We're in Chobe...What an adventure!...Fun facts about Chobe!...

"What the muck have I gotten myself into?" says Mr. Cape Buffalo (one of the Big Five).
"Sighting of the Day in Botswana"
"Why are all these humans staring at me?" says Ms. Baboon.
While we're in Chobe (Botswana) we didn't have ample free time to upload our hundreds of photos to get to work on them.  Yesterday morning Steve, our driver with Chris Tours, picked us up at 7:00 am and we didn't get to our hotel room at the Chobe Safari Lodge until after 4:00 pm after a full day of game viewing.
The entrance gate to Chobe National Park.  Our guide enters the building to be given a route for our game drive.  Luckily, Samson was able to negotiate a route close to the river where wildlife congregates during the dry season.
With a dinner reservation for 1830 hrs (6:30 pm), with both of us desperately needing to shower before dinner, we knew we'd have little time to prepare the type of post we'd like to in order to best represent our full day's experiences on a game drive in Chobe National Park and an afternoon cruise on the Chobe River.

Cape buffalo are safe around this young crocodile.  But, according to our guide Samson, once this croc is fully grown and a buffalo is floating in the water with hooves not touching the river bottom, they would be in grave danger.
No doubt, my expectations were high after the experiences we had three months ago engaged in these same activities.  Tom, on the other hand, kept his expectations in check.  But, like visiting Kruger National Park once a week as we do, one needs to temper expectations and go with the flow.  
Elephants have their own built-in snorkel.
There were a few stunning moments we'll share in photos over the next week but for today, we'll only be adding a few of the less exciting photos in order to save time including the gems from yesterday and today with the accompanying stories to go with them.

Luckily, as you see this post today, we have another full day of the same activities and hopefully, we'll be back with some serious adventures in tomorrow's post when we back in Livingstone, Zambia.
This elephant crossed the Chobe River with ease.  Elephants are great swimmers.
We stayed with the same group of six other people on the first day during both the land game drive, the buffet lunch at the resort and the boat safari in the afternoon.  

Today, we'll meet an entirely new group of people.  The people we met yesterday were fantastic and we all shared wonderful stories of our world travels and love of wildlife. 
Man and boy canoeing in a channel of the Chobe River.
One couple from Switzerland and Germany had actually just come from a stay in a lodge in Marloth Park.  What a coincidence!  We chatted with a pair of traveling friends working together in Dubai with one of the two from Minnesota.  Another coincidence.  
Tom is right at home while on safari.  We've learned so much over these years, it's all the more exciting.
The third couple is from Nice, France and although there was somewhat of a language barrier, we managed to engage in lively conversation.  Meeting these friendly people was an interesting and enjoyable experience.  

Of course, we handed out business cards and look forward to seeing them online, hopefully visiting us here on our site and saying hello on Messenger from time to time.
Warthogs, outside Chobe National Park, running from dogs chasing them as shown in the photo below.
The room at the Chobe Safari Lodge was excellent with views of the Chobe River.  Of course, early in the morning, we heard the magical sounds of hippos gurgling in the river...music to our ears...reminiscent of our time in the Maasai Mara in 2013 when we slept in a luxury tent on the Mara River awakening to the sounds of the hippos before sunrise.  See that link here.
Dogs chasing warthogs, outside the perimeter of the park.
After checking a few online resources we found these fun facts about Chobe we're sharing today.  Please check below for details.

From this site:
1. Chobe National Park is divided into four different areas, each with distinctly unique geographical landscapes. They are as follows; the Savuti channel, Linyati wetlands, Serondella and Nogatsaa.
2. In 1888, the Savuti channel dried up completely and only flowed again in 1957, 70 years later. It is changeable and sporadic, but exceptionally diverse and beautiful.
3. The roads in Savuti are notoriously difficult to drive through due to the wet black cotton soil in the area.
4. Savute and Linyati have no internet and no mobile network coverage
All the more reason to take a digital detox and enjoy the simple pleasures of a Botswana safari
5. Before it was a national park, this area was used as trophy-hunting grounds and as a source of teak wood for the blooming timbre industry (both of which have been outlawed).
6. In the 1940’s, Chobe National Park fell under a major tsetse fly infestation. This has a great impact on the decision to declare the area a national park.
7. Gobabis Hill in Savuti has ancient San rock paintings that are estimated to be about 4000 years old.
8. Chobe National Park has the most elephants in all of Africa and you can literally feel the ground shake as a large herd moves by.
9. To celebrate their second wedding, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton married in secret at the Chobe National Park in 1975.
10. Victoria Falls is only a short drive away from the park. Don’t miss the chance to visit this magnificent feat of nature on your Botswana safari.
11. Rhino is the only Big Five animal that is not found easily in the park.  (At current speculation, there are only 13 rhinos in this massive national park).

Tonight, we'll be back to our hotel in Livingstone, Zambia by dinnertime.  For ease, we'll dine at the hotel which will be Tuesday evening and then, on Wednesday we'll dine out once again.  
Our lovely room at the Chobe Safari Lodge in Chobe National Park in Botswana.
On Thursday morning, we'll head to the airport in Livingstone to return to the Kruger/Nelspruit/Mpumalanga Airport which is a seven-hour turnaround.  At some point during the day on Thursday, we'll upload a new post.  Most assuredly, we won't be missing any day's post during this trip but the times we upload them may vary.

Hopefully, all goes well with immigration when we re-enter South Africa on Thursday afternoon.  Either way, we'll be sharing the details here.

Have a superb day and evening!

Photo from one year ago today, August 20, 2017:
This plant in the garden in Costa Rica had an interesting leaf pattern.  For more photos, please click here.

A tour of the visually enticing and historic city of Livingstone, Zambia...Twenty years from now?...Is it possible?...

A craftsman at work encouraged us to take the photo.
"Sighting of the Day in Zambia"
Everywhere we travel in Africa and other parts of the world, we see women, not men, carrying heavy baskets atop their heads.
We prepared today's post yesterday after uploading the post for August 19th.  With a plan to leave the hotel in Livingstone with Steve from Chris Tours picking us up at 7:00 am, we realized there would be no time to prepare a new post for today.
Our driver dropped us off at this outdoor arts and crafts market in the center of town.
Luckily, the editing site in blogger allows us to select a time and date we'd like a particular post to be automatically uploaded.  This has proven to be invaluable for our commitment to post a new story with photos each and every day.

We encountered some of the most "assertive" vendors we've seen anywhere in the world, comparable to those in the souks in Marrakesh, Morocco.
No doubt, this commitment we made to our worldwide readers many years ago has kept us on our toes when we have activities planned that impinge upon the hours of the day we reserve for doing our posts.

Only one vendor refuses to allow us to take photos. (Not necessarily this one).  We respected his wishes.
Yes, I know.  Some of our kindly readers have written saying, "No worries, miss a post or two from time to time."  Thanks to all of you for your support!  However, if we miss one or two posts here and there, suddenly we may find ourselves missing four or five or ten or twelve.  

The items offered for sale consisted of inexpensive jewelry, Africa themed arts and crafts, fabrics, clothing, toys and such.
We all know how this goes.  Change a consistent habit or process and suddenly it gets away from us.  It's kind of like being on a diet...only one piece of cake and then I'll go back to my diet.  

Often tourists can't resist buying items for their homes.
Well, we know what happens then...a leftover piece of cake beacons us sitting in the fridge in the morning calling our name and once again we re-commit to the diet after we're done eating this "one last piece."

With no intent of making purchases, we wandered through the busy area stopping to appreciate some of the items.
Writing these daily posts is one diet we want to stick to, as long as we continue to travel the world and perhaps even after when we can't continue any longer due to health as we age.  As long as I still have my wits about me, I can't imagine ever stopping.

Colorful dolls with handmade detail.
Imagine, we had to stop traveling due to health concerns or merely old age and we were thrown into the reality of staying put.  How we handled this may be of some interest to others for both retirees and working folks.  

It appeared many shoppers could easily be locals shopping for themselves and for gifts.
At this point, neither of us can conceive of living out our lives without this magical way we approach each day.  But, most likely, someday, it will happen.  When I think that in 20 years, God willing, I'll be 90 years old, its hard to imagine doing what we're doing today...riding on bumpy dirt roads on safari in Chobe National Park in Botswana.

There are numerous banks and financial business in town.
I'm sure some travelers out there have done this at 90 years of age.  Please point them out to me.  I'd love some inspiration that it's indeed possible, if not likely.  Tom will be a measly 85 years ago...quite the youngster.

A typical day in the city of Livingstone.
When I think of how fast the past 20 years flew by, it makes me realize how quickly the next 20 will come.  So, missing a day's post is not in my wheelhouse.  Each day counts.  Each moment counts and our intent is to continue to live each one to the fullest, sharing our story with all of you.

We waited for our driver to pick us up while people watching on the busy street.
Tomorrow, we'll be back with a short post since we'll be on safari all day once again.  However, we'll upload a few photos from today's safari and a few snippets of this return experience to Botswana.

May each moment of your day be special.

Photo from one year ago today, August 20, 2017:

Lavender bougainvillea on the grounds of La Perla, villa in Atenas, Costa Rica.  For more photos, please click here.

Part 2...Artistry, talent and taboos...A cultural goldmine in Livingstone...WayiWayi Art Studio and Gallery...

One wonders what would have precipitated this taboo.  It could go back thousands of years with the origination unknown.  This and the other taboo paintings were done by Agness, director of WayWayi Art Studio & Gallery,
"Sighting of the Day in Zambia"
Should I reconsider serving Tom three eggs and bacon, upping it to four or reducing it to two?
There were more Zambian taboos than we can possibly list here in one post.  Here's a link we found with a few more taboos, commonly observed by both local people and hopefully, respected by visitors to this astounding culture.
Every piece of art at WayiWayi Art Studio & Gallery was representative of Zambian culture.
We'd hope to find a more comprehensive resource on Zambian taboos online with limited success.  These taboos are so ingrained in the culture their significance is carried on from generation to generation, more by word of mouth than posted online.

Agness had made many exquisites paintings of a wide variety of taboos in Zambian culture.
They are fascinating!
Visiting WayiWayi Art Studio & Gallery as described in yesterday's Part 1 gave us an opportunity to peek inside the gentle and loving nature of these special people who honor family, spirituality, and work at the foundation of their beliefs.  For yesterday's post, in the event you missed it, please click here.

Shaking hands with in-laws in not appropriate.  More so, a humble bow would be more appropriate.
Today, we're sharing the balance of our photos including some of the exquisite pieces Agness Buya had personally crafted with her fascination and knowledge of traditional Zambian taboos and customs. 
Gorgeous wall hangings.
As Agness escorted us from room to room in her large studio/residence we were continually in awe of her work, her husband Lawrence's work and the works of students over the years.  
The meaning of this piece is that people often complain out loud, wanting the government to solve their problems rather than find solutions on their own.
Both trained as art teachers/instructors it's evident their vast knowledge and expertise become an integral part of the education of students, young and old and various artists in residence.

Some of their services include (from their brochure):

  • Free WiFi
  • All major credit cards
  • Self-catering facilities
  • Check-in/out 24 hours
  • Artists workspace available
  • Electrical kiln, potters wheel, printing press, a small collection of art books for research
A busy workspace and storage area.
To contact WayiWayi Art Studio & Gallery, call 260 977 325 799 or 260 966 559 101 or email:  wayiwayi966@gmail.com.  
Their Facebook page is:  www.facebook.com/wayiwayi
Many arts and art history books are available for the students to use while attending classes.
Now, continuing on with our itinerary over the next few days.  Tomorrow morning we'll be picked up at 7:00 am at the Protea Hotel in Livingstone for a two day, one overnight, safari adventure, both in Chobe National Park and again on the Chobe River.
The power of the messages in each item is breathtaking.
Last time we were in Zambia we'd participated in these two types of safaris but for shorter periods. In this case, we'll have two full days to see more of this wildlife-rich area on land in a safari vehicle and in a boat on the Chobe River.

The biggest draw for tourists to travel to Livingstone is Victoria Falls, seen from one or both sides of the Zambezi River.  When we were here three months ago, we spent an entire day seeing the falls from both countries, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  
We'll always remember this special day with Agness at WayiWayi Art Studio & Gallery.
It was an extraordinary experience which we posted at this link and also Part 2 at this link.  The reality is there are only so many tourist attractions in this area, most of which we've already experienced.  

This artistic piece, made by Agness was made with hundreds of scratch-off tickets.
Based on the fact we needed to return to Zambia for another 90-day visa extension, we decided to return to Chobe after the exceptional previous experience.  Most likely the route we travel will be the same or similar to the previous route we traveled in Chobe National Park.  

However, like visiting Kruger as we often do once a week, each time it is unique and exciting even if we travel on the same exact roads on each occasion.
Could this be represented as cultural changes over the years, the woman in front as more modern, the woman behind here in more traditional roles?

Subsequently, we'll be gone all day tomorrow and the following day which will result in two short posts for those two days with more photos from Zambia.  Once we're back at the hotel, on Wednesday we'll begin posting the Chobe National Park and Chobe River photos.

Children playing in the sand at the art school.

Again, thank you to the wonderful Agness Buya for making our trip to Zambia all the more important and exciting.

We'll be back tomorrow with more!

Have a fantastic day!


 Photo from one year ago today, August 19, 2017:

The mountains impeded our view of the sunset in Atenas, Costa Rice but got gorgeous colors in the process.  For more details, please click here.

Part 1...Artistry, talent and taboos...A cultural goldmine in Livingstone...WayiWayi Art Studio and Gallery...

This is talented and dedicated Agness Buya, who has made art, apprenticeships, and education at the core of her very existence.  We were honored to have met her and for the time she took sharing this cultural center with the two of us.  Agness created this magnificent creation using tea bags!
"Sighting of the Day in Zambia"
Work and providing for one's family is a part of the marriage commitment ceremony.  This statue and other's similar to this, bear no arms and legs, indicating there's no place for "lazy" individuals who refuse to work.
Today and tomorrow we'll be sharing photos of a fabulous cultural experience from yesterday's tour of the city of Livingstone, Zambia.  The highlight of our day was our private tour of WayiWayi Art Studio and Gallery.
The dirt road to the WayiWayi Art Studio and Gallery.
When one is on holiday in a tourist town with the intent of visiting an art gallery what visions come to mind?  The glass storefront, a pristine and impeccable decor allowing for highlighting the art as opposed to the facility itself?
The sign upon entry onto the grounds.
One envisions expensive art offering including paintings with a wide array of techniques and styles, sculptures, glassworks and a plethora of handmade creative wall, floor, and table pieces, each stunning, pricey and unique.
This building serves as both an art center and residence for owner/manager Agness and her artist husband Lawrence.  Sharing art with their community is truly the essence of their lives.
Well, dear readers, one may find such places in many tourist locations throughout the world, but not here in Livingstone, Zambia. Throughout our almost six years of non-stop world travel, homeless and unencumbered with stuff art only provides us with a finite appreciation of the work and craft of highly dedicated and talented individuals.  
The grounds near the art school and art classrooms.
We don't own a wall, a floor or a table to hold or display such an artistic piece of the work of these creative talents.  Nor do we have a storage place to hold such works for future use should we ever stop traveling.
Display of children's work in one of the classrooms in the adjacent building.
Although Livingstone with it's World Heritage Victoria Falls is one of the world's most desired tourist attractions, the culture is very different here than one might find in many other popular tourist destinations. 
Artist in residence honing his skills.
Subsequently, we were literally "over the moon" traveling over yet another bumpy dirt road (quite a familiar experience for us in rough-roaded Marloth Park)  and we approached the most quaint and charming WayiWayi Art Studio and Gallery, located at Plot #2613/392 Kalukuluku Street (off Airport Road) in Livingstone, Zambia.  
Artist in residence working in one of the several workrooms with children learning from the experiences.
To reach Agness, contact her on their Facebook page here or she can be reached by email at this link.  No reservation to tour the center is required during normal business hours but since the property is also hers and her husband residence, it's best to contact Agness outside any regular hours.
Opportunities for both youth and adults to enhance their skills.
Should any of our readers travel to this exceptional country to visit Victoria Falls, a stop at this culturally fascinating facility is an absolute must, especially if cultural experiences fit well into your travel plans.
Art supplies and storage area.
As soon as we exited the taxi, Agness immediately approached us, hand outstretched to warmly greet us, two strangers.  Little did she know we'd be writing a story with many photos about her outstanding artistic endeavors.  
A separate room dedicated to marriage rites and customs.  This pattern on the floor is for the engaged couple to walk on tiptoes together symbolizing their ability to work as a couple.
As far as she knew we were typical tourists/shoppers interested in purchasing a few items to bring "home" for ourselves, family members and friends as a reminder of a tour of Livingstone, Zambia.
Agness' husband Lawrence painted this beautiful piece indicating the family's unity and involvement in the marriage.
In only a matter of moments, Agness understood how committed we are to sharing "her" story in words and photos and possibly attracting the attention of art enthusiasts and future shoppers whose purchases help to support the continuation of such a fine educational and creative center for children and adults.
A collage of photos of the many stages of preparation for the upcoming marriage.

From the simple one-page brochure we're sharing their words on services offered (as an important adjunct to our two-day story as follows):

1.  Produce, display and sell high-quality Zambian arts, crafts, and design.
2.  Organize workshops and art exhibition locally and nationwide.
3.  Provide apprenticeship opportunities for emerging artists.
4.  Empowering women's groups and youth with skills-training in the visual arts.
5.  Offer hands-on arts and crafts to children aged one and a half to six-month and above.
6.  Showcase the Mbusa cultural traditions (pottery, wall paintings, and artifacts used in the traditional Bemba marriage ceremony).  For detail on these traditions, please click here).
7.  Face/body paintings for various function for all age groups.
8.  Resource Centre for the visual art in Zambia's Southern province.
9.  Provide studio space and Residency opportunities for local and foreign artists, in all areas of art.
10. To stock and supply a variety of art and craft materials for use by local schools and community programs.
Music, wall hangings, artifacts, and pottery are an integral part of the traditional Bemba marriage ceremony and rituals.
We will say this today and then repeat it tomorrow:  "Thank you Agness Buya for adding such a rich texture to our ongoing experiences in your fine country and for all the care and support you provide for your artistic community."
This wall mural contains many sections representing different aspects of life for the Zambian couple as they prepare for marriage, a lifetime commitment in this culture.
Tomorrow we'll be back with Part 2 with a focus on many of the taboos commonly observed in Zambian culture.  Please stop back.
 Photo from one year ago today, August 18, 2017:
Our friend Louise, whom we met in Kauai Hawaii identified this bird as a Hoffmann's Woodpecker.  Thanks, Louise, we appreciated the information.  I took this photo while seated on the sofa on the veranda while working on the day's post while in Atenas, Costa Rica.  For more photos, please click here.