African Wanderings

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African Wanderings

SAFARI OF A LIFETIME FOR STAN & ANNE
by Peter Martin

Retired Buffalo City surgeon Stan Weakley and his wife Anne, fulfilled their greatest dream when they undertook a nine-month trip around Africa from April 2015 to January 2016.

The trip covered a total of 44 000km. They visited well over 50 game reserves in diverse countries such as Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Ruanda, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and North Sudan.

They felt that the political climate in Egypt was too dangerous and so left that country out of their itinerary.

Stan and Anne fitted out a camper, complete with a tent which fitted on the roof of the vehicle for sleeping – you had to enter by ladder – and both admit they thoroughly enjoyed the experience, despite being nervous on occasions when lions roared nearby.

“Khartoum was our favourite city to visit,” said Weakley, rather surprisingly. They enjoyed walking through the market areas of the ancient city and bargaining for items.

The trip had plenty of adventures including getting stuck in swamps in Zambia, their axle snapped a couple of times – once they were stuck for four days waiting for spares.

The Serengeti Plains left a lasting impression on them and they can still recollect the wildebeest migrations when millions of wildebeest  move across the plain, swimming though crocodile-infested waters to look for new grazing grounds.

They regard Uganda as one of the most beautiful countries they visited. They  explored  Lake Tanganyika, and in Ruanda visited areas where not too long ago millions were murdered in racial purges. They also witnessed a lion kill on buffaloes.

To them, Mount Kilimanjaro was “awe inspiring” and they were able to see some rare animals that few white people have seen.  These include the Ethiopian fox or simien wolf, the gelada or bleeding heart monkey, and the walia ibex.

The Lake Turkana Route was a difficult crossing; it took eight days to cover 1000km with the roads virtually impassable at times.

Ethiopia was not one of their favourites, but  they were fascinated by the Mursi tribe, whose women enlarge their lips to resemble plates as this is deemed attractive to the men; while they had an invitation to the jumping of the bulls by the primitive Hamer tribe along with the tradition of whipping of the women members of the tribe.

Their trip to Erta Ale volcano, still active, a basin of volcanic lava, was most moving.

Stan says that throughout the nine-month trip, he had no trouble with officials and despite reports of bribery and corruption, everything was virtually plain sailing for the couple when moving from one country to another.

 

The Weakley’s journey is well documented on their website

www.slowdonkey.com and it makes for most interesting reading. 

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MBSA Leaders during a Q & A session at the 2017 MBSA Annual Results event held in Pretoria, from left: Johann Evertse, Carsten Spohr, Nadia Trimmel, Jasper Hafkamp, Joerg Essig, Florian Siedler and Mayar Bhana

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