In TWO DAYS I leave for Africa.
Crazy, right?! Let me back up for a moment and explain how this evolved. In early 2014 — just a few weeks after returning from my 9-month RTW trip — I weighed my future options. Should I move back to Los Angeles? Try living in New York City? Continue traveling? And I kept coming back to the fact that I’m at a unique place in life where I don’t have a job, car, or apartment — all things that sometimes prevent people from long-term trips. So I decided to keep the travel momentum going and research my next destination: AFRICA.
I spent the next few months making the rounds in New England and California — visiting friends, family, and enjoying down time. This gave me the opportunity to plan my trip. I talked to friends who recently traveled to Africa (shout out to Mel, Phil, Mike) and checked out tour companies to learn about various routes for exploring the continent. Then I reached out to a few of those companies to inquire about sponsorship, and slowly but surely my itinerary fell into place.
Without further ado, here is my four-month plan:
First up, I’ll fly into Marrakech for a 15-day Morocco Encompassed trip with Nomadic Tours. I’m most looking forward to the blue architecture of Chefchaouen, leather tanneries in Fes, and desert landscapes of the Sahara.
Then I’ll fly to Ethiopia for about 10 days of solo travel. I plan to see St. George Church in Lalibela and possibly Blue Nile Falls, then spend a few days visiting tribes around Omo Valley. I expect there will be some fascinating photo opportunities in this country.
KENYA & UGANDA
On July 5th, I’ll embark on an 18-day Mountain Gorillas to the Mara tour with Acacia Africa to visit gorillas in Uganda and the Masai Mara reserve in Kenya. I can’t wait to watch these creatures in their natural habitat.
Then in late July I’ll fly to Mount Kilimanjaro to climb the tallest peak in Africa with Zara Tours. We expect to hike the Machame Route over seven days. BONUS: My sister Bethany will join me for this trek!
After Kilimanjaro, we’ll spend 10 days in August exploring the highlights of Tanzania with Nomad Tours: the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater (I’m still learning how to pronounce that), plus the white sand beaches of Zanzibar. Bethany will join me for this tour, too! You can follow our updates on Instagram and Twitter (#SistersOnSafari).
MALAWI, ZAMBIA, ZIMBABWE, BOTSWANA
I’ll spend the rest of August on an overland trip down Eastern Africa, also with Nomad Tours. Highlights will be Lake Malawi, South Luangwa National Park, Lusaka, Victoria Falls, Muan, the Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, and Khama Rhino Sanctuary.
In September, I’ll make my way across South Africa from Johannesburg to Cape Town. I’ll do this on my own using bus transportation and stopping along the way at Kruger National Park, Durban, Addo Elephant Park, Port Elizabeth, and more.
Finally, I plan to tour Namibia for about 12 days. This will happen in late September or early October, so I have plenty of time to settle on a tour company. I hope to visit Fish River Canyon, Etosha National Park, and the giant sand dunes of Sossusvlei.
Whew, I’m exhausted just typing that.
This has all come together faster than I anticipated and, devastatingly, I will miss the Tony Awards by two days. I’m too upset to talk about it. BUT it’ll be worth it to kick off this huge adventure and explore a continent I’ve only briefly set foot in while visiting Cairo last December.
Am I nervous? Totally. Probably more nervous than when I set out on my epic RTW trip last year. But only because Africa is uncharted territory for me, and I suspect that once I get my traveling legs back in a few days those nerves will dissipate.
I’ve been gearing up the past few weeks, placing massive orders on Amazon and getting vaccines and medications for the trip. Luckily I’ve already had most travel shots so I only needed a booster for meningitis. I picked up a four month supply of antimalarials and plenty of antibiotics.
On this blog, I’ll spend the next two months wrapping up the last few countries of my RTW trip — Israel, Turkey, Egypt, and Dubai — but I’ll pop in occasionally with Africa updates. To keep in touch with my real-time adventures, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Thanks for following along! Sharing photos with YOU adds meaning to my travels and enriches my experience abroad.
T minus 48 hours until the next chapter of my journey begins…!