Dear Africa,

Elephants Tanzania

This year I finally took the plunge and booked something I have been dreaming about for years- an overland trip through Africa. During the summer I spent three months exploring a new region and having incredible experiences. This trip nearly didn’t take place though.

I have been lucky enough to travel to over 50 countries, but the truth is I was scared of travelling around Africa. So scared, that the night before my flight I was in tears, panicking, and stressing which made me incredibly close to cancelling the whole thing. The first few days I was nervous, and a bit like a new born giraffe trying to find its legs. Now, I have finished the trip I look back and think why was I so nervous? There is definitely a whole blog post right there!

My overland Africa journey has enlightened me in so many ways and reminded me why I love travel. Now I am busying adding to my Africa bucket list and eagerly looking for bargain flights back to continent of the hakuna matata. Before, I head off into the sunset again, I have written some postcards back to the countries I visited on this trip….

Dear Kenya

Walking out of the airport I did now know what to expect and it is not every country you get kissed by a giraffe!  Though, I wouldn’t say it was the best kiss I have had ? I have visited many capital cities but you completely surprised- a safari park in a city. How is that possible? Wild giraffes+ city skylines= pretty amazing. And how could I forget the baby elephants? To be honest, Kenya you have started the internal debate inside me: are giraffes or elephants cuter?  Kenya, you spoiled me on my safaris – lions chilling by the trucks, elephants crossing the road, giraffes standing to attention and cheetahs getting ready to hunt. I will be back one day (hopefully with a bigger budget!).

See you soon!

kenya Giraffe

Hello Uganda!

Uganda, you surprised me. I think I may want to live here…. There is so much beauty within the country with tea plantations, lakes, safari plains. When I was told gorillas would be the highlight of my overland trip I scoffed but you know what?  It was! Being so close to them was surreal and baby gorillas are far cuter than human babies! Here’s to another gin and tonic while kayaking to the start of the Nile!

Gorillas_Uganda

Rwanda,

Our time together was quick but you taught me a lot. What has happened in Rwanda can’t be expressed in words and seeing the genocide memorial was a reminder of the importance of teaching history. Watching families come to pay respects to lost loved ones will be a memory that stays with me and I know will have an impact on my future actions. Thank you.

Hujambo Tanzania,

So you had a lot to live up to after Kenya but you definitely did it.  I love how hakuna matata is battered around every day- I will be taking the mantra back to the UK with me 😉 I saw pride rock and it seemed the Disney magic is still swirling round as the animals came out in force every time the circle of life was sung (or maybe we were so off key they thought we were a wounded comrade). I completed the big five with an elusive sight of a leopard climbing a tree, I had to choose between watching lions chilling or elephants bathing at one watering hole, and we had a lioness and her cub playing alongside the truck side. I got to camp in the Serengeti and fall asleep listening to the animal calls (thankfully I was so tired I slept through unlike some of the others in the group!). I still can’t decide between elephants or giraffes being the favourite animals though. Tanzania you were pure magic. And I haven’t even mentioned Zanzibar yet…

Hakuna matata

Elephants Tanzania

Hey there Malawi!

If I am honest I knew nothing about you before this trip, and if I am even more truthful I probably couldn’t even place you on a map (terrible travel blogger I know!). But, in a way that made my time visiting you even sweeter. You were THE big surprise of the whole trip: stunning landscapes, such friendly people, and a reminder of what community means. I brought some carvings of a giraffe so maybe they are my favourite animals? I will definitely be back and in the meantime the mask I carved (not very well) is hanging from my wall as a reminder.

Yendani Bwino ( travel safely)

Malawi Sunrise

Dear Zambia,

One of the seven natural wonders of the world, 1700m wide, 500,00 cubic metres of water are all facts I have heard to describe your biggest attraction. Before, I arrived the numbers didn’t really mean anything to me and I was non-plussed about seeing it. How wrong could I be? Because I don’t think I could ever get fed up of this sight. I walked along it and got very, very wet, I did a microflight and loved it so much I had the most spontaneous moment of my life and booked a helicopter ride to go back over the falls, I swam on the edge and looked over and I still want more. Zambia, you have given me an appreciation for epic waterfalls.

zambia Victoria Falls

Botswana,

Botswana my visit was short but very, very sweet. I love your dedicated to protecting and supporting wildlife. Poaching is so rife throughout Africa and it was a breath of fresh air to see the problem being tackled successfully somewhere.

Zimbabwe,

Before this trip everything I have heard about you was negative. But putting aside the problems you are facing your scenery is stunning and I got to walk with rhinos! I hope in the future more tourists will be able to explore the wonders of your country.

Rhino

Hello Lesotho!

The top things on my Africa bucket list were gorillas and Lesotho. Before I went everyone asked me Lesotho, where is that? It is that country you can see in the middle of South Africa. You may not be big Lesotho, but you are beautiful. I spent day’s horse trekking and hardly seeing any other tourists. And you gave me opportunity to sing: “do you want to build a snowman?” while slowly freezing as who really expects snow in Africa?! (I didn’t!)  And I had my future told- in a few years I will let you know if it was correct or not (but spoiler alert I am never going to be rich which isn’t surprising as my bucket list is still long).

Tsamaea hantle

Lesotho horse

Swaziland,

I think out of all the countries I visited you intrigue me the most. One day I will write a blog post about you.

Truck_Swaziland

Last but not least South Africa,

My first international trip was with school to Durban and it was that trip that made me realise there was a whole world outside the UK and I wanted to explore it. Coming back to South Africa 10 years later I can’t believe how much I have achieved and changed in that time. I never would have imagine living in Malaysia, China, and South Korea. Sometimes we are so busy looking forward we forget to look back and feel thankful for everything. Sitting on the beach in Durban for sunrise gave me opportunity to do that and I would like to say a huge thanks to the teachers who organised that trip and set my life on the path it has taken.

One of the aspects of Asia I love so much is the cohesion of cultures over hundreds of years and within many of the countries on this trip it is hard to see this. But in South Africa the intertwining of cultures has made you the beautiful country you are. To think last time I came I was marvelling over large snails… how I have grown up! You have so much to give that I can’t wait to come and explore some more. And I am craving biltong.

South Africa

Thank you to everyone I met on this trip, you made it the amazing journey that it was!

Rachel xxx 

 

I received a discount from Acacia Africa but all thoughts and opinions are my own and I would highly recommend them as an overland company.

Written By

Welcome to theTaylormadetravels! I am a travel blogger always looking for the next adventure to discover beautiful places, meet amazing people and eat great food. Currently based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and exploring Asia.