Africa – The Numbers

Here are some interesting figures from our 2nd continent:

  • 3 – Months we spent in Africa
  • 46 – Number of beds we slept in
  • 8 – Countries Visited (South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Mozambique, Lesotho, Swaziland, Tanzania, Kenya)
  • 39 – Days we spent in South Africa
  • 3 – Hours we spent in Lesotho
  • 7 – Cars we rented in South Africa
  • 5900 – Kilometers we drove in South Africa (3600 miles)
  • 30 – Number of deeply discounted or comp’d hotel nights through Ted’s tourism connections
  • 26 – Days spent with family in Africa
  • 35 – Percentage of nights we paid for accommodation (thanks Moms and Dads, and tourism connections!)
  • 38 – Hours on a bus (nothing compared to the 182.5 in South America)
  • 14 – Beaches visited
  • 45 – Number of game drives
  • 50 – Number of lions seen on game drives
  • 2200 – Photos taken (and kept)
  • 12 – Number of guides and porters assigned only to us for our Kili hike
  • 13,393 – Vertical feet climbed on our summit hike of Kilimanjaro
  • 19,341 – Highest altitude in feet we’ve ever climbed to
  • 6 – Flights on big airplanes
  • 6 – Flights on small airplanes
  • 10 – Visits to the Johannesburg airport
  • 1 – Number of police reports filed

Check out our Best of pics from Southern Africa, East Africa, and African Mega-Fauna for some visual highlights.  Now, on to the Indian Subcontinent…

Eastern Africa Wrap-Up

I think you know the drill by now, but let us start by saying that Tanzania is one of our trip superstars so far.  Below are our favorite things, our least favorite things, as well as some good eating memories and animal sitings (Africa exclusive!).  Check out the Best Of East Africa photos to go along with lists.  Here we go:

The Best

  1. Private Plunge Pool on Zanzibar

    Private plunge pools – A perfectly symbolic representation of being spoiled totally rotten on Zanzibar; we stayed in several spots with private plunge pools alongside our rooms.  This was totally ridiculous and we loved it.

  2. Wind-surfing in the Indian Ocean – This was a Ted-only activity but it was fun to watch him and I know he dug his first ocean wind-surfing experience.
  3. Exploring Stone Town alleyways – Fascinating and fun.
  4. Welcome to camp song and dance – Upon reaching camp on Kili some days, the porters would gather together to sing us a congratulatory tune.  Not everyone’s porters did this so Ted and I couldn’t help but appreciate the sentiment.
  5. Views from Baranco Camp on Kili – We arrived when it was cloudy but it proceeded to clear up and the views were stunning.
  6. Summiting Kilimanjaro at sunrise – The coolest thing I’ll never do again.
  7. Visit to a Masaai Village – Talk about a unique experience, we got to spend an afternoon learning about the indigenous and nomadic Masaai people who still live as traditionally as modern society allows.

    Masaai Village Visit

    Yes, some folks now have cell phones and venture into the city, however, polygamy is still practiced, cow blood is a staple in the diet and cow herding is the primary occupation.

  8. Safari sunset – Watching the sunset from the swimming pool on the first night of our Tanzania safari was perfect.  I knew we were in a for a good time.
  9. Getting off the tourist grid – Camping with the Browns at Lake Chala was something we never would have heard about or come up with ourselves.  What a treat.
  10. Another (relatively) incident free continent – After all the warning and precautions, we are happy to report that we had no illnesses, no transport hiccups, no car accidents, and only one minor theft (for which we were reimbursed).  Africa wasn’t so scary after all!

The Worst

  1. Budget accommodation – When we weren’t living the high life, the budget options in Tanzania left much to be desired. And the were stupidly expensive for what you got.
  2. Missing out on Kenya – What can we say?  We’ll have to go back.
  3. Too many jeeps

    Visa fee – A hundred bucks per person is a lot and when they wouldn’t take one of our bills because it was dated before 2006 (wtf?), it led to a stressful search for more money upon arrival.

  4. Food on Kili – It started off fine enough, but on day 4 after eating a different version of the same thing, it was rough.
  5. Safari jeep overload – When there was a good animal siting, you could be sharing the view with literally two dozen other vehicles.  A little intense and unfortunate for us and, more importantly, the animals.

The Delicious

  1. Zanzibar’s unique and flavorful food – Banana curries, avocado-orange juice, cinnamon, cardamom and clove coffee, jackfruit, coconut coleslaw, and dozens of different sauces made from the local spices for which the island is famous made for lots of incredible eating.
  2. Seafood market in Stone Town

    Seafood dinner market and Zanzibari pizzas – A memorable night perhaps more for the experience than the quality of the food, but still a favorite.

  3. Kilimanjaro beer – Our first beer post-Kili summit with our new Australian friends.  The drink was appropriately named and rightfully enjoyed.
  4. Indian food in Moshi – Post-Kili hike we dined at an AMAZING Indian restaurant in Moshi with our Australian mates.  We felt a little guilty filling up on Indian food as we knew we had a lot in our future, but that didn’t stop us from going back a second time.
  5. Fancy camping food – When Ted and I go camping, dinner usually involves adding water to a pre-mixed pack.  When we camped with the Browns, we had vegetable pasta, chicken curry, wine and gin and tonics.  That’s pretty impressive.

The Animals

  1. Lions in a tree!

    Overall quantity – We realize that this isn’t a specific animal, but the sheer quantity of animals we saw in Tanzania on safari was over the top.

  2. Momma Lion and her cubs – Pretty much the cutest thing ever.
  3. Lion stalking zebras – We saw a bunch of zebras hanging in a watering hole and upon closer look, we saw a lion watching them intently.  Though it didn’t go for the kill, it was exciting thinking it might.
  4. Zebras and wildebeest on migration – Tens of thousands at one time.
  5. Tree-climbing lions – Lions apparently don’t hang out in trees very much, but we saw a group that appeared to like it up there.
  6. Thousands of Flamingos – Every day they fly miles to hang out in Ngorongoro Crater and at the end of the day, they fly somewhere else to sleep.
  7. Packs of male lions – Adult male lions don’t usually hang out together but we saw a large group in the Ngorongoro Crater that proved it happens.
  8. Cheetahs!

    Lotsa cheetahs – Big cats are always a thrill to see and cheetahs had been very rare on our previous safaris.

  9. Black and white colobus monkey – We didn’t see a lot of wildlife on Kili but we saw some unique monkeys on our hike the last day.
  10. Ostriches – What a trip!  I challenge you to watch a group of ostriches running and not giggle.

Don’t forget to check out the Best Of East Africa photos here.

Kenya Got Jipped

If you talked to us before we went on our trip, we would have told you that we had a month to spend traveling between Tanzania and Kenya. However, what actually happened is that we spent 30 days in Tanzania and just one in Kenya on our way out of the continent.

That’s not to say there isn’t loads to do in Kenya, however, the country highlights are very similar to what we had just experienced in Tanzania. For island paradise, Kenya has Lamu where Tanzania has Zanzibar. For mountain climbing, Kenya has Mt. Kenya (the second biggest mountain in Africa) and Tanzania has Mt. Kilimanjaro. And for the ultimate in safari, Kenya’s Masaai Mara National Park borders Tanzania’s Serengeti. Though we would have loved the opportunity to compare and contrast these country highlights, our timing and our budget simply didn’t allow it.

As a result, we had just one night in Kenya and we spent it in the notoriously unsafe capital of Nairobi. Nairobi is up there with Johannesburg as one of the most dangerous cities in Africa and though I’m sure it has earned that title for a reason, we were pleasantly surprised by the place. We comfortably and easily walked from our hotel into downtown. The buildings were proper sky-scrapers and thousands of business professionals, as well as the to-be-expected touts were out on the street going about their business. It was the most urban city we had visited outside of South Africa and we were happy to see that it felt modern and we felt safe.

We don’t have a lot to say about Kenya (nor do we have any pictures to share), but it is certainly worth a much longer visit when we can give it the time that it deserves.

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