Blogs from Africa


Africa » Cameroon » South » Yaoundé April 23rd 2019

Returning from a business meeting and with a couple hours to spend before the windy road back to the Yaoundé airport we were looking for a unapologetically quick act of tourism. We had been holed-up in the Hilton Hotel and needed something a short distance away. Fortunately, the musee de blackitude is tucked away on a side road only five minutes walk from the hotel. This museum is the kind of thing that makes travelling in Africa such a joy. It is an unexpected gem housed in a rather rudimentary setting. The museum comprises an eclectic collection of costumes, musical instruments, masks, furniture, sculptures, utensils. A reconstruction of a village kitchen and a royal chamber. It is a result of personal passions and is testament to one persons desire to preserve a heritage. This private collection ... read more

Africa » Tanzania » North » Lake Manyara April 19th 2019

If you are in Manyara in Tanzania, you have to spend a night or two in the Gampling Lodge in Manyara…just amazing. It is fenced from the open meadows of the wilderness and the tented lodges are spread across the huge compound covered with large trees,- a peaceful world of solitude. There are tourists here and there, but it’s not a typical hyper tourist lodge. When the darkness falls, all go quiet except the distant wilderness. 8 pm is quite a late evening here, 9 pm is the ‘sound of silence’! We finished our Kilimanjaro Lager in the open pub overlooking the darkness and turned on the headlamps walking through the dark compound to our lodges. From the porch, I looked across the fence,- a dim light from the half moon made the open meadows and ... read more
The reception of African Glumping lodge-1
Red-and-yellow Barbete

Africa » Morocco » Taza-Al Hoceima-Taounate April 18th 2019

Al Houceima is well off the beaten tourist track but coming here gives you first hand insight into Riffian life, as this is the beating heart of the Rif region of Morocco. The bus from Tétouan was supposed to take 8 hours but in the end it was closer to 9. That may sound like a bit of a nightmare but it was reasonably comfortable, not too full, and the driver stopped at appropriate times for toilet breaks! What more could you ask for? The route took us back up to Chefchaouen, but it only skirted the town, then through the dramatic mountains until finally dropping down to the coast. Seeing the sign saying there were only a mere 32km left to go was quite a relief. At Al Houceima the bus station is quite a ... read more
El Houceima
El Houceima
El Houceima

Africa » Morocco » Tangier-Tétouan » Tétouan April 15th 2019

The journey on a local bus from Chefchaouen back down the hill to Tétouan was uneventful save for the kids needing sick bags after just the first couple of twists and turns! Luckily it didn't become an epidemic and we were soon jumping into a taxi and on our way to the Hotel Al Mandari.Perched on the edge of a cliff, it occupies a spectacular location in itself, but we were not prepared for the spectacle of the city of Tétouan. How this gets left off tourist itineraries is beyond belief. Our first stop was the impressive Place Feddane, an enormous square, gleaming white at the foot of the hill over which spreads the most magnificent display of white houses topped by a crumbling old barracks and kasbah. Where Chefchaouen was a blaze of beautiful blue, ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Tangier-Tétouan » Chefchaouen April 13th 2019

Leaving Spain at the Ceuta border you are greeted by a mass of taxis, but they are not all vying for your business. They seem to have a co-ordinator who takes all the hassle out getting a ride, and there’s no haggling for prices – they are fixed no matter how hard you try! It takes about two hours to travel along the pretty coastline, past Tétouan, and up into the beautiful hills to the blue city of Chefchaouen, all for €50. Not cheap, but we couldn’t be doing with getting a taxi to nearby Fnideq, changing on a bus to Tétouan, and then changing onto another bus to our final destination, all to save a few Euros. We were deposited at the base of the medina where an old man led us up through the ... read more

Africa » South Africa » Western Cape » Cape Town April 10th 2019

Welcome back. Cape Town has been an absolute joy and we have loved the freedom and the feel of the city. We have stayed at Greenpoint about a 30 minutes walk to the V&A waterfront, which is one of the vibrant parts of the city. As most of you know we make our money stretch by staying in 2 and 3 star places which are clean and comfortable. This place is in a great location and there is plenty of space, big lounge , kitchen, fridge and free laundry. However like much of South Africa it is all top show, not quite clean enough, there is a culture of just doing enough, and poor attention to detail. In some parts of Joburg there were ridiculous numbers of staff in cafes and restaurants but only a third ... read more
African penguins
Robben island from Table Mountain

Africa » Morocco » Grand Casablanca » Casablanca April 7th 2019

This is my second day in Morocco, arriving in Casablanca a few days before my tour commences to acclimatise and get over jet lag. Firstly, the food is delicious and I love sitting in street cafes sipping sweet mint tea, watching the world pass by. I secretly wish I remember more French but it is slowly coming back to me. I don’t have the heart to barter and haggle - these people are poor. Casablanca is rich with vibrancy and beauty and I’m so glad I could start my holiday in this place. ... read more

Africa » Morocco » Tangier-Tétouan » Tangier April 7th 2019

It’s 23 years since we visited Tangier on a long weekend from Gibraltar. Since then we’ve been on so many adventures and travelled so many miles. We wondered if, in the intervening years, this intriguing city had stayed the same. The truth is, neither of us could recognise it from our memories! We drove up to Valencia and stayed in the Travelodge near the airport ready for an early morning Ryanair flight to Morocco. Everything went smoothly and before we knew it our taxi was dropping us off at the foot of the medina and Google Maps was guiding us through the maze of streets to Riad Tingis. Fending off guides, official or not, was tiresome. We were relived to get to the door of the riad and led up to the rooftop terrace while we ... read more
Mosque by the port
Where the ocean meets the sea
Tea on the terrace

Africa » Egypt » Lower Egypt » Suez April 5th 2019

Transiting the Suez Canal 3rd April We sailed the Suez Canal back in 2014 and didn’t realise the changes that were coming. Since 2014 a new section has been built which I’ll come onto later. Not a history lesson but a bit of background to the Canal. It was constructed by the Suez Canal Company between 1859 and 1869, officially opened in November 1869 and is a sea level waterway that connects the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea unlike the Panama Canal that has locks because of the difference in sea levels between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. It’s length is just over 120 miles and takes approximately 10/12 hours to go through. The original canal was a single-lane waterway with passing locations in the Ballah Bypass and the Great Bitter Lakes. As I said ... read more

Africa » Tanzania » North » Tarangire National Park April 5th 2019

The KLM Airbus landed like a huge nightjar in the semi darkness of the Kilimanjaro airport in Tanzania. I checked my watch. It was 9:30 pm. I looked out the window; the distant hills in the moonlit night were a mystique sketch in the horizon. Lovely! Instantly I fell in love with Tanzania. Love at first sight. Little did I know that I will be wheel chaired to a flight halfway around the world from the same airport in the next few days. No, I am not going to talk about it in this video blog. I want to share the stories of beautiful Tanzania that I have loved and been loved by the people; Tanzania that has emptied its love and wilderness to me from the day one. And no regrets! The immigration formality took ... read more
Tarangire River bed is dry
He has the right of way!
Landscape of Tarangire National Park

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