Children’s Book Zoe the Zebra Now on Sale!


I’m proud to announce that my children’s picture book, Zoe the Zebra, is now available to purchase as an e-book for just $0.99!

Book three of the World Adventurers for Kids Series, Zoe the Zebra is an illustrated picture book that teaches children about bullying. A young zebra named Zoe who lives in the African bush joins forces with her friends Emma the Impala, Barry the Baboon, and other animals to protect their friend Wally the Warthog from a pack of bullying hyenas. Can they help him and stop the bullying?

Inspired by my safari adventures in Africa, the story features Zoe, Emma the Impala, Barry the Baboon and a host of animals, including giraffes, hippos, and lions. Fun for kids and adults alike, the story will take children to the African savanna and teach them how to handle school bullies.

Zoe Cover (small)Zoe the Zebra features 22 full-color illustrations. It is now available to purchase as an e-book for only $0.99 (99 cents or equivalent in other currencies) from these booksellers:

Amazon.com for Kindle ($0.99)

Amazon UK for Kindle (£0,77)

Amazon Canada for Kindle ($1.02)

Amazon Germany for Kindle (€0,89)

Amazon France for Kindle (€0,89)

Amazon Italy for Kindle (€0,89)

Amazon Spain for Kindle (€0,89)

Amazon Brazil for Kindle (R$2.09)

Amazon Japan for Kindle (¥100)

Apple iTunes for iPad ($0.99) (available in Australia and other countries)

Barnes & Noble for Nook ($0.99)

Barnes & Noble UK for Nook (£0,66)

Kobo Books for Kobo Reader ($0.99) (available in Australia and other countries)

Smashwords for multiple e-readers ($0.99)

Visit Zoe the Zebra’s web page for a full list of booksellers. Coming soon to Google Play, Sony ReaderStore and other booksellers.

You may also want to buy the first two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series, Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant.

Alexander the Salamander

Alexander Cover (small)The first book in the World Adventurers for Kids Series, Alexander the Salamander is about a salamander named Alexander living in the Amazon who joins his friends Airey the Butterfly and Terry the Tarantula on an unforgettable jungle adventure.

Set in the Amazon region of Brazil, the story teaches children the importance of listening to teachers and other authority figures. Co-authored by M.G. Edwards and his son Alex, the story was inspired by their 2008 visit to the Amazon.

Ellie the Elephant

Ellie the Elephant Cover (small)The second book in the World Adventurers for Kids Series, Ellie the Elephant is an illustrated picture book that encourages children to follow their dreams. A young elephant named Ellie living in Thailand dreams of joining the elephant polo team and playing in the Elephant Cup polo tournament, but her parents want her to work in the rice fields. Will she realize her dream of playing polo?

Inspired by the author’s adventures in Thailand and real elephant polo matches, the story features Ellie the Elephant and her family, Monk the Monkey, and human boys Wasan and Wattana. Fun for kids and adults alike, the story will introduce them to the amazing game of elephant polo and inspire children to dream big.

Pick up your copy of Zoe the Zebra or any of the World Adventurers for Kids books today!

Zoe (eyes cartoon small 2)

M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, and a short story collection called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories. He also wrote and illustrated Alexander the Salamander and Ellie the Elephant, two books in the World Adventurers for Kids Series. His books are available in e-book and print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. Edwards graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in China Studies and a Master of Business Administration. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2013 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

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Iguazu Falls vs. Victoria Falls (with Photos)


This updates an article I posted in 2010, with photos showing different views of mighty Iguazu Falls and Victoria Falls. Click here to read the original article.

I’ve had the rare opportunity to visit two of the world’s great waterfalls, Iguazu (Iguaçu) Falls on the Argentina-Brazil border in South America and Victoria Falls (Mosi-Oa-Tunya) on the Zambia-Zimbabwe border in Africa. Each was just a few hours’ drive from my former homes in Asunción, Paraguay and Lusaka, Zambia, respectively, and I visited them often. As measured by water volume, both are the two largest and arguably most spectacular waterfalls in the world.

It’s easy to conclude when you visit one that it’s more impressive than the other. Some claim that Iguazu Falls is better while others prefer Victoria Falls. Iguazu Falls is one of the New Seven Wonders of Nature and is the wider of the two with cascades that look like bridal veils. Victoria Falls, a World Heritage Site, is higher with a massive curtain of water during the rainy season that disappears in the dry season. Iguazu has the “Devil’s Throat,” a narrow falls where the water crashes into a torrential pool, and Victoria the “Devil’s Pool,” a whirlpool at the edge of the falls where visitors can swim during the dry season. One is in Africa and the other in South America, lending geographical biases in favor of one or the other.

What do you think? Here are photos of each waterfall at different times of the year. Decide for yourself. After browsing through the photos, vote for your favorite waterfall at the bottom of this post.

Iguazu Falls / Iguaçu Falls – Argentina-Brazil

2008_01_19 Brazil Iguazu (1)

2008_01_19 Brazil Iguazu (3)

2008_01_19 Brazil Iguazu (4)

2008_01_19 Brazil Iguazu (5)

2008_01_19 Brazil Iguazu (6)

2008_01_19 Brazil Iguazu (7)

2008_01_19 Brazil Iguazu (8)

2008_01_19 Brazil Iguazu (9)

2008_01_19 Brazil Iguazu (10)

2008_01_19 Brazil Iguazu (12)

2008_01_19 Brazil Iguazu (11)

2008_01_19 Brazil Iguazu (13)

2008_01_19 Brazil Iguazu (14)

2008_01_19 Brazil Iguazu

Victoria Falls / Mosi-Oa-Tunya – Zambia-Zimbabwe

2010_11_05 Zambia Victoria Falls (1)

2010_11_05 Zambia Victoria Falls (4)

2010_11_05 Zambia Victoria Falls (6)

2010_11_05 Zambia Victoria Falls (11)

Vote for your favorite now and post your comments below!

This poll is unscientific and has a margin of error of +/- 100%.

Which waterfall do I think is more impressive? Click here to find out.

2010_11_05 Zambia Victoria Falls

buythumbM.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thriller and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He is author of Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, a non-fiction account of his attempt to summit Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain, a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories and Alexander the Salamander, a children’s story set in the Amazon. His books are available to purchase as an e-book and in print from Amazon.com and other booksellers. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex.

For more books or stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com or his blog, World Adventurers. Contact him at me@mgedwards.com, on Facebook, on Google+, or @m_g_edwards on Twitter.

© 2012 Brilliance Press. All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted without the written consent of the author.

Lake Kariba, Zambia with Photos


My wife and I went on a short weekend getaway to Lake Kariba in February 2011. What an amazing not-so-hidden gem. Few people have heard of this body of water that happens to be the world’s largest artificial lake and reservoir. Straddling the Zambian-Zimbabwean border, it was created in 1958 during the construction of the Kariba Dam when it was near completion, and engineers sealed the dam and flooded what had once been a large valley in the Zambezi River Basin.

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Lake Kariba is overshadowed in Zambia and Zimbabwe by nearby Victoria Falls, arguably the world’s largest waterfalls, as well as by game parks and private reserves scattered throughout the region. I think that Lake Kariba holds its own as a tourist destination, and I recommend a visit to anyone planning a trip to see the falls.

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Hippopotamuses, crocodiles, baboons, freshwater fish, and several bird species call the lake home, although they make fewer appearances than one would expect for such a large body of water. The wildlife that attracts gawking tourists is concentrated further east in the game parks of the lower Zambezi River Basin. Nevertheless, the lake does not lack for vegetation and scenic beauty.

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Whenever the lake comes up as a potential travel destination, locals tend to respond “don’t swim in the water!” because it is a breeding ground for bilharzia, or schistosomiasis, a snail-borne parasitic disease, and crocodiles. Avoiding the water notwithstanding, Lake Kariba is well worth a visit, especially if you want to enjoy a quick getaway to a place with scenic views and a relatively safe natural environment. While the area offers few children’s activities, families can still enjoy what it has to offer. Don’t forget to pack some books or games for the kids to alleviate boredom. The weather varies during the rainy season, so it’s important to check the weather conditions before visiting the lake.

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We stayed at the aging Lake Kariba Inns, one of the nicer resorts in the town of Siavonga, Zambia that passed as a three-star hotel. At just over US$100 per night during the off-season in 2011, the price was reasonable compared to some overpriced Zambian safari lodges that charged upwards of $400 per night. The room was clean and comfortable, although like many rural lodges, it was still infested with its fair share of unwanted critters. The ants carried off any food in sight, so we had to keep it sealed. The villas with lakefront verandas had gorgeous views of the lake. I deluded myself into thinking that I was on the Mediterranean when I lounged on the veranda, an illusion that lasted as long as it took for the fishermen plying on crayfish and fish to pass by in their large trawlers.

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The resort’s amenities included a large gym and a poolside bar with a pool table and Ping-Pong table. The waterfront restaurant served decent food with a decidedly Indian flavor; the curry and yogurt dishes were tasty. We were disappointed that the inn had run out of crayfish, a local specialty. Lake Kariba Inns’ Achilles’ heel was its average customer service. Some staff members were helpful; some were not. Whenever the buffet was served in the restaurant, it was virtually impossible to order room service.

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Lake Kariba Inns sits atop one of the promontories overlooking Siavonga with its own harbor with boats ready to take guests on an affordable, two-hour lake cruise to the top of the Kariba Dam and lake islands. The lake cruise was well worth the money. It left in the late afternoon not long before sundown. My wife and I basked in the glow of an African sunset from Sampa Karuma Island, a deserted island on the Zimbabwean side of the lake (no visa needed). Although the weather was calm for most of the cruise, the waves kicked up after sunset, and we held on as the boat rocked its way back to shore.

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Many lodges are located in and around Siavonga. Lake Safari Lodge, Eagle’s Rest, and Sandy Beach are other popular lodging options. Although we did not visit any of them, we were under impression that they were comparable to Lake Kariba Inns. For those who want to experience the lake up close and personal, Protea Hotels launched in 2011 the Southern Belle Hotel, a former steamboat converted into a floating resort. The Southern Belle operated in Lake Kariba for years before Protea refurbished it.

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To view or tour Kariba Dam from Siavonga, drive to the Zambia-Zimbabwe border about eight kilometers (five miles) from town, park at the border post, and ask Zambian Immigration for a gate pass. You can walk from there down to the Zambezi River for good views below the dam; the gate pass will permit you to reenter Zambia. You can also see it from the Zimbabwean side. The dam’s spillway opens fully in early February, allowing water that built up from the rainy season to pass down the Zambezi River. While not as spectacular as Victoria Falls, the dam is still worth a look-see. Constructed between 1955 and 1959 by the Italians, it was being expanded by the Chinese when we visited.

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The town of Siavonga on the shores of Lake Kariba is a mixture of homes, hotels and resorts, and a central district with local businesses. Some wealthier Zambians own second (or third) homes on the lake. The hilly terrain around the town is ideal for walks and hikes. Lake Kariba Inns has a beach walkway that follows the lake and a game walk with great views of the lake. The streets of Siavonga are fun to explore on foot. We were told that the area is relatively safe for tourists; however, it’s important to be aware of your surroundings if you choose to tour the town. Leave valuables at the hotel.

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If you want to enjoy the outdoors in Southern Africa but are not in the mood to go on safari, or you are looking for an extra stop on your visit to Zambia or Zimbabwe, see what Lake Kariba has to offer.

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Map picture

 

This is an updated version of a blog entry originally posted in February 2011.

M.G. Edwards is a writer of books and stories in the mystery, thrill and science fiction-fantasy genres. He also writes travel adventures. He recently published a collection of short stories called Real Dreams: Thirty Years of Short Stories available as an ebook and in print on Amazon.com. His upcoming travel novel, Kilimanjaro: One Man’s Quest to Go Over the Hill, will be available in March 2012. He lives in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife Jing and son Alex. For books and stories by M.G. Edwards, visit his web site at www.mgedwards.com.

Victoria Falls and Iguaçu Falls


Click here to read a follow-on article about Victoria Falls and Iguaçu Falls with photos.

I’ve had the rare opportunity over the past year to visit two of the world’s largest waterfalls.  I visited Iguaçu Falls on the Argentine-Brazilian border in February 2009 prior to leaving South America, where I had lived for two years.  I just returned from a short weekend trip to Victoria Falls on the Zambian-Zimbabwean border, which is a six-hour trip from Lusaka, Zambia by car.  As measured by water volume, these two waterfalls are two of the largest and arguably most spectacular waterfalls in the world.

It’s easy to make comparisons between the two.  In truth, both waterfalls are equally impressive.  They’re different, so it’s difficult to say whether one is “better” than the other.  Iguaçu Falls is larger by volume and longer.  It comprises numerous waterfalls that give it a layered effect, and it stretches over a longer distance than Victoria Falls.  The Parana River above Iguaçu Falls collects at the top of the falls and cascades down over what must be a stretch of five miles or longer.  At the same time, Iguaçu features a boardwalk on the Brazil side that puts you near the heart of the waterfall, the “Devil’s Throat” (La Garganta del Diablo).

Victoria Falls appears visually larger than its Latino counterpart.  The sheer “in your face” effect it offers you while the Zambezi River spills over is incredible.  The pathway on the Zambian side puts you very close to a massive wall of water that drops at least a couple hundred feet in front of you.  Although I wore rain gear, I was soaking wet when I passed close to the falls – wetter than I was at Iguaçu.

Although I left Iguaçu Falls convinced that it is unsurpassed in its grandeur, Victoria Falls rivals it in intensely.  Of course, visitors to either locale would undoubtedly insist that each waterfall is more impressive than the other.  As an objective outsider, I believe that these two falls collectively rank as two of the more beautiful and awe inspiring natural wonders of the world.  If you ever have a chance to visit either one, don’t miss out.  You won’t be sorry spending the money and time to behold two of God’s greatest creations.  In this respect, I feel blessed to have experienced both.