Southern Africa:
Life Abundant!

Jan 2010

Dr. John Moeller
Dr. G.R. Davis

One Page Brochure as PDF

Last revision 9 Feb 2010 at 10:27 am
link to webpage with a few of Davis's photos and Nama Family

Lion in Nambia's Etosha National Park

Zebras, Etosha National Park
Sand dune in Namibia's Deadvlei region
Note: Photographs on this website were made by GR Davis during the 2008 Travel Study project to Namibia and Botswana except for those made by students (credits in parentheses.)

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

A few photos of Namibia by Dr. Davis

Photos of the Nama Family near Fish River


Updates as of 6 February 2010

Instructions for Electronic Porfolio

Download your photographs from this site:



Updates as of 12 January 2009

Summary of Flights

Revised Flight Plans as MS word document.

Revised Flight Plans:


Wednesday, Jan 13th, 7:00 am, depart on charter bus for Charlotte Airport from Wofford campus.

Students who want to arrange their own transportation to Charlotte may do so but 1) must be at the airport no later than 9:00 am at the Jet Blue check in, and 2) must notify Dr. Davis or Dr. Moeller of their plans not to join us on the charter bus.

In Charlotte, let's meet at the Jet Blue ticket counter where most of the group will take Jet Blue Flt 1082 at 11:50 arriving at JFK in New York at 1:44 pm. Moeller, La Prade, Nodell, and Sellars are booked on a Delta Flight 6596 departing from CLT at 11:30 and arriving at JFK at 1:44 pm. Both arrive in at the same time where we'll meet for the shuttle to hotel near JFK with complementary continental breakfast and 24 hr JFK airport shuttles.
NY Accomodations: Comfort Inn at Airport, 153 3rd Lane, Jamaica, NY

Thursday, Jan 14th.

Group 1 (10 students in alphabetical order by last name with Dr. Davis): Depart JFK on South African Airways 204 at 10:30 am for arrival in Johannesburg at 8:35 am Jan 15th. Depart Johannesburg on SA 327 at 11:00 am for 1:10 pm arrival in Cape Town. Begin activities in Cape Town.

Group 2 (13 students with Dr. Moeller): Sightseeing in NY City during the day followed by a second night in hotel before Friday, Jan 15th departure from JFK on SAA 204 at 10:30 am to arrive in Cape Town 1:10 pm on Jan 16th on SA 327. (Same flight numbers and times as group 1 flyers.) Begin activities in Cape Town.

Jan 15-Feb 2: In South Africa and Namibia. Ground plans in Cape Town, South Africa, and Namibia will be revised in consultation with Mr. Jordaan, our Namibian safari leader. We will make sure to include the Cape Peninsula tour, the Robben Island tour and an opportunity to go up Table Mountain.

Tuesday, Feb 2nd. Begin return trip.
Entire group departs Windhoek on SA 75 departing 12:40 pm arriving in Johannesburg at 2:30 pm. Depart JoBurg SA 207 at 6:10 pm arriving Washington Dulles 6:00 am 3 Feb. Then United 7983 departing 8:19 arriving GSP at 9:46 am on Wednesday, 3 Feb.

Note that our arrival in Africa will be Jan 15 and Jan 16 (originally scheduled for Jan 12) and our departure from Africa will be Feb 2 (originally scheduled for Jan 30.) Thus our arrival 3 or 4 days later than originally planned will be somewhat offset by a departure 2 days later than initially scheduled. This is the best that can be arranged given the circumstances. Burger Jordaan is cutting days from the camping portion to preserve our time in Cape Town.




Updates as of 9 January 2009)

Teams and Tentmates, Charity Coordinators,
and Image Management Teams


Examples of Student Electronic Portfolios from
2007 Exotic Exploited Ex-Colonies Interim: Nambia and Botswana


Blog by Ashley Carr

Blog by Sarah Harste

MW Word document by Zach Chillag




Updates as of 1 January 2009)

First session: 9:00 am sharp on Thursday, Jan 7th in Milliken 207.
Students should be prepared to present their topics. For Thursday and Friday, we meet as long as necessary to cover the information to prepare us fully for our travel experience. Bring your camera, binoculars, and any travel guide books you have to the first session.

Second Session 9:00 am Friday.

Third Session 9:00 am Saturday. We hope to finsh by noon.

Topics for Student Presentations on Jan 7-9.
Sequence is in approximate order of presentation.

Each student is allocated about 15 minutes to present their topic. If you need a few extra minutes to cover the topic, that will be fine, but be careful to be concise. Please be professional in your presentation. Provide the information in an interesting fashion. Each student is expected to be the expert on his or her topic. Powerpoints are appropriate. Showing impertinent YouTube videos is not. Because the topics vary so widely, there is no one source that will suitable for all presentations. Students are expected to consult whatever resources are necessary to produce a very good presentation on their topic. Be ready to take the stage when you are called.

Day to Day Itinerary for Travel in Southern Africa

What to Pack

Be sure to bring a lightweight sleeping bag,
good binoculars, and shoes/boots suitable for hiking on volcanic rock.

What to read before the first class period:
Africa as a Species Machine
by Dr. Ab Abercrombie

This essay was written for students traveling to Africa in 2008 but it is entirely relevant to our trip. In it Dr. Abercrombie explains how it is that Africa is so special in terms of numbers of species. You'll see that Dr. Abercrombie has a unique style of writing!

Read "Life in the Hot Zone," a chapter in Frances Ashcroft's Life at the Extremes: The Science of Survival. (ISBN0-520-22234-2) provided here in two PDF files: Part 1 and Part 2.


Developing Photography Skills:

Make sure you know how to use your digital camera over the holidays. Get some practice. Drs. Moeller and Davis will offered a workshop on nature photography from 11-Noon on Saturday, 9 January.




Project Description

We land in cosmopolitan Cape Town, South Africa, with its bright beaches and blue water, its white-English gentry and high-stepping fashion-models, its vibrant culture-clash of poverty and wealth. After two days in Cape Town during which we'll explore Table Mountain for spectacular views of the penninsula and perhaps encounter wild baboons, our safari vehicle takes us north, through Namaqualand and the Richtersveld, where the diversity of weird and wonderful plant-life is the highest on earth and the wildlife includes African penguins along the beach where we'll camp. We cross the Orange River into Namibia and meet the Dama people, learning how they have constructed a rich and complex culture in the vastness of their arid world. Then through the canyons and dunes of Namibia we continue our northward journey-studying the desert adaptations of people and other biota-until at length we reach Etosha, the most spectacular wildlife-park in southwestern Africa, where two days and nights filled with game drives will allow us to study firsthand the behaviors of lions, kudus, wildebeasts, springbok, impala and other animals of the African bush. By the time we fly from Windhoek to Cape Town to home, we'll have lived in safari tents, eaten first-class food, taken multiple gigs of digital photos, and learned first-hand the fundamental principles of drylands ecology. Our 19 day odyssey will be sandwiched in between three days of preparation and three days of processing, all in beautiful January-Spartanburg.

View from the light house at the Cape of Good Hope, the southwesternmost tip of Africa


Our Destinations: South Africa and Namibia

Near the southern tip of Africa, just northwest of South Africa.

Is is safe to travel in South Africa and Namibia?

Yes! Namibia is a sparcely populated stable democracy with a flourishing economy based heavily on tourism. Namibians treat tourists in ways that foster their return. Cape Town, our destination in South Africa is a modern city with a European feel. The official language is in both countries is English. During our 2008 travel project in Namibia , we felt welcomed virutally everywhere we went and became convinced that the risks of violence and disease are very, very low.

Camps Bay Beach, Cape Town


Hiking to Deadvlei where the Tschaub River evaporates into sand dunes.

Course Information

Travel Information

Project Description and Academic Focus International Flight Information
Daily Schedule and Itinerary Passport Information
Accomodations and Food US State Department Info
Selection of Participants Ground Transportation
Reference materials

Frequently Asked Questions

What to Pack
Course Requirements Currency Exchange Rates
Travel Guide Books Accomodations and Food
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

Photographs from 2008 Travel project (MS Powerpoint)


Academic Focus and Innovative Aspects

Mr. Burger Jordaan, a native born Namibian was tour leader for our Interim- 2008. Because he is so knowledgeable about animal behavior, wildlife identification, Namibian geology, and the cultures of native peoples, we have contracted with Mr. Jordaan for the 2009 project. Working closely with us by email, Mr. Jordaan has created for us a unique itinerary based on our specific focus and academic objectives. He has enthusiastically agreed to modify his usual role as tour leader and to participate in the project as a co-instructor. Thus, Wofford students will be exposed to a local expert who effectively and enthusiastically shares his knowledge.

Mr. Burger Jordaan, tour leader and co-instructor,
describing natural history of desert beetle.

On Safari in South Africa and Namibia

In tourist-Africa, safari-leaders typically assume responsibility for packing and unpacking and meal-planning and cooking and cleaning throughout their trips. We believe, however, that through such activities students could learn a great deal about how Africa "works." During the travel portion of this project, students will erect and take down their own tents. Under the supervision of Mr. Jordaan, they will assist in the preparation of meals. Even though we move about under the protective guidance of our full-time tour leader, we will come to appreciate the simple life that comes from living without amenities such as the internet and air conditioning.

Unloading the safari vehicle and erecting a tent

Making lunch

Expectations and Interdisciplinary Aspects

We'll develop a knowledge of the mechanisms by which the plants, animals, and peoples that inhabit the deserts of South Africa and Namibia are adapted to their arid environments. To obtain this knowledge requires investigations of the anatomical, physiological, and behavioral strategies the plants, animals and people employ to assure their survival under conditions of intense sun and scarcity of water. Thus our investigations will require forays into biology, geology, anthropology, physics, chemistry, sociology, religion, government, history, and economics. What might at first glance appears to be a biology course will in actuality involve a synthesis from many academic disciplines. Therefore students from every major at Wofford should be able to contribute from their own academic training--while also learning about the relevance of other disciplines.

Black-back jackal and oryx at Etosha Pan

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Tentative Daily Schedule and Itinerary.

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

Thursday, 7 January - Interim begins
Wednesday, 3 February - Interim ends at 5:00 p.m.

Dates provided below are not accurate given our delayed the departure,
but the sequence of events will be maintained to the extent possible.

Days 1-3
Thursday, Friday, Saturday,

(Sunday off)

Original plans called for Departure for Cape Town on Monday,
11 January


Revised plans have us arriving in Cape Town on 15 and 16 January.


During 4 days of class meetings on campus, our group will engage in discussions of readings on the following topics: geology of Namibia, origins and characteristics of deserts, life forms in the desert, physiological, anatomical, and behavioral adaptations to desert life, desert ecology, history of Namibia with special emphasis on the cultural groups we will encounter (Nama, Damara, and Topnaar)

Students will be given instruction in digital photographic techniques that will assure effective use of their cameras during the travel segment and will practice image management prior to departure so that electronic portfolios can be created upon our return.

Student will select from a list of topics and prepare presentations for the class to be delivered on-campus during the 3 days of pre-departure class meetings. A list of topics will be provided at the Mandatory Meeting in November so that students can begin their work prior to the first class meeting.

Students will also select from a list of topics and prepare presentations to be delivered on-site during the travel portion of the project. The content of this presentation can be supplemented by information obtained on-site in consultation with Mr. Jordaan.

Orientation information regarding currency exchange, travel safety, health, expectations for conduct and cooperativity, cultural sensitivity, responses to emergencies, etc. will be addressed.

Day to Day Itinerary for Travel Portion

Day 1 Accommodation: Backpackers at Cape Town City Bowl.
Mid-afternoon Arrival at Cape Town International Airport

Day 2 Accommodation: Backpackers at Cape Town City Bowl.
Robben Island Tour (half day, 9:00 ferry departure)

Dinner on own account.

Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, Cape Town


Waterfront at night

Day 3 Cape Penninsula and Table Mountain National Park with Mr. Jordaan Overnight at Backpacker Lodge. Dinner on own account.


Day 4 Accomodation Backpacker Lodge. Dinner provided. Explore Victoria & Alfred Waterfront or walk Long Road. Visit Museums and the Old Castle and an opportunity to go up Table Mountain.

Day 5 Accommodation: Beachfront Camping at Strandfontein. Lunch on route, Dinner & Breakfast at campsite Travel 350km
West Coast, Strandfontein
Depart Cape Town, north via Blouberg Strand to Langebaan, the West Coast National Park (NP) to study birdlife and fynbos of this region, thence to Lamberts Bay, famous for the Jack-ass Penguin and Cape Garnets colony, then north to beachfront camp at Strandfontein, known for the diamonds mined here on the beaches.

Day 6 Accommodation: Camping at the Orange River, Lunch on route, Dinner & Breakfast at Campsite.
Travel 480km
Orange River
Plains of Namaqualand with large variety of succulent plants. Arrive at Namibian Border. Cross Orange River to reach camp.

Grasshopper of the desert, Roadside lunch stop

Day 7-8 Accommodation: Camping at the foot of an extinct Volcano. Lunch on route, Dinner & Breakfast at campsite Travel 280km
Brukaros Valcano, Namib Desert, Nama Culture (Revised schedule may mean reducing or eliminating our time at this site.)
Ai-Ais NP via the Fish River Canyon (Africa's largest) to Burakaros volcano and the Fish River. Meet Nama People and learn how they live and farm.

Day 9-10 Accommodation: Camping at Sesriem, Sossusvlei. Lunch on route, Dinner & Breakfast at campsite Travel 300km
Namib Desert, Nama Culture
Travel though Nama farm lands en route to Sesriem Campsite in the Namib Desert. Academic emphasis on geology today.

Acacia Tree near Tschaub River, Sossusvlei (Kelsi Hartvigsen, Interim 2008)

Dunes at Sossusvlei (left: Samantha Hall, right GR Davis, Interim 2008)


Deadvlei where the Tschaub River terminates in a sea of sand dunes 60 miles from the coast.

Namib Desert, Sossusvlei
Long before sunrise we depart for the dunes in order to be among the world's highest dunes at sunrise. This morning will be spent conducting an excursion along the path of the ancient Tschaub River into the Namib Sand Sea including a visit to the famed Sossusvlei, Dune 45 and Deadvlei. Many visitors to Namibia say that no part of the desert is more stunning than Sossusvlei, with its monumentally high dunes, the shadows of their sinuous crests continually changing as the day waxes and wanes. Gigantic star-shaped mountains of sand, the highest is estimated at 325 m. The warm tints of the sand, ranging from pale apricot to brick orange and deep red, contrast vividly with the dazzling white surfaces of the deflationary clay pans at some of their bases.
By midday we return to the campsite for lunch. An afternoon excursion will be conducted to the Sesriem Canyon, a small yet picturesque canyon carved over millions of years into the Tschaub River.

View from bottom of Tschaub River Canyon and from ridge above Sesriem campsite

Among the world's highest dunes along ancient Tschaub River into the Namib Sand Sea to Sossusvlei, Dune 45 and Deadvlei. Afternoon excursion to the Sesriem Canyon.

Abandoned car, Solitaire (last town before entering Sossusvlei (Sarah Harste, Interim 2008)
One of the more than 50 dunes along the Tschaub River at Sossusvlei (GR Davis, Interim 2008)

Day 11-12 Accommodation: Remote Camping at Kuiseb River. Lunch on route, Dinner & Breakfast at campsite Travel 200km
Namib Desert, Kuiseb River & Topnaar Culture
Remote campsite in the Namib Desert with rare and endangered plants and animals adapted to live on dunes, riverbeds and stony desert planes. Meet "tribe" living in this part of the desert, the Topnaar People.

Quiver Tree, (Claudia Winker, Interim 2008) and view of Kuiseb Plains (GR Davis, Interim 2008)

Day 13 Accommodation: Camping at Spitzkoppe. Lunch on route, Dinner & Breakfast at campsite Travel 200km
Spitzkoppe, Namib Desert, Rock Art
To Spitzkoppe granite massive with rock faces carvings thousands of years old.

Day 14-15 Accommodation: Camping at Palmwag. Lunch on route, Dinner & Breakfast at campsite Travel 300km
Palmwag, Etendeka Plateau, Damaraland
Rugged Damaraland landscape of table-top mountains, cone-shaped hills and rock-strewn plains. Nomadic Damara migrate seasonally with their herds of livestock in search of grazing. Damaland is home of the rare Desert Elephant and endangered Black Rhino and semiprecious stones.

Lunch on the road and view from the highway, northwest Namibia

Day 16-17 Accommodation: Camping at Okaukuejo. Lunch on route, Dinner & Breakfast at campsite Travel 350km
Etosha, Okaukuejo
Via Grootberg to Okaukuejo waterhole in Etosha NP. Common sightings: herds of elephant, black rhino, lion, cheetah, brown hyena, Burchell's and Hartman's Mountain Zebra, Gnu and numerous antelope species.


Elephant, Etosha National Park (Asley Carr, Interim 2008), Brown Hyena, Etosha (GR Davis, Interim 2008)

On game drives to several waterholes, we may see some of the over 114 mammal species, 350 bird species and 21 different vegetation types recorded in Etosha NP.

Blackface Impala, Etosh National Park. (Alex Galloway, Interim 2008)

Batchelor Males, Etosha (Mackie Steadman, Interim 2008) and
Rhino at Okaukuejo waterhole at night, Etosha National Park (GR Davis, Interim 2008)

Zebras, Etosha National Park (Weatherly Meadors, Interim 2008)
Rhino at waterhole (GR Davis, Interim 2008)


Giraffes, Etosha National Park (Matt Carlisle, Interim 2008)

Sunrise, Etosha National Park (Nelson Seabrook, Interim 2008)



Day 18. Depart Okaukuejo and Etosha for Windhoek. Lunch on route, Travel 500km
Free time in downtown Windhoek after 2 pm for souvenir shopping. Dinner at Joe's Beer Garden. Overnight in Jan Jonkers Holiday Apartments.

Day 19. Windhoek airport departure at 12:20 pm for return to Spartanburg See flight details.



Wed Feb 3
9:45 am arrival to GSP. Rest of day off. Faculty available to assist with students preparing portfolios.

Students work on essays to accompany photographs that constitute the electronic portfolios submitted for grading no later than Tuesday, Feb 9 at noon.



Jackass penguin of South Africa near Cape Town


Reference Materials

All participants must read "Life in the Hot Zone," a chapter in Frances Ashcroft's Life at the Extremes: The Science of Survival. (ISBN0-520-22234-2)

provide here in two PDF files: Part 1 and Part 2.


Because of strict weight-and-volume limits, the group will carry a single, collective library to Africa. This will include references of two types:

1. Field guides.
.....a. Birds:
Newman. 2002. Birds of Southern Africa.
.....b. Other reptiles:
..........Alexander and Marais. 2008. Guide to the Reptiles of Southern Africa.
..........Branch. 1998. Field Guide to Snakes and other Reptiles of Southern Africa.
.....c. Mammals:
..........Kingdon. East African Mammals: an Atlas of Evolution. (We won't take all volumes of this monumental work with us, but students may photocopy some sections).
..........Stuart and Stuart. 1989. Field Guide to Mammals of Southern Africa.
d. Insects:
.......... Picker et al. 2002. Field Guide to Insects of South Africa.

2. More general references:
.....a. Estes. 1992. The Behavior Guide to African Mammals….
.....b. Hardy and Firestone. 2007. Lonely Planet Guide to Botswana and Namibia.
.....c. Sowell. 2001. Desert Ecology.
.....d. Gordon and Gordon. 2000. The Bushman Myth: the Making of a Namibian Underclass.

While we are still at Wofford, students will choose animals, places, and cultural issues of personal interest. Then, in consultation with instructors, they will select readings appropriate to these topics. During our fieldwork, students will teach their peers about these topics-and students may assign brief readings from our shared traveling library.


Student Presentations

Topics for Student Presentation on Jan 7-9.



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A 300 year old female Wucheria plant

Application Forms

There are two application forms for this project. One is unique to the Southern Africa project (see link below) which is to be turned in to Drs. Davis, Moeller, or Abercrombie and the other is the generic application form that all travel project students must complete and submit to the Interim Office.

Please provide introductory information about yourself for the instructors on this Southern Africa 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 Southern Africa Application Form to Dr. Davis or Dr. Abercrombie by email or deliver the completed form to either of their offices.


Interim 2008 group crossing a line

Selection of Participants

This project is open to all interested students. There are no pre-requisites. Participants are expected to be physically fit enough to cheerfully walk several miles on some travel days, to cheerfully function in all weather conditions including chilly nights and hot days in the deserts of Namibia, 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 Interim opportunities. Students are expected to cheerfully contribute to the daily chores associated with participatory camping. (setting up and breaking camp, assisting with meals and clean-up, etc.)

Participants will be selected based in part on the following criteria:
a) Compelling expression of interest in the subject matter of this project on the Southern Africa Application Form (distinct from the Application Form required by the Interim Program.) Simply expressing a desire to travel is insufficient. Students should 1) explain why they wish to travel to southern Africa in particular, and how the specifics of this project appeals to them, 2) describe the skills and attributes that they possess that equip them for this project, and 3) enumerate those characteristics and/or competencies they would like to develop by participating in this project.
b) Prior travel experience and class standing (juniors and seniors who have not traveled previously are given some preferential consideration.) Freshmen and sophomore are welcome on this project.
c) Campus citizenship.
d) Personal attributes (such as tact, energy, enthusiasm, willingness to contribute to discussions, tolerance of inconveniences, etc.)
e) Recommendations from faculty and others qualified to comment on applicant's attributes.

The instructors seek 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.


Sunset at Sesriem campsite

Jackass penguin colony at Simon Town, South Africa

Course Requirements

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 write and read excerpts from their essays to the group to promote discussion and reflection.

Note: Students will be encouraged but not required to keep a daily journal in which private thoughts and reflections may be recorded. The essays to be shared with the group on several occasions during the trip are distinct from entries in a private personal diary although daily journal entries quite often serve as the basis for an essay to be shared with the group. Shared essays are expected to integrate factual information obtained from texts, guides, and other sources with personal observations and insights. The instructors will provide examples of essays by former students to serve as models.

Thus, students are expected to
a) Attend all orientation and concluding sessions
b) Participate in all aspects of the project, to include
......i) providing effective team leadership on their appointed days
......ii) interacting with tour guide(s)
......iii) becoming knowledgeable of the biota and landscape Namibia including human ecology
c) Submit an electronic portfolio (in MW Word document, Powerpoint, Website, or blog format) consisting of essays and accompanying photographs made by the student, one entry for each day of travel. Essays and photographs are to demonstrate what the student has learned by participating in this project and must include personal reflections and observations that relate academic content to field experience. (Several exemplary student portfolios from the 2008 interim will be provided as models.)
d) Read excerpts from their essays on a regular basis to the entire group. The purpose of this activity is to promote reflection and synthesis of information and to stimulate thoughtful discussion amongst the participants.
e) Presentation for class meeting on a special topic (animal, behavior, habitat, cultural group, ecosystem, etc.) from list of topics from which students choose based on personal interests
f) Presentation to be delivered on-site during the travel portion of the project. Topic to be selected in advance and preparations to be initiated prior to departure and completed with the consultation of our local guide.


F = failure to complete any of a-f above
P = satisfactory completion of a-f above.
H = excellent performance in the completion of a-f 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.

Shovelnosed lizard in dunes at Sossusvlei

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 will travel in a safari vehicle with seats for 24 passengers, all necessary supplies for camping and cooking,
plenty of water, and two spare tires. (Last trip, we had 4 flats!)

Mr. Jordaan has traveled our route many times and will have a cell phone for emergencies.




International Flight Schedule as of 6 pm Jan 12, 2010.



Outbound Flights Date Origin-Destination Depart-Arrive Flying Time
Delta # 6596 13 Jan Charlotte to NY JFK (Moeller, LaPrade, Nodell & Sellars) 11:30 am; 1:44 pm 2:14
Jet Blue # 1082 13 Jan Charlotte to NY JFK (Davis + rest of group) 11:50 am; 1:44 pm 1:54

13 Jan & Possibly 14 Jan

Overnight Comfort Inn at Kennedy Airport,
153 3rd Lane, Jamaica, NY

Group 1

South African # 204

14 Jan NY JFK to Dakar to Johannesburg 10:30 am; 8:35 am on 15 Jan 15:05
South African # 327 15 Jan Johannesburg to Capetown 11:00 am; 1:10 pm 2:10

Group 2

South African # 204

15 Jan NY JFK to Dakar to Johannesburg 10:30 am; 8:35 am on 16 Jan 15:05
South African # 327 16 Jan Johannesburg to Capetown 11:00 am; 1:10 pm 2:10
Return Flights        
South African # 75 2 Feb Windhoek, Namibia to Johannesburg 12:40 pm; 2:30 pm 1:50
South African # 207 2 Feb Johannesburg to Dakar to Washington-Dulles 6:10 pm; 6:00 am on 3 Feb 18:50
United # 7983 3 Feb Washington-Dulles to Greenville-Spartanburg 8:19 am; 9:46 am 1:27




Students and professors will help prepare meals during the safari.
We eat well and we eat plenty.

Accomodations and Food

To minimize costs and to experience the landscape more intimately, we will camp in spacious two person tents that we will erect ourselves. These tents are much larger than what Americans would call "two persons." They are approximately 7 feet square and nearly tall enough to stand up inside. Bring your own lightweight sleeping to place on the 50 mm thick foam mats (provided.) All campsites except for the one in Kuiseb River canyon have showers and toilets and water that is drinkable straight from the tap. Most have a canteen where soft drinks and other beverages can be purchased. We will always have drinking water on the truck.

Each student will accompany our guide to shop for food in local stores. For most meals we will assist our full-time tour leader using cookware that is provided. Breakfast is commonly cereal, milk, yogurt, bread, juice and hot tea or coffee (if you consider Nescafe coffee!) Sometimes we'll have scrambled eggs and bacon for breakfast. Lunch is typically a salad, sliced cheese, and sandwiches. Dinners are cooked over an open fire or on a propane burner. You'll be amazed at how well we'll eat! Roasted chicken, goat, kudu, pasta, rice, and so on.

Most MEALS ARE INCLUDED IN THE COURSE FEE except for the last day in Windhoek and several meals in Cape Town before we begin our safari. Therefore the only food you need to purchase once the safari begins on Day 4 will be snacks, bottled water and other beverages.

Often we'll be on the road during the middle of the day so lunch happens whenever we can find a shady tree by the roadside. Once we get into the routine, you'll have lunch prepared in about 15 minutes and then relax in our camp chairs for a few minutes before riding on to our next destination.

Those can cannot cope with these conditions should opt for other interim projects. Don't even ask about air conditioning! As for mosquitoes.... don't worry. In Jan 2008, there were none to be found! Remember, this is the desert!

We plan to stay our last night at Jan Jonkers Holiday Apartments in Windhoek, a short walk from the bustling downtown of the capital city. We'll be able to repack and reaquaint ourselves with a real bed before the long trip back to Spartanburg. Windhoek is a good place to purchase souvenirs.

All 10 tents fit beneath an acacia treet at our Sesreim campsite.
Warning: keep tents zippered to prevent the local jackals from slipping away with snacks or shoes!


While in Cape Town, we'll be at:

Afrique du Sud Backpackers,
5A St Johns Road,
Sea point
Cape Town
tel +27 (0)21 439 9028
fax +27 (0)8654 13123

In Windhoek, Namibia, our overnight will be at:

Jan Jonkers Holiday Apartments,
183 Jon Jonkers Road, Windhoek (near the American Embassy.)
Telephone 264 0 61 221236 or 370120
Fax: 264 0 61 228218


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Contacting the Instructors

During the travel portion of the trip, if it becomes necessary to contact a professor or student, please do so only the case of emergency and then only via Dean Amy Lancaster.


Dr. G.R. Davis, Professor of Biology
Office phone 864-597-4621
Home 864-948-9025
fax to Department of Biology 864-597-4659

More about Dr. Davis

Dr. John Moeller,
Associate Professor of Biology

More about Dr. Moeller

Amy Lancaster, Assistant Dean for Academic Administration and International Programs

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

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

Our travel arrangements in South Africa and Namibia are made with

Mr. Burger Jordaan
Inbuka Safaris
cell phone 264 81 124 6639 (Please use this number only in the most extreme case of emergency.)

Airfare is arranged by

Alda Kop, Universal Travel
222 East Blackstock Road, Suite B
Spartanburg, SC 29301
864- 576-6616 or fax 576-0393
toll free 1-800-849-0167


The fynbos of the Cape Penninsula south of Cape Town, False Bay with sharks in the distance.


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.

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!

Sunset view to the east from ridge above Sesriem campsite

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Additional Activities

At some locations, there are optional activities at additional cost. These often involve performances of traditional songs and dances and in most cases a tip of $5 US from each student is expected (not included in course fee.)


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 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. Currently there are no advisories travel to Namibia.

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

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 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 Namibia? Yes. The official language is English. Namibia is stable democracy with flourishing economy. Namibia is sparcely populated and relies heavily on tourism. Namibians 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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Students are to consult with their physicians regarding immunizations which are appropriate for travel to Namibia and South Africa. The Center for Disease Control provides recommendations for travelers to Namibia and South Africa. You may arrange to obtain immunizations locally from

Spartanburg Regional Hospital's Travelers Health Clinic
864-560-6806 contact person Anne Price (direct line 560-6800)
101 East Wood Street, Spartanburg, SC 29303 Fax 864-560-7329 email:

Dr. Robin Garrells 809-8155 spoke to our group at 11:00 am on Thursday November 19 in MSH 206 with recommendations for immunizations, etc.


Passport Health

Mandatory Meeting

December 1, 2009 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



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Course Costs and Other Expenses

The $4300 project cost for each of the 21 participants covers

Round-trip airfare from US to Cape Town and flight from Windhoek to Cape Town
Hotel accommodations in Cape Town Windhoek
14 day "safari" with Mr. Burger Jordaan of Inbuka Safaris
transportation in 24 passenger self-contained safari truck with all camping and cooking equipment
all meals provided except meals in Cape Town and Windhoek
water for drinking and hygiene
national park and game reserve entrance fees
camping fees
basic tip for Mr. Jordaan, our guide who will accompany us 24 hr/day for entirety of the ground portion in South Africa and Namibia
Airport transfers.

Important note: The cost of food during the safari is included in the fee charged by our tour operator. Students will assist with the planning of meals, purchasing of food from local grocers, and preparing those meals at each campsite. Mr. Jordaan will supervise all of these activities. Thus all food is provided with the exception of 3 meals in Cape Town and Windhoek.

Additional Expenses not included in the Course Fee:

This does not include:
a. Transportation between Spartanburg and Greenville-Spartanburg airport.
b. Passport
c. Any medical expenses (i.e. vaccinations)
d. Cell phones and phone cards (Note: phone access is limited in Namibia.)
e. Binoculars for each participant (borrow a pair!)
f. Field guides, travel guides, and texts (none of which will be required. The professors will have a sufficient number of copies to share.)
g. Two or 3 meals on the last day of the trip when we are in Windhoek (estimated $20 US) and meals for 3 days in Cape Town.
h. Entertainment including tips for performances by native tribesmen, singers, dancers $75 *
i. beverages and snack foods, $60*
j. souveniers: $150*
k. any supplemental tip student would opt to contribute to the tour leader Mr. Jordaan.

* = median as reported by 16 students surveyed in 2008 Namibia/Botswana project

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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.

Our US travel agent MUST have your passport information by the end of October.

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

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Important Dates

Friday September 18th Payment due by check made out to Wofford College for the entire balance ($4100) or a partial payment of $2100

For those not paid in full, a final payment of $2000 is due on Monday, October 26th.

Our US travel agent MUST have your passport information by the end of October.

Mandatory meeting: December 1, 2009 in Milliken Science Hall Room 206 (lab on second floor.)

TBA: Photocopies of passport due.

TBA: 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

Student questions from Jan 2008 were sent to Namibia and the travel company responded. Some answers have been supplemented by a US Travel Agent and those comments should be obvious. Consider that will it be dusty in the desert. Bring bags for your camera equipment.

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

2. How much spending money should I bring? Should I carry cash, traveler's checks, an ATM card or a combination of all three?
ATM cards are preferable and our guide will get us to a bank every now and then. However, we don't expect on need or spend much money.

3. Will we get to shower every day?
Showers should be available most days, but not every day. In the Kuiseb River valley, we'll have a couple of days without showers.

4. Would you recommend taking a video camera?
Personal choice, same charging opportunities as for a computer.

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

6. Do we need to worry about (buy and bring) mosquito repellant?
Always a good idea to have a personal supply, but in 2008 we did not encounter mosquitoes.

7. Are towels a necessity to bring?

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

9. Do we need Dramamine or other such medicine for the bus rides?
Bring a sufficient supply of any personal medicine you might need.

10. 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.

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

12. Will our personal belongings be safe (i.e. cameras and other valuables)?
Cameras will probably be with the owners/ passengers most of the time. Otherwise, personal belongings can be left in the locked safari vehicle.

13. Do I need a mosquito net?

14. How much freedom are we going to have to explore and investigate on our own?
Quite a bit, actually. Generally we get started about sun-up and accomplish a great deal before noon. In the early afternoon, there is usually some "down time" and often in the late afternoons before and after dinner there is free time to investigate about the campsite.

15. Do we need hiking boots?
A light weight pair is a good idea. Sometimes the sand is hot. On most occasions sandals will be fine but bring some socks to avoid irritation that comes when walking through deep sand.

16. Are we going to be able to call home?
Yes, occasionally. Our guide will have his personal cell phone for emergencies but not for personal use.

17. Should we bring filters or water treatment tablets?
No, they are not necessary.

18. Should we bring our own sleeping bag?
Yes. Bring a light weight bag.

19. What happens if I get sick or injured?
We take you to a doctor, if it is serious. In a worst case scenario, you will be evacuated.

20. What happens in the case of a family crisis back home?
It is a personal decision as whether to leave the trip or remain.
If you have supplemental travel insurance, the 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.

21. Will I be able to recharge batteries (ie. for cameras, etc.)
Yes through an outlet in the safari vehicle (bring your own charger), and at some of the accommodation mains power, (220v), will be available. We will have outlet adaptors.

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

23. Are there cultural concerns related to clothing? (Shorts?)

Other Links

Gobabeb Desert Research Center

Agriculture in Namibia


Robben Island Museum Tour $23 US per ticket








Photographs of some of our destinations (Google Image Searches)

Namib Naukluft National Park

Giant Sand Dunes of Sossusvlei

Sesriem canyon

Skeleton Coast National Park

Etosha National Park


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


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