Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Destination Africa!

A nine-to-five job has its advantages, the most obvious of which is a predictable income, but unless you're one of the lucky few whose vocation is also a passion, it's simply a means to an end when all is said and done. I know that view will be interpreted as either sad and cynical, or honest and realistic, depending on your own disposition and world view. Or perhaps I just need a change of job! 

My wonderful partner Sandi provides the love and support that forms the bedrock for a happy and fulfilling life, but as those of us with an artistic temperament know, we're also driven by the need to seek out the kind of experiences and inspiration we can transform into something concrete to be shared with others, regardless of the other positive elements present in our lives. I suppose I feel some guilt at feeling this way, knowing that many people the world over would envy my circumstances, but I also acknowledge that the need to create is not something that can be turned on or off - it's part of our DNA. No, this is not news!

Photo by Sandi's daughter, Jane, from her recent African trip.

I've grappled increasingly with this issue in recent years, and live with a constant, gnawing sense that time is running out if I'm to ultimately achieve any of my personal artistic goals. True, I might live for another thirty years, but it would be foolish of me to take good health - and good eyesight especially - for granted. Despite the fact that my output of paintings has come in fits and starts, with years sometimes separating bursts of enthusiasm, I still have an unshakeable belief that by broadening my experiences, and with the right sensory inputs, I can produce the paintings I see in my mind's eye. I'll leave it to others to judge whether this faith has been well-founded.

With the foregoing thoughts in mind, I've finally made up my mind to visit Africa, with Botswana my chosen destination. It's hard to ignore the appeal of the Serengeti and Masai Mara, with the annual mass migration of wildebeest and zebra a huge drawcard, but with a budget to consider, the trip I've selected offers diversity as well as value for money. I'm not terribly fussed about travelling in luxury, and I was careful to seek out a package that wasn't focussed on luxurious accommodation and fine dining, as so many of them seem to be. The basic, grass-roots packages are more appealing, but seemed more difficult to find. 

This is what I can look forward to:

"This trip provides a comprehensive travelling experience throughout Botswana for those with
an adventurous spirit looking to see the wild side of Africa. Few trips can offer such a diverse
and stimulating experience as we traverse the country from the vast and Kalahari, home to
the San Bushmen to the magnificent game reserves in the north. Continuing into the world
famous Okavango Delta we explore this wildlife-rich region by traditional Mokoro canoe and
on foot. Whether you are a wildlife enthusiast or on your first African safari, there are few
places on earth that are as impressive as Moremi Game Reserve and the Chobe National
Park, where huge herds of elephants roam. To conclude this spectacular adventure we cross
into Zambia to visit the thunderous Victoria Falls."



john said...

My last two trips were to Africa, South Africa and Uganda respectively. These month long trips were by far the best places that I have visited. Far better than the Amazon, Costa Rica, Southeast Asia etc.
We rented a car and did our own safaris. No wasting time in gift shops, or ignoring birds like the organized tours do. I look forward to reports about your trip. Bon Voyage!
By the way, I have saved up about half the money I will need to go to Australia. Unfortunately I am strongly tempted to use the money to go to the Pribilof Islands next month.

Roger Brown My Botswana Art said...

It looks like you have chosen a great route that will expose you to a variety of wildlife and lanscape. The Chobe is great for its concentrated herds of wildlife along the river,and a mokoro trip in the Okavango is always beautiful.Hope you are traveling between May-October since that is the dry season and game viewing is much more productive.Hope your trip goes well and that you get to see plenty.

Peter Brown said...

John, I agree that organising your own safari allows you to focus on the activities you're most interested in, but I also think that by joining an organised tour, I can benefit from local knowledge and the fact that the logistics are taken care of for me too. Yes, it's a trade-off.

Peter Brown said...

Roger, I haven't committed to a particular date, but I'm thinking August or September. It costs a little more but, as you point out, there are good reasons for it being classed as the "high season". It was a real struggle deciding between Kenya/Tanzania and Botswana, but what the heck, I can always save up for a return visit!

Jeremy Pearse said...

After hearing about your trip, I wish I could go with you! I'm really looking forward to when you return so you can share this experience with us - good luck, I'm sure it will be amazing!

Peter Brown said...

Thanks Jeremy! I suspect I may have to change the title of my blog once I've experienced African wildlife in the flesh!