Saturday, July 2, 2011

Traveling Africa: The best and worst

I spent about 55 days on the road in Africa, visited untold numbers of cities, and traveled over 2300 miles as the crow flies, much more with all the zig zagging. The adventures were endless and each day held something different. The horizons before us changed nearly every day along with the animals and people. Every place was new; every day was new.

With all that newness came a lot of great discoveries and also some that I could probably have done without. Here are some of the best and worst of my days on the open road:
Best hostel/backpacker/hotel: It's hard to say really, I think I stayed in about 18 beds, ranging from ferry and train beds, hostels scatted all over the place, and my trusty little tent. If I had to choose though, I think Jolly Boys backpacker in Livingstone Zambia impressed me the most. Partially because of it being built just the way I'd build it, and partially because of it's nearness to the great Victoria Falls, it was really an awesome place

Worst hostel/backpacker/hotel: Near Tete, Mozambique I ended up getting a room at a little truck stop in the middle of town. There was no electricity or water that night, and along with my key, the reception lady gave me a little candle. My door would not lock, and I had to put the bed in front of it to keep the hookers that i saw outside out. ( they don't see many white folks I guess). The open window with bars instead of glass was right next to the parking lot with big trucks running all night, letting in sound and fumes alike. The up side? It only cost $5.

Best meal: Sea food in Zanzibar. Fried barracuda and red snapper, grilled lobster, shrimp and calamari. All locally caught and minutes old... Need I say more.

Worst meal: Fermented fish and pineapple... again, need I saw more.

Best drive: It wasn't really a drive, but the long train ride through Tanzania provided some of the best views ever. My sleeper had a huge window that completely opened, allowing unimpeded photo opportunities. It was an unforgettable ride.

Cape Town's Camps Bay

Worst drive: There was no ATMs in Monkey Bay Malawi, so I ended up hitch hiking to the nearest town, about two hours away. I rode in the back of a small truck, and was the only one for a while, but the guy driving was intent on not letting anyone in Africa walk. By the time we arrived I had been in the back of a small Toyota being crushed by 23 other people for more than an hour. I've never been so glad to arrive somewhere in my life.

Best experience: Getting scuba certified. After that, diving became not only a passion, but an addiction.

Best city: Cape Town. Modern and beautiful, cultured and fun. I love this city near the coast.
Most shocking: Cage diving in S. Africa was epic, but even with a wet suit the water was heart stopping cold.

Favorite thing: The freedom of the road. Forging my own path and discovering the undiscovered that lay before me. There is something truly exhilarating about waking up to something new each day.

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