Trip to Africa

It was time to take a big bucket list trip and I got to knock lots off it!  The trip started off with a flight into Nairobi, Kenya.  We only had an evening in the city, and on the drive to our hotel the locals made it clear we were not welcome.  We got all kinds of bad looks and someone threw a cigarette at us. Fortunately, the next morning we were taking a bus to Moshi, Tanzania to hike Kilimanjaro.

The bus ride to Moshi was pretty enjoyable, there was some fun wildlife along the way and the scenery was what you would expect of East Africa.  We arrived in Moshi in the evening with enough time to meet our guides and get everything organized for the hike.  We did the Marangu Route and really lucked out in lots of ways.  It was the slow season so we didn't run into anyone on the hike (until the summit day), which was crazy since it is the most popular route. We also head great weather.  We started in the rain forest and hiked all the way up to barren land. It was 3.5 days up and 1.5 days down.  The first three days were not too bad, but we all were throwing up and had migraines the last day due to the high altitude.  The last push to the top was cold and miserable and I'm glad we got through it.  When we got the the summit, it was sunny and magnificent.  We took some pics and started the brutal hike down.  We used Zara to guide us and they did a great job. Although I am very happy I did it, I would not do it again. We got back to Moshi late one afternoon and got a chance to check out Moshi town before our early flight the next morning to the Seychelles to relax for a week and do some diving!

Landing on Mahe was a fun experience as we had a super strong cross wind and it felt like the plane was sideways as we headed to the runway.  We heard the buses were super easy to use and cheap to get around so we used them the entire time to get around the island.  It was pretty fun and enjoyable to hang out with the locals and watch them maneuver these big blue buses around small roads and big hills. Be stayed at a resort on Beau Vallon which is a beautiful bay and beach.  We spent a lot of time relaxing on the beach, but when we weren't there, we spent time diving, swimming and exploring the island.  We even ended up at a political rally!  The diving was not the best this time of year due to strong currents and limited visibility, but it was still greater than most parts of the world.  There were waves all up and down the eastern coast, but I never did find a surfboard.  We really enjoyed the stay in the Seychelles, but I'm going to say diving in the Maldives was much better, plus the world class surf in the Maldives made it a better destination all around.  I'll be back to the Seychelles to visit the other islands one day, but when I do that, I'll go in Whale Shark season.  When it was time to leave Mahe, we headed to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

After a long layover in Johannesburg with time to sleep in the airport, we arrived in Victoria Falls semi well rested and ready to explore some more!  We decided to start with the Zambia side of the falls since we heard it was not as good.  We made the trek over the bridge and were surprised at how awesome it was!  Later in the trip we viewed the Zimbabwe side and at this time of year, we thought the Zambia side was much better due to the amount of water that was coming down. After visiting the falls, we had dinner at a place called In Da Belly that was rather tasty and they had a group of locals playing music that was quite enjoyable.  Afterwards, we talked with a couple of the members and they invited us out for drinks.  We accepted and had a super fun time drinking and dancing with the locals in their 'compound' as they called it.  The next morning, we grabbed a taxi and headed to Kasane, Botswana.

The place we stayed at in Kasane was pretty cool.  They were glorified tents with bathrooms and showers.  Also, they messed up the booking so we only had to pay $80 total for 4 nights instead of $120/night.  We spent our time going into Chobe National Park either in a truck or by boat to view the wildlife.  The animals know they are not hunted so they will come really close to the people.  We had a pride of 20 lions walk right next to our truck!  That was definitely the coolest part, but it was great to see all the other animals too.  We saw elephants, hippos, buffalo, saber antelopes, kudu, impala, giraffes, jackals, monitors, crocodiles and tons of other animals. Once we were done in Botswana, we headed back to Victoria Falls (to view the Zimbabwe side), then flew back to Johannesburg to enjoy the city a couple days before heading home.

In Johannesburg we stayed in Melville which is a trendy area with good restaurants and bars.  We enjoyed some delicious eats and plenty of local beer.  We also visited the Apartheid museum which was worth the visit and went to a local market where we thought someone may kill us.  I'g glad we visited, but in the future, I think we will only use Johannesburg as a layover and check out other parts of South Africa.

On the way home, we had an 8 hour layover in Dubai so we took advantage of it to see the city.  It was a pretty cool experience, but definitely a lot more touristy than Doha.  We checkout out some of the souks, went to the top of the highest building in the world and watched the fountain show.  It was night so we were limited on what we could do.

Overall it was a great trip!  Looking forward to checking out more parts of Africa in the future.


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