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Africa » Ethiopia » Amhara Region » Gondar December 10th 2018

We made it to Gondar – the Camelot of Ethiopia. The trip here wasn’t too bad but ended up being 4 step journey and as expected a long day as buses leave at 5am! It turned out to be a easier than I expected as we didn’t have much waiting time and once we reached Gashena about 2 hours south of Lalibela, the roads were excellent (the road is called the Chinese road – built quite recently by guess who). The only annoying part of the trip was that our bus does not take us all the way into Gondar but drops us about 10km outside meaning we need to take a local bus into the town. The town here is something of a revelation after Lalibela. We are staying in what could loosely be described ... read more
Gondar Royal compound
Gondar
Church interior Gondar

Africa » Morocco » Marrakech-Tensift-El Haouz » Marrakech December 9th 2018

It is 6.36am. The very first call to prayer started some time ago. I heard it from my bed. The calling woke me and I had no idea where I was / were I am. Then I realised, not through memory but through touch - the bed, unfamiliar, hard, short in length, wide, crisp, in a Riad, in the Medina, in Marrakesh. I get up straight away to hear the callings to prayer that Elias Canetti wrote of when he lived in Marrakesh. On the rooftop veranda of the Riad, I find that I am surrounded on all 4 sides by the amplified call to morning prayer. In my complete ignorance, I follow the sounds from different calls from the minarets across the city by rushing around the roof in complete darkness, scattering cats ahead of ... read more
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calling to prayer

Africa » Senegal » Cape Verde Peninsula » Gorée Island December 7th 2018

I came across a new word recently; “bleisure”. It is the ugly conflation of the words business and leisure. To reveal the true ghastliness it should probably be pronounced in a Californian accent and should rhyme with seizure. It’s meaning is the combination of a leisure trip and a business trip. I’ve often tacked on some leisure time to various business visits. More often than not this was due to my previous employers being too mean to fly me back on an expensive Friday night flights. Often marooned in various places e.g. Houston (massively underrated) or Jakarta (un-rateable) for an extra day or so. They’ve proved to be impromptu bonding sessions with colleagues that no amount of expensive team building nonsense would ever substitute. More often there is some down time within the schedule for a ... read more
The House of Slaves
Door of No Return

Africa » Uganda December 3rd 2018

Anyone we met travelling south that had come through Uganda only had good things to say about it, so Amy and I were both looking forward to travelling through there. Our first Ugandan experience was a good one, and unusually it involved a money changer at the border post. Normally changing money at the border involves being chased down by a handful of men waving various currencies at you, whereby you negotiate a terrible rate whilst hiding behind a lorry in a notional attempt to be out of the line of sight of any policemen (which always makes me laugh as it's not as if they don't know what's going on). On this occasion, however, we had negotiated a poor rate on our Rwandan francs and exchanged the cash, only for another changer to come over ... read more
Our open sided hut on Lake Bunyonyi
Lake Bunyonyi
Dusk on Lake Bunyonyi

Africa » Seychelles » Cerf Island December 3rd 2018

For a four day holiday weekend in Dubai (celebrating commemoration day and National Day on Dec 2nd), I decided to take a break and do something fun. While I love the Christmas markets in Europe, I wanted to go somewhere close and somewhere new. I considered Cyprus, Greece, but finally settled on Seychelles. I am happy with my decision. For most, particularly in this region, Seychelles means a resort on white sandy beaches, fruity drinks while sunbathing, and without a care in the world. I wanted this too, but I also wanted to experience the culture of a new country. Cerf Island Marine Resort seemed to meet all of my requirements, so I booked. The resort had someone, Ron, meet me at the airport where he drove me to Eden Island to catch a boat. From ... read more
View of St Anne Marine Reserve
View of sunset from my room
My room

Africa » Namibia » Swakopmund December 1st 2018

Day 13: Picked up a car and blitzed 3 hours NE to Waterberg national park. Plenty of Timon's Pumba's on the road side. Speaking of roads, their straights are so long - I could see the mirage fade into the horizon at one point. The park itself is a table mountain plateau, with rhino's on top, if I heard the guide correctly... I shan't lie, I did splash out a little, relative to the backpacker scene. But it was cheaper than any other solution I could conjure up. And the four-post bed with rhino-themed sheets shamelessly justified it. Venturing out, I did a 10km loop through the valley, reaching a spring surrounded by deer and baboons. Felt like a little scene from the jungle book. In saying that, the heat of the day led to a ... read more
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Africa » Namibia » Sossusvlei November 26th 2018

Day 6: Up at 6am to enjoy the cool of the morning. Really enjoying that new Mumford and Sons album. Top notch stuff. Jumped on the Safari bus to begin the first errand to the distant attractions. Full bus, so plenty of people to yarn too as the hours of gravel roads passed by. Still getting called every name variation under the sun, but I can't claim I'm doing a better job in return. Especially with the African 'click' languages. I will no doubt repeat this, but there's something quintessentially beautiful about the Southern African landscapes. A bit like NZ, I get the sense the journey to places is half the adventure. We arrived in Soussouvlei after 6 hours on the road and set up the tents before a relatively early night. I get the sense ... read more
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Africa » Rwanda » Ville de Kigali November 25th 2018

This is my first visit to Kigali the capital of Rwanda, and the country itself. I'm at 158 countries visited on my own little count. The official excuse to come here for 6 days is to play the Rwanda Golf Open. Little disclaimer, it is not that easy to write a blog about a country that has gone through so much, while spending my time on a golf course, in a country that is still one of the poorer in the world. So I would appreciate your understanding. The country is certainly one of the most amazing in Africa. So much has been done here the last 20 years...and at the same time, there is a lot of things that cannot be told and about which I cannot write about. So yes, it is complicated to ... read more
Genocide Memorial, remembering this cruel year of 1994!
Sunday in Kigali.....best way to go around is by motorbike taxi...just over 1usd for a 7km ride!
Here, ten belgian commandos, working under UN, were murdered on the 7th April 1994! We won't forget!

Africa » Namibia » Windhoek November 18th 2018

Decided to use this format because it's easier to put together on a phone. Day 1: A f*cking long flight. A constant stream of food. Good movies. A cheeky 4 hour nap. Doha airport is huge. Day 2: Still flying. This time over the Horn of Africa for a sunrise and no one on my row of seats. Arrived in Namibia to a rather nonchalant international airport. Got off the plane thinking "it's too hot" - a stance I hold passionately by between the hours of 10am to 6pm. A hairy shuttle to the Windhoek, weaving between cars and trucks at an average of 120km/hr and briefly thinking, 'maybe it's over before it's begun'. Got to the quaint backpackers at midday, and started browsing the options for the days ahead. Went for a stroll to the ... read more
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Africa » South Africa November 18th 2018

Didn’t get to Robyn Island as the water was too rough and the ferry was cancelled. This is the island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. So instead we hung around the waterfront and had a nice day. The next day we drove out to Cape of Good Hope. The wind was howling and you could easily imagine ships crashing into the rocks as they tried to go around the cape many years ago. We also drove Chapman’s Peak Drive which is considered one of the most beautiful marine drives in the world and it was pretty good!... read more
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