SOUTHERN AFRICA - Summer 2006
We left Seattle on May 31 for a 9-hour flight to London, then enjoyed a 24-hour layover and a visit to World Vision's UK office in Milton Keynes. See more from our Milton Keynes and London visit.
We arrived on the first of June in Johannesburg following a 12-hour all-night flight from London. More than half of our 7-week stay in Southern Africa was spent in South Africa, with home base being a lovely bed and breakfast in Roodeport (a western suburb of Johannesburg). See more from our time in Roodeport.
While in Johannesburg we enjoyed many of the area's fine attractions, including the Johannesburg Arboretum, which looks suspiciously like Africa. See more from our time in Johannesburg.
Our first week in Johannesburg we spent getting acclimatized and receiving orientation from World Vision's regional staff in Southern Africa. Our visit included a wonderful day in Orlando East, a township of the world's largest ghetto, Soweto, to the southwest of Johannesburg. Our visit coincided with the 30th anniversary of the famous Soweto uprising. See more from our visit in Soweto.
Our second week was spent in a remote rural area of South Africa known as "Okhahlamba," where World Vision cares for thousands of orphans. South Africa's HIV prevalence rate is one of the highest in the world. See more from our visit in Okhahlamba.
Okhahlamba sits at the foot of the beautiful Drakensbergs, near the eastern edge of the Lesotho plateau. The knife's edge of the area of the Drakensbergs known as "Cathedral" can be seen behind us in this photo near the lovely Anthony's B&B where we stayed while in Bergville. See more from our visit to the Drakensbergs.
When you go to Africa you want to see some of the beautiful animals which have made this land famous. We took a weekend break from our work in South Africa to visit the Animal Creche, a spacious game reserve northwest of Johannesburg, in a high plateau area riddled with caves and known as the "Cradle of Civilization" because of some of the ancient hominid artifacts there. See more from our visit to the game reserve.
Our descent into several spectacular caves in this area known as the "Cradle of Humanity" was one of the spectacular memories of our visit. See more from our visit in the caves.
But our visit to Southern Africa certainly wasn't all play and no work. We spent a full week in Zimbabwe, at World Vision's headquarters in Harare, and also a few days in the field, moving northwest to the city of Kadoma and projects further afield, now located in a former game reserve area known as Gokwe. See more from our time in Zimbabwe.
However, the highlight of our entire trip, by far, was the week we spent in the southern portion of the Democratic Republic of Congo, known as Katanga Province. We flew from Johannesburg to Ndola, Zambia, then drove north across the border (an adventure in itself) to the city of Lubumbashi in the DRC. We met the staff at World Vision's DRC headquarters, then spent a wonderful day in the Kipushi Area Development Program with our sponsored child, Gracia. See more from our time in Kipushi.
After our visit to Kipushi we flew in a small plane across the high savannah and jungle (viewing the origins of the Congo River as we flew) northward to Kolwezi, a town in the interior. Here we interviewed World Vision-sponsored children and their families, and visited health care projects, including an unforgettable hospital and school for the deaf and mute. See more from our time in Kolwezi.
During our final week we had planned to visit either Lesotho or Swaziland (with the world's highest HIV prevalence rates), but due to schedule conflicts we were unable to do so. So we launched instead on a 3,000-mile cross-Africa journey (by rental car) from Johannesburg through Bloemfontein (the birthplace of J.R.R. Tolkien), to the breathtaking Cape Town, then eastward along the southern coast across Cape L'Agulhas (the southernmost point of the continent) back toward Durben and then inland, visiting Okhahlamba one final time before our return to Johannesburg and return flight back to London and the States. See more from our trip to Cape Town and around the Southern Coast.