2012 Africa

Zambia Part 2

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IMG_3542What to do in Lusaka except for the more obvious things? Well, we found the New City Market and Kamwala Market where they sold even more stuff than in the market in Lilongwe. Here I bought a fake Nokia for cheap. Always good to have a less expensive phone when out traveling. We also found the local brew Shake Shake which tasted worse than anything I’ve tried before.

We also learned that there was some decent night clubs around so we decided to visit them. The first one we arrived to was a Polo Club and felt a bit too posh for us so the taxi driver took us to a theater where they had a pub also. In the pub we met some nice people who told us to go to Kalahari which is a famous club for African music. On the way there we kind of wondered where they were taking us since we seemed to pass through some really rough neighborhoods but when we arrived we got a very pleasant surprise. The music there was indeed really good.

Here we also met two local girls who took us to another night club and then after that the night ended. The next day we went to Cairo Road to have some shwarmas which is the closest we could get to good food the day after heavy drinking. When we left Lusaka behind us we passed through another village where we played some football with the villagers before sleepy time.

Our goal was the town of Livingstone on the Zambian side of the Zambezi river and the mighty Victoria Falls. On our way to Livingstone we passed through a town called Choma where we visited a museum where I think I learned to drink coffee. There was also a market situated right at the rail yard. Seemed a bit risky but okay.

We stayed in Livingstone for 2 days, enough to visit the museum about Dr. Livingstone and the area. The day we left for Zimbabwe we also passed through a national park called  Mosi-O-Tunya Zoological Park. In this park we had a quick walking safari to see some rhinos. It felt a bit scary to stand so close to the rhinos who can be quite aggressive if threatened but the park keepers told us we were safe behind some bushes and a fallen log. I guess we had to rely on their expertise in the matter. The only thing I know is that poachers are hunting the rhinos for their horns.

Later that day we came upon the Victoria Falls and entered the Zambian side of the falls and became extremely wet since the falls produce this massive water vapor that rains down all over the area. However, looking at the falls was really nice, they are truly majestic with their 1.7 km which makes them the largest falls, not the widest and not the highest but the most ”massive” falls.

The only thing remaining now was crossing the bridge over the Zambezi river, the natural border between Zambia and Zimbabwe and so we did! A very narrow bridge and only one file to go alongside the railway tracks so in every end of the bridge there is a guy who opens the bar over the road to let the traffic through in sequenses.

The gallery is now updated with pictures from Zambia!

2012 Africa

Zambia Part 1

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Zambia, Zambia, Zambia… The first night we spent in Zambia I managed to get this really cool shot of the night sky, I have no idea how I managed to do that since no one else was using their cameras the moment and there was no extra lightning. Anyhow, driving through Zambia was nice, the roads were better than Malawi, not much traffic (compared to none in Malawi).

We tried to enter a national park of which I don’t remember the name anymore but we had to return because the park was really closed the staff told us. So we tried to take another route to the park through the mountains and the dense forest but instead we ended up in some remote village. In this village a very drunk headmaster showed us around thinking we we’re a help organization of some sort.

After we had explained that this was not the case he welcomed us to stay over the night anyway. He appointed 3 of the villagers to be responsible for our security. These there security guards ironically asked the headmaster to leave the area because he was to drunk. He left and came back. And then left and came back again. This time they clomped him and dragged him away. Except for the incident with the headmaster we had a really nice time with the villagers chatting away and photographing them. Being able to see them self in the camera like this seemed to be very interesting for them so we promised to send some pictures when we got ahold of a good printer.

IMG_3362In the middle of the night a bush taxi arrived and played the number one hit song in Zambia at the moment, all night long at the loudest volume! The artist One J had made a song called “Vuvuzela” that he released at the premiere of the African Cup. The reason to why this song became so big is probably because Zambia won the cup! Congratulations to Chipolopolo for the victory!

After having a night of ruined sleep we decided to leave early. We packed our stuff and off we went. Somewhere along the extremely bumpy road one of the cars broke down and we had to stop in the middle of the road and repair it. Luckily for us there was no traffic whatsoever passing through. I still wonder how that bush taxi managed to get up to that village.

When the car was repaired we continued towards Lusaka which is the capital of Zambia. After some driving around we found a back packer lodge that would host us for a couple of days.

2012 Africa

Malawi Part 2

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IMG_3071Now the fun begun, we we’re heading towards a place called The Mushroom Farm where we were supposed to stay for a couple of days. The road went uphill in a really narrow and snaky manor. After some hours of careful driving we reached our goal and was greeted by Michael, a Swedish guy who was managing the place for the moment.

One of the days we spent here we decided to walk to the village of Livingstonia just a couple of kilometers away from The Mushroom Farm. Michael had told us about a the Manchewe falls situated on the way to the village and we thought we should check it out. We found the entrance and some kids guided us to the waterfalls. There was a secret path you could walk to get in behind the waterfalls and into a cave that the locals had used in the past as a hiding place when slavers raided their village. Quite a cool place if you ask me!

On the way back from the waterfalls it started to rain and most of our group decided to go back to The Mushroom Farm, only a few of us continued to Livingstonia. The road there was extremely slippery and we slipped quite a few times but finally we got there. We found a store and bought some vegetables and then we found a bakery as well. The owner showed us around before we bought some of his bread, then we slipped and slide our way back to The Mushroom Farm on a road that was nothing more than puddle. Well back at The Mushroom Farm we took a well needed shower and then we had dinner.

The next day we left The Mushroom Farm and went to Nkhata Bay which is kind of the only touristic place in Malawi. Nkhata Bay is situated at the shores of Lake Malawi and holds a few lodges/resorts and some restaurants, shops and two or three diving centers. We decided to stay here for a couple of days which was perfect. Now I had a chance to dive in Lake Malawi. It felt somewhat strange swimming around with all these aquarium fishes in a moon like underwater landscape but it was a nice dive. My first sweet water dive as well.

IMG_3224The final stop before Zambia was Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi. We found a good campsite in the outskirts of Lilongwe but still within walking distance from the more central parts. Here in Lilongwe we stayed for a couple of nights to restock our supplies and just relax a bit. We went to the local market where they were selling almost everything and anything but the stuff that interested us the most was the fresh vegetables and fruits. Walking around in this market felt really good and it was fun to just buy something small and chat with the locals for a while.

Also, the gallery is updated with pictures from Malawi!

2012 Africa

Malawi Part 1

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Crossing the border was easy, the difficult part was not running over any of the guys trying the exchange money with you. They were kind of running around all over the place. As soon as we left the border the roads became quite bad, there was not much tar mac left for instance.

Malawi is supposed to be one of the poorest countries in the world, this I knew before I went there so I kind of had some expectations on what to see. I must say that Malawi was nothing of what I had expected. First of I thought it would be dry and savannah like all over the place, this is not the case. It was green, very green. Everywhere you looked there was crop fields and we saw a lot of domesticated animals such as cows and goats.

During my stay in Malawi I found out that most of the things they produce in Malawi is for their own use, so there is no really no production for export and considering no export generates of course no incomes really so speaking about money, yes, Malawi is a poor country. Compared to western standards they are poor, but I can’t say I saw anyone who seemed to starve or not have clothes on their bodies. I might be ignorant, not sure, but from what I saw there was not that kind of poverty you would expect. Also, it seemed that most children would go to school.

So, anyway. Malawi. Except for the bad roads it was pretty pleasant. There were plenty of police check points along the way, most of the time they asked to see the fire extinguisher and insurance papers or international driver licenses which proved to be no problems. But in one small village the policeman wasn’t satisfied with the already built in reflectors in the front and tail lights. He demanded some special reflector stickers or we could pay him to go get going.

Since we don’t support corruption we decided to stay until we could fix these stickers. A quick look around in the village and we found a very nice man who closed his shop, hoped onto a bus to the next town and bought us some stickers. When he got back we paid him for the stickers, gave him some extra money and some food as a token of our appreciation.

With the stickers on the cars we could proceed towards Lake Malawi. After many miles we suddenly got a glimpse of Lake Malawi and we decided to try to reach it as soon as possible. This lead us through a village and suddenly we found the beach. After many hours in the cars it’s pretty nice to stretch the legs and dip your feet into the water of the lake. We also saw some boys bathing and fishing so we spent some time talking to them although they weren’t so good on English.

2012 Africa

Tanzania

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IMG_255720th of February, the official start date of the expedition trip. We started to move west out of Dar Es-Salaam. Soon we would drive up in the mountains, away from the larger roads. After about one day of driving we arrived at a national park called Mikumi National Park which we entered. Saw the first animals of this trip which was nice. No lions but we saw elephants, giraffes, buffalos and many gazelles. We stoped in the village of Mikumi for the night and a spent the evening at a resturant and some bars there.

We countined along the road and eventually we found a stone age site which turned out to be a quite large piece of land that had been severely eroded by weather and wind. It was a cool experience walking around in the area though.

On our journey through the southern Tanzania we would come upon some various towns, Iringa is one of them. We went out for a dinner and some nice time and found a very simple resturant but the food they served was world class. We also had to eat with our hands but that kind of adds to the experience. Further on we would arrive in Mbeya where we wanted to party one night. The locals tried to take us to a place with disco lights but we wanted something more local.

IMG_2742We found the kind of place we were looking for and had a blast at that place. One of us almost got married off. What a night, what a night! Our last stop in Tanzania was in a small town called Tukuyu where we spent the night in a hotel because it was raining so much.

Continuing towards the border to Malawi we found a crater lake on the GPS and thought we should check it out so we headed into the jungle. After some hour or so of driving in the jungle we came to a stop where we left the cars and started hiking on a trail.

It was a slippery path between large ferns and tall trees. Somewhere along the path we saw a gigantic spider web which even made me feel a bit unconfortable for a moment. We pressed on further into the jungle over slippery rocks and under huge dead branches. I think we walked for a couple of hours but no sign of the crater lake. Even though walking upon a ridge we couldn’t see the lake so we decided it was time to make a descision of some sort.

Getting lost in the jungle after dark is not a good thing to do so we started to back track and eventually we would end up in the clearing where we left the cars. Getting into the cars and having dry clothes on again we started to drive back to the main road that we had left many hours earlier. Proved to be easier said than done but we made it.

We searched for a good place to make camp for the night just a couple of miles from the border to Malawi.

Also, the gallery is updated with pictures from Tanzania!

2012 Africa

Zanzibar (pre-expedition trip)

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First time I ever heard of Zanzibar was on a TV-show when I was a kid. It sounded exotic then, it still sounds exotic. On the 20th of February was the official starting date for the trip with 4x4expedition.se. Some of us who were going to go with them decided we wanted a warm up. For me who should be away for almost 4 months, what’s another week in the long run? So, me and two of fellow passengers on the trip rented a house on Zanzibar.

IMG_2112Getting there is easy, surviving the heat shock is worse. Flying from a -19ºC Sweden and landing in a +30ºC hot Dar Es-Salaam (Tanzania) is a shock, but it’s a nice shock at least. Getting to the jetty and take the ferry to Zanzibar proved to be a bit of a challenge, finding a cab in the middle of the night was not that easy. And when we got to the jetty the ticket offices hadn’t opened yet so we had to wait for a while. Bought our ferry tickets and found out that we had overpaid since all tickets are the same. Bummer!

The ferry ride took about 3 hours but it was pretty nice sitting there in the early morning sun. When we got of the ferry in Stone Town we had to fill in some forms and then we proceeded to the tourist information to find out where our hotel where. We took a short ride in a taxi (500 meters) and checked in at the hotel. Changed some clothes and rested for an hour or so and then we proceeded to explore Stone Town for a while. Saw a monument over the slave trade that took place some hundred years ago for example.

We also found some nice restaurants, tried the local food which have made Zanzibar famous. Zanzibar is also called the spicy island because of the rich flavors or the food. I don’t know about that really, I wasn’t that impressed but maybe I tried the wrong stuff. The next day we rented a car and went south on the island. Most people who go to Zanzibar probably go to the northern parts where all the large hotels/resorts are located but we went south to a village called Jambiani and to Villa Biba (the house we had rented).

I’m not going write so much about that since it’s was mostly relaxing stuff. But some things you can do around Jambiani is going on diving/snorkeling tours, if you take an hours drive south from Jambiani to Kizimkazi you can swim with dolphins.
One day we took the car to explore Zanzibar a bit and we had gotten directions from some people we met while being on the diving tour to a place called “The Rock Restaurant“. It turned out to be a restaurant situated on a huge rock on the beach. When it was tide you could walk out to the restaurant on dry land but when it was flood you would have to wade to it. Really nice food, good service and decent prices. Having that in mind, Zanzibar is probably the most expensive place in Tanzania in general. I guess some of the lodges around the great national parks in northern Tanzania can be quite pricey as well.

IMG_2375On the 18th of February we headed back to Stone Town, dropped of the car and took the ferry back to Dar Es-Salaam. We choose to stay one night in Dar Es-Salaam to get the “feel” of this African metropolis. Loud, dusty, milling, chaotic, African. The next day we took a taxi to the camping where we would meet up with Ronnie & Lena from 4x4expedition.se and the other participants.

Gallery updated with pictures from Zanzibar!

2012 Africa

2012 Africa Introduction

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In the winter of 2012 I went on a expedition trip through 10 African countries during 4 months. I left Sweden on the 12th of February and arrived back home again on the 16th of June. I went with a company called 4x4expedition.se whose concept is going by car by a loosly planned route where the participants can make decisions on where to go and how long to stay. The cars are equiped with tents on the roof so that we can camp, there’s also small gas stoves and other equipment needed for camping. So the concept is also not so much hotels and resturants (which makes traveling pretty cheap since we buy most food from local stores/markets).

The trip was divided into 3 legs.

The first leg started 20th of February in Dar Es-Salaam, Tanzania and went through Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and ended in Cape Town, South Africa on the 14th of April.

The second leg started in Cape Town on the 20th of April and went through South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique and ended in Harare, Zimbabwe on the 19th of May.

The third leg started on the 20th of May and went from Harare to Victoria Falls and then to Botswana through the Kalahari back to South Africa and ended on the 10th of June in Cape Town.

I stayed a couple of extra days in Cape Town before flying home. Also, the dates mentioned here might differ a bit, I don’t remember entierly but they should be somewhat accurate. I should have done this when I got home 5 months ago, not now. Oh well. Enjoy anyway!

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