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Sunrise over the Serengeti Plains, Tanzania – Photo by Gig Gwin


A Life of Travel and Adventures
“Drawing on four decades of adventure and over three million miles of travel, I hope you will enjoy this anthology of my world explorations.”- Gig Gwin


Africa:

Algeria - Was stopped at no less than seven checkpoints between the airport and the city hotel in Algiers; this was an unstable country.

Angola - After clearing customs, was threatened by outlaws, but with quick thinking and the grace of God, made it to the Meridian Hotel, found the bar, sat down with shaky legs and ordered numerous beers.

Botswana - Deep in the Okavango Delta, sat by a campfire as hippos grazed on tender grass just a few feet from our chairs.

Burkina Faso - In this little-known sub-Saharan country, received a phone call that my father had passed away.

Burundi - Walked by the shores of Lake Tanganyika as seven-foot Watusi herdsmen tended their long-horned cattle.

Egypt - Over the years, arrived at the Giza Pyramids on foot, atop a camel and astride a spirited Arabian stallion; entered into two pyramids and climbed to the top of a third, a very dangerous adventure; at sunset, sailed down the Nile in a traditional felucca boat. In the Valley of the Kings, with desert heat at 110 degrees, watched tourists drop like flies outside their air-conditioned motor coach. In an eerie setting, I watched merchant ships from around the world queue up for the passage through the Suez Canal.

Ghana - Passed around a bottle of ceremonial liquor with the local chieftains who were dressed in the brilliant regalia of leopard skins.

Ivory Coast - Watched hard-working laundry men, waist deep in a river, wash clothes and sing tribal songs.

Kenya - On safari, awoke to the sun breaking over the white snows of Kilimanjaro, backed off from a 20-foot crocodile devouring an antelope, boarded an aging DC3 propeller aircraft to the Masi Mara and marveled at all the creatures great and small; ended the safari by eating domesticated zebra, camel, and gazelle at a unique restaurant in Nairobi.

Lesotho - With nothing to do, found the local, dilapidated, former British golf course and played a round with their national champion, then returned to the hotel in the back bed of a crowded pick-up truck.

Liberia - Drove by a large rubber plantation abandoned by the Firestone Company after years of bitter fighting, then entered Monrovia to find a modern African city in complete chaos, with blocks of buildings bombed out or riddled with bullet holes.

Mali - In Bamako, walked through a mile-long river market and realized that I was the only white person for miles, yet never felt threatened.

Mauritania - Was honored to share tea with the blue people of North Africa; this nomad tent sheltered children and grandchildren, veiled women and wandering goats.

Morocco - Ate a Ramadan dinner after sunset with my Moroccan colleagues in Fez at the Palace Jamai; drove from Marrakech deep into the Atlas Mountains for lunch in a Berber village.

Sao Tome and Principal - Watched a misguided airport guard who was removing goats from the runway, fire a shotgun point blank into the terminal, shattering glass and scattering passengers in all directions.

Senegal - Stood at the guard house gates on Goree Island where 20 million were enslaved and shipped to the New World.

Sierra Leone - Entering customs, found ourselves in the middle of a scuffle between our tour leader and an unsavory official; this is truly a dishonest and despicable country.

South Africa - Took in the view from the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town; went on safari with the family near Kruger National Park and saw the “Big Five” (elephant, rhino, cape buffalo, leopard and lion) all in one day.

Tanzania - With fellow explorer, flew over the Serengeti, watching the migration of a million animals; camped at the side of a river with snorting hippos and tree climbing lions, then drove the switchback trails into Ngorongoro Crater, famous for its lake full of pink flamingos; finally began a five-day climb from base camp to the summit of 19,400 foot Mount Kilimanjaro, a one-of-a-kind experience.

Togo - Never will forget the Lome fetish market filled with dead animal parts used for local worship.

Venda - In this tribal homeland, heard true stories of modern-day human sacrifices.

Zanzibar - During a visit to this Arab-African island, dined early at the only prime hotel as a huge crowd assembled to meet the Sultan of Oman, then joined what turned out to be a formal state dinner.

Zimbabwe - At Victoria Falls, watched son Todd bungee jump into the gorge of the Zambezi River, then took a group to the edge of the falls for a complete mist soaking; in a hunting reserve, dropped my Nikon camera when I was charged by a cantankerous white rhino.