Highlights and Prints

Thanks to all of you who followed our journey, shared our experiences with your friends and family, and provided comments and thoughts while we were away.  It’s been amazing, and having all of you reading has made taking these photos and sharing our travels worth it!

We’re going to be selling framed prints of our travel photos, which you can learn more about on the new Prints section of the website (see the bar above).  Below are some of our favorite photos from the trip—a highlights reel, if you will—and our suggestions of photos that we think would look great framed and up on your wall.  Feel free to peruse these options, or look back through the blog and pick out one of your favorite photos: we’re happy to send you any one of them!  We’ve also got hundreds (err, thousands) of photos that didn’t get posted, so if you can’t quite find what you’re looking for, send us an email and we’ll poke through our library to find something that fits.

Thanks again!

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Civilization at last

Exactly 16 weeks from the day we set out in Cairo, we arrived in Cape Town.  No more tents.  No more cold showers.  No more bush toilets.  Wine, cheese, beds, and restaurants awaited us in the European-feeling city by the sea; and they didn’t disappoint.  As our adventure drew to a close, we couldn’t help but reflect on what we had experienced over the last four months.  Deserts, rainforests, mountains and oceans, gorillas and lions, birds and insects, pygmies and Masai… it certainly felt like everything Africa has to offer.  But we know it isn’t.  Maybe the other side, next time?

Cape Town sprawls out from the mountains right up to the edge of the Atlantic.

A cable car disappears into Table Mountain's famous 'tablecloth.'

Iron sculptures in the botanical gardens of Kirstenbosch, resting in the shadow of Table Mountain's back side.

From the mud huts of Africa to the concrete jungle of New York.

Stay tuned to find out about buying framed prints and (perhaps) a book!

Cape Agulhas at last!

After a long couple of days driving due south, we made it to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point in Africa.  When the Portugese rounded this point, they named it Cape of Needles, not for the jagged rocks along the shoreline, but because the needles of their compass pointed due North.  For us, it marked the farthest point from our start in Cairo, traveling both the entire length and width of the African continent.  Next stop, Cape Town!

The famous Cape Agulhas lighthouse is still in operation.

 

Waves crash onto the jagged, rocky coast.

We made it to the southernmost tip of Africa!

 

Victoria Falls

The Zambezi river forms the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe in the southwest of the country.  Meandering gently south, the river comes to an abrupt fall of 355 feet and forming one of the largest—and perhaps the most famous—waterfalls in the world.  Discovered by the intrepid Scottish explorer David Livingstone in November 1855, the falls, named The Smoke That Thunders in the local dialect, were dubbed Victoria Falls after the contemporary English queen.  Forming the largest falling sheet of water in the world, at over a mile in width, the falls were particularly impressive when we viewed them at high water.

The Zambezi river meanders gently 500 meters upriver from the Falls.

The main falls.

The Devil's Cataract, the set of falls closest to Zimbabwe, thunders into the gorge, creating an impressive rainbow.

The main falls, plummeting 355 feet into the gorge.

Josh standing on Danger Peak, where the rock face plummets straight down into the gorge.

An amazing rainbow looking straight down into the gorge where the Zambezi cuts its way south beyond the Falls.

Chimanimani Mountains

The Chimanimani Mountains of Eastern Zimbabwe stand jagged above rolling grassy meadows. Stunned by the natural aesthetic, we took the day to enjoy a breathtaking (if not steep) mountain trek.

The first leg of our hike was steady incline—a proper scramble up the rocks.

Good thing the beautiful vistas forced us to take frequent photo stops.

Upon reaching the first plateau, we discovered a meadow of rock structures. Fancy a game of hide and seek?

We were thrilled to discover this amazing waterfall plus two others along the way complete with swimming pools for a refreshing dip.

This point on the trek, known as Skeleton Pass, is where two countries meet. Just beyond the rocky Zimbabwean ledge is grassy, green Mozambique. We didn’t bring our passports, but still managed to stick over a toe.

Great Zimbabwe

“Zimbabwe” literally means “big house of stone.” After cruising through the country’s rocky terrain, it’s clear just how appropriate the name. Massive boulder structures and balancing rocks riddle the landscape. Picture dozens of natural Stone Henges dotting the countryside. Even the country’s heritage is rooted in stone. High atop a natural granite escarpment, we visited Great Zimbabwe, the palace ruins of generations of African royalty between the 13th and 17th centuries.  The dry-stone construction is reminiscent of early medieval Europe, although the only contact with the outside world that the ancient Zimbabweans had was with Arab traders.

The grounds host two stone complexes. At the base of the hill resides the Great Enclosure where the queen and her children lived. Just beyond that lived the king’s other 200 wives and their numerous offspring.

Inside the Great Enclosure, the queen would hold classes for her children on how to best serve their king.

The narrow passageways between the Great Enclosure’s main structures and its 6-meter thick wall were used by children to make their way to and from classes.

The narrow passageways between the Great Enclosure’s main structures and its 6-meter thick wall were used by children to make their way to and from classes.

The outer wall of the dry-stone complex separated the extremely large royal family (200 wives and all of their children) from the common folk.

Well-built stone steps led the way up the steep slopes of the rocky hillside to the King’s Royal Enclosure. With one navigable route up the hill, the palace was easily defended from enemies even if the rest of the complex was taken.

The Royal Enclosure was built around the natural, gargantuan granite boulders on top of the hill. To create such perfect granite bricks, the ancient builders would pour boiling water on nearby granite outcrops, quickly followed by a bath of cold water. The sudden temperature change would cause the granite to crack in uniform sheets, which could then be easily cut into bricks.

High atop his hillside palace, the King ruled over his subjects from a platform at the very top of a natural boulder. The Royal Enclosure included a treasury, a war room, ceremonial chambers, living chambers, a network of tunnels that to this day have not been explored, and, naturally, a fire that was kept burning for the duration of the king’s life. After a king died, his entire hilltop palace was leveled and a new one built on its ruins. Eight levels have been excavated in the central area, indicating the rule of 8 separate kings over about 400 years.

Can You Name This Animal?

Now that we’ve got a bit of time, how about a funky throwback to the Giraffe Sanctuary that we visited in Kenya just under a month ago?  At the Sanctuary, endangered Rothschild Giraffes are born in captivity, raised to adulthood and released into national parks within their native range.  We were lucky enough to see wild Rothschild Giraffes in Nakuru National Park, one of the few locations where they can be seen.

You guessed it! It's a giraffe!