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Where the Wild Things Are — The Last Safari

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After the not-so-terrible Moyale Road, we knew we were counting down our final days in Africa. A stopover in Nairobi meant a requisite return visit to the David Sheldrick Foundation. Since the foundation opens the doors at night for a private viewing only for foster parents, we got to see the sweet elephants hustle back in time for their nightcap (and…

Turning for home

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Sudan would end up being the northern most country we would visit on our African odyssey. With time and declining bank balances, restrictive Egyptian import laws, and the Syrian conflict staring back at us, we made the difficult decision to turn the PPE around and head back for Tanzania. Kathmandu it wasn’t; nor was it Istanbul, nor Cairo. But a…

The Whirling Dervishes, Khartoum, Sudan

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Any tour of Sudan should have going to Omdurman on a Friday night on its to-do list, where every week hundreds gather at Hamed al-Nil Tomb to witness the dervishes.

We arrived at 5pm, when the crowds were scarce. In front of the mosque was a huge cleared area, littered on the sides with tea stalls and trinket shops. With…

Pyramids, Temples, and Gods — Northern State, Sudan

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An unflinchingly barren landscape of sand, wind, and heat welcomed us into the north. Unable to enter Egypt, we wanted a taste of what our end destination could have been. We longed to see the gods we knew by heart from elementary school, to stare upon Isis and Horus and Amun, and to touch the timeworn hieroglyphics of the Book…

To the Red Sea!

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Crossing over to North Sudan
Driving down from Gondar in Ethiopia to the Sudanese border takes you from a very cool elevation of 2,100m down to just 600m. Upon arriving at the border town of Metema, we were completely dumbfounded by the intensity of the Sudanese desert heat. “Only 38 degrees today!” the locals cheerfully replied. “In Khartoum, it’s 46!”…

The Historical Route, Ethiopia

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Given the Internet struggles, here is a belated post on our tour through historical Ethiopia — Lalibela, Tigrai, Axum, and Gondar.
1st Stop: Lalibela
High in the Lasta mountains sits the ancient holy town of Lalibela. To get there is no easy task. The road from the closest town, Woldia, required slow driving on craggy terrain, and we had to…

The Toughest Place on Earth | Danakil Depression

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Sulfuric acid is bubbling up through the salt-encrusted ground. The daytime heat soars over 46 degrees Celsius and the Gara (Fire Wind) is blowing incessantly.
We’re in the Danakil Depression: -116m below sea level and officially, the hottest place on Earth. The Danakil straddles the Northern Ethiopian border with Eritrea, and sits atop the junction of the Arabian, African and Somali…

Immigration Hoopla in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

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We reached Addis! After picking up Margot, a friend from San Francisco, we dropped our bags at Wimms Holland House. Notorious as the overland camping site, the place has fallen a bit in amenities and hygiene. But it’s right in the middle of the city, which was perfect, given we needed to extend our Ethiopian visas immediately a few blocks…

South Omo, Ethiopia

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Ethiopia Part 1: South Omo

Nothing we’ve seen in Africa quite comes close to South Omo. Here, you don’t find a trace of “modern Africa,” and passing through the Ethiopian mountains was like entering a time warp.

Even up to 50 years ago, the people of South Omo weren’t aware of an “Ethiopia” entity. From the Mursi women who stretch…

Onwards to Ethiopia through Lake Turkana

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In choosing your route north from Nairobi to Ethiopia you have two options. On one hand, there is a vague route via Lake Turkana, taking you over the road ‘hardly ever trodden,’ and travelling close to 1000km without fuel stops nor another vehicle in sight. On the other, the infamous Marsabit-Moyale ‘road’ is claimed by many as literally the worst…

In the big city of Nairobi, Kenya

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Bumper to bumper traffic welcomed us into the Nairobi, East Africa’s hub. And we were quintessential country kids who finally arrived at “the big city,” marveling at the 24-hr stores, cosmopolitan fare, and skyscrapers 10 stories high.
One of our first days here, we delved into Nairobi’s wild side and paid a visit Nairobi’s Giraffe Center, a success story amongst…

Putt.. Putt… Putting North

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Heading North from Dar, the PPE made light work of the well travelled and nicely tarred Dar-Arusha road. Although we had planned on staying further up the Swahili coast at Pangani, we settled on Lushoto, in the Usambara Mountains and were met with sparklingly cool mountain breezes. Not since Swakopmund, on Africa’s West coast had we experienced sub 25 degree…

A month in Dar.. and counting..

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We made a hurried return back to Dar just in time for Christmas.. and lo and behold.. we’re still here. What was meant to be a week in town catching up with friends turned into six. Nevertheless – Christine and I are planning our escape for the end of this week.. and who knows – we might even make it.…

10 Million Bats and A Few Hot Springs

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With Alpheus gone, we decided to gun it through Zambia in order to arrive in Tanzania for some holiday cheer with old friends.
On the recommendation of Toast Coetzer, editor for go!Namibia magazine, we took a detour to Kasanka National Park in central Zambia. Our arrival would serendipitously coincide with Kasanka’s annual bat migration. Every October, millions of gigantic fruit bats flock…

Victoria Falls, and a Soldier Down

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After a mad dash escaping the rains and a border crossing later, we found ourselves in Livingstone, home of the Zambian side of the mighty Victoria Falls. The Falls were initially underwhelming, a result of our visit coinciding with only the beginning of the rainy season and low water-flow.

A dry-ish Victoria Falls

The low water did, however, enable us…

The Caprivi Strip, Namibia

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A little dated but…
Our first night in the Caprivi Strip in Namibia, we stayed right on the banks of the Okavango River in Rundu. Though the view of the river and Angola on the other side was beautiful, we decided to escape the bug-infested campsite the next day.
We arrived at Ngepi Camp on the Okavango River, an eclectic…

Epupa Falls

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A Tale of Two Radiators
After 2 weeks, 2 cities, and 2 national parks, we finally got our holy grail in Tsumeb: a new radiator. At one point I thought the radiator just wasn’t meant to be. The one we initially ordered only fit Prados with petrol engines. A different one had to be shipped from Windhoek.
As with all…

Camping on the Kwando River

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Nwambe Camp

Nwambe – one of our favourite spots yet. A male hippo joined us for dinner, surfacing right next to the purple people eater. Needless to say, we finished dinner from the safety of our roof tent.
Onwards to Victoria falls!
- Eugene…

Etosha National Park, Namibia

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After a brief stopover in Windhoek, we put the pedal to the floor and made it to Etosha National Park right before the Andersson Gate closed.

We hurried to set up our tents at Okaukuejo rest camp, and promptly rushed over to the flood-lit watering hole, hoping to catch some game at sunset. A troupe of giraffes greeted us, soon…

Camping @ Epupa falls

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After a 300km drive over heavily corrugated roads this is what we’ve been greeted with. Angola is a stone’s throw on the other side. Magical !
-Eugene…

Namibia’s Skeleton Coast

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We finally found refuge from the blistering heat of the Namib desert by heading for Namibia’s West coast. After three weeks of 35 degree (and counting!) temperatures, the crisp air of the Atlantic meeting the desert dunes on the Skeleton Coast was a sight to behold. Named after the numerous shipwrecks that litter the coast line, the latest of which…

46 degrees and counting..

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We were greeted by the Namib Desert with an overheating car and 46 degree temperatures. In heat like that, your body screams at you and forces you to seek respite.

We took a note from Aslan’s book and our time in Sossusvlei was characterised by 4am wake ups to explore sunrise against the dunes and midday siestas in the Sossusvlei lodge.…

The Serpent Welcomes us to the Kalahari

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Howling Moon – at Kalahari Trail Restcamp

For the past 2 months, we have enjoyed first world comforts and luxuries that accompany travelling the well-beaten tourist trail from the Drakensberg to Cape Town. Upon reaching the ‘city’ of Upington, it is time we say good-bye to those comforts as we transition from developed South Africa into the wild and desolate…

Cheetahs and Quiver Trees in Namibia

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After crossing the Mata-Mata border from South Africa to Namibia, we gunned our way to the Quiver Tree Forest Rest Camp that lies roughly 13 km outside of Keetmanshoop. Luckily, we arrived just in time to see the rehabilitated cheetahs chomp down dinner and the sun set over the forest!

-CHou…

Would you believe…

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It’s been two months – but we are finally leaving Cape Town! Our first big driving day since Outdshoorn will hopefully see us make it to Calvinia, a lazy 5.5 hrs drive north east from Cape Town. From there we are exactly half way to our final stop in South Africa – Uppington, before crossing into Southern Botswana. Visa issues…

6 Weeks in Cape Town: at a glance

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Capetokathmandu.com has been eerily quiet over the past 6 weeks. Don’t worry. We are still alive. Proof comes from the picture above.
I am sorry to report we are still in Cape Town. We have no epic stories about honey badger encounters nor have we tested the theory that elephants are attracted to Citrus fruit.
I can show you pictures…

And we’re.. Still in Cape Town!

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After our third week in Cape Town, we met the return of the Purple People Eater with a great deal of fanfare. Having spent the last week at JB Auto’s receiving no less than the car equivalent of open heart surgery (installing a new cylinder head), the tantalising notion that we might finally be able to start heading to Namibia…