Posts Tagged ‘Africa’

Me an Helen with some village cuties

Malawi certainly is the ‘warm heart of Africa’, as the guidebooks say it is. We’ve been greeted everywhere with genuine warmth. After spending a night in the capital city of Lilongwe we made our way to Lake Malawi, which spans the length of the narrow country, to Kande Beach, a campsite midway up the west side of the lake. Upon arrival we were in awe of the lake and the size of the waves it manages to conjure up. I suppose it’s on par with one of our Canadian Great Lakes. I’m not sure how it stacks up size wise, but it’s ginormous and is surrounded by lush rolling hills.

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Fierce warriors

Life on the road is long and bumpy. The truck is not exactly the smoothest of rides. The further back you sit, the bumpier the ride. We usually have the sides rolled up, exposing us to wind and dust, tousling our hair generally wearing us out. Travel days vary from 5 hours to 9 hours. We usually wake up bright and early, pack up camp and board the truck. We stop for lunch on the side of the road and for occasional pee breaks and we keep on driving until we run out of daylight. By the time we set up camp again, as the sun sets, we’re usually pretty exhausted and sore.

Our remedy for all this travel wear and tear has been yoga club. I started my own routine when we were traveling SE Asia and I’ve been keeping it up since. Mark started doing it with me here in Africa and more people have kept joining in. After we get off the truck, before supper, we have a core group of around 7 people + a handful of casuals join in the 45 minute power yoga routine.

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With less than a month to go until we begin our African overland adventure, the big question on our minds (and on your too, faithful readers) has been this: how are we going to get to Africa? Well, we finally have the answer…but unfortunately it’s not the one we hoped for. We’d simply run out of time, and none of the options that we explored so vigorously resulted in any viable solutions. So we bit the bullet. The big, Malaysia Airlines 737 bullet. And after coming over 43,000 kilometers and 12 time zones without leaving the earth’s surface, we will be (reluctantly) flying to South Africa.

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On deck and in the hole

Our sojourn in Koh Tao almost over. It has been a welcome change of pace for us to spend a few weeks in just one place. We’re starting to look ahead because just over a month from now, our epic African overland adventure is set to begin in Cape Town. Will we have to fly? All signs point to yes. (More on this to come.)

Tomorrow we’ll be heading back to Bangkok on an overnight bus to TCOB. Before heading south with Mike and Sarah, we had to drop off Mark’s passport at the Canadian Embassy for renewal. Although it wasn’t due to expire until 2014, he was nearly out of pages. And since we require at least 20 blank pages for our African trip, he we had no choice but to renew, pay a pile of cash and wait 3+ weeks to pick it up. At least he will have a 48-page passport this time. Fortunately we can save a little cash on me since I also have a UK Passport with oodles of blank pages I can use to travel Africa. While in Bangkok Mark will also get a last shot of Hep B and we’ll both look into getting Rabies (vaccinations that is). Fun stuff!

After Bangkok part 3, we’ll head south again with stops in Khao Sok National Park and perhaps Koh Lipe, an island on the Adaman coast just north of Malaysia. Then we’ll do some hiking in the Cameron Highlands of Malaysia before making our way to Kuala Lumpur where there are direct flights leaving for Johannesburg…

Help us get to Africa

africa question mark

Hello friends. Mark and I have no idea how to get to Africa this April for our overland journey. Nothing is panning out. We’ve been in touch with several freighter ship companies, cruise companies and have even spoken to several experienced freighter and cruise ship officers to no avail.

We are trying to get from Asia (HK or Singapore) to South Africa sometime before April 14th. The most viable options we’ve found are:

1. MOL Wish, freighter, leaving Singapore April 10, arriving Durban April 27.
Too late + too expensive

2. P&O Cruises, cruiseship, leaving Singapore March 17, arriving Cape Town April 4.
Too expensive + fully booked

So dear readers, any other ideas? Ya ya, we know we could fly, but we are trying our best to avoid that option. Know any talented travel agents or people with private yachts who need a hand on board? Can you help Toto bless the rains down in Africa?

Logistics and insurance

Whew! With the final days before our departure disappearing at an alarming rate, things are slowly starting to come together. We’ve now acquired our travel medical insurance (at last!), and have booked and finalized our plans for the African overland leg of our journey. Our to-do list each morning is still daunting, but at least progress is being made.

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