So I'm officially done with vacation, but I'm still processing the trip, which was truly epic. I've had game drives, booze cruises, elephants out the wazoo, Victoria Falls, bunji jumping, sweet whitewater rafting on the Zambezi, dancing all night, dolphins, and much more. Rest assured that there are some incredible pictures and maybe even movies coming up in the future, viz. when I get everything sorted out and organized.
Right now though, I'd just like to share a quick thought on Botswana, where I spent much of my trip. I think I now begin to understand what people mean when they say they've fallen in love with Africa. Bots is very similar to my corner of South Africa—same people, same language, same type of terrain—yet it is altogether a more wholesome and reasonable place. As far as I can tell, though the country faces some steep problems (mostly an atrocious HIV epidemic), the people are friendlier and happier, the institutions more sound and effective, and the outlook very much more positive. The best part from my perspective was that Botswana lacks the miasma of petulant whingeing that permeates the public culture in South Africa.
It's a vision (through a glass darkly) of what might have been had Apartheid been avoided, and it's very positive. Definitely worth a visit.