Tonight will be the last time Bryan and I will be able to sleep in a bed for a very long time. Tomorrow morning we leave Cairo and begin our four month Africa overland tour. We will be sleeping in a tent and sleeping bags for the next four months.
During our tour, we will travel south from Cairo all the way down to Cape Town, crossing through 13 different African countries (Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and South Africa). We will ride in and live off of a large converted bright yellow truck and sleep in tents every night. There are usually anywhere from 15-25 people on each tour but our particular tour only has 12 travelers (plus two drivers/guides). We’ll take turns visiting the local market and cooking meals for our group. Some nights we will be in campsites, some nights we will be “bush camping.” During our time in the bush we will have to go without showers and use a shovel when we go to the bathroom (eww…). But there are tons of incredible things we will be able to see and do along the way. In addition to all of the wildlife parks and safaris, we have a long list of optional activities that include scuba diving in the Red Sea (this week!), riding camels, trekking to find Silverback Gorillas, bungee jumping off the world’s highest bungee jump, sky diving, visiting a baby elephant orphanage, feeding cheetahs, cage diving with Great White Sharks in South Africa, and much, much more. (Don’t tell our parents! 😉 )
We usually aren’t “tour travelers” but overlanding seemed like the best way for us to experience Africa. Although it’s very possible to travel through Africa on your own, it can be very daunting and time-consuming because many of the countries don’t have the infrastructure for travel. We didn’t want to spend days in a tiny African village waiting for the next bus out. We aren’t that patient. While we were traveling in South America we made it a point to talk to other travelers who had been through Africa. Many had gone on overland tours. We also kept hearing about one company in particular that people raved about. One afternoon, we were hiking through Patagonia and waiting for the clouds to clear so Bryan could get a shot of Mt. Fitz Roy. We started talking to a Canadian girl who was also waiting and it came up that she had traveled with this company in Africa last year. She said it was the best experience of her life and she told us some fantastic stories. At this point our mind was made up and it was time to book the trip. Despite my apprehensions, the amazing animal stories had me convinced that I needed to go. Oh, the crazy things Bryan can persuade me to do.
But since last April when we officially booked our tour, Africa has been hanging over my head. Six months in South America was challenging for me. How would I ever be able to handle another 9 months straight away from home, including 4 months in a tent?! I was intimidated. I wasn’t afraid about violence, malaria, or anything serious like that. I was worried about the “important” things. 🙂 How often would I be able to shower? How often would I be able to do laundry or go on the internet? Will I be cold in my sleeping bag during the chilly desert nights? Will I like the group of people I’ll be spending 4 months with, and will they like me? And what if no one liked my cooking? In my opinion, these things could really make or break our time in Africa.
But over the last few months I went from being scared about Africa to being extremely excited. It seemed like the perfect timing and break-up in our travels for a trip like this. We were tired of having to plan all the time. Constantly having to research where we were going next, how we would get there, what we would do and see there, and where we would stay was getting tedious. We were looking forward to our 4 months in Africa – we would know exactly where we were sleeping, where we needed to go, and how we would get there. No more hours spent researching on the internet.
Unfortunately, we don’t think internet will be available very often in Africa. (I’ll just be thrilled to have a clean shower and toilet!) We wish we could continue our normal blogs but this just won’t be possible. Each blog takes us several hours and we definitely won’t have nearly that much time online. We will be happy just to shoot an occasional email to let our families and friends know we’re okay. But don’t worry, I will continue writing and Bryan will continue taking photos. We should have plenty of good stories of our adventures, along with photos of wildlife, people, landscapes, and everything else Africa sends our way.
During our 10 days in Cairo, we spent time catching up on our blogs between sightseeing. There are plenty of recent posts to keep you busy while we are off-the-grid. Thanks for your support and we hope you continue to follow our travels. We promise plenty of updates when we return! 🙂
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Photos from oasisoverland.co.uk