ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel pix.

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ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel pix.

Post by Global Administrator »

Happy Holidays to all members around the globe reading this!

ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Christmas and New Year pix.

I do not personally know of anyone who has visited Ethiopia before, very odd that it seems to get very few Western tourists, and decided to add a few photos from our current visit there, as in the past many stampboarders have found such things interesting. (So they say!)

Many later images have a STAMP theme - stay tuned! Internet pretty flaky here, so please bear with me. :mrgreen:

This Christmas, we flew to Windhoek, Namibia, (once German South West Africa of course) via Korea, and then for a few days in Addis Ababa in Ethiopia en-route, to visit the Blue Nile Gorge, and their other interesting attractions out in the countryside.

The Chinese are EVERYWHERE in all these countries, building roads, railways, airports, and Football stadiums etc, etc.

Addis Ababa has an elevation of some 2,355 metres or 7,726’ - higher than the very highest point in our Continent here, Mount Kosciusko! We will spend Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve driving around the massive sand dunes and “Skeleton Coast” in Namibia, and later visit the vast Etosha and Chobe Game Parks in Namibia and Botswana.

Will then fly over and have breakfast literally in the Zambesi River on Livingstone Island in Zambia - looking to the Zimbabwe side tourists, like you are about to be washed over the falls. Done that before, and it is a wonderful memory.

Fly back home from the wonderful Victoria Falls Zimbabwe, via Ethiopia again, and then to chilly Beijing China - to eventually hit home in middish January!

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Sydney to Seoul Incheon for 11 hours, with a 5 hour layover, then the 13 hour direct flight to Addis was a long ~30 hour "day" of planes and airports. Then we hit the ground running, getting met at hotel by a guide to show us around this large city for day #1, an hour after we arrived. :shock:
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Most of our flights are on Ethiopian Airlines, who have a very modern fleet, and a route map most carriers would envy. First class service, and food and seats so far. Our Captain on the long A350 flight from Seoul to Addis was from Adelaide I was surprised to hear, when having a chat in flight, after stretching my legs in the forward galley when everyone else was asleep. 8)
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Typical roadside scenes in Addis Ababa above and below. The guy with horse and cart was carrying water. In the countryside lots of donkey carts are used for moving goods.
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I think it was Homer Simpson that said - "no-one is a real country, unless they have their own beer"
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The language in Ethiopia is Amharic - which has about 120 or so different characters. The Ethiopia currency is the BIRR. The highest denomination issued is 100 Birr = $A20.
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by tooler »

Looks like you're having fun, keep the pix coming, I like seeing places I know I will never get to go.
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by huanga »

Like Lagos........but cleaner. :D

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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by NikE »

Looks like you had a great time.

The currency note is lovely , I don't have them in my collection as yet. :?
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by Brit-Col »

Looks like an interesting trip. I'm envious.

I'm also curious about your routing. Why via Incheon? Assuming you wanted to try out Ethiopian Airlines wouldn't Hong Kong or Bangkok have worked and saved quite a few flying hours?

I'm sure FF miles had something to do with it! :wink:

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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by MargoZ »

Thanks to all for the kind comments.

Picking up the story from Glen...


Future Ethiopian soccer stars.

Ethiopia established its national soccer team the "Walias," after the Walia ibex, in 1943.
They are currently ranked 150th in the world so need some up and coming talent!
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Holy Trinity cathedral in Addis built to commemorate Ethiopia's liberation from Italian occupation. (Addis Ababa was only founded in 1887 so NOTHING is very old there.)
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Inside the Holy Trinity Cathedral with "the hairs covered" for women as instructed by church elders. Hairs must be covered but it is OK to play the large African bongos inside apparently.
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The huge granite tombs of the Emperor Haile Selassie I and Empress Menen Asfaw.

The Cathedral cemetery also houses the remains of the thousands who died during the occupation and the Derg communist regime of the 1970s and 80s. Interestingly the British suffragette, Sylvia Pankhurst is also buried there.
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Time for a traditional lunch of injera washed down with Walia beer .... Yes - I realise Glen's meal looks non-traditional - it was chicken cacciatore as a nod to the Italian period.
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Then a visit to Ethiopia's most famous woman - Lucy.

Lucy is the common name of AL 288-1, several hundred pieces of bone fossils making up 40% of the skeleton of a female of the hominin species Australopithecus afarensis.

Lucy was discovered in 1974 in Africa, near the village Hadar and is dated to about 3.2 million years ago.

The skeleton has a small skull and evidence of a walking-gait like humans. It is thought that Lucy would have been largely tree-dwelling.

She got her name from the song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" which was played repeatedly in the expedition camp all evening after her discovery.
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A very small segment of the giant Merkato in Addis - the biggest market in Africa. It extends for miles and is not for the faint-hearted!
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Retailing Merkato-style
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Ethiopian coffee ceremony...

Ethiopia claims to be the birthplace of coffee in the current province of Kaffa - the story is that an Ethiopian goat herder, Kaldi, first discovered coffee around 850 AD after he discovered his goats eating the coffee fruit off of the trees and dancing wildly.

Each coffee ceremony last 2-3 hours, and it’s common for families to enjoy 2-3 of these ceremonies per day. It is all about social connection and a show of respect.

The special green reed grass is always spread all around the ground to observe tradition.
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Even in the (very nice) Ethiopian Airlines lounge, there is an elaborate coffee ceremony for departing guests.

Orthodox pilgrims on Christmas eve.
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Ethiopia's answer to Hillsong .. people were being bussed in by the 1000s and well as walking in from who knows where
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More Christian pilgims at Debre Libanos hours in the dry countryside outside Addis - a number sported these snazzy ceremonial umbrellas
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"Portuguese Bridge" near the Blue Nile gorge. What makes it fascinating is the fact that it was built with ostrich eggshells and limestone four hundred years ago maybe by Portuguese, or maybe just in their style - the jury is out. — in Debre Libanos, Shewa, Ethiopia.
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(Spot the old goat on the ancient Bridge!)

The grand canyon of Ethiopia near at the source of the Blue Nile. I'm the dark blob on the rock near edge of canyon - Glen very kindly offered to stay at the entry point, and take the picture, LOL
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More injera and Walia beer, looking over the massive gorge, with classy toilet paper roll serviettes, but what a view!
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by Ubobo.R.O. »

Love the bridge !
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by gavin-h »

MargoZ wrote:Interestingly the British suffragette, Sylvia Pankhurst is also buried there.
From Wiki:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sylvia_Pankhurst
Supporter of Ethiopia

In the early 1930s Pankhurst drifted away from Communist politics but remained involved in movements connected with anti-fascism and anti-colonialism. In 1932 she was instrumental in the establishment of the Socialist Workers' National Health Council. She responded to the Italian invasion of Ethiopia by publishing The New Times and Ethiopia News from 1936, and became a supporter of Haile Selassie. She raised funds for Ethiopia's first teaching hospital, and wrote extensively on Ethiopian art and culture, carrying out research that was published in her book Ethiopia: A Cultural History (London: Lalibela House, 1955).

From 1936 MI5 monitored Pankhurst's correspondence. In 1940 she wrote to Viscount Swinton, then chairing a committee investigating Fifth Columnists, and enclosed lists of active Fascists still at large and of anti-Fascists who had been interned. A copy of this letter on MI5's file carries a note in Swinton's hand reading: "I should think a most doubtful source of information."

After the post-war liberation of Ethiopia she became a strong supporter of union between Ethiopia and the former Italian Somaliland, and MI5 continued to follow her activities. In 1948 MI5 considered strategies for "muzzling the tiresome Miss Sylvia Pankhurst". Pankhurst became a friend and adviser to the Ethiopian Emperor Haile Selassie, and in 1956 she moved to Addis Ababa with her son Richard at Haile Selassie's invitation. She then founded a monthly journal, Ethiopia Observer, in which she reported on many aspects of Ethiopian life and development.

Death and posthumous recognition

Pankhurst died in Addis Ababa in 1960, aged 78, and received a full state funeral at which Haile Selassie named her "an honorary Ethiopian". She is the only foreigner buried in front of Holy Trinity Cathedral in Addis Ababa, in a section reserved for patriots of the Italian war.
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by Global Administrator »

Brit-Col wrote:Looks like an interesting trip. I'm envious.

I'm also curious about your routing. Why via Incheon? Assuming you wanted to try out Ethiopian Airlines wouldn't Hong Kong or Bangkok have worked and saved quite a few flying hours?

I'm sure FF miles had something to do with it! :wink:

BC
You got it in one. :)

Flying Asiana, was for the same reason we fly Air China back home to Sydney from chilly Beijing .. a lonnnnng way from Namibia!

Tried to load a few general area pix from Ethiopia below, but internet here slowwwww beyond belief, and then we move on to Namibia for a couple weeks, where it hopefully is faster. We often take for granted wifi speeds back home. :idea:

Glen
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The basis of all Ethiopian food is INJERA - something that is soft and cold and comes rolled up, in 3 colours. It looks like a refresher towel at first glance, with large air bubble dimples, but you use your fingers to stuff it full of whatever the main course is.

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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by kelpiefarm »

It appears the locals did not mind you taking their pictures. I found it very difficult in Uganda and parts of Kenya to to take photos, especially of children.

Fabulous photo essay you two! Looks like a National Geographic special.

Lucy is amazing , I am going to read up about her, she seems to have a huge rib cage.

Keep the pictures flowing and safe continued travels :)
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by DJCMH »

Loving the pictures from Ethiopia! We have a large Ethiopian emigre population here in Columbus, and thus several Ethiopian restaurants have opened up, and the food is so so amazingly good, can only imagine it being even better at the source!

Looking forward to the pics from Namibia.
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by aethelwulf »

I haven't had Ethiopian food for so many years, but still remember the first time discovering injera, it's great.

Some great historic sites in Ethiopia.
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by Global Administrator »

DJCMH wrote:
Looking forward to the pics from Namibia.
Working on it, but internet here is apallllingly slow. Takes 20 mins to download 6 pix!

Added some from NYE below to add something new!

I've spent New Year's Eve in a different country overseas for near 50 years now.

This year we were in small town WINDHOEK, Namibia.

We booked the Hilton, with a high floor room overlooking all the midnight crowd, and the fireworks - amazing spot to see it from. (WE are in the room 2 floors down, with light on, in the building in background.) :mrgreen:

We took a walk down there at 10pm .... more cops and security than revellers then!

My little point and shoot camera does not cope with fireworks pix at all sadly, but a couple added below.

Better fireworks display than I have have seen in many cities 10 or 20 times larger. Not a huge crowd at all, and at 2 mins to midnight folks were arriving, but lovely and warm .. far more enjoyable than the nasty weather I saw that New York is headed for. :mrgreen:

Happy New Year to all members across the globe!

Glen and Margo 2019
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by gavin-h »

kelpiefarm wrote:It appears the locals did not mind you taking their pictures. I found it very difficult in Uganda and parts of Kenya to to take photos, especially of children.
When we're on holiday and want to take pictures of local stalls, people etc, I stand some distance in front of the "subject" and slightly off to one side, grinning as though I'm having my picture taken and generally being touristy. While I'm doing this, Mrs-H focuses the camera over my shoulder or to one side and takes the picture without me being in it at all.

Most people see what they want to see, and what they see is two dumb Brits taking dumb pictures of each other. :idea:
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by Global Administrator »

It is mostly in Peru and Bolivia etc where the culture is pay per pic.

We find if you interact with folks like the young soccer layers above, they are happy to be photographed.

We use little Panasonic Lumix point and shoot cameras that have 25mm wide angle lenses. :)

Point it one way and everything at 45 degrees is in pic anyway. :D
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by Global Administrator »

WE have been in remote desert camps in Etosha National park or Soussevlei for recent days and almost no internet access.

Here are a few more pix.

We arrived into Windhoek airport and rented a Toyota Rav4 and drove the 400 kms to SWAKOPMUND on the Skeleton coast to spend Xmas Day.
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Also flew Ethiopian Airlines for the 6 hours flight Addis Ababa to WINDHOEK in a brand new 787 Dreamliner

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Our host Oelaff on Xmas Day, organising the traditional African BRAAI - or Barbeque


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We walked to the end of Swakopmund Jetty for the finest oysters in Africa!

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I doubt anyone in Australia would call a business MOLE CAFE!

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SWAKOPMUND was of course an important city in German West Africa (who issued their own stamps as we all know) until the British took it over in WWI. As you can see this glamorous building was the PRISON built early 1900s in high German Colonial style.

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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by Global Administrator »

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Boxing Day at a busy beach in Swapkomund


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Walvis Bay was always a British Held area only 30 mins drive south along the Skeleton Coast from Swapkomund. TOTAL Namib Desert sand dunes right to the sea. Eerie!


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Walvis Bay has huge Flamingo flocks in the SEAWATER there. Had never seen them in ocean water. Lots of Pelicans there too.

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Boxing Day relaxing on the beach.

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Local bird (the Bird experts here, might know what it is?!) sitting atop a tall thorn tree by the side of the road here in Namibia.
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by briggia »

Fabulous ‘photos - Ethiopia looks fascinating...

Cheers

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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

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A few more pix from Swakopmund on the Skelton Coast - very nice museum there with tons of postal related material in there -
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These are Guinea Fowl - very numerous all over Namibia. These were part of a large flock in Downtown Swakopmund, but we saw them all over the country in the bush. Funny to watch - 2 or 2 chase each other madly for miles with no apparent reason!


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''They covered hundreds of kilometres on foot, in the murderous heat of summer and bitter cold of winter. They were able to carry up to 17 kg of mail. The mailbag was tied to a stick that they carried on one shoulder and a bag carrying their provisions was attached to the other end of the stick. They took around 12 days to get from Windhoek to Walvis Bay.

Apart from the exertion, postal runners also had to withstand many dangers. One of the runners who was the communication link between the mission stations of Bethanien, Warmbad and Kommagas, disappeared one day. Tracks were found shortly afterwards which led to the assumption that he had fallen prey to a lion. One of his successors met with the same fate. In this case, however, neither the postal runner’s mortal remains nor the mail was ever found.''


https://www.gondwana-collection.com/fr/news/article/2017/07/ ... unication/

After walking for a half hour in the wilting midday heat beating down onto the hot sands, I cannot comprehend how anyone could carry over 20 kilos bare feet for 12 days! I tried walking for 10 yards bare foot on the sand today and it near burnt off the soles of my feet. Top marks to these tough little guys! :mrgreen:


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They have cases of old currency in the Museum - lots of ''Emergency Money'' issued around WWI choas era.

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Currency here is allegedly the Namibian Dollar. There are about 10 of these to one ozzie dollar. Weirdly, the Namibian Dollar is pegged exactly the the South African Rand. And the currencies are accepted equally. HOWEVER at an ATM I got only $N notes. And outside here, are near uncashable I am advised, but Rand ARE accepted in Victoria Falls and Zambia etc, where we are next headed.

Consumer goods are incredibly cheap. Brand name Scotch Whiskey is $A13 a bottle retail from country bottle stores etc, all taxes included as shown here. Gordon's Gin is $A12 a bottle etc, and Russian Vodka etc.

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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by OldDuffer1 »

Love the "sand" sign- rather stating the obvious!

Watch out for those "whiskys"- blended yes, but blended with what??! :roll:
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by Global Administrator »

VAT69 Scotch and many others not shown were also $US10 a bottle retail. Ming boggling!

Some more Nanibia pix below -
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We asked a NamPost guy in Swapkomond to neatly cancel a few postcards for members who asked for them. He did it so hard, he near embossed the heavy card stock.

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Quarter acre blocks and 2 story houses are not the norm here. Lots of sad shanties.

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Before driving our Rav4, 400km back to Windhoek it sprung a slow tyre leak. These guys who hang around gas stations sort this stuff. They isolated the pin prick leak with soapy water and bubbles, and inserted this glob of plastic strip somehow into the hole, and job done.

They jacked it up, swapped over wheel and did all that, and I said "what do I owe you folks?". They bashfully said "whatever you think is fair Boss." I handed over a $N100 Bill ($A10) and they were over the moon!.

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Shot from the front windscreen of the desolate Namib desert that covers both side of road.

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The Skeleton Coast is well named. Endless shipwrecks - this one the most recent. Now covered in cormorant nests as you can see. The wild Atlantic surf pounds most of them into metal dust in a decade or so. :mrgreen:

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Always wanted to drive the Trans Kalahari Highway!
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by Brummie »

Great photos, thanks for sharing your holiday with us, I'm enjoying it.
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by Global Administrator »

The Namibia Safari moves on. :)

We drove 5 hours to the North, up to the huge Etosha National Park near the border with Angola.

As we had booked absolutely nothing for this trip until a week before we left, near everything was 105% fully booked with the Xmas/New Year stampede.

So we hired a driver and 4WD to take us up there with TENTS - at least we got to see it that way!

An hour out, we discovered the Air Conditioning was not working. Temp in the desert over 100 Degrees. So THREE hours later at some sun backed little town, bunches of guys peered into the engine bay and decided we needed a new "belt" - whatever that does. One finally secured, we were on our way. :mrgreen:

I've been to many National Parks in many different African countries but this one stood up very well re animals seen - a few random pix below. Shame we only have a little cigarette packet size point and shoot camera, but can't be bothered with those zoom lens bigger set-ups!
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Hours of peering later, and 4WD eventually gets fixed.

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Margo showing off her new tent, at Sunset in Etosha National Park, Namibia.


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Springbok - we saw literally 100s if not 1000s of these.


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Mother Ostrich and 3 chicks.


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Totally unknown ground bird to me.


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ORYX are large, and have metre long horns. We had Oryx steak on the camp BBQ that night. Male and female below.

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"Social Weaver Bird" massive nests. 100s of them in here.


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We got super lucky to find a Leopard relaxing at the side of a pretty busy road. Perfectly camouflaged with the fallen leaves, we near missed him. The consistent member of the "Big 5" most tourists never see - ANYWHERE!

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Giraffe eating the new growth at top of Acacia Thorn Trees. Giraffes have leather like tongues 2 FEET long, and the sharp spikes do not deter them.

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The original ZEBRA CROSSING! We saw 100s of these guys, often in large herds. Wildebeeste at right, also numerous.

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I think this guy was a Red Hartebeest.
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

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A few more pix from Etosha Park in Namibia. We only saw one Elephant there, (who as can be seen had a 5 foot long erection for reasons unknown!) but about 400 of them in 2 hours in Chobe National Park in Botswana a week or so later. Spotting animals is very hit or miss at times. :mrgreen:
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Wildebeest and Zebra (or whom there are millions!) Oryx at left, and Eland I think at right with the curly horns.

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A very cool looking ground squirrel of some kind.


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Something very few visitors ever get to see up close - a Cheetah, who are usually solitary and shy, and hunt at night.

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A couple of the lovable Meerkats, that burrow all over the place.


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The 4 hour drive back to Windhoek for New Year’s Eve saw these 2 security guards at a shopping ,with serious looking loaded rifles, and a Fidel Castro major street … named I guess, when the Communist leaning SWAPO party were getting support from Cuba of all places.

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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by Ubobo.R.O. »

I believe that the "totally unknown ground bird to me" pictured above is an immature of this species.
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by OldDuffer1 »

Super pics. - don't think cameras too bad!

The red bird looks to be a Crimson Breasted Shrike:

"The crimson-breasted shrike (Laniarius atrococcineus) or the crimson-breasted gonolek, ('gonolek' - supposedly imitative of its call), is a southern African bird. It has black upper parts with a white flash on the wing, and bright scarlet underparts."
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by Global Administrator »

Thanks for the ID on those unknown to me birds folks - that little red one was so hard to photo - the second you focused on him, he flew somewhere esle - a few seconds rest per flight. Anyway was such a striking colour on the green trees. 8)

I've spent New Year's Eve some country different overseas, for near 50 years now.

This year we got back on the long drive from the Etosha National Park to small town WINDHOEK, Namibia.

We booked the Hilton, such a wonderful change from sleeping on the ground in tents with no showers, with a high floor room overlooking all the midnight crowd, and the fireworks - amazing spot to see it from. (WE are in the room 2 floors down, with light on, in the building in background.) :mrgreen:

We took a walk down there at 10pm .... more cops and security than revellers then!

My little point and shoot camera does not cope with fireworks pix at all sadly, but a couple added below to give a rough idea.

Better fireworks display than I have have seen in many cities 10 or 20 times larger. Not a huge crowd at all, and at 2 mins to midnight folks were arriving, but lovely and warm .. far more enjoyable than the nasty weather I saw that New York and Sydney got! :mrgreen:

Happy New Year to all stampboards members across the globe!

Glen and Margo
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by gavin-h »

Global Administrator wrote:A few more pix from Etosha Park in Namibia. We only saw one Elephant there, (who as can be seen had a 5 foot long erection for reasons unknown!)

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Perhaps he was just pleased to see you. :lol:

I found something out today about elephants that absolutely stunned me:

The Asian elephant is more closely related to the extinct woolly mammoth than it is to the African elephant. :shock:

I read that in Guinness World Records 2019, so must be true.
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by KevinHedley »

Looks like everyone is enjoying the trip - I certainly am.

It seems that our message is finally getting through: holidays are all about birds :!:

:lol:

In order we have so far seen

Greater Flamingo
Great White Pelican
Pale Chanting Hawk
Helmeted Guineafowl
Cormorant - possibly Cape Cormorants
Ostrich
Southern Black Korhaan
Weaver bird nests
Crimson-breasted Shrike

and while the gender of the elephant was rather obvious to Glen he missed the mark with the Ostrich. Here is a male with two females.

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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by Ubobo.R.O. »

Hey Western Magpie :!: This puffin wants to know what the little bird behind the male Ostrich is :!: :)
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by KevinHedley »

Ubobo.R.O. wrote:Hey Western Magpie :!: This puffin wants to know what the little bird behind the male Ostrich is :!: :)
I thought you would know that - it is a Beheaded Whiffle-whaffer :P

However there is one I missed, because I am not sure about it. A Bustard of some type? a Thick-knee? an immature thingo? Despite quite some time researching I am still not sure. Lot looking like that but with different colours.

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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by Ubobo.R.O. »

Not an immature Southern Black Korhaan then as i posed above ?
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by OldDuffer1 »

Ubobo.R.O. wrote:Not an immature Southern Black Korhaan then as i posed above ?
A quick look at images on the net suggests is a female with the earlier picture of Glen's being a male?
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by MargoZ »

I reckon its a Spotted Thick-knee (Burhinus capensis) - over to you Kevin and Terry?

(Lots of birds for you Kevin because we didn't see many lighthouses in central Namibia 8) )

Anyway the next trek was relatively bird-free - some pics of our three days in the stark red desert at Sossusvlei which is in the largest conservation area in Africa, the Namib-Naukluft National Park.

Sossusvlei is a large, white, salt and clay pan and the dunes in this area are some of the highest in the world, reaching almost 400 metres.

Sossusvlei literally translates to “dead-end marsh”, as it is the place where the dunes come together preventing the Tsauchab River to flow any further, some 60km east of the Atlantic Ocean.

However, due to the dry conditions in the Namib Desert the River seldom flows this far and the pan remains bone-dry most years.

2 or 3 hours of teeth chattering corrugated dirt roads each way, it is not an area for the feint hearted. THEN to camp out for days with no power!
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Our 200 foot long shadows at sunset in camp.

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The famous and massive ''Dune 45'' we climbed at dawn as the sun rose on it. BLOODY high for old timer Senior Citizens like us, with the softest finest dryest sand you can even imagine, so you sunk down one foot deep, on every step going up!


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Sunset, on our Hilton-Like accommodation area for 3 days - see below.

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Our Michelin capped chef whipped us up a BRAAI in total darkness (we used a flashlight to photo this), of the rib side of the cow size Oryx (see large lethal huge horned animal below!) and white Maize meal, and boiled whole carrots with outer skin ons. Oryx is very popular meat here. Quite tasty.

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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by OldDuffer1 »

What happens if you touch the trees?!

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Spotted Thick Knee:
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Female Southern Black Korhaan:
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by MargoZ »

OldDuffer1 wrote:What happens if you touch the trees?!
First you had to find one 8) 8)

And I concede to you on the thick knees/bustard!
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by Global Administrator »

OldDuffer1 wrote:What happens if you touch the trees?!
This was the famed ''Dead Vlei'' at Sossusvlei in Namibia. All these trees in this one time "lake" are about 500 years old. Tourists touching them, can see the petrified branches fall off etc.
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They are all long dead and set in several feet thick of Calcrete - a concrete like substance shown here -
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by Global Administrator »

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The massive red sand ''DUNE 45'' at Sossosvlei, Namibia.


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Two unidentified birds in the desert at sunrise at Sossusvlei.

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Try climbing this monster red sand dune at sunrise!
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by norvic »

Further to Gavin's piece about Sylvia Pankhurst, the BBC did a programme a couple of years ago - can't remember whether it was TV or radio - but you can read their piece here https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-36322972
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by OldDuffer1 »

Global Administrator wrote: Two unidentified birds in the desert at sunrise at Sossusvlei.
I think one is the rare Glenbird (Margo beautifica) and the other is a Pied or South African Crow (Corvus albus)!
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by MargoZ »

Interesting article - thanks Ian.
OldDuffer1 wrote:
Global Administrator wrote: Two unidentified birds in the desert at sunrise at Sossusvlei.
I think one is the rare Glenbird (Margo beautifica) and the other is a Pied or South African Crow (Corvus albus)!
Too kind 8) but which is which?
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by Global Administrator »

Onwards on the Safari now, from the massive coastal dunes of Sossosvlei, via more hours of teeth rattling, bumpy corrugated dirt roads, via the bizarre Ghost town of Solitaire below, back to Windhoek in the centre of the country, and the Air Namibia flight out to Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe.
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I bought 500 of these genuine 100 Trillion Dollar banknotes at the time of the currency crash for under a dollar apiece, and gave 100s away to friends and barmen etc, for a few years and so on, as a laugh. They are now retailing $A150 apiece as supplies have dried RIGHT up!

https://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Zimbabwe-100-Trillion-Dollars-20 ... 2925356715

Poor old Zimbabwe is in quite a mess -– no currency of their own any more, and the ATM machines dotted all around tourist heavy Victoria Falls literally have not dispensed a single cent to anyone for 2 years. You get a “Communications Error” message every time! I paid for our cab from airport there in $ Namibian, and the cab back in South African Rand, and other cabs etc in Euros or Dollars or Sterling. Weird system.

If you do not have a wallet of CASH with you - big issues as a tourist. They extort $US50 CASH off arriving passengers. They allegedly accept credit cards for this impost - wrong. The guy ahead of us in line on arrival had tried 5 different credit cards, and none worked. A single female American tourist at our Hotel had to to borrow it off strangers.
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Victoria Falls Zimbabwe is not a big place. Herds of cattle blocked the road from the airport. :mrgreen:


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Even in the grand old historic Victoria Falls Hotel, families of wild Wart Hogs run through the grounds!


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I've been here to Victoria Falls a few times before, and the waters were now, not in the winter mega flow, which makes the Falls very much wider, but one of the great natural Wonders Of The World, all the same! "The Smoke That Thunders".

A few days later we journeyed across to Zambia, where the water all falls from, and sat right on the edge of the cascading water, in the centre of this view, in the rather fast moving Zambezi. Getting way too old for that fairly dangerous stuff! :lol: :lol:

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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by Elkra »

Jeezze Glen

With You/Margo's travels & Rods "Jimmy" home, I really should have taken this "hobby" far more serious. :roll:

Sadly, to match the 40 years experience of you two would be a pleasant surprise to me.

Since it would probably take me 80 years; I'd be in the Guiness Book of Records .... and more than likely be featured on many "wallpaper" stamp issues. :lol:

Stunning pictures though. Best Wishes for future trips.

Your Faroes adventure is still my favourite.

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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by Global Administrator »

Thanks John .. yes last year's Faroes holiday was special special - highly recommended for anyone looking for something totally different! Well worth a look, for anyone after an unusual holiday - :mrgreen:

https://www.stampboards.com/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=77446

Moving on from Zimbabwe to BOTSWANA and the wonderful Chobe National Park.

Been 25 years since I was there and still a wonderful place to see African animals. They have more Elephant than anywhere in Africa, and the LARGEST Elephants too for some reason.

We saw about 400 Elephants very close up in 2 hours, mostly in large family groups of 30 or 40. We saw just ONE Elephant in the huge Etosha National Park in Namibia.

To cross from Zimbabwe into Botswana is a time consuming hour, of getting passports stamped at both borders etc. Lots of trucks lined up on both sides, and those poor sods can take 24 hours to be cleared for entry.

There is a flat steel tray of Disease Control disinfectant of some kind, that they make you stand in, as shown on photo 1.

The Chobe River has Namibia on one side, Zambia to east and Botswana and Zimbabwe - all 4 countries co-join in that area.

Wildlife type trips are where I really wish I took along something other than the tiny little point and shoot camera, as some of the shots would be amazing, but they are too bulky to lug around in my view, with all the lenses and filters and cases etc. And I have never used a cellphone to take pix, so might need to learn! Anyway, some of the pix came out pretty well I think. :lol:

All these pix below were taken in just a few hours in Chobe.
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Step in the ''Foot and Mouth Disease Control'' pan at left first, before entering Botswana!

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Grazing hippos in background.


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Some kind of money up a tree. Baboons are everywhere, even on main roads, in large troops.


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We saw about 400 Elephants in 2 hours, mostly in large family groups.


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Some kind of large Goanna style lizard.


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So many Impala in Chobe. They seem to camouflage into the background somehow. :lol:

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Can't be Africa without Crocodiles. :mrgreen:


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Dung Beetle, madly digging his huge ball of dung under the sand, so the grubs can hatch and feed on the dung.


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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by GJ50 »

Global Administrator wrote:
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I see the new Victoria Falls airport is finally open - taken quite a number of years.

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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by Global Administrator »

GJ50 wrote:
I see the new Victoria Falls airport is finally open - taken quite a number of years.

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Gary .. yes it is very nicely done too, I might add. Especially for Zimbabwe!

Chinese money of course. The Chinese are EVERYWHERE in Africa. They were building the roads in Namibia and Ethiopia and Zambia we were told when there.

In Ethiopia the Chinese were also building a huge Football Stadium in Addis that we saw, and working on their new airport etc.

None of these places have a hope of ever paying for them, (near impossible to buy petrol or food in Zimbabwe, much less build airports!) meaning China likely takes ownership of airports and docks etc when loans fall due "just in case our Military might ever need to use them etc", coff. Just like they are doing now with PNG and Vanuatu and many Pacific nations.

Their "Long Game" and forward vision is amazing. :idea:

Most countries think election to Election, (or here, from PM to PM, i.e. planning is 6 months ahead at most) - the Chinese think and plan 30 years ahead. No pesky elections over there, or impeachments etc, to mess the plans up!

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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by OldDuffer1 »

Great pics.!

Continuing with the bird identification the large grey and black waterbird is an African darter also called the Snakebird (Anhinga rufa). This is not because it eats snakes but because the neck can look like a snake when it's swimming, apparently. A previous picture of a bird with wings outstretched is probably the same as, rather like cormorants, they are not "waterproof" and have to dry their wings (an easy job in Africa I guess!).

The white birds are, I think, Great Egrets (Ardea alba).
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by MargoZ »

Well - we definitely didn't come across this ...thank goodness!

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-01-15/toto-africa-play-on-l ... t/10717318

Toto's Africa set to play until the end of days thanks to an art installation in Namibia

Trek far enough into the sands of the Namib Desert and you might just begin to hear the distant but unmistakeable sounds of Toto's Africa drifting over the dunes.

While it could be a dehydration-induced hallucination, there's a chance it could be the sound of an art installation paying homage to the 1982 classic.

Namibian artist Max Siedentopf's latest project, Toto Forever, sets out to deliver what it promises, a never-ending stream of Africa echoing in the very continent it romanticised.

The work comprises of seven white plinths jutting out of the sand in remote desert.

On top of the tallest box sits an MP3 player, which holds just one song.

Six speakers surround the device, projecting the music outwards.

"The song is put on loop and the installation runs on solar batteries to keep Toto going for all eternity," Siedentopf said.

The artist set up the installation as a tribute to what he said was, "probably the most popular song of the last four decades".

It's not known exactly where the sound installation is located, with the artist only confirming it is somewhere within the coastal desert, which stretches across 2,000 kilometres.

"Most parts of the installation were chosen to be as durable as possible, but I'm sure the harsh environment of the desert will devour the installation eventually," he told the BBC.

Despite being released nearly 40 years ago, Toto's Africa is incredibly popular today, with a Google Trends analysis showing interest in the song peaked in September 2018.

The official video for the song has been viewed more than 440 million times on YouTube.

In an interview with Page Six in August, 2018, lead guitarist and singer Steve Lukather said he was honoured and "tickled" by the song's popularity.

"It's hilarious," he said.

"When someone looks back at 2018, we're going to be a part of that story.

"That's pretty cool."

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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by OldDuffer1 »

MargoZ wrote:Well - we definitely didn't come across this ...thank goodness!
Disappointing, MargoZ- my favourite track! :oops:
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Re: ETHIOPIA and Namibia – some of our Xmas/New Year travel

Post by MargoZ »

You are in the majority! :lol:
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