Matthew Kuriger and Birgit Blacklaws

Matt and Birgit

Matthew Kuriger and Birgit Blacklaws

Matt and Birgit are travelling through India and Africa. This is the story of our adventure.



Africa » South Africa » Gauteng October 29th 2010

Sanibonani from Soweto. Despite some initial confusion with our booking, we eventually arrived at the colourful township of Soweto. We stayed at Lebo's Soweto Backpackers, run by a young guy called Lebo and his Swedish wife. His parents were part of the 1976 Soweto uprising. Fleeing to Botswana he was then raised by his grandmother until he could be safely smuggled back to his parents in Botswana under a false name. His grandfather was a founding member of the PAC party and he grew up hearing stories about the struggle. Frustrated at seing white tour guides take white tourists around in buses explaining how dangerous the township is, Lebo set out to change this preconception - after all Soweto is the homeland of the black people, its history and influence on politics today can only be ... read more
These friendly elders were sharing some umqombothi (home brew)
Breakfast in Soweto
The children clapped and danced after seeing their photo

Africa » South Africa October 19th 2010

We spent a few days at uKhahlamba-Drakensburg Park starting at Monks Cowl. It was beautiful walk to Nandi Falls, through farmland covered in wild flowers and then into the forest filled with the sweet smell of ferns and damp undergrowth. The view of the mountains was spectacular. We had timed the walk perfectly. On the way back to our lodge, the heavens opened and it poured with rain. Our next stop was the small town of Kestel. There was not much going on here, but we stayed in a low key yet fabulous guesthouse. Rain, hail, thunder and lightning stopped us in our tracks. We had hoped to do the amphitheatre walk, one of the most famous hikes in the Drakensburg but the wild weather continued. The weather cleared briefly later in the day so we ... read more
We had to reverse down the road to give this huge white rhino some breathing space
Giraffe crossing
Leopard hanging in the tree


Leaving stormy Cape Town, we picked up a rental car to begin our journey around South Africa. No trip here would be complete without venturing to the wine-lands area of Stellenbosch, a gorgeous European town set among some of the most picturesque patchwork of vineyards and dramatic mountain ranges. We sampled the wines at Neethlingshof, a wine farm at the end of a gorgeous tree lined avenue, with rose gardens and delightful wines. Unfortunately we were short on time so could only sample one wine farm in this area. Driving through the beautiful Western Cape along the Garden Route was interesting in itself. Stunning scenery of golden beaches and forested mountains mingled with mansions and huge rudimentary townships that sprawl for miles along the main roads. We had lunch at a café while we watched people ... read more
The famous Mama Tofu
Sleeping on a rock is obviously not as uncomfortable as it looks
A little girl we met on our visit to the Cintsa township

Africa » South Africa » Western Cape » Cape Town October 7th 2010

We arrived safely to the Mother City after an over night bus from Windhoek, some 1200km. It was not nearly as bad as we expected, although we were delayed by 4 hours. We were met at the bus station by our dear friends Kate and Kerr who braved the wild weather to pick us up. South Africa has really turned on the weather, it is cold and wet and windy. For a few days Table Mountain was covered in cloud on and off and the sea battered the coast. Even in the dreary weather, Cape Town is truly one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The mountain backdrop, emerald green vineyards and the wild Atlantic coast with golden sand beaches make it an appealing place to stay. But, South Africa is all about contrast ... read more
Dinner with good friends
Mandela, the national hero
The infamous Robben Island

Africa » Namibia » Luderitz September 28th 2010

After the excitement of the desert we then headed to Luderitz, a small town sandwiched between the Namib Desert and the battered Atlantic Coast. There is little plant life here, just dry barren rocks and colourful German heritage buildings. We drove to Dias Point which is about 22km out of Luderitz. A huge lighthouse let us know that we had arrived at the barren point. Walking down to the shore we could see flamingoes and hear the seals on the nearby island. At the top of the hill overlooking the sea is a replica cross of the one that was erected by the Portuguese in 1488 on their return from the Cape of Good Hope. There was hardly any wind and the sea was calm apart from the surf that pounded the rocks. A real highlight ... read more
The prominent Evangelical Lutheran Church, Felsenkirche in Luderitz
Diaz point
The cross at Diaz Point, a replica of the one erected by the Portuguese in 1488

Africa » Namibia September 18th 2010

We have spent most of the week in Swakopmund, a lovely city with a distinctive German vibe. The city lies on the edge of the desert with sand dunes nearly reclaiming the houses that have been built there. It is much cooler here which after the heat of the desert is really refreshing. Nothing like a few days in a proper bed, some nice food and wine and good company to feel ready to go again. Swakopmund was a great place to be based while exploring some of the surrounding areas. We headed to Spitzkoppe which is described as the Matterhorn of Africa and it is certainly a very bizarre formation of rocks. It rises 1728m from the plains of south Damaraland and is one of Namibia's most recognisable landmarks. Next to Spitzkoppe are the equally ... read more
The Matterhorn of Africa - Spitzkoppe
This seal was enjoying the warmth of the sun so much she nearly lost balance and fell off the rock, Cape Cross
Sossusvlei

Africa » Namibia » Kaokoland September 16th 2010

After Etosha National Park we had one night in Outjo, a small town with flowered bougainvillea on every corner and a delicious German bakery which I think is its claim to fame. Bus loads of German tourists poured into this bakery while we had our lunch clearing it of apple strudel and chicken schnitzel. Tribal Himba women set up a small market in the town. Their lovely red skin is produced by mixing ochre, butter and bush herbs. This gives their skin a burnt orange hue which serves as a sunblock and insect repellent. We had a big drive to the small settlement in the north-west of Opuwo and such an interesting place, dusty streets lined with small commercial buildings and topless Himba women walking with the beautifully and colourfully dressed Hereo. It was quite a ... read more
The face of Africa
This old lady has no idea how old she but she was horrified to hear that we did not have children
The look of concern on this child's young face

Africa » Namibia » Etosha National Park September 10th 2010

We have spent a few relaxing days in the surprisingly European city of Windhoek, much of the time was spent sorting out the rest of the trip but for once the information centre was really helpful, great free maps and accommodation guides whcih makes a change. For Matt's birthday we headed to the Casa Blanca hotel which was the most luxurious thing we have done in months! It was like an old moorish castle covered in beautiful bougainvillea flowers. For dinner we headed to the famous Joe's Beerhouse, a restaurant well known for its game meat (which is actually farmed), it was such a fun place. It is huge, full of old farming African relics, the bar stools are old wooden toilet seats, deers' heads hang from the wall, with huge the fish in the small ... read more
The majestic white rhino
Enjoying a snack
The amount of animals at the one waterhole was spectacular

Africa » Botswana » North-West August 31st 2010

!Kao from Botswana. Despite Livingstone only being 70km from Botswana, it was the slowest border crossing yet. Matt had tried to pull a swift one over immigration in Zambia by not buying a new visa when he came back from Zimbabwe. Luckily for him, I managed to divert the Zambian immigration official - he checked my passport first, very carefully and then we started chatting. He did not pay any attention to Matt's visa status so we luckily avoided a huge fine. Once through the border we then had to wait over 2 hours in a queue for the rickety ferry to take us 750m across Chobe River. There was only one barge which could only fit two small and one medium sized truck. Half a dozen trucks were pushed ahead of us in the queue ... read more
A healthy sized crocodile relaxing in the late afternoon sun
Ready for the sunset mokoro ride
A pod of hippos kept us entertained for a while

Africa » Zambia August 27th 2010

We have just finished a quick trip in the huge country that is Zambia. Our first stop was South Laungwa National Park which is truly in the middle of nowhere down a maze of terribly dusty unsealed roads. The appalling road conditions made it slow driving. Both shock absorbers blew on our truck and while we waited on the side of the road, a group of children came over to watch our repairs. We got out our plastic cricket set and showed them how to play which they loved but when they chased the ball, a couple of little girls were knocked over and trampled on in the rush making them cry, which obviously was not our intention! We left the game with them hoping they would play but I suspect one person will take it ... read more
Looking over Victoria Falls from the microlight
Victoria Falls - from Zimbabwe
African sunsets, we are going to miss these




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