Lions, Leopards & Cheetahs, oh my! From Canada to the Middle East to Africa…plus a half marathon!

I have been home for 7 days and avoiding this post. How does one describe, through a screen and some pictures, an experience that was like no other. An experience that I can barely digest in my head let alone through a keyboard. But here it goes…this post wll cover the first 5 days of my 10 day trip.

On December 26th I boarded a plane bound for Namibia, Africa.

But first, we had a connecting flight in Doha, Qatar  – a tiny country tucked in close to Saudi Arabia and the UAE and across from Iran…Dorothy was headed FAR AWAY from home!

This flight had a layover in Doha long enough (9 hours) to give us time to have a quick tour of this fascinating middle eastern city!

But first, can I tell you about how fancy and amazing Qatar airlines is?!

In total, I spent 43 hours flying with them…and had a middle seat for most of it…and have never felt like I had more room in my life on a plane and OMG, the food was amazing…and just the service in general…well, except when it came to my luggage, but I’ll get to that!

The plane had cameras anchored to the outside of the plane that you could access during the flight – this was the view we had while approaching Doha!

Once in Doha (and through its confusing customs and security processes), we toured around the city and saw the very modern looking cityscape with its colourfully illuminated skyscrapers…

…and then its well known Souq Wakif (Standing Market)…total mixture of modern and old.

For layovers as long as ours, Qatar airline provides you with a hotel room – included in the cost of your ticket! This was a lifesaver.

After an 12 hour flight and before a 9 hour flight, being able to shower and change clothes is PRICELESS.

Before boarding our flight to Namibia, one of the girls I was with bought a gossip magazine, Ok!, and while flipping through it, she noticed something very odd…

All those girls are wearing bikinis…but apparently, in a Muslim country, they can’t/won’t sell magazines with such revealing pics, so EVERY magazine had had a black sharpie marker taken to it!!!!!

9 hours later I glimpsed my first view of Africa…

I was so friggin’ excited!!!! Until, I found out that my luggage had not made the flight with me. It was still stuck in Boston. And the next flight in wasn’t until Friday. And this was Wednesday. Sigh. But what can you do? Not too much. I bought a cheap sundress and wore it for the next 3 days. It made mornings much easier – no decisions needed! lol

Our first 5 days were spent at the Okonjima Nature Reserve – 20 000 hectares (200 square km) of protected land.

And THESE were my accommodations – I still can barely believe it!

The “hut” on the left is where my roommate for the trip and I slept. The “hut” on the right is where we lounged.

img_1267 img_1273 img_1271 img_1275 And can I tell you about the view from our beds?

Every morning, when I opened my eyes, this is what I saw…

Then, during the day, while we had our daily afternoon naps, this is often the type of scene I would witness…

Yes, that would be Pumba (or, if you insist, a warthog), just having a drink outside my bedroom.

And then at night, we would leave the outside lights on a watch the jackals prowl around!

And let me just show you a glimpse of how I ate like a QUEEN…this type of presentation was EVERY MEAL.

See what I mean about how I can barely process all this myself??? And I haven’t even got to the animals yet!!!!

With our fabulous guides, Previous (yes, that’s his name) and Daniel…

We saw…(and I took all of these myself with my trusty iPhone 7 lol)

Leopards

Lionsimg_1562

Cheetahs

Giraffes

Zebras

Baboons

And tons of other creatures like this GIANT milipede!!To say it was total insanity is an understatement. To see these creatures, living in the wild, hunting for their food, trying to survive…UN.REAL.

And, as planned, I did an unofficial half marathon…because I kind of want to complete the distance of a half or full marathon on every continent…so now I have North America, Europe and Africa crossed off! I don’t know if I’ll ever actually do it, but I figured I should cross it off while I was in Africa, JUST IN CASE!!

I had some friends to start the run with me – including one of the staff from Okonjima! We started at 6am – light outside, but not stupid hot yet.

It was a trail run like no other (sand most of the way with very uneven footing and hills)…but the views along the way…a picture just doesn’t do it justice.

And, along the way, I saw antelope, warthogs, jackals and a giraffe!!!! HOW FRIGGIN’ COOL IS THAT?????

Now, the REASON I went to Namibia was for a wedding – in which I was a bridesmaid. I have been to many weddings before and have been a bridesmaid many times…but this wedding was THE MOST AMAZING WEDDING EVER. There is no way that I can convey to you how or why…just trust me. Here are some pics…as I was a bridesmaid, I had to rely on others for some pics.

Yes, the bride surprised everyone and arrived in a HELICOPTER.

There were over 100 guests – from EVERY corner of the world. It was amazing.

This is me (with my head cut off) walking down the aisle.

That’s me, the girl at the end.

Such an absolutely amazing couple!!!!

The wedding party!

The bridesmaids!

Best. Wedding favors. EVER.

And I just want to finish my post on my time in Okonjima, with some of the incredible views and sunsets I was fortunate enough to experience…

In case you didn’t guess already, I really didn’t want to come home!!! My next post will cover the 5 day safari we then experienced…spoiler alert, it was incredible!! lol

Happy Monday!

18 thoughts on “Lions, Leopards & Cheetahs, oh my! From Canada to the Middle East to Africa…plus a half marathon!

  1. Paul S

    This. Is. Amazing.

    I would have jumped on that helicopter at first sight of the giant millipede. Gah!!!
    But how fantastic was that trip?! I have been to Kenya, but more in the city. Sleeping in a traditional hotel, but we did get out to the countryside. What a different world.

    Thanks for sharing this – it’s so cool. Very happy for you!!

    Paul

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    Reply
  2. Pingback: Africa, my final installment: tusked giants, seals take over and my life defying sand boarding adventure! | 50statecanuck

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