Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Safari at Sea

Last week, we left Ndoto in good care, storing her temporarily in a horse stable so elegant there are chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.

Temperatures in Greater Kruger climbed to over 100 degrees and the rains are coming soon. Because I don’t take the heat well (it took me two days to recover from an afternoon of 114 degrees a few weeks ago) and because when it rains, it rains inside Ndoto, it was time for Plan B. From our rooftop tent last week, less than 72 hours before it departed, Scott booked us onto a 35 day Indian Ocean Adventure afloat. We flew to Cape Town, boarded a ship and took our safari to the high seas—emphasis on the high seas. So far, we fought a strong current eastward to Durban where we put in for three nights to shelter against a cyclone and used up all our warm clothes. No matter. A brisk tailwind along a beach promenade propelled us toward Durban’s most famous cuisine; Bunny Chow, a spicy curry stuffed into a loaf of bread. “Lamb Bunny, Chicken Bunny, or Veggie Bunny?” asked the waitress. “Any Bunny, as long as it’s not Bunny Bunny,” we said.

The cyclone has passed but winds are still strong, and seas still high and mighty. A scheduled stop in Maputo Mozambique was cancelled because of the weather and we are now rocking and rolling our way towards Reunion Island, a lush volcanic colony of France known for canyoning, vanilla, and Frenchness. It will take us 4 days to get there. Not a burden for us because there is a well-stocked library on deck ten and we seem to enjoy napping. There are also plenty of interesting people on board. “What brought you to Africa?”  I always ask. One fascinating woman answered, “I first came in the 60’s. I was on my way to the Congo when Albert Schweitzer died….”

Besides Reunion Island, other off-the-coast-of-Africa ports I have longed to visit include St Louis Mauritius, Nosy Be Madagascar, and Mehe Seychelles. We will also put in at Oman, Malta, Dubai and Rome via the Suez Canal. Except for Madagascar and Rome, all are new places for us. We don’t have cruise clothes (except for the “smart casual sets” we bought at Mr. Price and the cocktail dress I scored at Edgar’s at the V and A in Cape Town) but it doesn’t stop us from attending teatime (scones and cream!) at 3:30 each day.

We do miss Ndoto. When docking in Durban our first impulse was to seek out the best Landy mechanic in town and visit the local hardware store.

December will find us in Rome where we will make a plan to return to Africa, reunite with Ndoto and pick up the thread of our self-drive adventure—after we enjoy at least one Roman ruin. I don’t think the heat will be a problem.

Scott and Tris
November 3, 2015
Somewhere in the Indian Ocean