Tag Archives: africa

Helicopter Cape Town – outskirts and downtown.

NB: with this post about the place I visited before the lockdown I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and the reassurance that we will all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

As promised in my previous post, herewith, a continuation of my Cape-Town-tourisms text and pics for your visual-curiousness-educational pleasure. Time for a chopper ride. A nice clean shiny bright red one at that…

First off – what we saw earlier, but from up in the sky. The Cape of Good Hope:

Read on…

The Cape of Good Hope – 2020.

NB: with this post about the place I visited before the lockdown I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and the reassurance that we will all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

Once upon a time, long ago – in the spring of 2011, I found myself in the glorious city of Cape Town, the southernmost city of the continent of Africa and the country of South Africa. And it’s an amazing city! The Cape of Good Hope, penguins under palm trees, and the main thing – Table Mountain, which rises up above the city. We took the funicular that goes up it back then, but we were in a real rush with just half-an-hour to spare. This is way too short a time. You need hours to stroll around up top, and then to descend back down on foot (the path is only 700 meters long). This year, we had more time – but still not several hours! Oh well, at least I was here for the second time: I’d been dreaming of returning for a full nine years. So here I was. And I did manage to walk back down!…

I was in Cape Town, of course, not primarily for Table Mountain funicularing and strolling. I was here on business: our annual META-region partner conference (META = Middle East, Turkey and Africa) (though, technically Turkey is a Middle Eastern country!). As per, it was meetings, presentations, Q&As, formal dinners, partner awards, interviews, non-stop ‘cheesing’ for the cameras, and all that. And all that over and done with, also as per – micro-tourism!

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Flickr photostream

  • Japan / Jun 2024
  • Japan / Jun 2024
  • Japan / Jun 2024
  • Japan / Jun 2024

Instagram photostream

Madagascan habitation.

NB: with this post about the place I visited before the lockdown I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and the reassurance that we will all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

Madagascar. You probably don’t know all that much about the place, right? (Well, apart from what you’ve learned here in my recent series of posts on the country, that is.) But what’s life like for Madagascans? How do they live? Do they have it good, or bad? How much do they earn? All that. Well, to give you an idea – herewith, a short photo-excursion around a few Madagascan urbanisms. First up – in the city of Andasibe.

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Madagascan karma chameleons, geckos, tomato frogs, and more…

NB: with this post about the place I visited before the lockdown I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and the reassurance that we will all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

Woah my gosh! Finally – our January 2020 African holiday-expedition (Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Madagascar) was coming to and end. Boo!

Our final African port of call – central Madagascar. Hurray! For they say it’s full of lemurs, chameleons, geckos, frogs (and also mosquitoes)…

I’ll start with the lemurs. Delightful little animals. Rather daft too! They react positively to… bananas. And negatively to… their tails being pulled (not that we put this to the test!). They seem totally uninterested in humans – unless they have bananas!

Next – chameleons…

Baobab, chameleons, and the three bays of Antsiranana.

NB: with this post about the place I visited before the lockdown I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and the reassurance that we will all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

The destination we were heading for along the Badagascan roads was the ‘northern capital’ of Madagascar, Antsiranana. Nothing too much to tell you about this small city, apart from the fact that it’s possible to spend a pleasant day on its outskirts. The main thing is not to forget to lather on the hi-factor.

To the east of the city there’s a peninsula with various interesting sights and scenes on offer (though its very name escapes me), and next to the peninsula is a beautiful bay – Baie Andovobazaha – with a wonderful volcanic installation right in the middle of it ->

A little further, at Anosiravo, hillwalking is offered, but we figured it was just a little too hot for enjoyable strolling…

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Don’t come here.

NB: with this post about the place I visited before the lockdown I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and the reassurance that we will all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

Onward we drove – further along our Madagascan excursion around its ‘best’ nature reserves. And since, not far from the country’s main northern city Antsiranana, we were passing Montagne d’Ambre National Park, which the internet told us was super duper, with amazing views, with lakes and waterfalls, and with many a big baobab too, well, of course we turned off the road and drove toward it. But it turned out that the pictures the internet shows aren’t of the place at all! Admittedly, there was plenty of the usual exotic Madagascan awesomeness, but still, overall – a bit of a let-down…

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Mad, bad Madagascan roads.

NB: with this post about the place I visited before the lockdown I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and the reassurance that we will all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

After being spoiled driving nearly 3000 kilometers along Namibia’s super-solid highways (super-smooth, super-signposted, super-high-speeds-possible, super road-markings, and so on and so forth), the contrasting road situation in Madagascar was all the more striking. Some ‘highways’ leave a lot to be desired, to put it diplomatically. This, for example, is Route Nationale 6, which connects the north of the country to the south:

Some stretches are decently asphalted, but not many. Often it’s a potholed mess ->

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A marvelous Madagascan thingy called tsingy.

NB: with this post about the place I visited before the lockdown I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and the reassurance that we will all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

Next Madagascan theme – a rocky one. Particularly – a tsingy one!…

Madagascan tsingy refers to the country’s rather unique rock formations that cover some 1500 square kilometers. And they look like this:

Quite how these unusual forms came about the internet gives various versions of, including one that claims they’re from acid rain caused by a volcanic eruption.

Read on…

Lemurs, snakes, chameleons and chilled locals – in Madagascar.

NB: with this post about the place I visited before the lockdown I want to bring you some positivism, beauty and the reassurance that we will all get a chance to see great different places again. Meanwhile I encourage you not to violate the stay-at-home regime. Instead I hope you’re using this time for catching up on what you never seemed to find the time to do… ‘before’ :).

After a quick fast-forward to the corona crisis, herewith, a quick rewind back to southern Africa, since I haven’t finished telling you all about it yet!…

After taking in Namibia’s dunes and the Victoria Falls (in both Zambia and Zimbabwe) next up for us, as per our long-ago pre-planned route, was… Madagascar! Which, it turned out was to be my 99th country in the world I’ve visited, after Namibia (98th). I’ve already told you about my hundredth

Our first two days in the country, however, were somewhat off-piste – unplanned. For, after several days of ‘tourism till you drop’ (up early, late to bed, and non-stop concentrated travel-cum-tourism in-between), we decided a few days ‘off’ were in order. And so we did order them, and were granted them… on the Madagascan island paradise called Nosy Be, just off the northern shores of the country.

But first we had to get there. By boat. It’s about 30 kilometers across the sea over to the island – to a town called Hell-Ville (actually, it used to be called that (after Anne Chretien Louis de Hell!); it’s now called Andoany).

No problem, surely. Thing is, just as we were setting out across the sea a storm took hold, with thunder and lightening even. So, nervously, we ask of our ‘captain’, if it might be dangerous making the trip right now. His answer: ‘Yes, yes. Is dangerous!’ ‘Then what the actual *#@! were we doing even contemplating it?’ we all thought. He then asked us if we should turn round. Er, but I thought he was the captain, not us. ‘Yes, we turn round’, came the chorus from us lot!

It was just one of those things – where we needed to remember we were in Africa and the… approach to certain situations by locals can be quite different to that of tourists visiting from afar. We simply took a deep breath, made no sudden movements (much like if you encounter a tarantula in your bed in the middle of the night:), and realized things will work out fine in the end. Which they did…

…For next morning it was a clear, calm, sunny day. So we set sail – in the same boat, with the same ‘captain’! – over to Hell-Ville…

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Corona cancellations, plus my 100th country – Angola!

As you’ll know perfectly well, I love to travel. Far. More often than not I travel for work, but two or three times a year it’s for R&R and tourism. Anyway, toward the end of any year, normally I’ve totted up more than a hundred flights throughout the year or, if not, am not far off. I long ago became accustomed to living like… a rock star on a world stadium tour (the traveling bits, not the rock ‘n’ rolling excess:), or… George Clooney in that film where all he seems to do is live onboard planes up in the air. For me, ‘on tour’ is all about conferences, exhibitions, business meetings, new acquaintances, exchanging ideas, discussions – and all in different towns and cities and countries across the world. In-between there are of course the airports with their inevitable passport controls, security checks, lines, all of which I fairly hate (and you don’t get fast-track lanes everywhere on the planet). Once on the plane I don’t mind it at all: an ideal time for catching up on reading or viewing or emailing. But I digress…

Now, normally come almost-April, I have at least 25 flights under my belt so far in any particular year. But this year, I’ve a mere 17. Which is rather surprising given that I’d gotten in a full nine flights just in January on just one vacation – our Africa-2020 jaunt. So I wanted to get to the bottom of this – why the slow start? After all, this nasty coronavirus can’t have been the reason – its impinging on everyone’s travel plans has only just fully kicked in…

It turns out that, actually, I have been becoming less and less active during the early months of a year. Here’s how…

First: I’ve stopped going to Davos. I used to go every year (since 2012), but no more. Why? Well, it used to be the World Economic Forum. Then, somewhere around 2016–2018, it turned into the World Geopolitical Forum. In a word: cancel. Shame though. It was a rather useful get-together (maybe I should reconsider? I just don’t know).

Second: I’ve stopped going to the yearly winter Munich Security Conference. Sure, it’s a very cool, elite event. But besides useful meetings and acquaintances… there’s a rotten feeling one gets while there. Alas, like with Davos, the inroads politics has made are just too much to bear. Nah. Nyet, spasibo. Not off there again.

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