Precious Ramotswe and her No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency to the world of books (and subsequently, film and TV) even the dusty fringes of Gaborone, the capital, have drawn glimmers of interest from McCall Smith's growing army of fans. In Mochudi, the dusty overgrown village where our unlikely heroine spent her formative years, I took note of the Giggles Hair Salon, Nix Business Services (Company Formation, Biz Consultation, Funeral Programs) and the Club Triple Zero Nightclub, all doing business from tin sheds or mud-walled cabins. More entrepreneurs in the making...


Johannesburg: Black and white and shades of grey Johannesburg's most notorious Black 'township' is in fact a city whose varied neighbourhoods range from shantytowns to unashamedly middle class, complete with bed-and-breakfast lodgings.


Africa for Beginners On a long, hot stretch of road I’d begun to nod off, when the bus stopped abruptly. A pair of phantasmagorical figures, masked and costumed in feathers, technicolour rags and war-paint were prancing at the roadside, strolling players in search of a gig.  Malawians are versatile. Perhaps the Nyawu dancers owned the Pack and Go Coffin Workshop. Or turned their hands to Motor Repairs and Optical Lens Grinding. Malawians are rich in spirit, if not in things material: the welcome is untainted by envy.

Malawi is also rich in wildlife and scenery.   Impala, giraffe and elephant browse beside muddy rivers in which hippopotamus wallow, and you can admire them from safari camps which hold their own against those in better-known destinations further north.


Size Matters at Selous

There is something magic about flying low across the world's largest game reserve. The little aircraft, buffeted by tropical turbulence, drones over an infinity of sparsely-wooded savannah. Somewhere down there are 32,000 elephants, herds of buffalo and a handful of endangered black rhino. A sprawling river twinkles in the sun as we approach, following a sluggish tributary for the last few minutes before that alarming plunge down, down, thud, thump, onto a gravelled airstrip.

According to some, southern Tanzania encompasses some of the purest surviving tracts of game country in Africa. The Selous Game Reserve is one of the earth's last great wild places: 55,000 square kilometres -larger than Switzerland - of untamed bushland, crocodile-filled lakes and emerald green floodplains. And this is the land which gave the world the very name 'safari'.

Review or order any of the above stories by contacting Philip Game

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