A Travellerspoint blog

Last Days.

A Visit to Pretoria.

sunny

On our last full day we went on a trip to one of South Africa's capital cities - Pretoria. Pretoria is not far from Johannesburg and as the cities are growing bigger and bigger, they may eventually join together.

At first we had planned to go to Pretoria on our own using the gautrain, but when I realized that the Voortrekkers' Monument was far from the centre and our time would be limited I decided it made more sense to go on a tour.

We were picked up from our hotel in the afternoon. Our driver's name was Walter. He was very informative about South Africa's history and told us a lot about it on the way.

The first sight we visited was the Voortrekkers' Monument. The Voortrekkers' Monument commemorates the monumental trek made by the Afrikaners between 1835 and 1854 to escape British domination in the Cape Colony. The Afrikaners travelled in a large circle of wagons pulled by oxen. The Voortrekkers' Monument was designed by architect Gerard Moerdijk and dates from 1949.

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The Voortrekkers' Monument.

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Wagons are arranged in a circle round the monument to show how they travelled.

The main entrance of the building leads into the domed Hall of Heroes. This is where the world's longest marble frieze is displayed. It shows various scenes from the trek such as the Afrikaners falling ill with malaria. It also shows their meeting with the Zulu chief, Dingane. The Voortrekkers tried to negotiate with Dingane for land, but after agreeing to give them some, he suddenly ordered his soldiers to kill them. This led to the Voortrekkers, under the leadership of Andries Pretorius, fighting against the Zulus at the Battle of Blood River. Around three thousand Zulus were killed in this battle.

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The Voortrekkers' Monument.

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The Voortrekkers' Monument.

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The Voortrekkers' Monument.

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The Voortrekkers' Monument.

The main focus of the Monument is the cenotaph in the centre of the Cenotaph Hall, It can also be viewed from the Hall of Heroes and from the dome of the building. The Cenotaph Hall also contains amazingly detailed wall tapestries, depicting the Voortrekkers' journey. Plus it has a painting of the trek and relics such as cannons, wagons and the biggest bibles I have ever seen.

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Cenotaph.

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Cenotaph.

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Tapestry.

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Tapestry.

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Tapestry.

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Painting.

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Painting.

At the top of the monument it is possible to go outside to look at the view. Far away in the distance is the Union Building. I had to take it using a very strong zoom and it is not very clear.

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View from the top of the monument.

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Hazy view from the top of the monument.

At the main outside entrance of the monument there is a sculpture by Anton van Wouw called a Woman and her two Children. On each corner of the Monument there is a Statue of a Voortrekker leader: Piet Retief, Andries Pretorius, Hendrik Potgieter and an "unknown" leader.

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statues at the monument.

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Woman and her two Children.

Next we visited Paul Kruger's House which is now a museum. This is more centrally located. Paul Kruger was a Boer leader and the President of the South African Republic. His Pretoria residence was built in 1884 by architect Tom Claridge. The cement for the building was mixed with milk rather than water as it was such poor quality. The house was lavishly furnished with Kruger's furniture and belongings. The very bed he died in was shipped back here from Switzerland where he died in exile. The house has a lovely garden and at the back of it you can see the train Kruger used to travel around in. There are some out buildings here, too filled with Kruger's carriages and gifts he was given by various world leaders. There are two stone lions in front of the house. These were presented to President Kruger in 1896 by mining magnate Barney Barnato.

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Paul Kruger's House.

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Paul Kruger's House.

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Paul Kruger's House.

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Paul Kruger's House.

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Paul Kruger's House.

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Paul Kruger's House.

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Paul Kruger's House.

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Opposite Paul Kruger's House.

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Paul Kruger's House.

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In the garden.

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In the garden.

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Carriage.

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Train.

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Gifts from overseas.

Next we headed to Church Square in the centre of Pretoria. This square was originally used as a market place. It was named after the church buildings that stood in its centre. There were three of these at different time periods, but they have all been demolished. Now in the centre of the square stands a statue of Paul Kruger. There are several important buildings around the square such as: the Palace of Justice, and the Ou Raadsaal or Old Council Chamber. The Palace of justice was where the Rivonia Trial took place. During this trial, Nelson Mandela and other ANC members were charged with treason. They were found guilty and given life sentences.

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The Palace of Justice.

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Paul Kruger statue.

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Church Square.

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Paul Kruger statue.

After that we went to the Union buildings. The Union Buildings are the official seat of the South African Government. They were designed by Sir Herbert Baker. Apparently the clock chimes here are identical to those of Big Ben in London. The two wings of the building represent two languages: English and Afrikaans. There are gardens stretching down the hill from the Union Building. These contain a huge statue of Nelson Mandela. There is also a statue of a man standing by his horse. There are great views from here over the gardens and over Pretoria. In the distance you can see the Voortrekkers' Memorial.

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The Union Buildings.

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The Union Buildings.

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Nelson Mandela Statue.

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Horse and rider statue.

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Views from the Union Building.

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Views from the Union Building.

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Views from the Union Building.

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Views from the Union Building.

When we left here our guide drove us past many embassies then we headed back to Foxwood House for a magnificent dinner and a good night's rest. Then in the morning we took an ez shuttle to the airport and boarded a plane back to Hong Kong and that was the end of our third visit to Africa.

Posted by irenevt 05:18 Archived in South Africa Tagged pretoria Comments (2)

Villas and Ghosts.

Return to Joburg.

storm

On the Monday we ate breakfast, had a swim, finished packing and headed to the airport. Gloria took us there in her car. We were sad to leave. We had really loved Zambia. We would return to Johannesburg for two nights then leave Africa for Hong Kong.

For every airport transfer in Johannesburg we had used e.z. shuttle, but this time we couldn’t. Our phones could not pick up a signal in Livingstone so we could not get a one time password to use our credit cards. Instead we had contacted the hotel we were going to and got the extremely helpful receptionist, Pauline, to organize a transfer for us. It cost us a bit more, but we were picked up by a very pleasant Malawian man, Collins, who in addition to taking us to our new accommodation also took us around some nearby sights. He stopped outside the house that Nelson Mandela moved to after he was released from prison and became president. We were able to get out and take photos of it. He also showed us a lovely white mosque right next door to a Jewish building. The mosque is called West Street Mosque and the Jewish building is West Street Schul. The buildings are symbolic of harmony in a city that was once totally divided along racial lines.

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The house Nelson Mandela lived in as president. He also died here.

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Tributes to Mandela.

Our new accommodation was very special. It was called Foxwood House and it was located in the very wealthy suburb of Houghton. Foxwood House was built in 1924. It was once the home of Bert and Pearl Oates. At that time the house was called Burra-Burra. Bert made a lot of money in the car manufacturing industry. Bert and Pearl lived in Burra-Burra with their son, John and their two daughters. When he was still very young, John became a fighter pilot during World War II. He was killed in the fighting. His family, especially his mother, were devastated by his death. Apparently even nowadays his sisters and former fiance return to foxwood House to place flowers there on John's death day anniversary. When Bert died, he wanted the house sold and for his wife who was getting on in years to live somewhere smaller and more manageable. Pearl who was always extremely strong-willed bought the house herself and refused to live anywhere else. Being old the house is supposed to be haunted. We loved it. We did not find it creepy at all. It is filled with antiques, just like a museum, but unlike a museum you can sit on things and touch things and nothing is roped off.

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Foxwood House.

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Foxwood House.

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Foxwood House.

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Foxwood House.

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Foxwood House.

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Foxwood House.

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Foxwood House.

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Foxwood House

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Foxwood House.

As well as the main house the villa has beautiful gardens filled with statues, a swimming pool, ponds, trees and flowers.

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The Gardens.

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The Gardens.

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The Gardens.

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The Gardens.

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The Gardens.

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The Gardens.

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The Gardens.

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The Gardens.

Foxwood House even has a small theatre. Apparently it puts on some very good shows. Outside the theatre there is a Walk of Fame. Apparently famous people have stayed here such as Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson and Prince Harry.

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Foxwood House Theatre.

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Walk of Fame.

There are several places to stay in the grounds of the villa. We were in the stables block – stables 2. Apparently it is one of their smallest suites, but we were perfectly happy with it. It was very comfortable. For our second night Pauline the receptionist offered us a free upgrade to a bigger room, but we did not take it.

On our first night, we went for a swim which caused much amusement as it was raining and the water was pretty cold. We had to come out when it started thunder and lightning.

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Swimming pool.

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Swimming pool.

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Swimming pool.

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Swimming pool.

We decided to have dinner in the villa dining room. When we asked about booking dinner we were told Dominic, the Zimbabwean chef, would come to our room and take our order. We had, of course, no idea how much anything would cost. We both ordered steak and later at dinner time had a bottle of wine and some beers with it. The food was lovely and we ate it in our own little private room with a lovely fireplace and old photos and paintings all around. We were dreading the part where we would be presented with the bill. To our astonishment the whole meal plus drinks cost around thirty-three pounds. In Hong Kong we would have been lucky to get the bottle of wine for that in a fancy restaurant.

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Dinner.

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Dinner.

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Dinner.

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Dinner.

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Dinner.

Next day we had a lovely breakfast sitting at the same table which we had adopted as ours. We then went for a walk to the nearby shopping centre, Killarney Mall. On the walk there we past the a golf course. On the far side was the mosque we had seen the day before. All the buildings in this area were very into security. They were covered in high walls, electric fences, barbed wire. We returned and had another cold swim then went off on a pre-booked afternoon tour to Pretoria, which I will write about in my next blog. In the evening we ate in Foxwood House again. We had chicken, sweet potaoes and vegetables plus a bottle of white wine from Stellenbosch.

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The mosque.

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The mosque.

Posted by irenevt 04:44 Archived in South Africa Comments (5)

Spots and Stripes

Safari on the Mosi-oa- Tunya National Park.

sunny

Our last full day in Zambia was a Sunday. Again it was going to be a very full day. We had booked a combo package. This included going on a game drive in the early morning on the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, then going on a cruise down the Zambesi River in the afternoon.

Our pick up for the game drive arrived at 7a.m. We were taken to the waterfront area then boarded our safari jeep. We were the only two people on the tour which surprised us but turned out to be really good for us. Our guide asked us which animals we had not seen yet, but wanted to see. I told him I really, really wanted to see zebras and giraffes, but had not even caught a glimpse of them. He said he would see what he could do.

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Our safari Vehicle.

We drove onto the park. We passed another beautiful boab tree. We also saw a common duiker deer which we had not seen before, but it was fast moving and my photo of it is too blurry to post. Then we passed the bones of an elephant that had been killed by poachers.

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Elephant bones.

We also saw more warthogs and impala. The guide told us warthogs have very short memories. He said he once saw two feeding when a lion pounced on one and killed it. The other ran away, but after a very short distance the second warthog forgot it was being chased and stopped to eat. The lion killed the second warthog, too. I was thinking: “We will never find zebras or giraffes. We will just keep seeing the animals we have seen before.”

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Warthog.

Suddenly our driver stopped. “Look over there, what do you see?” he asked. “Nothing,” I had to admit.” Look closer, among the trees.” I could still see nothing. We drove closer. Suddenly I saw them a huge herd of beautiful stripy zebra. They were gorgeous. At first they ran away from our vehicle, but when we stopped they began to relax and come back to us. They were so wonderful I could have watched them for hours.

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Beautiful zebras.

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Beautiful zebras.

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Beautiful zebras.

Reluctantly we eventually let the driver move on. After a short distance he stopped again. “Do you see that?” he said. I was embarrassed to have to say no once again. Then suddenly I realized he was pointing out a giraffe which was deep in the trees, but its long neck was visible and we could watch it munching happily on the leaves. We also saw a baby giraffe nearby. We had to use a zoom to photograph them.

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Gorgeous Giraffes.

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Gorgeous Giraffes.

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Gorgeous Giraffes.

A little later we were on the move again. We drove through a ruined village. Our guide explained that the guards and other staff who worked on the park used to live there with their families then one day one of their children got killed by an elephant and for safety the families were all moved off the park grounds.

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Ruined Village.

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Ruined Village.

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Ruined Village.

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Ruined Village.

Next to our delight we came across another herd of zebras. This time we were able to get even closer to them. Next to them there was a herd of wildebeest an animal we had never seen before. Our guide explained that animals liked to be in mixed up groups as some of them had good eyesight, some good hearing, some a good sense of smell and between them they were better able to detect predators. Again we could have sat there for hours and hours.

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Zebra.

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Zebra

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Wildebeest.

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Wildebeest.

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Zebra.

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Wildebeest.

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Wildebeest.

Sadly we had to move on. We next visited the cemetery of Old Drift. The first white settlers to this area made a settlement near the Zambesi River and called it Old Drift. These settlers were mainly missionaries. Gradually the settlers began to develop fevers and several of them died. They thought the fever was caused by a particular type of tree and called these trees fever trees. They did not know they were dying of malaria or that it was caused by mosquitoes. Eventually they abandoned this settlement due to the deaths and founded a newer settlement further away from the river. That settlement developed into the town of Livingstone. I love history so was very interested in the graves.

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Old Drift Cemetery.

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Old Drift Cemetery.

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Old Drift Cemetery.

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Old Drift Cemetery.

Next we sat by the river and had a picnic of coffee, water and muffins. We were told to be careful of baboons who might come and steal the lot. It was very peaceful by the river as long as you temporarily forgot it was filled with hippos and crocodiles.

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Picnic.

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By the river.

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By the river.

The last part of our trip took us to a different section of the park to see the park’s much treasured white rhinos. These are an endangered species. Armed guards are employed to follow them around twenty-four hours a day to protect them from poachers who of course want to steal their horns for Chinese medicine.

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This cheeky vervet monkey took over the guard's office as soon as she left to escort us to the rhinos.

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Rhinos.

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Rhinos.

We were able to walk to within ten to twenty feet of the rhinos. We had to walk in single file like this: armed guard at the front, our guide, Peter, me, armed guard at the rear. This was in case poachers attacked while we were there. The rhinos were amazing. We took lots of photos then one of the armed guards offered to photograph us with them. Unfortunately for us those rhinos walked right out of the shot. We found it funny when we saw the pictures later.

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Going.....

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Going......

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Gone.

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Hey come back You're supposed to be in our photo.

After what was an absolutely fantastic morning, we got our guide to drop us off in town so we could stock up on provisions in the Spar then walked home to pack and go swimming.

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Afternoon swim.

In the late afternoon we were collected for our cruise. Our first cruise had been very peaceful and sedate. This one was nicknamed the booze cruise and attracted a younger, rowdier lot. At first we thought: “Oh no this is going to be awful." Then we got talking to the other people on the cruise and found they were actually really nice. We ended up chatting, singing and pretending to be the cast of the movie Titanic. It was all good fun. We even got to see a yawning hippo. We were delighted, but apparently it is not a good sign. The yawn is warning you to back off before it capsizes your boat. This time we did see the sun start to set over the Zambesi River.

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On the cruise.

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Yawning hippo.

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The cast of the Titanic.

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Sunset.

Posted by irenevt 22:12 Archived in Zambia Comments (6)

On Noah's Ark.

Day Trip to Chobe National Park, Botswana.

sunny

On the Saturday we got up early, had a quick breakfast then waited for our pick-up to take us to Chobe National Park in Botswana. We were the first to be picked up so we were taken round other guest houses and then out on a bumpy dirt track to a lion rescue centre to pick up other tourists. I think it took about an hour to get to the Kazungula ferry border crossing. This is where you cross from Zambia into Botswana. The actual ferry ride is very very short - just a few minutes. Apparently Botswana and Zambia have the shortest border in the world. It is just a 750 metre stretch of the Zambezi river. This area is also where four countries meet – Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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The Kazungula ferry border crossing.

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The Kazungula ferry border crossing.

On route we had a lot of paperwork to do. We had to sign disclaimers saying we would not sue if we were injured on the trip, forms to allow us into Botswana and forms to let us visit Chobe.

Once we had cleared immigration on both sides of the border, we were put into a safari jeep and driven to Chobe Safari Lodge where we quickly visited the toilets before boarding a small boat for a cruise on the Chobe River. The river divides Botswana and Namibia. There are some islands in the middle of the river. After a long dispute about who they belonged to, they were finally given to Botswana - a large Botswanan flag is placed on one of them.

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Our safari jeep.

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At Chobe Safari Lodge.

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At Chobe Safari Lodge.

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Going to the boats.

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Botswanan Flag.

Our guide and boat driver was very informative. He took us to the banks of the river and showed us two forms of water lilies: ones that open by day and ones that open by night. He also showed us a Jesus bird. The bird is called this because he walks on lily pads and from a distance it looks like he is walking on water.

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A Jesus bird walking on water.

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Day Lilies.

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Jesus bird.

As well as the lilies, there were giant papyrus plants. Our guide picked one and cut it open to show us how to make paper from it. One of the female tourists on the boat suddenly noticed a huge hippo basking in the shallows.

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Hippo basking in the shallows.

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Papyrus Reeds.

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Papyrus Reeds.

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River view with big African sky.

We visited a tree that had fallen into the river with several of its branches still above the water level. It had become a resting place for a wide variety of different birds.

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Tree covered with birds.

We cruised around trying to spot any wild life on the banks of the river or in the water. Soon we saw a herd of water buck. These are a form of brown antelope with a white horseshoe shape on their bottoms. The guide told us a funny story about them. He said that when God instructed Noah to take two of each animal onto his ark, Noah told the animals neither to eat nor drink anything before boarding. The water buck was a bad listener and did not hear this instruction. He ate and drank lots before boarding, so as soon as he got on the ark he had to go to the toilet. As the ark was brand new the toilet seat had just been painted and when the water buck sat on it, he got a big white toilet seat mark on his rear.

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Water buck.

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Water buck.

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Water buck.

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Water buck.

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Water buck.

We sailed on a bit further. I liked that our guide was very patient and ensured everyone had enough time to take pictures. Suddenly we saw two elephants on the shore. The guide said they were part of a bachelor herd. That means they were male elephants who had lived with a herd when they were calves, but as they got bigger they posed a threat to the male elephant in charge, so they were driven out of the herd. The two we saw were play fighting. This is how they sharpen up their skills, ready to challenge the leader of their former herd and take his place.

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Playful elephants.

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Playful elephants.

Next we saw a crocodile. I always find these very disturbing as they are so still and well camoflaged and sneaky. They give me the creeps.

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Sneaky crocodile.

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Sneaky crocodile.

After that we saw a herd of impala grazing near the water's edge. Close by them there was a group of warthogs.

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Impala.

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Warthogs.

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Impala.

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Impala.

Then we sailed back to the safari lodge for a buffet lunch. It took us a while to moor as there were so many boats. Hubby sampled the local Saint Louis beer. The buffet lunch was actually very good. We had pork chops and beef stew. There was also roast beef. For dessert we had banana and pecan ice-cream.

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River Traffic.

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River Traffic.

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Big African sky again.

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Our lunch.

After lunch we got into a safari vehicle and went on a game drive. Chobe Park is very big . I think our guide said we would concentrate on just one of its four sections. At the start of the drive we had a lovely view over the river.

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River View.

We began wending our way downhill. Suddenly near the river we saw an elephant, then two elephants, then three, four. Soon there was a massive herd and more and more kept arriving. As well as the elephants there were also water buffalo cooling down in muddy pools; some had egrets resting on them.

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Water buffalo.

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Water Buffalo.

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One elephant.

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Two elephants.

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A whole herd of elephants.

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A whole herd of elephants.

Naturally we saw baboons. They seemed to be everywhere. We also saw a large group of buffalo. Then there were several hippos totally out of the water, more warthogs, mongeese and lots and lots of impala.

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Babboon.

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Buffalo.

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Hippo.

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Warthogs.

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Warthogs.

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Warthogs.

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Impala.

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Impala.

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Mongoose.

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Mongoose.

We stopped for a short break and then it was time to leave the park and return to the border. On our return drive the elephant herd we had seen earlier were making their way uphill. We paused to look at them and suddenly we were surrounded by them. They were in front of us and behind us. If they had felt like it they could have gone on top of us. Our driver told everyone to keep still and calm. The elephants parted into two groups and went round us, but my goodness it was scary.

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Elephants all around.

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Elephants all around.

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Elephants all around.

On the way back to the border I took some photos of the areas we passed through, including a large boab tree. At the border I took some pictures of African women carrying heavy loads. I was impressed by how colourful and exotic they looked.

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Boab tree.

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Colourful locals.

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Colourful locals.

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Passing a village.

Posted by irenevt 05:01 Archived in Botswana Comments (12)

Chasing Rainbows.

Over the bridge and into Zimbabwe.

sunny

Next day we ate breakfast, had a swim, then took transport - Enock again - to the border. We then walked across the famous Victoria Falls Bridge into Zimbabwe.

As we were crossing the bridge, we were approached by people selling old Zimbabwe money from the time when hyperinflation went crazy. After some discussion and bartering, we bought some including a fifty billion Zimbabwean dollar note. At one time Zimbabweans were poverty stricken at the same time as being billionaires and even trillionaires. That is how worthless their money became. Transaction concluded, we walked on. Now someone was following us trying to sell us hippos. We even got him to take our photo on the bridge. After a lot of negotiation, we bought the hippos. Transaction concluded, we walked on. A man approached us carrying wooden elephants. After negotiations, we bought one. Our luggage was getting heavier, our wallets emptier. We did not want anything else, but then there was another man. We would not even look at what he was selling and he got angry and accused us of only liking Zambians, not Zimbabweans. We kept going; then there was another man and another man and another man. It was endless. Once we were over the bridge itself we noticed the trees were filled with Ververt monkeys. We were glad to reach the far side of the bridge where we hoped we would finally get some peace. We gave our passports to an immigration official. He returned them and waved us through. We were surprised no-one stamped our passports, but then what did we know.

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View from a bridge.

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Vervet monkeys.

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On the bridge.

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The two of us on the bridge.

Walking in to Victoria Falls Town we passed the Zimbabwean Falls National Park and a group of African singers and dancers. We kept going. As we neared the town more craft sellers appeared. I liked the look of the wooden carvings of the big five they were selling, but did not want to buy them at that point. The more persistent they got, the more determined not to buy I got. Eventually I said to one of them: "All I want is to get into my hotel and cool down." He asked me the name of my hotel. I told him it was the N1. He said I had walked past it and pointed it out. He then tried to insist I had to buy something since he had been helpful. I thanked him for his help, but pointed out that I most certainly did not have to buy anything from him. He followed us to the hotel. We ignored him and checked in.

Our room was very pleasant and mercifully cool, but we had no adapter so I went down to reception to get one. Then we wanted to use our safe. I went back down to reception and explained that the last guest had locked the safe and we could not access it. He said it worked digitally but if it had been locked I'd need the master key. He gave me that saying it was the only copy and that if I locked stuff in the safe then lost the key there was no way I was ever getting it back out. I went back to my room and discovered he had given me the master key to the safe next door. I returned to reception ....this went on for some time. I soon felt I had known the receptionist my whole life. Eventually we were ready to go out. We walked back towards the falls. Our entourage of sales people came with us. We tried to ignore them.

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Our room.

It cost us 30 U.S. dollars each to go to the falls. The first thing we found was a David Livingstone statue. Again there were baboons everywhere. Then we walked to the first view point. It was amazing as there was a massive rainbow arching over it. At one point the sun went behind a cloud, the rainbow disappeared and the whole scene transformed. It was still breathtakingly beautiful, but different.

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David Livingstone.

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Rainbow Falls.

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Same scene no rainbow.

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Rainbow Falls.

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More baboons.

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Rainbow Falls.

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Us at the falls.

On the Zimbabwean side of the falls you follow a trail with several numbered viewpoints. When we reached the main part of the falls there was lots of spray and it was hard to see the falls, though every now and then the spray cleared and you got a fleeting glance. We were quite happy about this as it gave us another perspective. We had an idea what it would be like to visit at full water capacity.

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Nearing the main falls.

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The falls through the spray.

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Through the spray.

As well as taking pictures of the falls, we took some of the trails to get some jungle shots. At one point we startled a deer. It was different from the impala we saw later. I am guessing that it was a bushbuck though I am no expert on deer.

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Jungle shot.

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Bushbuck.

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Bushbuck.

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Big African Skies.

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Jungle shot.

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Jungle shot.

At one of the viewpoints we asked some people to take our photo and we got chatting to them. Later we saw them again; they were posing right on the edge of a sheer drop into the falls. Just watching them made me feel quite ill.

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More shots of the falls.

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More shots of the falls.

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Dangerous posing.

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What a view.

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Us at the falls.

When we had visited all the viewpoints we made our way back towards the exit via a jungle path. There was a restaurant and some art work near the exit.

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Art Work.

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A well deserved rest.

We took a quick look at the dancers before heading home. All the craft sellers were waiting for us. At one point Peter who walks slow nowadays was surrounded by them. I was starting to feel quite angry about this. I roughly shooed them all away and we made it home where we had a relaxing swim.

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Dancers.

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At the pool.

That evening we ate in a restaurant called the Three Monkeys. Food sizes were ridiculously huge. We had the cheesiest four cheeses pizza I have ever had. It had so much cheese on it it was almost inedible. Still they did a great craft beer. Peter had the blonde; I was on the amber ale.

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In the three monkeys.

I had a very restless night. Probably all that cheese. In the morning we went swimming. We had to check out by ten. When we left the hotel the man who had given us directions the day before was waiting for us saying we still had not paid him for being helpful. At this point it could be said I kind of lost the plot. I gave him a piece of my mind about constantly harassing us and from that point on I was rude, aggressive and nasty to every salesman who dared approach me. There is only so much people will put up with.

We had a quick stroll through the town then set off to visit the famous Victoria Falls Hotel. On the walk to the hotel we passed warthogs and lots of baboons.

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Around town.

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Around town.

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Around town.

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Warthog.

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Baboon mum and baby.

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Warthog.

Going inside the Victoria Falls Hotel was like achieving sanctuary. No-one bothered us there. We were left in blissful peace. The Victoria Falls Hotel was built by the British in 1904. It was originally meant to provide accommodation for workers on the Cape to Cairo railway. At first it was operated by the railways administration. However, in the early 1970's it was leased to the Southern Sun hotel group and became a luxury hotel.

As well as having beautiful historical rooms, the Victoria Falls Hotel has expansive green lawns, beautiful views of the Victoria Falls Bridge and the spray from the falls, a lovely swimming pool, ponds, flowers and a sculpture garden. There was another warthog on the hotel grounds. This one did not have any tusks.

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In the hotel.

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In the hotel.

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View of the bridge.

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In front of the hotel.

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Warthog on the hotel grounds.

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Sculpture Garden.

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On the grounds of the hotel.

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On the grounds of the hotel.

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On the grounds of the hotel.

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Hotel Pool.

We had lunch at this hotel: soup and salad, coffee and beer. We really enjoyed just chilling out here.

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Our lunch.

Sadly it was soon time to walk to the bridge and back to Zambia. On the walk we passed some animals which I think were mongeese. We watched the dancers for a while before heading to immigration.

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Mongeese.

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Dancers.

The immigration officer demanded to know where our entry stamp was. We told him we did not get one. He was not pleased. "At least you will have filled in the forms," he said. "What forms?" we asked. He was even angrier. Eventually we filled the forms we should have filled the day before and were stamped both in and out at the same time.

The bridge was as filled with salesmen as the day before, but we made it. Back in Zambia we had booked a cruise down the Zambesi River on the African Queen. Our transfer from the border stopped to pick people up at the Livingstone Hotel so we got to have a quick look at it after all.

The cruise was not very busy and the other people on it were very friendly. We had a chat, a lovely dinner, lots to drink and we saw hippos, crocodiles and impalas. It was called a sunset cruise but there was not a particularly great sunset. However, one of the women on the trip, Sue, whats-apped us all a picture she had taken of the sunset on the previous day. It was stunning.

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Our Boat.

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Drinks on board.

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Dinner on board.

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A welcoming musician.

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Other boats on the river.

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A hippo.

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A crocodile.

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This is not my photo. It was given to me by a lady called Sue. It's beautiful.

Posted by irenevt 20:08 Archived in Zimbabwe Comments (6)

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