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Old 06-12-2016, 05:52 AM   #1
cardsharkk04
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Photojourney: Africa

I've done a few of these threads in the past, and they seem to be pretty well received, so here's another go. I'm back in the states now, so I've got a chance to finish up editing some of my photos and reflect on the trip. I actually started in Bangkok to meet up with a Chinese girl who I traveled with in SW China, then hit some of the southern islands that I'd never been to before, felt underwhelmed, and then went to Indonesia, a country I really enjoy. I did some traveling and diving around Raja Empat, which is a pain to get to as its a small island chain in Indonesian Papua, but highly recommended! Then I made a fairly impromtu decision to fly to Cape Town, rather than doing more of the philippines, vietnam, western china and mongolia, as I had originally planned. I know, I know, all of those places sound really cool, but I've spent quite a bit of time in Asia but have never been to Africa, so I thought I'd switch it up a bit.

So I flew from Bali to Cape Town via Dubai, spent a week around Cape Town, which is a freakin gorgeous city, and then went to Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, and back to South Africa, where I flew home from Joburg. So not a complete loop, which I would have liked to do, but close enough. I had an important wedding to get back to, so my timeframe was somewhat limited at the tail end of the trip. Even though South Africa is loaded with cool stuff to do, I guess I preferred the feeling of the more 'African' countries, travelwise, and for a lack of a better term. I did an overland travel truck from Cape Town to Victoria falls, which is a fun way to travel, see all the highlights, and you get to meet lots of people and really get to know them, which is really great. However, the pace of the truck and lack of any type of cultural interaction did leave a bit of a sour taste in my mouth. Fortunately I had plenty of time to travel independently for the rest of my trip. And since it was low season, at times I really missed that type of camaraderie you find on an overland truck, but at the same time you really feel like you're in Africa, waiting for hours at bus stations and getting crammed into hot, sweaty, minibuses, filled way over capacity.

I don't consider myself a great writer, and I feel like the photos speak louder than words would, so let's get started! We'll start with Cape Town and around...

[IMG][/IMG]
This was my first night in Cape Town. I basically checked into my hostel and hiked up as high as I could on signal hill and was rewarded with some fantastic post-sunset colors.


The very colorful muslim bo kapp neighborhood.


Loved how his white clothes matched perfectly with the house.


Friendly group of people on the waterfront, I was secretly hoping they'd invite me to smoke their hookah, but it sadly didn't happen.


There really aren't many cities I've been to that can compare to the pure aesthetic beauty cape town has. Downside: crazy income inequalities and racial tension.


Penguin colony along the cape


Like a boss.


Everywhere along the coast is just freakin gorgeous. Random sidenote: I had a little plastic baggy with 500 pounds in it (basically $750usd) that got moved to the top of my backpack while I was rummaging in it and the crazy winds somehow picked it up and blew it over the cliff into the ocean. That sucked.


baboons just wandering around in the botanical gardens


Fishermen in Muizenburg


Coastal rocks in the little town of Hermanus


The real reason people go to Hermanus: The sharks!


Spent some time in the cage. It's cold and the visibility sucks, but still very cool seeing the great whites that up close and personal


I rented a scooter to drive around the Cape. Excellent roads, fantastic scenery, and much higher winds than I would have liked!

Lots of wind and a cool mix of cultures


My favorite part about this fishing scene was all the village kids running in and trying to steal some fish from the nets and the big boss guy getting super pissed and constantly chasing them off.


had to include some killer asscrack



she spotted me


Some muslim school took a field trip to the aquarium the same day I was there, you could tell from their faces it was the first time they'd ever seen anything like this before. Their reactions to the aquatic life were definitely the most rewarding part.






The view from Lion's Head at night



Just some random couple who wanted me to take their photo.

Okay, so that was Cape Town! I'll get to Namibia tomorrow.
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Old 06-12-2016, 12:45 PM   #2
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

nice. did you ever feel unsafe there?
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Old 06-12-2016, 01:23 PM   #3
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

Sick pics!
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Old 06-12-2016, 04:10 PM   #4
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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Originally Posted by cardsharkk04 View Post
...I did an overland travel truck from Cape Town to Victoria falls, which is a fun way to travel, see all the highlights, and you get to meet lots of people and really get to know them, which is really great. However, the pace of the truck and lack of any type of cultural interaction did leave a bit of a sour taste in my mouth...
Wow, that sounds like a great way to travel. Is this like a personnel carrier, sort of a flatbed truck with a canopy and benches, where everybody piles in back?

I don't get what you're saying about lack of cultural interaction though; seems like if you're on a truck for two or three days beating along, you'd have some great interactions with the other riders.

Anyway, great pictures, great start to your tales, looking forward to future installments.
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Old 06-12-2016, 07:43 PM   #5
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

nice photos
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Old 06-12-2016, 08:48 PM   #6
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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nice photos
this
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Old 06-12-2016, 11:17 PM   #7
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

So onto Namibia! As I mentioned earlier, this part of the trip (Namibia and Botswana) would be done by overland truck, which is basically a collection of 20 or so tourists all packed in together on a truck, plus our driver and cook, driving around Africa. It's reasonably comfortable (the inside is more like a bus) and sits up to 25 people. It's not like being in the back of a pickup truck! We camped the vast majority of nights and had 3 meals a day included in the price. Usually the breakfasts and lunches were fairly basic, but the dinners were pretty tasty! But everything we needed was all on the truck. The makeup of the group was mostly late 20's to late 30's. We had 6 Dutch, 6 Germans, 2 Swedes, 2 brits, 2 canucks, a norwegian, spaniard, kiwi, singaporean, and of course 1 person from USA #1. But it was good mix of people! There wasn't too many of any nationality to sway the language balance to far off, as I've heard happens sometimes. The Germans kind of had their own clique, but everyone else got along really well!


here's a photo of it from the outside. It's big and slow, but can handle the ****ty roads!


Our route: 5600 kms


getting into the Namib desert


After basically two days of straight driving from Cape Town we got to the Fish River Canyon


had to watch out for these guys!


The night skies were awesome. Probably the most memorable part of Namibia for me was just how the stars hit you in the face camping at night.


hiking up the dunes at sunrise




doesn't look as tall from this perspective!


typical meal setup


cool dead trees in a dried up lakebed




yes, lots of cool desert scenery


focus is soft, gahhh!




went to a seal colony with over 100,000 seals! It was loud and smelly


some seals were cute though


most were grumpy


some good hiking here


woman wearing traditional Herrero dress while selling crafts
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Old 06-12-2016, 11:34 PM   #8
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Re: Photojourney: Africa




We also visited the Himba tribe, which most people agreed was pretty touristy and stupid and incredibly inauthentic, but I still photos anyway.


the hair pieces are pretty wild




next stop: Etosha Nat'l Park in northern Namibia


It downpoured the whole first afternoon, but I managed to take this one that turned out pretty solid.


and then we were greeted with this fantastic rainbow after we set up camp!


The sun setting illuminated this storm off in the distance


post sunset colors at the watering hole. Definitely one of the better skies I've seen in Africa. And most people were inside playing cards. Idiots!


lone hyena the next morning


hartebeast


another rainbow!


rhino drinks while the giraffes stroll by


oh hi


My first lion! after already having a fantastic game drive this female lion strolled by, right as the sun was setting. Tough to beat that.




THEN the male lion came out of the bushes and made himself comfy right near the side of the road. Safaris can be boring at times, but when they're good, they're GOOD!


bushmen doing some sort of dance

And that's it for Namibia. I really liked the country! There's not tons of stuff to do, as the country is mostly desert, but the dunes, and the camping, and the stars were all very memorable. Interesting wildlife too! Of course everything is pretty spread out, so we spent A LOT of time in the bus, much more than I was expecting. Travelling independently it's nice to find a spot you like and hang out there a few days, but you certainly can't do that on the tourist truck! So it is what it is. Anyway, next stop: Botswana
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Old 06-12-2016, 11:46 PM   #9
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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nice. did you ever feel unsafe there?
Eh, I got a little bit sketched out in downtown Joburg when I was driving around lost and it was getting dark out. It's not the friendliest looking place! Nothing happened of course.

But overall, Africa was quite a bit safer than I was expecting. The tourist hostels/lodges all have pretty good security. In the big cities you have to take some extra precautions and not walk around at night in some areas.

As for Cape Town I heeded the locals advice and took cabs everywhere after dark, but everything felt totally fine during the day. I even took the minibuses that the white locals warn against, but it seemed ok to me. I never felt scared or threatened in any way. It almost seemed like the white locals were a bit paranoid sometimes, buts it's hard for me to actually tell, being a naive tourist and all.
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Old 06-12-2016, 11:58 PM   #10
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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Wow, that sounds like a great way to travel. Is this like a personnel carrier, sort of a flatbed truck with a canopy and benches, where everybody piles in back?

I don't get what you're saying about lack of cultural interaction though; seems like if you're on a truck for two or three days beating along, you'd have some great interactions with the other riders.

Anyway, great pictures, great start to your tales, looking forward to future installments.
It is a nice way to travel! The truck/bus is pretty comfy and everyone has their own seats. I'll pull up a picture from the inside. The main downside of the truck is the pace of travel. You spend so much time in the truck. Sometimes you'll have 2 days of straight driving where you're just sitting in the truck all day, camping out, and doing it all over again the next day. The driving time:activities ratio is not good.

Oh and I meant cultural interaction with actual Africans! You don't meet too many of them. But of course you spend tons of time with all the other riders and get to know everyone very well, so that is nice. And we had tons of different nationalities which made things even more interesting.

Glad you're liking it so far, lots more to come!


then you've got your locker in the back to keep all your stuff.
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Old 06-13-2016, 12:38 AM   #11
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

what Camera do you use to make these pics?

they are amazing!
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Old 06-13-2016, 12:59 AM   #12
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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what Camera do you use to make these pics?

they are amazing!
I use a Canon 5d mk2

for lenses I used either my Canon 17-40 f/4 L or the 70-200 f/4 L.

thanks, I'm happy you're enjoying the photos!
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Old 06-13-2016, 08:18 AM   #13
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

wow

i really like the one of the lion crossing the road
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Old 06-13-2016, 08:33 PM   #14
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

Thanks for the info on the truck. I was picturing (as I'm sure you guessed) more of a transport bus, I see it's a tour bus. I see what you mean now by missing out on the cutlural interaction.

Pictures and stories awesome, especially the night sky. Thank you very much for sharing.
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Old 06-13-2016, 10:06 PM   #15
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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Thanks for the info on the truck. I was picturing (as I'm sure you guessed) more of a transport bus, I see it's a tour bus. I see what you mean now by missing out on the cutlural interaction.

Pictures and stories awesome, especially the night sky. Thank you very much for sharing.
Yea, I can see how when I call it a truck the mental image is a little misleading.
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Old 06-13-2016, 11:17 PM   #16
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

Now up Botswana:

Botswana has been getting on the map lately for its relatively stable economy and abundance of wildlife opportunities. In fact it was named to lonely planet's 10 top destinations of 2016 list, which are mostly ignore-worthy lists, but there you have it. It's got a good mix or deserts and deltas. It was kind of a shame we only had 6 days in the country on our truck. We would really only see two major sites: the Okavango Delta and Chobe national park.

After Etosha we drove to the capital city of Namibia: Windhoek. Pretty boring place! Some people were getting off at this juncture, so we had a nice 'probably-never-see-you-again dinner' at a German place, which isn't as weird as it might sound being that Namibia was a former Germany colony. It's also fun having meat on the menu like kudu, zebra, springbok, ostrich, and crocodile. Ostrich was my favorite out of all the ones I tried! Then most of us tried to find a cool bar to go to afterwards, which was surprisingly difficult! I mean it was a Wednesday, but still! Our taxi driver took us to a few different places before we finally found one that was open. We drank till they kicked us out at midnight, and then it was back on the road the next morning.

It took us two long, boring days from Windhoek to get to the outside of the Okavango Delta. The landscape changed quite a bit, from desert, to scrub, to large green bushes and trees. But the main difference we noticed when stepped off the truck near the delta was the mosquitos! These things were not to be taken lightly. All of us were on malaria medication, but if you weren't careful and let some get into your tent and had any skin exposed, well expect a lot of itching the next few days. I woke up one morning with probably 50 bites on my ankle. Just relentless. And we weren't even in the delta yet! We still had a 2 hour boat ride and hour jeep ride to get to our camp.

The main way to get around the delta is the makoro, a little dugout boat that gets pushed along with a big stick. So we had two people per boat and our poler/guide to steer us around. Being that it was still the wet season, it wasn't the greatest time to see wildlife, but the scenery was still great, and getting up and close to the hippos was somewhat nerve-wracking to someone who had never seen a hippo before! And we got to do makoro races, the US/NZ team taking down the Germans and Dutchies Steering the makoros is way harder than it looks! But anyway, onto the photos...


The poler/guide for our makoro


We had stormy weather, but that much rain, so good dramatic skies for photography


My partner for the day, who spoke good English but had a very strong and amusing Swedish accent.




massive termite mounds


the ceiling of our lodge


who says bat's can't be cute


A person!! Blurry b/c it was taken from the back of a jeep

And I read that Botswana is a prosperous African nation with high per capita GDP, but you sure as hell wouldn't know it from any of the places we drove by. Just standard, poor as hell little villages. I know there's a thriving diamond market, but I'm guessing the $$ doesn't make it too far down the chain.


derpy snake


view of the hippos from our makoros. The were letting us know who is the boss around these parts.


impalas abound



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Old 06-13-2016, 11:48 PM   #17
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

We took a boat to get out of the Okavango Delta, which was not working right and took like 5 hours instead of 1.5, AND it was pouring rain, so that was fun. We drove the rest of the day, but due to the delay we didn't set up camp until 11pm or so. This was one of those days where it was hard not get into a sour mood.

The next day we rolled into Chobe Park, in NE Botswana. It's known for its large elephant population. And we saw one right away. It was crossing the road in front of us, and then it stopped on the side of the road and was kind of snorting and flapping its ears, then it just started running right at the truck! Fortunately our driver was paying attention and was able to step on the gas, but it still made it within a few feet of the truck. Sadly I was on the wrong side of the truck so I didn't get any good photos/video. Probably the most exciting few seconds of the trip though!

For Chobe we got in two game drives as well boat ride along the river, so here ya go:


elephants drinking down at the river












hungry hungry hippos









finally found some lions in the early morning!



After these would head on to Victoria Falls for the conclusion of the overland trip.
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Old 06-14-2016, 02:42 AM   #18
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

Great pics!! When were you there? We may have overlapped at some point
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Old 06-14-2016, 06:39 AM   #19
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

Great thread, rhino photo I think is the best safari photo I've ever seen, do you have a blog/Instagram,etc?
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Old 06-14-2016, 11:24 AM   #20
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

shots are great! thanks for sharing your travels!
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Old 06-15-2016, 06:34 PM   #21
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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Great pics!! When were you there? We may have overlapped at some point
Let's see, I flew into Cape Town the last week of February and flew out of joburg June 1. Where were you at this time around?
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Old 06-15-2016, 06:39 PM   #22
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

some more great shots!

What sort of editing are you doing on them?
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Old 06-15-2016, 06:40 PM   #23
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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Great thread, rhino photo I think is the best safari photo I've ever seen, do you have a blog/Instagram,etc?
Thanks! Yea its one of my favs as well, the pouring rain really adds to the atmosphere of the scene.

Yup, I do have a blog that keep up with when I'm traveling but not so much when I'm at home. It's at
http://www.adamliss.com
It's got a bunch of photos that i'll be posting in the next few days, plus a bunch of Asia and Central America from previous trips.
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Old 06-15-2016, 06:47 PM   #24
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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shots are great! thanks for sharing your travels!
Quote:
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some more great shots!

What sort of editing are you doing on them?
Ty, Ty!

All the photos are shot in RAW, so I do the initial edits in Adobe Camera Raw, (usually tweaking the color balance and the exposure, bringing down the highlights, lightening the shadows, adding some contrast and sharpening) and doing the rest of the editing in photoshop. If you want any more specific info just let me know.
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Old 06-15-2016, 07:47 PM   #25
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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Ty, Ty!

All the photos are shot in RAW, so I do the initial edits in Adobe Camera Raw, (usually tweaking the color balance and the exposure, bringing down the highlights, lightening the shadows, adding some contrast and sharpening) and doing the rest of the editing in photoshop. If you want any more specific info just let me know.
Would love to hear more, particularly on the photoshop side.
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