2011 Travels
New Countries and Old Favorites

COVID slowed us down for a couple of years, and now a few health issues challenge us.  We're still traveling if not writing about it quite so much. Our goal in 2022 was get to all seven continents in one year... and we did it.

Going forward health issues may not allow us to travel.  No one can take away those memories though.  We hope all of you are well and staying safe... and that you find some inspiration here for YOUR future travels. 

Our 2011 travels took us to many new places.

As we close in on that magic number of 100 counties visited, we try to get to one or two new counties a year.  We did pretty well this year adding six new countries to out list!

But we didn't go to see them just because they were new countries...

...well, maybe that was a little bit of it...

...but we had good reasons for visiting each one...

Panama to see the canal and birds.... especially those quetzals.

Romania and Bulgaria because we have a friend from Bulgaria who told us how great it was to travel there...

South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique and Lesotho because there were all those new little countries to see inside and near South Africa... and well... because Africa calls.

Our 2011 travels took us to some great domestic destinations. We visited Arizona in March... Phoenix for Spring Training Baseball, Casa Grande for an air show, and Tucson for an air museum. We love domestic trips, and you can't beat the desert in winter.

There were also some great wine tasting weekends up and down California; wine making weekends too. And there was a visit to a travel buddy in Texas.

...Any travel is good travel...

...But since I was saying that we're working on new counties, it's the international 2011 travels that we're going to tell you about in more detail.

So here are our international 2011 travels...

APRIL: Panama

I keep saying we drove the Panama Canal.

Gamboa Rainforest Lodge
Birding Pipeline Road Panama

You can't really drive along the whole canal, but we did stay at a resort in Gamboa which was right on the canal, and we spent a couple of days driving back and forth to do some birdwatching on "Pipeline Road". See more on that at Panama Canal Drive.

Resplendent Quetzal in Panama

Then we drove nearly to the Costa Rican border...

...and stayed in a great lodge on the Volcan Baru to look for Resplendent Quetzals...

and found 'em.

First time we've ridden a tractor for 30 minutes to get to our room!

We felt it was very safe to drive in and prices were reasonable.

Check it out at Quetzales in Panama.

MAY: Romania and Bulgaria

We landed in Bucharest and explored the capital for a couple of days then rented a car and did a circle starting in the mountain resort town of Sinaia.

Had to visit Bran to check out the Dracula legend... there is the castle there, but Dracula rarely stayed there.

Sinaia, Romania mountain resort
Bran Castle, Romania - Home of Dracula

Spent a night in Sighisoara though, that's where Vlad the Impaler was born.

Then it was up to the Moldavia area (not the country of Moldova... I still can't keep the names straight, but I know where we were!)

...OK, OK... we went there to see the painted churches... painted on the outside as well as the inside... amazing.... and graphic. With all the nasty things that were depicted happening to sinners, I think we'll be good!

Painted Church at Voronet Romania
Danube Delta Romania inspires a waltz

Spent a night in the Danube Delta... and when we found a houseboat that was playing music, who could resist dancing... a Danube Waltz?

Then it was on to the Black Sea.

We crossed into Bulgaria and stayed in a cute old walled island town in the Black Sea called Nesebur. Then it was inland to see some Thracian tombs...

Island town of Nesebur Bulgaria
Dome of a Thracian Tomb, Bulgaria

...and a rambling old castle in Tsarevets.

Back to Bucharest to see an air museum and catch a flight home.There has been lots of development in the 20 years since the communist rulers were done away with. There is so much to see that we wished we had more time.

We were surprised with how easy it was to travel in both countries. The older folks spoke Russian as their second language, but we had no problems finding people to help us in English.

SEPTEMBER: South Africa...
and Swaziland, Mozambique and Lesotho

This was as much a cultural adventure as it was a safari. We joined a small tour for the first week. (For tours we usually make them custom tours but this one was a small enough group that it was OK… and great since we joined it at the last minute to really round out our 2011 travels.)

Our host, Adrian, was a great guide, and he did facilitate all the border crossings which was what I was worried about.

We landed in Durban and spent a couple of days recuperating. (5 hours to New York; 15.5 hours New York to Johannesburg; 1 hour to Durban... plus a few hours of connection times!)


The first night of the tour was in Swaziland.... at Hlane Royal National Park where we saw 12 White Rhinos all at one time around the water hole. Giraffe, Kudu, Impala, and Warthogs too. And we heard lions all night long... how cool is that!

White Rhino Royal Hlane National Park Swaziland
Guest Rondavels in Royal Hlane National Park Swaziland

Kruger National Park, South Africa

The next day we drove on into Kruger National Park. Kruger is an adventure with all the animals you want to see. And it can be an affordable safari adventure! The fact that we camped there for three days proved that.

What's there? We saw the Big 5... Lions, Leopards, Elephants, Cape Buffalo and Rhinos.... both black and white. Also saw a good representation of all other critters... zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, impala, and little hoofed critters. Took day drives and night drives and saw good stuff on all.

Lion in South Africa
Leopard on night drive Kruger NP South Africa


Downtown Maputo Mozambique

Then it was on to Mozambique.

Just getting across the border was an adventure there!

Spent a couple of nights in the capital of Maputo... which is still recovering from years and years of civil war... and definitely has a "funky vibe" as our tour leader and new friend Adrian describes it.

Loved the central market and all the old and new buildings jumbled together.

South Africa and Lesotho
Drakensberg Mountains and the Sani Pass

Back into South Africa and one last night at a private game reserve, then Mark and I rented a car and drove to Underberg in the Drakensberg Mountains.

Found a great little hotel, the Hatchery, where we stayed for 4 days! Unheard of for us, but the food and wine were great, the hosts were so nice, and the setting was terrific.

Sani Pass Road Lesotho
Bushman Rock Art Underberg South Africa"

Our goal there was to join a day drive up the Sani Pass to the country of Lesotho. That was a 4x4 driving adventure on a steep, mountain road up the backside of the Drakensbergs.

Our guide, Steve, was a character that gave new meaning to adventurous spirit... but he got us there safely. Had lunch and a beer at the "Highest Pub in Africa". 10,000 feet high! It was cold, but we had beautiful clear weather.

The next day we took an all day hike to find some Bushman rock art...

Check out how many passport stamps we got... just at the end of our 2011 travels... Collecting Passport Stamps.

Finishing Up Our 2011 Travels

We went into grape picking and wine making mode as soon as we got home at the end of September, and holidays at home with friends and family...

And maybe time to get more pages up about these 2011 travels.

And time to plan next year's adventures... we have some exciting ideas for that already... maybe the Trans Siberian Railroad? Feel free to comment on these 2011 Travels below... and send travel suggestions! Like us on Facebook too if you want to keep up with us.

Happy travels... even if you don't travel the world... just remember that life is a journey... embrace and enjoy it! Judy and Mark

Curious about what else we've written about?  Search our site for a destination or travel tip.

But... We'd love to have you share this page or comment on it…
Thanks, Judy and Mark

Go from 2011 Travels to MouseToursTravels Home Page

New! Comments

Have your say about what you just read! Did it help with your travel planning and preparation? Eager to leave on that next vacation? Please leave your tips or comments in the box below.

Timely Tips

Summer Vacation
Travel is fun in the Northern summer... but don't neglect the Southern Hemisphere at this time of year.
Yes, it's winter in South Africa, but that's their dry season. It's a good time to travel there.

Lions stop traffic in Kruger NP South Africa

Sometimes you need to watch rain patterns instead of just seasons to figure the best time to travel...

Whether you're taking a road trip close to home or traveling abroad...

Whether it's summer or winter in your part of the world...
the way you pack can make it all more pleasurable.

Check out all our Packing Lists and Tips.

Need travel ideas?
Things to See in Europe
Africa Calls!
Travel In America

Don't just dream about it...
Start making plans!

Custom Tour Planning List
International Travel Planning Tips
Foreign Is Fun - Not Scary!
Get Your Passports and Visas

And Expect Good Things
There Are Tourist Angels


Search MouseToursTravels
Travel questions or destination info?
Find our answers faster..


We want you to feel comfortable out in the world and on our pages - so surf away in your own language...

Updated Tips & New Travel Stories

  1. 2022 Travels To All Seven Continents

    After COVID, all seven continents in one year was a worthy goal for our 2022 travels..

    Read More

  2. 2021 Travels - Another COVID Year?

    Our 2021 travels were only domestic. COVID kept us close home. Road trips and a cautious flights but still fun.

    Read More

  3. 2020 Travels - What Travels?

    Our 2020 travels were slim. COVID kept us home too. One trip to the Three Guyanas, but dreaming of travel next year.

    Read More

Two Ways To Like Us!

Like Our Site Top Left
Like Our Fanpage Below
Thank You!

Navigate Our Site

Related Pages
Trip Planning

Guide Books
Why Travel With A Guidebook

How to Choose A Travel Guidebook

Travel Agents
A Travel Agent - Do You Need One?

Choosing Destinations
Best Time To Go

What Kind Of Trip Do You Want
More Than Throwing Darts

Some of Our Ideas
Stories About Europe
Why Not Africa?
North America
International Travel Tips

What Kind of Vacation?
Group Tour

Independent Travel
Driving Vacations
Adventure Travel
Active Travel - OK, How Active?
Multigenerational Vacations

Eco-Travel and Volunteering
Green Travel Tips
Sustainable Tourism
Volunteer Vacations - Are They For You?

Plan For Safety
Travel Advisories - Plan A Safe Trip

Don't Let Travel Worries Get To You
Keep Traveling

Planning Itineraries
A Custom Tour?
Custom Tour Planning List
Custom Tour Ideas
Top Ten Lists - Helpful, But…
Balance Your Itinerary - Mix It Up
Avoid Museum Sensory Overload
Hobbies for Trip Ideas
Where To Get Trip Ideas

Get Passports and Visas

Travel Documents
Vaccinations and Meds 
Travel Preparation

Checklists So You Don't Forget
Travel Document Checklist

Travel Preparation Checklist
Home Departure Checklist
Pre-Departure Checklist

What Our Readers Say

"I tried Pepto-Bismol on a recent trip, and it really worked.  Now I want to read all of your travel tips."
--Joe, New York

"Thanks again for the wonderful information, especially as regards motion sickness."
-- Didi, Oregon

"I keep coming back to your web site.  I love that I can travel all over the world with you!  I recommended your site to a friend of mine who has been to many of the same places you have."
--Boyce, California

Ready For A New Adventure?

We escape by traveling…
But there are more ways to escape. 
Work on something you LOVE…
With A Website
SBI Teaches You Everything

First Day Of The Rest Of Your Life