Gorf Tessa and Keith


Gorf Tessa and Keith

A travelling frog from New Zealand, I'm on a trip with my human friends, Tessa and Keith.

Africa » Madagascar » Antsiranana December 30th 2010

Christmas is a bit of a turn around one for us, unpacking from our last trip and organising for the next. It's very quiet on the streets of Diego with all the shops closed, the locals in their Sunday best and lots off to church. We celebrate with a restaurant lunch of chicken, mashed potatoes and green beans and even splash out on some dessert. It's great to chat on the phone with family back home and hear about their Christmas day thousands of miles away. Luckily by the time evening rolls around the market is bustling again and we stock up on supplies and pack for a few days camping in Ankarana National Park. Next morning our trusty guide, Laudea, arrives, we fill a couple of large water containers and locate a taxi-brousse heading in ... read more
Up close and personal
Large scary scorpion
Dry forest

Africa » Madagascar » Antsiranana December 24th 2010

We are all very keen to spend some time snorkelling and Keith wants to take a good look at some of Madagascar's marine critters. Off the far northwest coast, Nosy Hara (island of large rocks) is at the centre of one of the country's most remote marine reserves. We are heading there for a Robinson Crusoe style visit with our trusty side kick from Montagne d'Ambre, Laudea. We bump, slip and slide our way in the taxi-brousse for hours on a track filled with deep, muddy holes which we'd normally only attempt in a four wheel drive. Surprisingly we only have to get out to push once. When we arrive in the tiny fishing village of Ampasindava it's in the heat of the day, siesta time, and we eventually locate a captain who is willing to ... read more
In the village
Approaching Nosy Hara
The beautiful island

Africa » Madagascar » Antsiranana December 18th 2010

We're off to a roaring start. Bags packed for four day's camping, food bought at the market, appropriate taxi-brousse stop located, all very efficiently. Then it all comes to an abrupt halt. The 'imminent' arrival of the taxi-brousse actually occurs after three hours wait in the heat. Plenty of opportunity, then, to watch the comings and goings on the busy market corner. Eventually when the aging modified Peugeot 404 ute rattles in, our bags are thrown on top of the canopy and tied down. We're allocated the vazaha seats in the front while the locals pile onto the bench seats on the back. And we're off - on a few hours circuit around the town, that is. Picking up everything from bags of fertiliser to timber to corrugated iron. The taxi-brousse is positively groaning by the ... read more
Checked out by a Sandford's Brown lemur
Le Petit Lac
The adventurer

Africa » Madagascar » Antsiranana December 13th 2010

Diego Suarez, or 'Dago' to the locals, is the major town in the far North of Madagascar and the base for our travels for the next few weeks. Though its not particularly attractive in itself its handy to lots of beautiful beaches and some interesting National Parks. To get there from the capital you can spend two days in a taxi-brousse (bush taxi) on the bumpy roads, but an hour on the plane sounds like a pretty good option at this stage. From the plane it appears that there's far less natural forest in this country than we expected, so we hope the national parks and reserves are providing sufficient refuge for the vast array of interesting and unusual species that we'd like to see. Diego is perched on the edge of the sea and our ... read more
Papa Noel!

Africa » Madagascar » Antananarivo December 11th 2010

Another late arrival sees us haggling yet again over a taxi fare, this time in French outside Antananarivo's Ivato airport. We settle on 30,000. Sound a little expensive? Fortunately we're dealing in Ariary and 10,000Ar is about NZ$7. At this time of night its a fair price to the central city. We're staying in the slightly seedy part of Haute-Ville and apart from a few girls of the night on the street its pretty quiet. Madagascar was a French colony and along with the language it has obviously retained various other aspects of French life. Old Renault taxis and baguettes are everywhere. We catch one (taxi that is) to the Rova, an old Royal palace on a hilltop overlooking the city. Unfortunately its closed for renovations but we get an informative guided tour of the local ... read more
The Rova
The beautiful Lac Anosy
The not quite so beautiful Lac Anosy

Africa » Kenya » Coast Province December 7th 2010

To get to the southern Kenya coast we have to drive through the city of Mombasa, East Africa's largest port and we're expecting this to present some obstacles. However, after only a brief battle with the traffic and some fortuitous guess work on the directions we're happily through and on the car ferry to Likoni. We are staying at Tiwi Beach with it's palm trees, white sand and beautiful warm water. The air temperature hovers around the mid 30's (Celsius) so we are toasty, even in our lightest clothes. Although the tide is low we still manage to find a couple of nice reef pools to snorkel in. Immediately we realise we've swapped lions on the plains for Lion Fish in the water. Funnily enough these pretty red and white striped fish are also potentially deadly. ... read more
Mangroves and coral garden walk
Shells for sale
Never ending maintenance

Africa » Kenya November 30th 2010

We've decided that self drive safaris are the way to go. Armed with a road map, guide book, advice from local friend George and a rental four wheel drive we are off in search of more wildlife at our own pace. Driving is very exciting in Nairobi, the roads full of fume-belching buses, darting minibus matatus, motorbikes, bicycles and tuk tuks all tooting and aggressively jostling for position on the densely packed roads. At least they are driving on the side of the road that we are used to. Amongst it all pedestrians duck in between cars and an array of wooden handcarts claim the sides of the road. Outside of the city on the open road inject speed, heavily laden trucks and buses, unpredictably potholed roads and drivers overtaking on blind corners and the exciting ... read more
A pause between bites
Dung Beetle antics

Africa » Kenya November 23rd 2010

You've probably heard the stories about Nairobi ('Nairobbery'). We have. We arrive at 3.30am, the airport ATM is out of money and we have no American dollars or Kenyan shillings for our entry visas. Welcome to Kenya, but hakuna matata (no worries) at customs they are helpful and we eventually get through with little hassle. We find Nairobi unexpectedly safe and hear from numerous locals that behaviour on the streets has improved a lot over recent years. But the traffic is as mad as ever and at the busiest times it's often quicker to walk than to take transport. Tessa meets up again with her Kenyan friend Stanley who she hasn't seen for twenty years. It's great for Keith and me to meet him too and get a local perspective on Kenya. We also have a ... read more
A big sleepy lion
Maasai kids with their cattle

Africa » Egypt » Upper Egypt » Luxor November 16th 2010

From the airport our friend Nadim's coordinator, Ahmed, takes us to our exotic accommodation in Luxor - a felucca moored on the bank of the Nile river. The Nile Breeze is a classic Nile river sailing boat that sleeps up to twelve people. It's companion motor boat is used for ferrying, as a kitchen and is complete with a chef and a boatman who doubles as a waiter. Already set up for us is a romantic cabin on deck. Perfect. We spend a couple of hours lounging and planning our attack on Luxor, before meeting our local guide Heba. We start on the east bank of the Nile where she takes us to the remains of Karnak and Luxor temples both built over three thousand years ago and situated in the middle of the city. They ... read more
Feast on the boat
Karnak temple
The crew, Luxor Temple

Africa » Egypt » Lower Egypt » Cairo November 12th 2010

The traffic is crazier than ever in Cairo. We are in four or five lanes of cars and trucks with all the drivers ignoring the lane lines. It's pretty manic. There is a haze across the city, apparently they're burning the rice fields at the moment and I guess this is mixing with the dust and car fumes. It's lovely to be met at the airport by our local friend Nadim and his driver and quite surreal as we head to his home to see the nearby pyramids looming out of the haze. We catch up with him and Cherine over a delicious home cooked dinner and plan the rest of our time in Egypt. It turns out that we have arrived at the time of an important religious feast, including a week long national holiday. ... read more
Papyrus making demonstration
The old city
Roast what?

Tot: 2.662s; Tpl: 0.014s; cc: 10; qc: 86; dbt: 0.031s; 2; m:saturn w:www (; sld: 1; ; mem: 1.5mb