Cathy travelled on the 56 Day Nairobi to Cape Town Epic Adventure (incl Gorillas) and this was her feedback:
Well, my mega trip through Africa…. An experience of a lifetime!!
We started off with the Masai Mara leg of the trip where I not only got to meet the tribes people, but also view the great migration crossing of east Africa. This is one of the world’s greatest wildlife spectacles, where 1.5 million wildebeest, gazelle and zebra’s migrate over 1,800 miles each year from the vast Serengeti plains to Kenya’s Masai Mara in search of rain ripened grass. The smell was proof enough!!! The Masai warriors entertained us with their jumping skills around the camp fire and I was chosen to accompany the jumping ‘king’ – very big honour and still not sure if it was my (very) white skin, blue eyes or height that secured this privilege…ha ha ha!
We slept out in the open in the Serengeti and this is where the camping started to really roughen up. Putting up tents in 45 degree Celsius afternoon heat and taking down at 4.30am in the dark is a bit of a trial but no running water or toilet facilities for 2 days was an even bigger trial…never been more dirty, especially after full days safari’s in open 4X4′s. Make up and combed hair were forgotten in London!!!
Tanzania was gorgeous and green and in the town I sat in on an open court case held at the United Nations for prosecution of Rwanda genocide war crimes. Took very long with lawyers having to translate for their clients the questions from English to Swahili and vice-versa. Very interesting for sure!!!
Zanzibar was just brilliant – I went swimming with wild dolphins in the sea and it was the strangest experience ever. The snorkelling was amazing there with many bright Nemo fish and starfish. I even saw our boatman spear an eel.
Malawi was also very hot but thankfully our tents could be placed on the sand right by the waters edge. The lake is so huge that it looks like the sea. Very strange not to taste salty. We had a party the one night here and had to buy an outfit for a group member from the local market. What an experience that was- haggling with the locals for totally inappropriate outfits…
I also had the pleasure of visiting a local witchdoctor and got to see the box of potions…anything from ‘beauty’ to ‘lucky in love’ to placing a spell on someone!
The one evening there was great commotion and we were all called over to see what they had found outside a tent near the bathrooms…. A 2 metre long black Mamba snake- extremely poisonous and absolutely gave us the hibby-jibbies, especially after I found out the tent location in question WAS WHERE MY TENT WAS!!!!!!
Zimbabwe wasn’t as bad as I thought and we all still managed to have plenty of food even though the shop shelves were scarcely stocked. Victoria Falls was just beautiful with many lookout points. The power of the water was so immense that even standing on the opposite bank, you were covered with the misty spray!
River rafting down the Zambezi was brilliant but a little scary with grade 6 rapids and knowing that crocodiles laced the banks. I also crazily booked myself on a half day adrenaline package…oh my nerves…for all my sins!!! It involved three ‘routines’ with the finale being a gorge swing. Have never been that scared – even lost my voice and only recovered it after I was left swinging at the bottom…gave out a HUGE whelp of sheer appreciation to be alive!
The currency was ridiculous and apparently the beer price changed every day. It was about a million Zim Dollars to one US$…you had to carry wads of money around.
Botswana held one of my highlights, which was the Okavango Delta where we had 3 days of pure nature! No toilets or running water again as we literally just stopped where we saw a clearing large enough to accommodate our pack of tents. We had poleman take us out on Mokoro’s from the departure point. Just beautiful meandering through the water channels. We did a 4-hour walk there too which was stunning. Waterlillies decorated the reeds all over – just stunning.
Just outside Namibia our truck broke down…oh no! We sent our tour guide into town with the only car that came past (very smug) and took absolute opportunity of the situation by holding a MAJOR party ‘on board’…yip, absolute carnage…was the most fun party I have ever attended, that’s for sure. We very cleverly pulled together 30 people’s left over alcohol and called this vile mixture PUNCH. It tasted much better once we chopped up some apples to go in. We even managed to find some party hats, streamers and poppers. This carried on for 7 hours until we were ‘carried’ off the bus and dropped into 4×4′s to take us into Etosha National Park. Absolutely fabulous! We all became instant best friends and best drinking pals after that which saw us every evening after supper sitting around the campsite fire singing songs albeit a bit rude at points!!!
In Etosha safari park we stayed at 2 camps namely Okakeujo and Namitoni. We went for night game rides and saw so many animals at the two watering holes with rhino’s, lions and elephants making an appearance amongst others.
We then travelled down to Spitzkoppe and visited a cheetah park. There was a baby giraffe there too which was tame so we could touch her baby fur…too gorgeous with her long eyelashes and only a bit taller than me…so gorgeous!
Now for the ultimate…skydiving over the Namib dessert. At 10 000 feet, I realised it was the craziest thing I had ever experienced to date!!!
Namibia is beautiful with its dunes and walking up Dune 45 for sunset was a very rewarding experience. The Fish River Canyon is also something very special. I did find as I got closer to sunny Cape Town, I started really looking forward to arriving.
Well folks, Cape Town arrival date came on 22 December. It was very sad to say good bye to such amazing people and realise it was all over. The best thing to do and would highly recommend you visit Africa!!
Lots of love Cathy x x x