#traveltuesday - Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe, May 2011
Hi guys, I wanted to share two of my favorite photos from my past trip to Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe. I was fortunate enough to visit this beautiful park while I was on a group trip with Heifer International. This was my first safari and one of my favorite travel experiences. We saw lots of wildlife but my favorite was driving into the trees in our open air jeep and just sitting in silence while a pack of 30-40 elephants, all different ages and sizes surrounded us. It was amazing to see elephants in the wild, outside of zoos and touristy elephant riding parks. The one animal I am still on the hunt to see? Zebras! We didn’t see any but I will definitely be going back to look for them!
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So after I had been too nervous to go mountain biking in Luang Prabang, Laos (for fear of flipping forward down a mountain), I accidentally got myself on a mountain biking tour in Bali while I was in Ubud. I was anticipating a leisurely bike ride, but it turned out to be an amazing tour and if you are in Bali take a tour with Greenbike Cycling.
The end of January is the low tourist season so I ended up on a private bike tour. We drove to the middle of the island, stopping along the way to see Mount Batur (a still active volcano) and to learn about the local crops grown on the island, including how they make Lewak coffee, the rarest coffee in the world. Google it. It’s not what you think. After breakfast overlooking the volcano, we started a downhill bike ride through some villages and rice fields. We were able to see the fields being plowed with their “Japanese” cows (the motorized plows from Japan that have replaced the traditional cow) and see them planting their new rice crops by hand, one plant at a time, knee deep in mud (pictured). Although it was rainy season the weather held out and we had some amazing weather. Rice growing used to be the main source of income for many but now because of the increase in tourism in Bali it is just a side job for most people.
One of my favorites stops was to see a shop where they were setting molds for the pieces that made up the beautiful stonework you see all around the island (pictured).
After the long day (I only fell off my bike once) we ended with a late lunch overlooking the famous tiered rice paddies (pictured). This was the most beautiful view on my entire trip to SE Asia. All the food, art, shopping and spa in town were great but was a nice break to get out of the touristy Ubud and see the beautiful countryside of Bali.