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S E C T I O N 2 Destinations September 21, 2011 ■ A special section on travel and adventure by local people A LSO INSIDE CA LE N DA R 21 |RE A L E S TAT E 23 |CL AS S I F I E D S A By Caitlin Moyles Special to the Almanac Allan, whom we meet at the Westcliff Hotel along with the rest of our eightperson tour group. The city of Johannesburg has a certain rugged beauty to it. Originally a goldmining town, Johannesburg has grown to 10 million people and has a 40 percent unemployment rate, according to a driver employed by Micato. Trees abound, and in the nicer suburban neighborhoods, large homes are protected by high plaster walls and electric fences. Indeed, on our drive through Johannesburg to the Westcliff Hotel, a pink-walled oasis perched on a hillside just outside the central city, I am left with the impression The author photographed a herd of elephants crossing the water as she flew by helicopter over the Okavango Delta. Denise Moyles fter 30 hours of air travel, I arrive at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, on a clear, 40-degree winter day. To experience the natural beauty of this vast and relatively inaccessible continent, my family and I have come for a 12-day safari from Johannesburg, through Botswana’s national parks, and into Zambia. In the marbled airport lobby, I am met by souvenir shops selling memorabilia from the FIFA World Cup last summer, crowds of people waiting to greet family and relatives, and a handful of freshly vaccinated tourists like ourselves, overburdened with baggage, undoubtedly full of khaki cargo pants and insect-repelling, UV-protecting shirts. Always a family to balance adventure with creature comforts, we have planned the trip through Micato Safaris, a luxury safari outfitter that offers a number of different safari “styles” in countries throughout Africa. Included in the pre-paid package is our trusty, theatrical safari guide, Safari company helps provide creature comforts as travelers seek out sights of creatures in the wild Caitlin Moyles frican journal a About the author: Caitlin Moyles, a graduate of Castilleja High School, a sophomore at Duke University, and an intern this summer at the Almanac, traveled to Africa in July with her mom, dad, and brother. that Johannesburg straddles modernity and the remnants of its apartheid history. On the short ride from the airport to our hotel, I am acutely aware of the striking number of Mercedeses and BMWs we pass on the freeway, right past the remnants of the small fires that the people who live in the tall grass alongside the freeway have built to keep warm this winter morning. That night, we dine together at the 25 comfortable, suburban home of a Johannesburg family, where our hosts serve us “bull tongue jerky” (made from a buffalo the husband recently shot while on holiday in the bush), South African wines, and Amarula, a South African liqueur made from marula fruit. The next morning, we awake bright and early to catch a flight to Maun, Botswana. In Maun, we board a six-passenger, singleengine charter plane that takes us on a 30-minute flight into Moremi Wildlife Reserve in the Okavango Delta. As we touch down on the dirt-strip runway, we spot our first glimpse of wildlife, a herd of elephants grazing in the distance. We are greeted by our safari guide, Nesco, who drives us to Khwai River Lodge in a Toyota Land Cruiser that looks as if it came straight out of an Indiana Jones movie. Situated amid a mixture of woodland, grassland, and floodplain, Khwai River Lodge is on the banks of the Khwai River and feels a world away from the rugged Continued on page 19 September 21, 2011 N The Almanac N17

The Almanac 09.21.2011 - Section 3

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