It’s impossible to ‘sum up’ our unforgettable experiences exploring Africa but this amazing info-graphic does a pretty fine job!
We had the most incredible adventure exploring this wonderful continent for nine months. Having flown from London to Addis Adaba at the end of September, we spent two months in Ethiopia. Ethiopia really amazed us with its incredible diversity: there’s wonderful hiking in the Simien and Bale Mountains, rock-hewn churches and monasteries on lakes, waterfalls, castles and burial stelae, an active volcano that you can climb and finally the Danakil Depression, one of the coolest and weirdest places we’ve ever visited and the hottest inhabited place on earth. We also ate incredibly well, drank so much delicious coffee, which you find on every street corner, and watched our first sports event at the national stadium.
From Ethiopia we crossed into Kenya, where we spent all of December. First up we climbed Mount Kenya, a wonderful six-day trek, before putting our feet up on safari with the rhinos at Solio Ranch. Before heading to the beach for Christmas, we camped on Lake Naivasha and explored the Rift Valley for a few days.
From Kenya we headed west in to Uganda. This is a simply wonderful country and we loved our five weeks here. We enjoyed an exhilarating day rafting Grade V rapids on the Nile, spent a tough four days climbing Mount Elgon, hired our own wheels to go on safari at Murchison Falls, spent an unforgettable day with Totti and his chimp friends, explored the many lakes in the south-west of the country, got our first taste of the mighty Virunga Mountains and ate more rolexes than we can remember!
We continued south into Rwanda, which is such an inspiring story after the unimaginable horrors of the 1994 genocide. We were here for two weeks and spent time in the spotlessly clean capital and at a few lovely places on Lake Kivu. It was from Gisenyi on Lake Kivu that we walked across into the Democratic Republic of the Congo to meet our gorilla cousins and climb Mount Nyiragongo, Africa’s most active volcano. Talk about a ridiculous four days, wow!
Next up was Tanzania where we had friends join us from London to climb Kilimanjaro and what a feeling it was to stand on the roof of Africa. We had made our way to Moshi from Mwanze and after Kili we headed south – first to the tiny village of Matamba to visit the national park known as the “Serengeti of Flowers” and then to the city of Mbeya to explore Africa’s second-largest crater lake.
Mike had joined us in Mbeya and we caught our first train ride of the trip across into Zambia. We could feel that we were now in southern Africa and Lusaka felt like a South African city with its many shopping malls. The safari at South Luangwa National Park was a highlight of the trip and we also got completely drenched at the mighty Victoria Falls (on both sides of the border). Whilst in Zimbabwe we explored the Matopos National Park and also watched some wonderful cricket and 7s rugby.
From Zambia we headed in to Malawi where we spent all of April. We initially headed north to walk across the Nyika Plateau before winding our way south down the beautifully clear waters of Lake Malawi. Our final stop on the lake was Cape Maclear and from here we laced up our boots again to walk on the Zomba Plateau and then in the beautiful Mulanje Mountains.
It took us just over seven months to get to South Africa and what a feeling it was finally stepping off that 38 hour bus from Malawi. South Africa- we made it! 🙂 We spent two months here seeing family and friends and explored lots of this beautiful country – we walked the Otter Trail with Pauli and Anna, went on safari with so many elephants at Addo and in the magical Kruger National Park, road-tripped through the Karoo to see the Mountain Zebra and the Owl house, visited Hogsback with my folks, spent a week with friends in Cape Town and I took my dad to Bloemfontein to watch the Springboks.
From South Africa we also popped across to Swaziland – a fun few days walking, adventure caving and discovering new music at the BushFire festival.