I have now shared all of my adventures in Africa on this blog but I thought it would only be right to round it up all of the best bits of this epic trip that took me across 12 countries that had so many different things to offer. I loved Africa and I’ve urged many people since I finished my trip to go there, I even know a couple of people who are already planning their own African adventure after seeing how much I loved mine which makes me so happy!
Africa is so diverse and its hard to put into words just how special this place is.
Where else in the world can you camp and there is a giraffe eating its dinner outside your tent?
Where else do people welcome you into their village and cook you a meal made solely from the plants and vegetables in their garden even though they don’t have much to spare?
Where else can you get up close and personal with animals who have 97% of the same genetic make up as you?
Where else in the world can you watch rhinos, lions, giraffes, elephants and more mere metres away from you with no fences?
I could go on and on and share so many other experiences that are so unique to Africa but I’ll just share the highlights of this epic trip and hopefully it inspires you to think about visiting this magical place.
Village walk in Uganda
Uganda was easily one of my favourite countries in Africa, the people were so friendly, the landscape was beautiful and we did lots of fun activities there. One of the most memorable days was a village walk in Jinja. A local man came and took us around his land and showed us all of the food him and his family grow along with coffee beans to export. Lots of the local children came out to say hey and follow us around for the afternoon. The joy in their faces was priceless and it does go to show you don’t need a lot to be happy because these people didn’t have much but they were full of laughter. The ladies from the village also cooked us a meal with only ingredients from the garden and of course it was delicious.
Gorilla trekking Bwindi Impenatrable Forest
This was probably my favourite day on the entire trip purely because I felt extremely privileged to be able to do this. Only 500 permits per day are allowed to see these hugely endangered animals and they don’t make it easy for you! A trek through the thick jungle in Uganda for hours was worth it to be so up close and personal to these wonderful animals.
After trekking for two hours through dense forest we reached a family of gorillas where we spent the next hour just sitting and watching them whilst they sat back and watched us too. There was a male silverback with several females and even some playful babies swinging in the trees. My smile did not leave my face and it was such a special experience.
Masai Mara – Kenya
The Masai Mara safari was a real highlight as we spotted the illusive leopard up a tree on day two and then she even got up, climbed down the tree and had a stroll around which is pretty rare! Plenty of lions on show and so many other fantastic African animals.
One of the more memorable moments was early one morning on safari after seeing a beautiful lady lion stroll right past us our van got stuck. Everyone had to get out and help push (I obviously had to document the situation) but what was really funny was that the lion was just 100m away, you can see where the other vehicles are in the photo, they are watching her.
Serengeti & Ngorongoro Crater – Tanzania
This national park is still my absolute favourite place to go on safari and it is the best place to spot lions. Not only did we see a huge variety of prides, we saw hundreds of hippos hanging out in a mud pool, beautiful landscapes and whilst camping on safari the animal noises around you that happen during the night are a clear indicator of where you are and to know there are no fences and the wild is really just outside your tent is such an incredible feeling.
Devils Pool on top of Victoria Falls – Zambia
At $100USD per person this was an activity I almost missed but I’m so glad I didn’t because it was AMAZING! Even though I was terrified throughout the entire time I was there it was pretty amazing to be hanging out in a natural pool at the top of Victoria Falls. Looking over the edge and seeing the waterfall drop was so scary but also pretty exciting. I’ll never forget that feeling and I am so happy I had the opportunity (because it was dry season) to do this activity.
Okavango Delta – Botswana
This was a truly unique experience in Africa and one that was a little tough at times but so rewarding. In Botswana it was baking hot so it made this experience a little tougher but riding in a mokoro to a tiny island within the Okavango Delta to pitch our tents among elephants was just incredible. We did an afternoon walking safari where we saw a herd of over 50 elephants come right by us and swam in a watering hole where we could hear hippos grunting in the distance.
There was no toilet or shower but the locals who took us in the Delta looked after us so well and we had a great time listening to all the animals around us late in to the night.
Etosha National Park – Namibia
Etosha was one of the best places to spot wildlife on the whole trip and was one of my favourite safaris. The land is dry and within the park is worlds second largest salt pan. The campsites provided flood lit watering holes so you could watch the animals at night time actually come to you. It felt nice to not be chasing them in a vehicle for once and of course you could watch them all with a glass of wine in your hand.
After three safaris we finally saw a rhino and the feeling was immense. Having felt very sad to not see them in Kenya, Tanzania or Botswana we were all elated to spot this guy early one morning.
Climbing Dune 45 and seeing Deadvlei – Namibia
Namibia was one of my favourite countries in Africa because the landscape, animal spotting and activities were action packed and for the two weeks we were there there was always something to see and do. One of the more memorable days was getting up at 4am to climb Dune 45 in order to watch the sunrise over it followed by visiting a salt pan in the middle of the desert that was filled with dead trees.
Cape Town – South Africa
Cape Town has fast become one of my favourite cities in the whole world. Not only is its natural beauty breathtaking there is SO MUCH to do in Cape Town and unfortunately I didn’t even crack the surface. I loved the views and the drives along the coast and I cannot wait to return to see everything I missed.
I went great white shark cage diving near Cape Town and although I was so scared I was so happy to face a fear and get in the water with these majestic animals.
Walking with rhinos in Zimbabwe
One of the great things about Zimbabwe is the rules on safaris are a little relaxed and they actually allow you to walk with some of the animals (at a distance of course). After learning about the rhinos from a very controversial character who was our guide it really hit me just how endangered these animals are and how there are so many efforts throughout Africa to save them and prevent them being poached for their horn. The only thing I could do to help was to put money into the situation and at $100USD we were given the opportunity to walk with the rhinos and help fund what is a incredibly difficult job for the locals.
Meeting so many wonderful people
Because I was on the tour for 76 days, people were coming and going every few weeks which kept things exciting on the truck but also allowed me to meet a whole bunch of people who were awesome to hang out with and share these wonderful experiences.
The worst bits
Throughout the whole 11 weeks in Africa the worst bits were few and far between and on the whole I had an amazing time and really truly loved it. But with the good is always a little bad so here it is.
- As we chose a budget trip it meant we were the cleaners and cooks on the trip and on long drive days where you’ve been up since 5am and arrive somewhere in the dark and have to set up cooking equipment get a meal together for 20 people, shower and then get in bed only to have to do it all over again the next day was at times tough and it felt a little bit like boot camp. But those are the perils of budget tours.
- The long drives were tough, especially on very hot days and on long drive days it wasn’t about the journey it was all about getting to the destination.
- The very expensive visas for certain countries. It is basically just a tourist tax and we shelled out $700 USD for the both of us in visas. There is also no up to date information on any of these countries home office websites so it was a bit of a shock when we got to some places.
So to help you out here is a list of all the visas we had to pay for along the way. With the exception of the East Africa visa we were able to get them at the borders.
East Africa Visa (Kenya, Uganda & Rwanda) – $100
Tanzania – $50
Malawi – $70
Double entry into Zambia – $80
Zimbabwe – $50
Please note I am in no way affiliated to Tucan Travel, I paid for my tour and was extremely happy with it and I am just sharing out of sheer enjoyment NOT because I’m getting paid in any way.
If you have any questions about Africa travel feel free to get in contact and hopefully I can help. I did the Ultimate Africa Trip with Tucan Travel but if I was going to recommend a route it would be Gorillas to Cape.
Do check out my YouTube channel as I have loads of videos from Africa there so you can get a real feel what it’s like there.