Namibia and Botswana:
Exotic Exploited
Ex-Colonies

   Interim 2008   

Dr. G.R. Davis,
Dr.Ron Robinson, and
Dr. C.L. "Ab" Abercrombie

 

Last revision 5 February 2008 at 5:39 pm

Route shown in black below. (~3300 miles)

Elephants in Nambia's Etosha National Park
Sand dune in Namibia's Soussvlei region
Traditional mokoro (dugout canoe)
in Botswana's Okavango Delta

"One's destination is never a place but rather a new way of looking at things." Henry Miller

Course Information

Travel Information

Project Description International Flight Information Currency Exchange Rates
Daily Schedule and Itinerary Itinerary MS Word.doc Passport Information
Goals and Nature of the Project US State Department Info
Selection of Participants Ground Transportation
Assigned Readings and Student Presentations

Frequently Asked Questions

What to Pack
Course Requirements and Course Evaluation Brief Itinerary (as MS Word.doc)
Travel Guide Books Accomodations
The Instructors and Contacts Additional Excursions
Costs and Expenses Other Links
Africa as a Species Machine
an essay by Dr. Abercrombie

Health and Safety Issues

Course Requirements and Grades Immunizations
Mandatory Meeting Health Info from Center for Disease Control
Important Dates Travel Precautions
Application Information General Information for Travelers
Student Projects  
Credit toward Africa/African American Studies Program at Wofford College Travel Security Issues
Results of Student Surveys at the conclusion of the project

 

Project Description

Exotic African natural and human (slave) resources prompted colonization and exploitation by European states and eventually struggles for independence having parallels in American history. In this travel project we examined the ways in which Africa is portrayed in film and literature prior to departure for Namibia and Botswana. Upon arriving on the "Dark Continent" (another stereotype), we observed firsthand for 13 days (and 3300 miles) the landscape, flora, fauna, and peoples as we visited sites of biological and cultural significance. From the modern city of Windhoek, Namibia our itinerary took us to numerous national parks. In Botswana, we explored the remarkable Okavango Delta where the river evaporates into the Kalahari Desert. In the village of Ghanzi we encountered the San bushmen before returning to Windhoek. Camping and cooking for ourselves, we exploredd landscapes in which lions, elephants, zebras, and other wildlife abound, all the while comparing what we actually observed with that which is portrayed in news media, films, and books. Students recorded their impressions photographically and in personal essays assembled into electronic portfolios. Throughout the project, we discussed the disparities between what we've been told and what we experienced and contemplated why such disparities might exist. In addition, we made contributions to three schools in Namibia and Botswana, making purchases with funds provided by some members of the Wofford faculty who desired for the group to engage in charitable acts while traveling.

 

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Tentative Daily Schedule and Itinerary.

Subject to modification to enhance the educational experience or in response to changes in conditions.

Itinerary as MS Word Document from our Travel Agent

Thursday, Jan 3 , Friday, Jan 4.

Meetings on the Wofford Campus for orientation, travel safety and health issues, African ecology lectures by Dr. Abercrombie who has considerable experimence with African reptiles, amphibians, and mammals. Dr. Davis will provide instruction on documentary photographic techniques. Dr. Robinson will emphasize the colonial history of African and issues surrounding race and exploitation. View and discuss films and literature representative of Africa.

Bring written questions for Dr. Abercrombie based on his essay Africa: Species Machine. These questions may address concepts and/or terms that are not clear to you.

Monday, Jan 7

Continuation of classroom preparation and students present synopses and discuss readings assignments.

 

Tuesday, Jan 8:

 

 

Final day of pre-departure classwork.


Meals provided as indicated on daily itinerary: B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner

 

Jan 9 Depart Atlanta overnight on aircraft (South African Airways)

Jan 10 Arr Windhoek No meals included at this time.

Windhoek is a modern city, the capital of Namibia, elevation 5500 ft.

Meet our Tour Leader and Driver. Board overland vehicles.

Overland vehicles accommodate
20 travelers and their camping gear

Jan 11 Drive time about 5 hours (350km; ~220 miles) Sesriem camping after driving from Windhoek to Namib Nauklauft National Park know for huge red dunes made of sand blown west from the Kalahari Desert. Some dunes are 325 meter high. B L D

 

Jan 12 Driving around during the whole day - about 150km (~95 miles) Sesriem camping. Hike to the Sesreim gorge. B L D

Jan 13 Driving time about 5 hours (350km; ~220 miles) Swakopmund bungalows (budget hotel) B L

Swakopmund in a resort coastal town with Bavarian architecuture.

Jan 14 Driving around the local area. Swakopmund bungalows B

Jan 15 Driving time around 8 hours (540km; ~335 miles) Twyvelfontein camping B L D

Traveling north from Swakopmund, we arrive on the eastern edge of the desert dunes to walk among the rock paintings at Tweyvelfontein.

Twyvelfontein is the site of prehistoric rock art mentioned in art history books.

 

 

Jan 16 Driving time around 6 hours (350km; ~220 miles) Enter Etosha National Park, Namibia's most famous wildlife preserve, at the Andersen Gate. Camp in region of Okaukuejo at the southwestern end of the pan. White sand saline desert fringed with wildlife (114 species of mammals, 314 species of birds, 16 species of reptiles and amphibians.) If you've seen safari shows, you've likely seen Etosha, with its lions, elephant, springboks, and 111 other species of hairy creatures!
B L D

Jan 17 Game drives during the day. Arrive at Namutoni camping area at eastern end of Etosha National Park. Along the way, we'll use binoculars and spotting scopes to view wildlife. B L D

Water Buffalo

 

Jan 18 Driving time around 6 hours (400km; ~250 miles) Rundu Nkwazi lodge camping B L D

Rundu Nkwazi Lodge is 20 km (12 miles) from the town of Rundu. The lodge lies along the river border with Angola. The Lodge owners promote responsible travel and have established supportive relationships with the local school which we can visit to see firsthand how classrooms here compare to our own.

Jan 19 Driving time around 6 hours (350km; 220 miles) Guma Lagoon camping B L D

From Rundu, we cross the border into Botswana and arrive in the panhandle region of the Okavanga River which originates in the highlands of Angola to the north. Flowing to the south into the Kalahari, the river delta forms a huge freshwater ecosystem that disappears into the desert. Wildlife is abundant here: crocodiles, hippos, birds beyond counting. We have three days to explore the region, some of the time in traditional dugout canoes called mokoro.

Jan 20 No driving in the delta. Okavango excursion bush camping B L D

Mokoro (canoes) propelled by polers on the waters of Okavango

Jan 21 No driving in the delta. Guma Lagoon camping B L D

Jan 22 Driving time around 5 hours (350km) Ghanzi camping. Trailblazers activities B L D

From the Okavanga region, we drive southwest across the Kalahari Desert to the small settlement of Ghanzi where just to the north is the village of D'Kar. Here we pause to learn the ways of the San people of this region.

San bushmen in Ghanzi

Jan 23 Driving time around 6 hours (400km; ~250 miles) Windhoek safari hotel or similar budget hotel. B L

Jan 24 Transfer to airport (40 minutes) Depart Windhoek overnight on aircraft B
Jan 25 Arrive Atlanta

 

Friday, Jan 25

 

 

 

Arrive in Atlanta, return to Wofford by van.

Saturday, Jan 26

 

Recovery day from jet lag.

Sunday, Jan 27

rest day
Monday, Jan 28 Summary Session; work on electronic portfolios, professors edit portfolio entries, schedule presentations
Tuesday, Jan 29 Summary session; work on electronic portfolios, course evaluation, student presentations of portfolios

Wednesday,
Jan 30

Concluding session on Wofford Campus. Electronic portfolios due at noon.
   
   

Assigned Readings

 

Dr. Abercrombie has written an essay entitled Africa: Species Machine especially for the student of this interim project which will help us understand why Africa is blessed with so many species of animals. In the essay he explains the conditions that have resulted in the diversity that we will see. Please honor his efforts by reading this essay and be prepared to discuss it during our orientation sessions prior to departure. Bring written questions for Dr. Abercrombie based on his essay to the first class meeting in January. These questions may address concepts and/or terms that are not clear to you.

Lonely Planet Botswana and Namibia. The acclaimed "Lonely Planet" series travel guide will be an important reference for our project.

Students are to select a book to read in preparations for the project. Students may work in pairs to read a memoir or novel and present a synopsis to the class during the pre-travel orientation sessions.

 

Friday
When Rain Clouds Gather by Bessie Head (claimed by Mackie Steadman and Leah Gaylord)

Monday

Born of the Sun by Joseph Diescho (claimed by Weatherly Meadors and Melanie Orr)
Serowe- Village of the Rain Wind by Bessie Head (claimed by Lash Springs)
Sands of Silence: On Safari in Namibia by Peter Capstick (claimed by Nelson Seabrook)
Cry of the Kalahari by Mark James Owens (claimed by Tommy Lenz and Matt Carlisle)
Kaffir Boy: The True Story of a Black Youth's Coming of Age in Apartheid South Africa
By Mark Mathabane
(claimed by Claudia Winkler and Ashley Carr)

Tuesday

The Purple Violet of Oshaantu by Neshani Andreas (claimed by Sarah Harste)
Colour Me Blue by Gaele Sobott-Mogwe (claimed by Zach Chillag and Alex Galloway)
Whites by Norman Rush (claimed by Kari Harris)
The Sheltering Desert by Henno Martin (claimed by Brandon Bair and Kelsey Hartvigsen)
Mating by Norman Rush (claimed by Sam Hall)
Special presentation on the San People by Leah Gaylord and Mackie Steadman


Potential titles include:
Troubled Waters by Joseph Diescho
Peter Moore's Journey to Southwest Africa by Gustav Frenssen
The Price of Freedom by Ellen Hamhila
Meekulu's Children by Kaleni Hiyalwa
The Lion Hunter of South Africa by Roualeyn Gordon Cumming
Missionary Travels by David Livingstone
Maru by Bessie Head
A Question of Power by Bessie Head
The Cardinals by Bessie Head
The Collector of Treasures by Bessie Head
Love on the Rocks by Andrew Sesinyi
Jamestown Blues by Caitlin Davies
Place of Reeds by Caitlin Davies
Mating by Norman Rush
Culture And Customs of Botswana by Phenyo C. Thebe
Botswana Time by Will Randall
Letters from Botswana: A Peace Corps Odyssey by Dawn Khalil
Fragmented Worlds, Coherent Lives: The Politics of Difference in Botswana by Pnina Motzafi-Haller

Other Possibilities

African Perspectives on Colonialism (The Johns Hopkins Symposia in Comparative History)
by A. Adu Boahen
Colonialism in Africa, 1870-1960
By Peter Duignan, Lewis H. Gann, Victor Witter Turner - (Excellent academic history)

Other readings related to Africa

Student will be expected to consult references such as:

Patterson, Freeman. Photography of Natural Things: A Nature and Environment Workshop for Film and Digital Photography.

Kingdom, Jonathan. East African Mammals. A seven volume encyclopedia of African mammals which encompasses those we expect to see.


We will be consulting field guides to African wildlife and plants on site. Copies of most of these will be available on the Wofford campus for our use before and after the travel portion of the project.

 

Student Presentations on Novels and Memoirs

Duration: approximately 15 minutes.
Aspect to address during the presentation:

.... Overview (what the books is about)
.... About the author (credentials, other books, author's purpose in writing this book)
.... Setting
.... Historical context/background/politics
.... Cultural relevance
.... Relation to our project

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Application Forms

There are two application forms for this project. One is unique to the Namibia/Botswana project (see link below) which is to be turned in to Dr. Davis or Dr. Robinson on Friday, Sept 21st and the other is the generic application form that all travel project students must complete and submit on Friday, Sept. 21sh to the Interim Office.

Please provide introductory information about yourself for the instructors on this Namibia/Botswana Application Form.

If the course is over-subscribed, the information you provide may be used to determine who will be accepted into the course. You are therefore encouraged to make a compelling case that indicates your level of interest and commitment to this particular project.

You may submit the Namibia/Botswana Application Form to Dr. Davis or Dr. Robinson by email or deliver the completed form to either of their offices no later than Friday, Sept 21st. However, you are urged to provide this information as soon as possible.

The deposit check of $1000 made out to Wofford College is to be given to Dean Wiseman on or before Friday, September 21th at 2 pm.

This project is listed as JAN 412.

Selection of Participants

This project is open to all interested students. There are no pre-requisites. Participants are expected to be physcially fit enough to cheerfully walk several miles on some travel days, to cheerfully function in all weather conditions (January is the rainy season in southern Africa), to be prompt, courteous, cooperative, reliable, responsible, and sensitive to cultural differences. All must be able to tolerate unforeseen changes to schedules. Students who do not cope effectively with stress, new or uncomfortable conditions or who have restricted diets are advised to seek other opportunities. Students are expected to do their fair share of chores: pitching and striking tents, cooking and cleaning, loading and lifting.

Participants will be selected based in part on the following criteria:

The instructors are seeking students who are willing to seriously engage in academic preparation during the on-campus class meetings prior to the travel portion, and who will maintain serious interest, energy, and enthusiasm during the travel segment, and who will engage in thoughtful reflection and discussion throughout.

These instructors urge students to select their top choice of interim project based on the academic topic and avoid trying to guess which projects will "make" and which might be "oversubscribed." Also, though it may be comforting to travel with friends, we believe that an interest in the subject matter and destinations shared by participants will provide sufficient stimulation such that whoever your travel partners may be, the experience will be superb.

 

Goals & Nature

We have these goals:
To study the history of Nambia and Botswana, in particular their histories as German colonies which will require us to consider racism, exploitation, and independence movements.
To consider the effects of colonization driven by the European priorities: Christianity, Commerce, and Civilization.
To recognize parallels with our own American history.
To compare our perceptions of Africa based on films and literature with what we see firsthand as we travel on a "safari" that encompasses a major city, a moderately-sized town, and a tribal village along with numerous game preserves and national parks.
To learn about landscapes, their geological origins, and creatures that inhabit those landscapes and those adaptations that allow them to survive and thrive there.
To foster reflection and contemplation and the sharing of observations.

Non-traditional/Innovative Aspects

Many of us come from backgrounds which do not equip us to be comfortable in the absence of air conditioning, flush toilets, or electronic devices for instant communication and entertainment. To prepare meals with nothing more than a gas camp stove will be challenging for some. During the travel portion of this trip, even though we move about under the protective guidance of our full-time tour leader, we will come to appreciate the simple life and the pleasure and satisfaction that comes from living without what might be considered essential amenities.

It will be challenging to smoothly integrate an investigation of colonial and post-colonial history while traveling on what is obviously a safari-type overland excursion. However, this particular trio of faculty leaders will make their very best efforts to do so, taking advantage of their unique training and personal interests as they interact with each other and the students.


Course Requirements

Prior to the onset of the Interim, pairs student will be assigned to read a novel or memoir relating to southern Africa (listed under Readings.) During one of the orientation sessions on campus before departure, pairs of students will present a synopsis of their reading assignment.

Each student is required bundle her/his photos and essays into an electronic folder and submit that folder in lieu of a journal. Periodically throughout the project, students will read excerpts from their essays to the group and will share and discuss the images they collect toward their photographic portfolio.

Thus, students are expected to
a) attend all orientation and concluding sessions
b) participate in all aspects of the project, to include

i) contributing essays
ii) contributing photographs with explanatory information
iii) chores associated with camping and travel
iv) interacting with local people in pursuit of essay material and addressing course issues
v) becoming knowledgeable of the biota and landscape of southern Africa
vi) becoming knowledgeable in the cultural and colonial histories of Namibia and Botswana

c) submit electronically the essays and images
d) read excerpts from their essays on a regular basis to the entire group
e) read and report on one of the assigned memoirs or novels or films.

Grading:

F = failure to complete any of a-e above

P = satisfactory completion of a-e above.

H = excellent performance in the completion of a-e above.


This grading scheme is simple but, we believe, comprehensive. If students become highly engaged in the interim, it can lead to a large number of them receiving Honors, so this way of evaluating may lead to a higher level of engagement.

Credit toward African/African American Studies Program

Students may be able to apply this interim toward the requirements of the A/AA Studies Program. Check with the A/AA Studies Program coordinators for further details.

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Ground Transportation

We depart Wofford campus by van for Atlanta and will return to campus by van from Atlanta.

 

International Flight Schedule

 

Flight Date Origin-Destination Depart-Arrive Flying Time
UA7531 09 JAN Atlanta - Washington IAD 120P 318P 1 Hr. 58 Mins.
SA 208 09 JAN Washington IAD - Johannesburg 520P 345P 10JAN 15 Hr. 25 Mins.
SA1735 10 JAN Johannesburg - Windhoek 525P 725P 2 Hr.
SA 75 24 JAN Windhoek - Johannesburg 145P 345P 2 Hr.
SA 207 24 JAN Johannesburg - Washington IAD 615P 600A 25JAN 18 Hrs 45 Mins.(stop Dakar)
UA7201 25 JAN Washington IAD - Atlanta 835A 1033 2 hr.

 

Accomodations

To minimize costs and to experience the landscape more intimately, we will camp in two person tents that we will erect ourselves. We will sleep in sleeping bags on foam mats. For most meals we will assist our full-time tour leader using cookware that is provided. We may obtain food in local stores. Some campsites have showers and toilets. Others do not. Those can cannot cope with these conditions should opt for other interim projects. Don't even ask about air conditioning! For 4 nights we stay in simple lodges or modest hotels.

Student Projects (electronic portfolios of 13 daily text entries with photographs)

Ashley Carr Blog
Sarah Harste Blog
Weatherly Meadors MS Word doc
Zach Chillag MS Word doc
Claudia Winkler MS Word doc

 

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Contacting the Instructors

 


Dr. G.R. Davis, Professor of Biology
Office phone 864-597-4621
Home 864-948-9025
davisgr@wofford.edu
fax to Department of Biology 864-597-4629

More abour Dr. Davis

Dr. Ron Robinson,
ronald.robinson@wofford.edu
864-597-4051
864-597-4059 (fax)

More about Dr. Robinson

Dr. Clarence "Ab" Abercrombie
Visiting Professor for Fall Semester 2007
Africa University
Mutare, Zimbabwe

More about Dr. Abercrombie

Ana Maria Wiseman, Assistant Dean of the College and Director of Programs Abroad and the Interim.
Office phone 864-597-4510
wisemana@wofford.edu


Questions concerning this Travel Interim project can be sent by e-mail to Dr. Davis.

Our travel arrangements made with

DIANNE TITLESTAD TRAVEL SPECIALISTS
4101 Rivendell Road Phone: 704-489-0367
Denver NC 28037 Fax : 704-489-0324
email : traveldt@bellsouth.net


 

 

Travel Guides and Field Guides

Student will be expected to consult references such as:

Lonely Planet Botswana and Namibia. The acclaimed "Lonely Planet" series travel guide will be an important reference for our project. All students will be provided a copy.

Patterson, Freeman. Photography of Natural Things: A Nature and Environment Workshop for Film and Digital Photography.

Insight Guide to Namibia. Comprehensive description of the country, its culture, history, government, attractions, etc.

Kingdom, Jonathan. East African Mammals. A seven volume encyclopedia of African mammals which encompasses those we expect to see.

Although much information is available on the internet, the instructors strongly recommend that travelers bring along and frequently consult field guides during the trip. Arrange to share!

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Additional Excursions

At some locations, there are optional activities at additional cost: native singers at Twyvelfontein ($5 N per person) and N'wagzi Camp ($30 N per person) and at the Ghanzi campsite ($5 P per person.) In Swakopmund one might elect to ride quad bikes, sand surf, rent bicycles, or ride a charter plane above the Skeleton Coast.

 

US State Department International Travel Information

An excellent source of reliable travel information is provided by the US State Department "Background Notes." These notes concisely summarize the geography, people, population, government, economy, foreign relations, history, and political conditions for every nation. Have a look at the site for Botswana and Namibia.

British Commonwealth Official Travel Information has essentially the same information as the US State Department Consular Information Sheet regarding travel to and within Namibia and Botswana. Currently there are no advisories travel to Namibia and Botswana.

Canadian Consular Affairs Information for Namibia and Botswana. Currently there are no advisories against travel to Namibia and Botswana.


Travel Security Issues

Consular Information Sheets published by the State Department provide information on entry requirements, medical facilities, crime, traffic safety & road conditions, aviation, and embassy locations. Check the Information Sheets for Background Notes (country Profiles) for Botswana and Namibia. They are posted on the State Department website and provides information about the population, ethnic groups, geography, government and political conditions, history,economy, travel and business information.

The State Department also publishes "Tips for Student Travelers" which is very sound advice. "A Safe Trip Abroad" is also packed with useful information.

Is is safe to travel in Botwana and Namibia? Yes. In both, the official language is English. Both are stable democracies with flourishing economies. Both are sparcely populated and rely heavily on tourism. Thus both are careful to treat tourists in ways that foster their return.

The organizers of the travel trip are cognizant of safety and security issues and will not knowingly endanger themselves or students by traveling to dangerous regions. We will be monitoring US State Department information.

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Immunizations

Students are to consult with their physicians regarding immunizations which are appropriate for travel to Namibia and Botswana. The Center for Disease Control provides recommendations for travelers to Namibia and Botswana. Upon consulting with your physician, you may arrange to obtain immunizations locally from Passport Health.

Passport Health
104 N Daniel Morgan Avenue
Suite 110
Spartanburg, SC 29306
Phone: 864-642-6033
Fax: 864-327-1767
Office Hours: Wednesday and Thursday, 9:00am-5:00pm

Click here for Map to Spartanburg Office

Mandatory Meeting

November 27th. 11:00 am in Milliken Science Hall Room 206 (lab on second floor.) At this time, all documentation required by the college is due. Reading assigments will be made and advice provided in regard to preparing for the travel segment of the project.

Agenda of Mandatory Meeting

Collect documentation
Review Reading assignments

......Novels & Memoirs
......Africa as a Species Machine
......Lonely Planet Guide to Botswana & Namibia p. 15-18, 25-33, 41-48,52-73, 110, 115, 119, 121, 131, 146-148, 200-230, 254-266, 295, 313-319, 340-343, 397-398.
Questions and Answers

......create list of traveler's questions for travel agent and tour guide
......issues of health, safety, convenience, security
Establish personal goals for this project
.....experiences
.....academic
.....cultural
Establish parameters for class presentation of novel or memoir
Advice on completing the "Interim Leave Permission" form

Immunizations
The Big Five and the Sweet Sixty
What to want for Christmas...

 

 

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Course Costs and Other Expenses

The course fee is $4525 (based on 17 participants) payable in three installments, the first being the $1000 deposit expected of all travel projects and $3200 to be paid by October 15 at which time participants are also expected to provide a photocopy of their passport. The remaining $325 is due by November 15th.

The course fee covers:

a. airfare
b. camping and lodges in Namibia and Botswana
c. most meals (9 lunches and dinners not included)
d. expert, experienced local guide and driver
e. tips for guide and driver
f. required Wofford insurance and phone service for emergencies

g. Transportation between Spartanburg and airport of departure

 

This course fee does not include:
a. Passport and visa (required)
b. Any medical expenses (i.e. vaccinations)
c. Entertainment, souvenirs, snack foods, and 9 meals not included. Estimated at $200 but some may spend more.
d. Cell phones and phone cards
e. Photocopies and reading materials.


Paying the balance in advance will greatly assist in securing reservations. Checks can be delivered to Dr. Robinson's office in Main Building. Checks are to be made out to Wofford College and the memo line should include the project number Jan 412.

 

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Passport Information

For students who already have a passport: check the expiration date to be sure that your passport will be valid for the duration of our trip. Passport must be valid for 6 months beyond our scheduled stay.

For students who need a passport: all necessary materials and information can be obtained from the main Spartanburg Post Office at the corner of South Church Street and Henry Street. You will need to provide a certified copy of your birth certificate, complete with embossed seal. Currently the turn-around time for passports is approximately 14 weeks. If you are considering any travel project, apply for a new or replacement passport right away.

Check here for the latest US State Department Passport Information. And another update is here.

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Important Dates

Tuesday, Sept 18 Informational meeting for travel projects

Friday, Sept 21 Namibia/Botswana Application Form due

Monday, Sept 24

Tuesday, Sept 25- Friday, Sept 28 Banner Registration

Monday, Oct 15 balance due.

Thursday, Nov 1 Photocopies of passport due.

Tuesday, Nov 27th Mandatory class meeting, all college forms completed with appropriate signatures.

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Generic Information for International Travelers

 

 

General Tips for Traveling Abroad

Bureau of Consular Affairs (US State Department Home Page for Travel Advisories.)

Tips for Student Travelers from the Bureau of Consular Affairs

Health Information from the Center for Disease Control.

Students are responsible for determining which, if any, medications they should obtain.

For Namibia
For Botswana

Questions from students, answers from our Travel Providers and Travel Agent.


Student questions were sent to Namibia and they travel company responded. Some answers have been supplemented by our US Travel Agent and her comments should be obvious. Our US agent makes aspecial reminder: it will be dusty. Tell the group to bring bags for their camera equipment so that the dust does not damage the equipment.


1. What is our luggage limit? Number of bags? Weight?
During the trip after arrival in Windhoek. A soft bag of about 15kg per person plus 1 carry on/hand luggage, plus a sleeping bag, plus a camera bag

2. Can I (should I) carry my laptop to transfer and edit photographs while we are there?
Personal choice, it will be possible to charge a computer through a cigarette lighter in the vehicle, (bring your own charger), and at some of the accommodation mains power, (220v), will be available.

3. How much spending money should I bring? Should I carry cash, traveler's checks, an ATM card or a combination of all three?
Difficult to answer as everybody spends a different amount. I would say that N$: 2 000:00 per person should be enough cash but a few travelers cheques and a credit card is always a good idea.
N$2000 is around US$300.
The group will go through a few towns where they should be able to exchange money.


4. Will we get to shower every day?
Showers should be available every day except for the middle night in the delta, 20th Jan.

5. Would you recommend taking a video camera?
Personal choice, same charging opportunities as for a computer.
Ron, I think I would take the video camera. This is a very special trip and you will want to record all or most of your the memories.

6. How much will I be moving my luggage? Would it be easier to pack in a backpack?
A back pack is the best option. You will need to load up the vehicle with your own bag each time you move camp.

7. What will we be doing for meals when we eat?
The guide will mostly be cooking for you, continental breakfast, picnic lunch and a hot meal at night

8. Do we need to worry about (buy and bring) mosquito repellant?
Always a good idea to have a personal supply.
Ron, I agree. The drug stores also sell Cutters wet wipes. I have found those useful to pack and use along the way.
On one occasion, I had to ask Eckerd's to order them and they were in the store about 2 weeks later.

9. Are towels a necessity to bring?
Yes

10. What kind of clothing should we bring?
Shorts, T shirts, long trousers and long sleeves for the evenings and something warm (jacket).

11. Do we need Dramamine or medicine for the bus rides?
Don't know what Dramamine is, if there is a health issue, consult your doctor before traveling, inform us and bring a sufficient supply of any personal medicine you might need.
Ron, obviously, I do know about Dramamine and Bonnine as I am in the USA. I think it is a good idea.

12. What is the average temperature of Namibia and Botswana during January?
Hot, up to 40* c in the day, about 10*c / 15*c at night.

13. Will we be able to wash clothes at some point during the trip?
Yes, hand washing.

Ron, I have asked if there is a stop somewhere along the way to wash the towels. Towels are not easy to hand wash and after the boys have been out all day in the heat it might be more comfortable for everyone if the towels were washed once. (smile). You are going through a few towns so there must be a laundry mat. I will try to get a definite answer on this. (even if it is just one stop during the trip at a laundry mat). I always carry a zip bag of detergent to hand wash t shirt, etc.

14. Will our personal belongings be safe (i.e. cameras and other valuables)?
We make every effort to keep our trips safe but we do not take responsibility for personal belongings.
I suggest that valuable items that are not necessary be left at home.
Cameras will probably be with the owners/ passengers most of the time.

15. Do I need a mosquito net?
Optional, probably not but you might decide differently when you are here.

16. What medication is best for motion sickness?
I know that both Bonnine and Dramamine are good.

17. How much freedom are we going to have to explore and investigate on our own?
All free time is detailed in the itinerary

18. Do we need hiking boots?
No, but a light weight pair is a good idea.

19. Are we going to be able to call home?
Yes, but not every day

20. What kinds of things are we doing in Swakopmund? What are the projected costs?
Activities range from Skydiving, quad biking, sand boarding, fishing, boat cruises and many more possible activities. Very roughly, budget N$: 1500:00 for skydiving and N$: 300:00 - 500:00 per activity for everything else.

21. Should we bring filters or water treatment tablets?
Not necessary

22. Should we bring our own sleeping bag?
Yes, but we can hire them to you if necessary, N$: 10 per day.

23. What happens if I get sick or injured?
We take you to a doctor, if it is serious, you will be evacuated.
(Insurance required for this).

24. What happens in the case of a family crisis back home?
Personal decision as whether to leave the trip or remain.
Ron, If they have insurance, their insurance policy should cover the cost to get the passenger to the airport and back to the USA if there is a medical crisis with a family member.

25. Will I be able to recharge batteries (ie. for cameras, etc.)
Yes through a cigarette lighter in the vehicle, (bring your own charger), and at some of the accommodation mains power, (220v), will be available.

26. Will there be telephone and/or internet access?
Limited telephone, very limited internet

27. Travel insurance: what does it cover and should I buy it? Yes, each person should have travel insurance.
If they do not have insurance, I will be happy to give more details on the policy I sell. They will need to contact the person who issued their policy for exact details. Generally, the policy will cover medical evacuation (important as it is a long way away), cancellation fees if cancellation is for medical reasons or some other covered reason, medical expenses (doctors bills and medication) and very little baggage coverage.

28. Are there cultural concerns related to clothing? (Shorts?)
No


Other Links

Gobabeb Desert Research Center

Agriculture in Namibia

African Paths Commercial Link

Botswana National Parks

Botswana Tourism Board

The Government of Botswana

Budget Travel in Botswana

Dragoman Travel Company

 

 

 

Photographs of some of our destinations (Google Image Searches)

Namib Naukluft National Park

Giant Sand Dunes of Sossusvlei

Sesriem canyon

Swakopmund

Skeleton Coast National Park

Etosha National Park

Kavango River

Okavanga Delta

Shakawe

Ghanzi

Bushman/San People near Ghanzi

Windhoek

Mapping Namibia (excellent, detailed maps with all roads and towns)

 

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