Five Islands of Africa - Part 4
First published: Saturday September 3rd, 2022
We start this section by strangely heading inland to an island that is many miles from the coast. In fact it isn't surrounded by water either. All will be revealed as you read on.
I really thought I would have finished Africa by now, but the more I research, the more I find. Asia is going to be a nightmare I feel. But I digress, I reckon on having five parts to the African adventure.
I must admit that I am finding it easier to write these blogs whilst I am mixing it up with blogs about random things. Roadsigns and Roundabouts, certainly parts of normal everyday life for me. I'm not going to ask for suggestions for future blogs, so please don't suggest anything. I will write about whatever springs into my mind. Sometimes inspiration comes at the strangest times.
Anyway, let's get back to the islands. As I said, the first one is an island but isn't, if you know what I mean. Glad someone does, I'm just winging it and typing as I think.
Here we go.......
Kubu Island (Botswana)
Especially researched for QuizzerBros who flippantly(I think, my apologies if you were serious) declared they couldn't wait for Botswana's islands. Here is one.
Kubu Island is situated in the Makgadikgadi Pan salt flats, an area that dried up tens of thousands of years ago. It is all that remains of the Makgadikgadi Lake that was the size of Switzerland. It is thought that Homo Sapiens first evolved in this area 200,000 years ago.
The entire island, made of dry granite, is considered a National Monument and a sacred place by the local indigenous people.
During the "Botswana Special" episode of Top Gear, host Jeremy Clarkson described the island as "The most astonishing place I've ever been"
The name Kubu means "large rock" in the Kalanga Language and "hippopotamus" in Tswana. Many of the islands rocks are white in colour due to the fossilised guano of the many birds that used to nest here when it was a true island.
Kubu island is accessible by 4 wheel drive vehicles and has basic camping facilities, mainly for use by the local people.
This travelogue describes a trip to the island.
Seal Island (South Africa)
I was tempted to cover Robben Island here, you now, the one where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned, however I thought it was just too well known and therefore not really in keeping with the remit I gave myself when I started these blogs.
Instead we have Seal Island. Now, there are a couple of Seal Islands in South Africa apparantly, this one is in False Bay, near Cape Town.
The island is so named due to the large number of Cape Fur Seals that are present on the island.
In the early part of the 20th century, the island was the location for guano collection and sealing operations. Some derelict huts and inscriptions are still visible on parts of the island
During World War II a crew of engineers was stationed on the island whilst they were constructing a radar mast. The mast remained in place until 1970 when the constant corrosion took it's toll, leaving just a hunk of twisted metal behind.
The island was also featured in a Discovery Channel series called "Air Jaws" that concentrated on the so called "Ring of Death" of Great White sharks that circle the island in search of seals for food.
Boat trips to the waters around Seal Island can be taken from several points around False Bay, most notably Simon's Town and Hout Bay. There are also trips that allow an even closer look at the sharks from within a secure cage lowered into the sea.
This Youtube video features a flight over the island of a FPV drone. (Not sure what the sound is on this video, my speakers are playing up at the moment, sorry if it contains inappropriate content)
Inhaca Island (Mozambique)
Inhaca is a subtropical island in the south of Mozambique. The main settlement on the island also has the name Inhaca. The northern shores are home to several tourist resorts.
Despite Mozambique being under Portuguese control until 1975, the island of Inhaca was under British occupation in the 19th century. It was used as a base to control the slave traffic in the area until 1875.
The island and it's surrounding waters are supposed to be a protected area, but in reality there is little control or policing in the area.
Whales are known to migrate past the island but whale-watching isn't popular due to the rough seas. other species include dugong, dolphins, turtles, pufferfish, parrotfish, manta rays and around 300 species of birdlife.
The island has it's own airstrip, although most people arrive via ferry from Katembe pier in Maputo and takes around two hours.
This South African travel site has a decent write-up and photos of Inhaca.
Nosy Boraha (Madagascar)
Despite it's name the residents of Nosy Bohara are no more inquisitive than anywhere else. The name is simply translated into English as Borah Island. Although this island was formerly known as Sainte-Marie.
The island was a base for many pirates in the 17th and 18th centuries due to it's location on the main shipping routes from Asia to Europe. There are many secluded bays and quiet waters ideal for pirating and as protection from storms. Some of the most famous pirates at one time resided on the island including Captain William Kidd. Many are supposedly buried in a graveyard on the island although identification of the remains has never been verified.
Some believe that the pirate utopian community of Libertalia was situated here, although many scholars now think it's entire existence was fictional.
There is an international airport in the south of the island and ferries ply their trade between the island and Soanierana Ivongo, Mahombo, and Toamasina settlements on the main island.
The island has it's own website run by the Tourist Office.
Moheli is the smallest of the main islands of Comoros, an island nation in the northern end of the Mozambiique Channel in the Indian Ocean.
The island has been presided over by various people and nations including being a French protectorate. It was part of a sultanate along with the neighbouring island of Anjouan until French rule in 1886.
In 1975 the island joined the Union of Comoros, but due to unrest and turmoil seceded from Comoros in 1997, rejoining in 1998. In 2002 the islands governers ratified a treaty giving them more autonomy from federal rule.
Several marine and land areas have been designated as protected due to the abundance of wildlife, both land and sea based.
Moheli is accessible by air from the capital of Comoros, Moroni. Boats will also take you there from the other islands in the group, although regular ferries are rare.
This travel blog has an excellent write up and photos of a visit to Moheli.
I may also write another stand alone blog about something normal or, may I even say, boring. I am enjoying writing something completely different (to paraphrase Monty Python). It has given me a bit of a boost with my blogs. I think I may alternate between islands blogs and other blogs, what do you think ? Let me know.
So for now, thanks for reading and commenting (If you have. If you haven't, then why not!..kidding..just do what you think best).