When I started to plan this trip, I originally would go straight to South America. However in April of this year at our “Karavaan Generation 7” (aka G7)* reunion, one of us, Tom, announced that he would be getting married with his South African girlfriend in South Africa at the end of the year and we were all invited. When a couple of weeks later three of the guys (Koen, Kris and Nick) decided that they would go over there, I also started thinking about introducing an ‘Africa leg’ on this world trip. As you have probably understood from my previous posts I have not regretted that decision for a second and the wedding would prove to be a real nice climax to this Africa trip.
* a bunch of friends, all tour leaders that were selected in 2007
I know this will sound strange or pretentious to a lot of you hard working people at home but when travelling for longer periods, every once in a while you need to take “a holiday from travelling”, if not you risk to catch ‘travellers burn out’. On my previous trip the ‘traveller’s burn out’ hit me really hard after 4 months travelling in South East Asia. I remember being in Kuala Lumpur and being really tired all the time, apathetic to whatever the place had to offer and hardly being able to get out of the hostel. Too many impressions and experiences in a short time and the fact that there is no routine whatsoever (having to look for places to stay and eat and things to do and see every day) makes travelling rather tiring after a couple of months. When you start dreaming about a cupboard to put your clothes in, it’s time to take a break. Continue reading
“At dawn and dusk wild animals such as lions and elephants roam the streets of the centre of town, take a taxi at these times”. At last an original warning in the ‘dangers and annoyances’ section in my guide book. And they were not joking. Just a month ago a number of people from some church congregation that were doing an evening ‘open air mass’ on the edge of Victoria Falls town in Zimbabwe were chewed up by a couple of lions. Continue reading
“The best thing we did in Africa “, “A real safari!”, “A must-do in Southern Africa”. In preparation of this trip I had been reading the reports of a number of ‘long time’ Africa travellers. A lot of them had been raving about this canoe trekking safari. The pictures I saw looked spectacular but nothing compared to what awaited us on the Zambezi river. There was however also a number of reports on accidents that had happened on the river. Continue reading
It was about half past midnight on our first night in South Luangwa NP when I woke up because something was brushing against my safari tent and judging by the sound of its footsteps it was something big…without making any noise I had a look out of one of ‘windows’ of the tent and saw that a 3000 kg heavy hippo was grazing right next to my tent.
For those of you that are not very familiar with Africa and its fauna, a hippo might seem like a funny and clumsy animal. But each year this animal kills more people than any other animal on the continent. Continue reading
Malawi is a funny little country. The first thing I noticed was that people are really a lot more friendly than in neighbouring Tanzania. The immigration officer, people that are usually not known at all as friendly or cheerful, welcomed me warmly to the country, stamped my passport and asked me if maybe I wanted a piece of the banana she was eating as dessert. On the streets, everybody is greeting you constantly . Even people that have no knowledge of English do their best to make you feel at home. Continue reading
After the cold adventures on Mt K we were happy to descend into a warmer climate. And boy did we get what we wished for! The 8 hour bus ride from Moshi to Dar Es Salaam was a killer. The ‘full comfort’ bus did not have any A/C so we basically got cooked and grilled. On the few stretches with not too much dust the windows could be opened which then felt like we were being blown dry with gigantic hairdryer. We had been sitting down for 8 hours but were still completely exhausted when we arrived in Dar Es Salaam.
When we were planning this trip we had been looking at the possibility to check out the gorilla’s in Rwanda and cross the border into Congo to climb the Nyiragongo volcano. However a new rebellion in the Kivu earlier this year, meant that Congo again became off limit and we had to change our plans. Mount Kilimanjaro (Mt K.) was the obvious back up solution. With 5895m Mt K is the highest mountain in Africa and one of the famous ‘7 summits’.
“You’re going to Arusha and you’re not interested in a safari” people were asking us in disbelief. “Are you crazy, there’s nothing to do or see there only a lot of hassle and crime “. Even the (what seemed like hundreds) of local touts and hustlers that descended upon us, as soon as we left the bus, would not believe we wanted to visit this place out of free will. Continue reading
So finally I’m back in Africa and I must admit the thought of going to Africa was both exhilarating and intimidating. But at first sight Nairobi did not seem as bad as all the stories would like me to believe. That being said we didn’t really linger around much but instead decided to kick off this trip with the one thing most travellers do here in East Africa: go on ‘safari’.
“Too bad we have seen so few animals so far”… our safari guide said to me at lunch time on our 1st full safari day. We had seen that morning: a herd of elephants, several giraffes, hundreds of buffalo, thousands of migrating wildebeests (aka gnoes) and zebras, a cheetah with a fresh ‘kill’ and a pride of over 10 lionesses and cubs also with a kill. I don’t know what they are used to there in Masai Mara but we were duly impressed. Continue reading