Diaries of Matthew Backpacking Africa, Part 2
Remember the last email I received from my friend Matt who’s currently backpacking Africa? (If you don’t, you can read Diaries of Matthew Backpacking Africa). Well here is the last email I’ll be receiving from his travels in Africa. I’m looking forward to meeting up with him in the next few weeks! Last time I saw him was January, during a brunch where I was sharing my Kilimanjaro experience and him, getting ready for it.
so this will be the last update in Africa.
I’m currently sitting at the Entebbe airport in Uganda, waiting for my last flight back to Europe. I am in the middle of a 36 hour journey which began earlier this morning in Burundi, then a layover in Nairobi, Kenya and now a terribly long 14 hour layover in Uganda. Not a terribly eventful trip but something interesting is always bound to occur. I will fly to London and spend a week with a friend who lives in Croydon, south London. He was one of the friends I met on the Overland tour from Zambia to Namibia. I’ll spend the next week in Oslo and around Norway with friends I met in Zimbabwe at the Lion Conservation project. So this will be a fantastic wrap-up to the trip.
This trip has been…well, it has been the type of journey that I will be proud to talk about in 50 years. I have had the privilege to meet so many wonderful people. Speaking to them or even just listening to them has both opened my eyes and confirmed some perspectives on life that I truly believe in.
Visiting the various towns, cities and countries of east and southern africa gave me a greater understanding of the african continent. Unfortunately, I witnessed similar poverty in much of these regions, presumably a similar problem that plagues the rest of the continent.
Time here has both flown by and stood still. Everytime I look back at what I did the previous week…usually in a different country, it seems like forever-ago. But after Kilimanjaro, when I came down with a stomach infection, my flight that I was to take 3 days later seem to be hovering in the distant future, far out of arms reach.
Here are some of my favorite moments from the trip:
- Seeing Mt.Kilimanjaro for the first time after the plane touchdown (Tanzania)
- Looking up at the peak of Kilimanjaro and the beautiful skies just before bed (Tanzania)
- Reaching Uhuru peak at the top of Kilimanjaro…5:56am (Tanzania)
- Viewing all the chimps…particularly the baby one who liked to tease us and show by jumping from tree to tree at Gombe National Park (Tanzania)
- Bungee jump over Victoria falls…111metres (Zambia/Zimbabwe)
- Getting soaked head to toe walking in front of the Victoria Falls (Zambia/Zimbabwe)
- Camping for 2 days in the Okavango Delta (Botswana)
- The game dinner at Joe’s Steakhouse in Windhoek which included croc, oryx, kudu, zebra, ostrich (Namibia)
- Working with the 3 C lions in Vic Falls…Chobe, Chindu & Chisa (Zimbabwe)
- Watching 9 male lions fight for dominance over a single mass of food…Antelope Park (Zimbabwe)
- Standing next to a bull buffalo that had recently been killed…unfortunately this animal had to be shot because there was a snare stuck in his hoof, but standing next to him gave a true sense of its raw size and power…(Zimbabwe)
- Horseback riding next to herds of Zebra, Impala, Red Heartbeast and Giraffe (Zimbabwe)
- Swimming with a school of dolphins in the Indian Ocean (Tanzania)
- Snorkelling through coral and schools of vibrant fish of the east coast of Zanzibar (Tanzania)
- Viewing the Genocide memorial in Kigali (Rwanda)
- Having my leg touched by a 250lb gorilla during our trek (Rwanda)
- Taking our last bus ride from Kigali to Bujumbura (Rwanda to Burundi)
- Meeting everyone during the Overland tour and my time spent at the 2 lion projects in Zimbabwe
The trip in numbers…
Time elapsed: 3 months, 12 days
Countries visited: 10
Borders crossed: 14
Plane rides: 18
Bus rides: 20+
Passport pages used: 11
Number of layovers in the Nairobi (Kenya) Airport: 5
Total Bribes: 20$
Thank you everyone, truly, for all your comments, feedback and responses. It has been my pleasure updating everyone and sharing this unreal experience. All your emails have been so incredibly supportive both of the trip itself and of the photographs.
I hope you guys got to enjoy this…maybe not as much as I did but to the maximum one can from halfway around the world. Africa is not always the easiest place to travel but with a little patience it truly is as beautiful and majestic as believed. I certainly would not say I loved every single moment, but I would not change any of the trip, as even the negative or “Id rather not be here” type of situations had something to learn from and helped to keep my grasp on the world in check.
The next trip is not set in stone but here is the short list:
- Bike trip from Vancouver to San Francisco
- Hiking in Nepal/Himalayas
- Chile, Argentina, Patagonia, Antarctica
- Australia/New Zealand
Take care everyone and please stay in touch
With all my love