Andrew and friends

On June 3rd 2000, I was fortunate to be a part of the most exciting trip of my life. That was the day three other artists, one photographer and myself traveled to the other side of the world to discover the southern part of the African continent for ourselves. Gene Canning, Derek Wicks, Debra Ireland, Bill Clark and three other companions traveled to Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia were we hired a guide and ventured into the outback,with no radio, no weapons and camped in flimsy tents. Our travels took us to many of Botswana’s national parks including the Nxai pans, Makgadikgadi pans, Moremi, Chobe and Savuti. All of the parks had great experiences.

Elephant Safari in Zimbabwe

Torrential rains flooded us during our stay at the Naxi Pans which was quite a surprise, for even our guide as it was the middle of the dry season and there should not have been any rain at all. It was so bad in fact that one morning we awoke to realize our tent was now in the middle of a small river which developed over the course of the evening. No one seemed disappointed by the weather though as it was just another chance to experience Africa. The weather cleared and the days ahead had beautiful sunshine and abundance of wildlife.

Painting in Chobe

You haven’t heard a lion roar until you’ve experienced it from inside a tent in the middle of the night. The hyenas came around the camp site during the evening looking for scraps of food. We even had hippos come out of the river to eat on the banks while we tried to sleep in our tents. But the most erie sound had to have come from the near by forest. There the baboons would howl like prehistoric man. So strange was the sound, you could feel the hair on the back of your neck stand on end. Unfortunately there wasn’t much time to create art during our stay, but we all tried from time to time.

Looking over Victoria Falls

All in all it was a nature artist fantasy come true. From the land safaris to the Elephant safari ride to the boating adventures down the chobe river. And it was all topped off with a visit to Victoria Falls. An incredible place with beautiful views, thundering sounds and treacherous paths that went all around the falls for viewing. We were even able to climb out on a tree limb that hung over the falls and look straight down the falls them selves.

From Botswana, we travelled to Zimbabwe and Zambia were we saw more beautiful land scapes and exciting wildlife. Our stay in these countries wasn’t nearly as long as our time in Botswana and I’m sure we missed a lot of interesting places there.

Leaving Africa was hard on all of us in the group. It had been a life long dream to visit this place and now it was time to go. One thing is for sure. This would not be my last time to Africa.