What is my occupation?

My adventure from leaving the comforts of England for the interesting world of Africa….
First Stop…Kenya.

Leaving the airport was just plain awful. Saying my goodbyes, knowing I’m not going to see my friends for the next year is plain and simply…..heartbreaking. I did nothing but blubber all the way through customs, right up until boarding the airplane. Though customs I got the strangest looks from holiday makers with their straw hats on ready to take to their annual jollies! I could see them thinking ‘What on earth is wrong with this girl?’ Looking back now, I guess I did look kinda funny!
After shaking off the tears and ringing out my tear soaked t-shirt, I made myself comfy on the airplane and prepared myself for the epic and most exciting journey I was about to embark on.

Day one in Nairobi was good, I’d managed to shake off the stress of home life and running a business and to my surprise managed to fit in with African lifestyle exceptionally well.
My first few nights in the hostel were not spent alone though. There to keep me company and welcome me to Kenya were some delightful multi-coloured slugs and a wonderful daddy-long leg, which I became great friends with, and named him Albert!
At one point during the night I’m sure one of the slugs ventured on to my pillow. But I can’t be sure as I do have a tendency to dribble! But all in all they were harmless, they stuck to their boundaries and I stuck to mine.

After I couple of nights with Albert and the slugs it was time to take to my real adventure and start my overland tour of Africa with a bunch of strangers. Slightly apprehensive, it was a massive relief to find that the other people taking the tour were also women travelling alone and a variety of ages.

The first few days of the tour were spent trekking the Masimara, with a hope of seeing the big five. We were exceptionally lucky and managed to see four out of the five, including lions, leopards, elephants and buffalo. We were also appreciative to see a large daddy lion feasting on a recent kill of wilder beast, and a lion chase on some dik-dik’s. The kill was unsuccessful, but all the same it was just so magnificent to see. However if you are thinking of doing this trip, be warned the roads are exceptionally bumpy! Seriously! So you may want to think about having breakfast, or not, before the game drive. I nearly chundered everywhere!

All of the above you can expect to see in Africa and believe me it’s great. However there are some down sides to visiting here. The lack of medical assistance and the poverty is a real shocker, and nothing any TV programme can prepare you for. On our travels to the Masimara we drove past a woman giving birth at the side of the road. There were several people surrounding her, none of which were doctors, just the local people of a near by village. At this point it made me realise how grateful I am for the NHS, despite how much we slate the system, this would have never happened in England.

With Kenya under my belt, it was now time to take to the wonderful lands of Tanzania. Upon approaching the boarder we were faced again the poverty Africa suffers so severely. Sat next to me outside the immigration office, whilst waiting for my visa to be granted, I noticed a young boy no older than the age of 5 and his blind grandfather, begging for money from the tourists. The boy and his grandfather wore no shoes and barely wore much for clothing. I gave them a small amount of change I had in my pocket, only to make myself feel better, as there wasn’t much more I could do for the pair. This sight is just so heartbreaking and what’s worse is there is very little you can do.

Moving on from the pain of this sight it was time to take on the Serengeti. Be warned people that are taking this trip the planes for vast and the viewing of animals is few and far between, so be patient as what you see if well worth it in the end. Here we witnessed a Cheetah on the chase. This is nature at it greatest, and such a joy to witness. At the Serengeti we camped over night in an unfenced area. YES, this is dangerous, as any of the animals that occupy the Serengeti could venture into the camp in the middle of the night….and guess what. They did!
At 4am, a group of hyenas dragged a carcass right into the middle of the camp directly next to our tents. And around 5am took joy in having a good giggle, as they do. I’d love to say I remained calm and cool, like a cucumber. But I’d be lying! I sat in the tent, peering through the mesh window, unable to release a tiny breath incase they heard me. These are vicious animals, and given the chance would happily rip your face off. As light approached they disappeared back to wherever they had come from, and with relief we walked the camp again safe and sound. What a buzz though!

Leaving the dangerous grounds of the Serengeti, it was now time to venture on a ferry to the paradise island of Zanzibar. For those who have never been to this idyllic island, be prepared to witness the closest thing to heaven. The beaches are filled with the delights on the whitest of white sands, and the bluest of blue seas. I thought I had witnessed paradise a few months on the island of Mustique, but seriously this island takes the biscuit. For the next few days we kicked back and relaxed. The last few weeks had been pretty hectic and it was wonderful to put my feet up and enjoy the sights of Zanzibar.
However, before taking to the beach and relaxing though, my tip to all you travelers is to visit Stone Town, the capital of the island. Stone Town is filled with so much history of the slave trade and with opportunities to take a tour of the spices, there is so much to do. But one thing you must do is venture to Africa House, here you can witness the best view of the island and enjoy the best cup of coffee Africa has to offer. Take my word for it! And make sure you get lost in the village streets, it’s easy to do, but you haven’t experienced Zanzibar until you have been lost in Stone Town. Enjoy!

Sad to leave the idyllic paradise of Zanzibar, we travelled back over to Dar Al Salem via ferry. For those that don’t know – don’t fall asleep on the back of the ferry with the sun blazing down on you! The result is sun burn, sun stroke and worst of all looking a complete idiot especially if you leave your sunglasses on, just like I did!! The panda look is very uncomplimentary!
However, panda look and all it was time to venture across to Lake Malawi. We spent 3 days travelling on the truck. These days can be slightly tedious so make sure you have some good books and lots of music.

Arriving at Lake Malawi – I have one word for you….WOW! After seeing the likes of Lake Windermere it is very difficult to comprehend that this is even a lake as it is just MASSIVE, it looks just like the sea. However be warned it is a lake, and it comes with its own little friends. You are okay to go in the lake where there is moving water, however where there is stagnant water there are tiny parasites that imbed themselves in your skin and make their way to you liver, and if left untreated cause liver failure…and you die. There are no signs of the parasites, so just waiting to get to Australia so I can have the test done to make sure I haven’t got it. Apparently, it’s a simple test, but will keep you posted on that one!
But minus the dangers, Lake Malawi is a dream, the people of Malawi are known to be the nicest and friendliest people around, and this is certainly true. But be warned, they will want to charge you if you ask them for help!

So onwards and upwards, time to travel across to Zambia. It is safe to say at this point now, I am feeling better about being away from home. It’s not that I was homesick in my first few weeks of travelling, but it is very difficult when you want to share these great experiences with your loved ones, you turn around to tell them and they’re not there. And it’s not like you can just hop on the internet to tell them either, as connection here is few are far between the camp sites. But after a few weeks I have got used to this and it is becoming a little easier. Thank goodness!

So, Zambia…where I am now, currently writing this blog and it is 35 degrees and I have sweat nicely running down my back. But I wouldn’t change it for the world! (No pun intended!) This place has something special about it. Maybe it’s the fact that for the first time in four weeks I’m clean after soaking in a WARM shower (which I have not had since leaving England 4 weeks ago) for 40 minutes the other night! But seriously, it is amazing. Day one of arriving here we were taken to one of the natural wonders of the world….Victoria Falls. Prior to arriving here I had no idea of this natural wonder, however fate decided I must learn more. A group of us decided to live life on the edge, and with a couple of local guys, who hopefully knew what they were doing agreed to take us right to the edge of the falls, for a small fee, of course! On this adventure we walked on a small ledge of stone through a strong current, over slippery moss covered rocks, though stagnant water to the edge of the falls. It was then that the local man, named ‘George’ told us that people have slipped taking this route previously and fallen 50 feet over the edge of the falls to their death. But all the same, nothing could take away the moment I stood on the top of Victoria Falls with water gushing past my feet. The view was out of this world and despite my fear for heights I am so glad to say I experienced the moment.

So half way though my African leg of my tour, and I have already done so many things. Who knows what I’ll be writing next, so watch this space…….