Hello, Bonjour and Servus still from Germany, unfortunately I couldn’t move to Cape Town yet. Mid-March I applied for my working permit at the South African embassy and I was very close of stepping into a plane and move to the African continent. Just before this vicious little virus, called Corona, had made an appearance in Europe. However, I had some hope that the embassy would still work its way through my visa application, even when I read the statement by president C. Ramaphosa that no tourist visa shall be further worked on. By mid-May I received a big letter that I recognized to be from the embassy. It contained my passport but no visa, no other explanations, nothing. I checked my passport 10 times and more but still no visa that I could find. Such a dissapointing answer.
By now, I still haven’t received any other Information from the embassy, they finally opened up again but can’t tell me anything. So, I suppose once they will start working on visa applications the whole process will start again. This is really frustrating. But luckily I get to start my new job for the company in Cape Town from my home office here in Germany. This surely won’t be easy as I don’t know anyone from my team or any other colleagues. And how it looks like at the moment, it seems there won’t be any international flights to South Africa any time soon. With the embassy still not working on any visa applications, I am a bit clueless when this journey will actually start.
In the meantime what am I doing during these times when I am fully ready to go, longing for Africa but can’t fly to any of the countries I want to? Well, I started reading plenty of guiding and tracking books that explain specific features for typical African animals, their tracks, calls and even the different grasses growing in Southern Africa. Also, I am glad to be able to participate in the fun digital tracking games by James Varden from Ride Zimbabwe. Every now and then he is posting tracks that he has found in the bush with the question which animal belongs to the spoor. It surely is fun and a challenge trying to match the picture to one of the tracks in my books. Besides, I exchanged with Josephin on my Cape Town adventure on her podcast, which surely was lots of fun. You can listen to it on her Bushbaby podcast channel.
Furthermore, I thought this is actually a very good opportunity to donate money to the ones that are in need. This crisis hits all of us, but some are just way more affected than others as they struggled already before the crisis for their well-being. There is so much help needed and it’s never easy to decide which project, which organisation or which person you would like to support. However, it’s important that the money reaches the specific group you have chosen. That’s why I have decided to support the „My Beautiful Home“ project in Matopos, close to Bulawayo in Zimbabwe. This is an annual competition aiming to encourage and reward the practice of decorating huts in the traditional way using natural pigments such as ash, coal and soil as a mean of highlighting and maintaining the art and culture of the area. From my volunteering time in Zimbabwe I know that Ride Zimbabwe is engaged in that project and supports the local community. So, if you have always wondered how you can contribute to conservation this might be your call! Any donation will be much appreciated and help the Ndebele people in Matabeleland. If you are interested, please let me know until end of July.
And then, I also found a new way to travel through Africa, by cooking. The African kitchen has so much to offer and is really divers. I have tried already several dishes, such as Mbatata from Malawi, Sweet potato mash from Zimbabwe and Vipopo from Zanzibar. Mbatata is similar to baked minced meat with potatoes, a really delicious dish. The Vipopo however, wasn’t my favorite but I am sure it was probably the way I did it as I haven’t heard about it before.
Last but not least, it’s always good if you have some memories to dwell on. Hence the happier I am to have taken so many pictures from my travelling throughout Southern Africa that I can click through. The endless landscapes of Namibia never gets old, while I can still feel the beat of the elephant herd in the bushes when I drove through Moremi, this was definitely a highlight in Botswana. To feel the Victoria falls and see the sun setting behind the zambezi certainly is a must for Zimbabwe, while Hwange National Park shows you the true African wilderness. Hearing the hyena calls or the rumbling stomaches of the elephants next to your tiny tent will surely bring you closer to nature. I will never forget the feeling when I was sitting on my horse when I first spotted a big cat, a lioness with its teenage cubs. Unforgettable memories I am very thankful for.
If you want to see more pictures of Southern Africa, check out my gallery – enjoy!
My newest lessons learned during the COVID-19 mess:
- What’s going on – Confusion is the new normal;
- Stocking up – Stay well connected with your neighbours, they might be the only ones providing you with toilet papers;
- Hang on – One day you might have a visa, next day it’s being revoked.
Cheers to wandering the world and the wonders of our lives, let’s hope for some quick recovery from the COVID-19 – bye bye, salut and sala kahle ∞