Tag Archives: Botswana

Looking Back on Botswana


So, I’m back from Africa and settled back into my life (after considerable jet lag).  It’s hard now even to believe that just a week ago, I was driving around the wilds of Botswana in a safari vehicle, looking at rhinos and giraffes and elephants.  It all seems like a movie that I went to see, and now I’m out of the theater, dazed by the  bright outside light and realizing that I ate a little too much popcorn (or, in this case, one too many ‘fat cakes,’ a Botswana staple consisting of a big ball of friend dough dripping with grease).

This trip to Africa made me feel both younger than usual and older.  I felt younger to realize that I still had the nerve to go exploring and camping in remote places, with my 2 girls and some camping equipment.  It also made me feel younger to try new foods, meet new people, and to see new things.  However, the trip also made me feel older, in that I had more anxiety about things than I had ever had in the past.  Part of this is probably due to the fact that it was Africa I was visiting and not Wales (where I ventured when I was 19 and traveling by myself for the first time).

Part of my anxiety was also due, I’m sure,  to the fact that I didn’t have my husband with me—for the first time in about 28 years!  After all, Tom is always so on guard against every possible hazard to our kids that it makes it easy for me to relax and be laid back.

But the biggest part was probably just due to the fact that I’m 58 years old and a little too aware of the bad things that can happen to good people.  While Becky was excited to see the very interesting lizard on the roof of our camping tent, I couldn’t help but imagine that lizard dropping down on us in the night to give us a fatal, poisonous bite.  While Becky and Josie both enjoyed steering the rental car through the sandy roads into Khama Rhino Sanctuary, I kept imagining us stuck in the sand on a backwoods trail, with no one to come and rescue us or bring us water.  It made me feel old to be conscious of every mosquito bite, fearing dengue fever or malaria.


I have to admit it:  when our plane touched down in Philadelphia, and I knew, for the first time, that I had gotten at least one of my girls safely back on this side of the ocean, part of me breathed a huge sigh of relief.

But then, I have to remember that there was also another part of me that was ready to pack up and go again.

I guess there’s still some life in the old girl.

My African Adventure: Part III

I’m back home, safe and sound, so I thought I would just give the highlights of the trip.  I’m still a little jet lagged, so bear with me if I repeat myself.  The pictures, by the way, come courtesy of my photographer daughter, Josie!

1) Seeing a mother warthog with her 3 babies:

2) Seeing a herd of elephants rolling in the mud under a hot, hot sun at Madikwe Game Reserve:

3) Watching the sun set at Tuli Game Reserve while elephant shrews and lizards ran around the rocks at our feet:


4) Visiting the little town of Serowe, with its fabulous museum that features a room dedicated to the life of novelist Bessie Head, as well as great exhibits about the Khama family (rulers of Botswana over the years):

5) Seeing a leopard—a very rare sighting—out for an evening stroll and watching lions drinking at a watering hole:


6) Catching a mother and baby rhino in our spotlight on our night drive through Khama Rhino Sanctuary

7) Playing “Categories” with my girls while waiting for our afternoon safari drive at Tuli, while a monkey stole our opened can of tuna fish!

8) Realizing that we probably weren’t going to die out in the wilderness, even though our 2-wheel drive rented car was having considerable difficulty navigating the sandy roads at Khama and the rocky, potholed roads at Tuli

Continue reading My African Adventure: Part III

On Having a Daughter in Africa (25 Hours Away by Jet)


This news came on a day when we had not heard anything from Becky for a while, since she was traveling with friends to South Africa, so she wasn’t anywhere near a computer—and her phone had no service.  I didn’t think I could stand it, but I had to wait another two or three days before I could actually hear from Becky in person that  1) she was alive 2) she had a fabulous time in South Africa and 3) yes, she was indeed standing less than a foot away from the rogue Great White when it rammed the protective cage, pushing through the bars with its teeth.  According to their guide, that sort of thing “has never happened before.”  He was totally shocked that it happened this time.  Becky said it was “awesome,” since she could see its teeth—and could have put her whole arm down its mouth if she’d wanted to!

Needless to say, I’m having difficulty having my girl so far away this year.  The bleak reality – that hits me in the middle of the night or at times when she is sick or hurts her leg or loses her phone—is that 1) I can’t get to her quickly 2) I can’t get her home quickly 3) I can’t think about what might or might not be happening to her, since I can’t do a damn thing about it. Continue reading On Having a Daughter in Africa (25 Hours Away by Jet)

On Sending my Daughter off to Africa


My baby girl (Becky, who is 19) is now southern Africa.  And she’s there for the next 10 months.  I’m still trying to take in that information, so I thought it would help to write about it!

We took her to the plane last Sunday morning (6 a.m.!), and I swore I was going to be brave just long enough to get her on the plane.  I almost made it.  My eyes started tearing up when I saw her being friendly and cute with the other passengers in line to go through security with her.  She was starting conversations with at least three different people.  That’s just how she is.

After putting her on the plane at the Charlotte airport, our sadly diminished family group went to the local IHOP for breakfast and cried into our pancakes.  It was a bleak morning.  My spirits rose when I got a text message: “I’ll call you when I get to Africa.”  How ridiculous is that? Continue reading On Sending my Daughter off to Africa