Gorillas - Trekking through the thick jungle in The Congo, getting within a meter of the gorillas.
White water rafting - First on the Nile in Uganda and again on the Zambezi river in Zambia. The photos say it all!
Serengeti and Ngorongoro crater game drives - Getting covered in dust from head to toe driving through the open desert plains of the Serengeti in search of the big five. Seeing an abundance of lions and their young up close.
Relaxing on the beautiful beaches of Zanzibar and dancing the night away at a 24 hr beach bar set upon the water front. Swiming along side the dolphins in the open water.
Victoria falls - Rachel's Bungi jumping 111meters of the Zimbabwe/Zambia bridge right in front of Victoria falls. Adams walking with the lions, getting up close enough to pat them.
The Delta - Having the locals pole us in Mocoro's out to camp, and having an elephant casually wonder into our camp site.
Chobe national park - The sleep out where the Hyena's came and broke into our eski for some black pepper crackers and cheese!
Etosha national park - Our last game drive for the trip where we saw a Leopard with its dinner and baby cub Oh and two lions doing the wild thing!!!
Swakomund - Sand boarding and quid biking on the dunes.
Cape Town - Is set on the ocean with table mountain as a back drop. They have great food and the 4* hotel was a bliss after sleeping in the tents for 56 nights! The drive down to Cape of Good Hope where we spent hours watching the wales playing around, putting on a show for us.
June 21st - We arrived quite late into Nairobi, Not a great start to the trip after realizing that Rach had left her brand new sleeping bag behind (luckily we had a spare), then we had to wait at the airport for a few hours for one of our fellow travelers to sort out missing baggage. After a long flight and sitting at the airport for a few hours it was nice to arrive at our 'lovely' hotel. If you were to rate this hotel it could possibly be a half star at best! We had 6,000 USD with us for the local payment so were happy to lock ourselves in the room till morning time. We woke up in the middle of the night to a siren, Rach freaked out and woke up thinking it was a fire alarm in the building it was so loud but lucky for us it was just a car outside. After a short taxi ride to the meeting point the following morning we meet the crew and were ready to start the adventure. With 23 on board the truck that holds 31, it was lovely to spread out on the spare seats. We didn't see much of Nairobi from what we saw driving out I really don't think we were missing much.
We arrived at the Masai Mara National Reserve and got a taste of the camping life. The showers are actually heated by open fire and we were both amazed how (Pete our cook) could whip up a meal for so many on just a fire!! Over dinner we became a little bit closer to the group we now find out that some of the people have come up from Cape Town and coming to the end of their trip and others like us are just starting out. We set off in the morning for our first game drive and were quite lucky to see a Lioness, Elephant, giraffe, zebra and a multitude of 4 legged herbivores and some big Croc's. Matt our tour guide is a trained safari guide so was very knowledgeable on all the animals and made for an informative trip, so long as you only wanted to know about animals.
Traveling north-west via Nakuru, we crossed the Equator, stopped to watch the water swirl different ways on either side of the line, quite amazing really. We continued across the border into Uganda. Referred to as the 'Pearl of Africa' - a phrase originally coined by Winston Churchill, and it's easy to see why. Despite its troubles and poverty, Uganda is a stunning country lush green countryside. Via Kampala, the capital that looks like a small town, we head to Kisoro, our base for the gorilla parks. An early morning breakfast and then off to the boarder of DRC (The Congo). The dense rainforest's on the mountain slopes of the Virunga Ranges are home to several families of the endangered mountain gorilla. We set off on a trek with rangers through lush green jungle, in search of the mountain gorilla. Meeting our closest relatives face to face is an awesome experience. One of the younger gorilla's were intrigued with Adam's hat and tried to sneak it from his head. They didn't seem to concerned of our presence, but am sure they are use to seeing humans daily. It was a lovely trek taking 4 hrs to find them and another hour to get back to the base of the ranges. Children chased the car on the drive back through the village yelling 'give me pen'! Some of them must have been chasing us for up to 20mins. For a pen! Shame we didn't have any with us and if we did its hard cos you would never have enough for them all.
Next we move onto Lake Bunyony,i absolutely beautiful, we should have upgraded to one of the tree house tents but opted not as we didn't factor it into the budget. We were here for a few days and was nice to just chill out, play a bit of volleyball and drank cocktails into the early morning.
We head onto the river Nile for our first white-water rafting experience. After the first rapid we looked at each other and knew we were hooked. Wow what a feeling, we traveled 30kms down the river and over many grade 4 and 5 rapids and it sure does get the adrenalin pumping. We had to walk around the grade 6 rapid as they don't allow tourists to do it after having a few accidents, basically it is too big and only suicidal people like our raft master take on the challenge. Our Irish raft master was full of stories from the Nile which only added to the excitement.
Crossing back into Kenya, we travel along the Great Rift Valley. Created by the rifting and separation of the African and Arabian tectonic plates around 35 million years ago, the Great Rift Valley runs around 8,000 km from the Jordan Valley all the way to Mozambique!
In Nairobi we lose some of the group who have now finished their 57 days from Capetown to Nairobi. 4 of us stayed on the truck for the full 57 days and the rest was all mixed with people joining and departing on route... We head south to Tanzania. From our base at Arusha, which sits at the base of Mt Meru, We head off for our 3 day safari in smaller all-terrain vehicles to the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation area and Serengeti. The vast volcanic Ngorongoro Crater is the largest unbroken caldera in the world. Measuring 100 sq. miles with 600m walls, Ngorongoro is a microcosm of East Africa. The pink flamingos sit around the edge of the soda lake making it like a pink sheet over the lake. Apparently we saw a black rhino here but all we saw was a speck of black. We were a little disappointed to find out most of the wildlife had migrated up to the Masai Mara from the Serengeti. Although we were pleasantly surprised by the lions, due to their food moving on they were out in the day hunting for dinner. It actually worked out well for us, although we didn't see many elephant, giraffe and zebra it was great to see the lions. One lioness walked up and sat in the shade of the truck with her 3 cubs. So cute! They use walkie talkies in the Serengeti so if anyone sees anything there are normally an abundance of vehicles there within a few minutes. The animals don't seem to be bothered by it but we hope that some time in the future they put restrictions on the amount of vehicles going in.
Now for the lovely Zanzibar with its crystal clear turquoise water and sandy beaches. First we stop in Stone town and have a look around the city. What better way than to hire scooters and cruise around. Well we thought it was a good idea until one of the guys (Big Kev) fell off his scooter and cut himself up quite bad. If that wasn't bad enough the cops took him to the police station and he ended up having to bribe them to leave. Once we digest what had just happened we got back on the road and found a beach and had fish and chips on the water's edge. 2 more days are spent North West of the island in a hotel on a resort. We had some lovely seafood and had a massive night out with the group. Now we are starting to get a lot more comfortable with everyone and have a bit more fun together.
Via Dar es Salaam, we continue south across Tanzania to Malawi. We head to lake Malawi after 3 long days driving we finally arrive and feel like never getting back on the truck ever again. Malawi is a a great place to chill-out. We stopped at some markets and had drawn someone from the trucks name out of a hat. It was now the challenge to purchase that person something to wear for the evening for less that $3 USD. Adam doesn't look to bad in ladies leopard print under wear. The next day we attempt to kayak out to a small island but had to turn back when our friend (Big Kev from the scooter incident) sunk his. We also went hours riding for 3 hours Adam loved it and Rachel confirmed that its not for her at all! Boring!
At Chintheche Adam is sick while Rach walks 15kms to a small town. By this time exercise is something of the past and is quite a hard walk that would normally be a walk in the park.
At the Falls, We did a micro flight over the falls as we weren't going in to Zimbabwe so we took advantage of seeing the falls from both sides. Breathtaking. Adam walked with the lions, Rach Bungi jumped. Did a booze cruise on the river and got quite drunk and messy and watched the sun set. Best of all was the second encounter of the rapids on the Zambezi...... and it was just as good as the first time. Love it and will definitely do it again.
Crossing the border into Botswana, we visit Chobe National Park and do a sleep out there. Not the best game drive as we didn't get to see much wildlife but the camp out was interesting when the Hiyenas raided the cooler box. We did a boat cruise along the river, that was a bit of a booze cruise to in the end.
Still in Botswana we go out for another bush camp in the Okavango Delta for 2 nights. Mocoros took us up the Delta to camp where we did a few day game walks. Feels strange being out in the wild having the wild animals just on the other side of the tent.
Departing Maun, we drive north-west over the border and into Namibia we arrive at Etosha National Park. Etosha's game drive was the last for the trip and by far the best getting to see the big 5 all in one park is quite amazing. The Leopard is hard to find as it stays in trees but in the last 5 mins of the game drive we saw both the black Rhino and and baby leopard with its mum,. They were feeding right by the road, a truly memorable experience.
We visited a cheetah camp and the Spitzkoppe, We were able to pat some of the cheaters that they keep like pets, and treat like big cats. Which i guess they are! Watched them feed and enjoyed and night by the camp fire as a big group.
At the old German colonial settlement of Swakopmund, we went dune quad biking and sand boarding. We both agree that the quad biking was absolutely brilliant. The view was amazing as we plummeted down 90mtr high dunes at 80kms per hour! Great fun we were tempted to do it again the following day but the wind was much to strong to enjoy being anywhere near to the sand.
Next we drove onto Namib-Naukluft National Park, we scaled Dune 45 - one of the surreal blood red and apricot colored sand dunes. Once we reached the top some of us had a race down, Rach ate sand big time tumbling down most of the way. Continuing southwards, we drove to Orange River, where we played drinking janga. Each piece has instructions of something you must carry out and if you don't you have to skull the rest of your drink. Some dares can vary from having to purchase the person next to you a drink or swapping tops with the person next to you if they are male or female. Good fun but we got totally drunk and some of our mates thought it would be funny to move our tent well away from where we had originally set it up. We searched for it for ages going into the wrong peoples tents trying to find the right on, its not to easy when you are quite drunk and there are about 20 tents all exactly the same!
With a fairly large hang over we travel to the last destination before Capetown so tonight being the last night in the tent! We arrive into the region of Cederberg where we had a lovely night of wine tasting that once again turned into a big night. I think we were trying to prolong the end of the trip and sad goodbyes. Some people we had traveled with for 56 days, others for 40 and some for only 3 weeks but we were like a big family by the end and goodbyes were going to be sad.
We had one last dinner with the group where we thanked the crew and danced well into the night in Capetown. We still caught up with a few of the gang over the next 5 days in Capetown but for some this was goodbye :-(
We got a room at the Ritz where we could have been happy just to stay for the next 5 days enjoying not having to live from the backpack and public showers ect. But it would have been a shame not to explore Capetown. We went out to Robin island where we saw Nelson Mandela's prison cell, never made it up table mountain but sat in a lovely cafe and admired it for hours. Really it was nice to have some normality back and we simply enjoyed walking around the markets and waterfront. We hired a car and made our own tour down to Cape point where we watched the wales a