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Amanda's African Adventure

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Thursday, 24 August 2006

Location: Maun, Botswana

Well it is all over.... This time tomorrow I'll be back in Willesden Green......

The rafting down the Zambeizi was just amazing and every bit as frightening as I thought it would be, we were amazingly lucky we didn't capsize (our guide Steve was a legend!), even so we came extremely close so many times and I managed to swallow enough river water that I might as well have gone in......

We had a massive night on Saturday with an all you can drink booze cruise down the Zambeizi, a spectacular setting, pity I was far too drunk to appreciate it properly.... was a fantastic night though!!

Crossed the border into Botswana the next day (with an almighty hangover) and did a morning game drive and then a sunset game cruise through Chobe National Park, was my last chance for some animal spotting and it didn't disappoint - lots of elephant, buffalo and antelope.

Arrived in Maun on Tuesday and did a flight over the Okavango Delta, was just amazing to see it from the air and spent the next day being poled around the delta in Makoros (very narrow dugout canoes).

Fly down to Johannesburg and then transfer to London this afternoon.... really can't believe I've been on the road for 8 weeks, it has gone so fast.

Africa has been everything I thought it would be and more.... but what really makes the continent is the people, despite how little most of them have, they are so happy and they reminded me about what is important in life and how simple it should be.

Thursday, 17 August 2006

Location: Livingstone, Zambia

Where has the time gone?? Can't believe this time in a week I'll be winging my way back to London....

Had a great time in Bulawayo, went out to an animal orphanage which was fantastic, finally got to see a leopard - I know, I know it doesn't count! Got some amazing photos of some injured eagles as well.

Spent a long day in Matopos National Park, in the morning we explored the caves and checked out some very old bushman cave paintings. The afternoon we spent in the Game Park looking for Rhino, I was a bit aprehensive as we were actually tracking the Rhino on foot, I wasn't so sure about getting metres from a charging Rhino... in the end I didn't have much to worry about, they were obviously feeling shy, we spent a very long and disappointing afternoon looking for animals that didn't want to be found....

Yesterday we crossed the border into Zambia and have 3 days chilling out by Victoria Falls! Tomorrow I am off rafting down the mighty Zambezi, those who know what a wimp I am will understand how I'm feeling about grade 5 rapids..... help......Have a free day Saturday so if I'm still alive will let you know how it was....he he

I am also hoping to get some photos on here on Saturday.... I know i've been saying that for weeks but the internet connection is just so slow and unfortunately I don't have the resources to reduce the size of my pictures so it is a long and tedious process uploading them.... we'll see how it goes......

Sunday, 13 August 2006

Location: Bulawayo, Zimbabwe

Well have made it safely through Mozambique safely, had a fun night bush camping in the middle of nowhere. Crossed the border into Zimbabwe a couple of days ago, spent a night in Harare - Wow, what a change from the rest of Africa, the size of some of the houses and the wealth was just such a contrast.

Spent two nights at Antelope Park, where you can walk with the lions. As much as it would have been an amazing experience, I couldn't get past the fact that they take the cubs off their mothers at 3 weeks old to hand rear them so they will be able to be with humans.

We have two nights here and then onto Vic Falls, really looking forward to the white water rafting!!!!

Wednesday, 09 August 2006

Location: Blantyre, Malawi

Where has the time gone, can't believe I've been travelling for over 4 weeks now.... Am a little lonely now I've lost my travelling buddy Claire, thanks so much hun, you we fantastic to travel with and I miss you lots!

After driving through Mikumi National Park seeing more wildlife, we spent a night just outside of Baobab Valley, never seen such bizzare trees in my life.... Then headed for Lake Malawi, spent 4 days chilling on the lake, was hoping to do some sailing but the weather wasn't exactly agreeable.... Did do lots of drinking, one massive night on some rather strong punch in particular...

Today we cross the border into Mozambique and are camping in the bush tonight! Then we cross into Zimbabwe and have a week or so there before going into Zambia.

Hope everyone is well, thankyou so much for all your messages and emails. Miss you all xxxx

Saturday, 29 July 2006

Location: Nungwie Beach, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Finally more than one night in the same bed!!!!! The pace has definitely slowed down now we are on Zanzibar, after a few dramas with the ferry this morning we have made it to paradise, sparkling turquoise water and beautiful white sandy beaches..... and more cocktails than I can drink..... he he.

But going back a few days..... We spent two days camping in the bush of the Serengeti National Park and Ngororongo Crater. The plains of the Serengeti were breathtaking and seemed to go forever... And there was just so much wildlife! Giraffe, zebra and gazelle just became commonplace. Got some amazing close up shot of a herd of elephants!!! Amazing!!! Saw plenty of lion, some females with tiny cubs and a large male protecting it's earlier kill. Also saw a cheetah, was a fair way of in the distance and gave my teleconvertor lens a run for it's money...We camped in an open bush camp about 5 min from where we'd seen the lions. Needless to say I was a bit scared, particularly when I found out the snored I thought I'd heard during the night were actually lions roaring......

Have 5 days here in paradise, plan to do some snorkelling and lots of chilling on the beach.... then we head into Malawi!!!

Monday, 24 July 2006

Location: Arusha, Tanzania

Well two weeks down only 5 left to go..... can't believe it is going so fast. Had another few days in Kenya and today we crossed the border into Tanzania!!!

Yesterday we also started on a new truck, there are 18 of us and everyone is young and up for a party, after the last two weeks of 'Family Ties' it couldn't get any worse but the rest of the trip is definitely looking up!

Tomorrow we head off into the Serengeti National Park for three days, have met people who say it is better than the Gorillas, find that hard to believe but bring on the lions.... Think the camera might get a workout!!!

From there we are heading to the BEACH !!!! Never thought I'd be so excited about seeing the sea! Five days chilling out on Zanzibar would be just perfect right now!

Thursday, 20 July 2006

Location: Jinja, Uganda

Well am sitting in a little bar with a cold beer overlooking the source of the mighty Nile River. The sound of the water alone is enough to chill anyone out.

But I'm sure everyone is more interested in hearing about the Mountain Gorillas..... To be honest I don't know where to start. The trip into the Congo itself would have to be an experience. It is so much less developed than Kenya and Uganda. We had a 2 hour 4WD trip to reach the national park and most of that was pretty much cross country. The people were so friendly though, they are amazingly self sufficient, definitely put the western world to shame. As for the Gorillas, it would have to be one of the most amazing, if not scariest things I have ever done. To sit less than a metre away from a massive silverback male who could've taken me out with one swipe definitely got the heart rate going...... They were on the move a bit so we treked through the jungle following them, our trusty guides hacking the path through the trees. We saw a familiy of 11, including one silverback male and two babies, one only 4months....There were several times we had to move out of the way of the playful two year old who wanted us to join his fun, they don't want us to touch them as they can become tame so easily. To be that close to something so wild in their natural habitat just took my breath away. Feel like I haven't even come close to describing how amazing the experience was, definitely once in a lifetime.

Tomorrow we are back over the border to Kenya and will be back in Nairobi on Sunday night were we have a new truck and a new group of people. Have been travelling with a family with teenage sons for the last week and a half so Claire and I definitely looking for a crowd a bit more eager to party.

Was hoping to upload some of the amazing photos I've taken but the connection is so slow I'd be here till Christmas, will hopefully get them up in the next week...... Take Care

Sunday, 16 July 2006

Location: God Knows????, Uganda

Hi all, well what an amazing first week.... am in a dodgy internet cafe in a tiny dusty town that feels like the end of the world. Actually on the Congo / Ugandan border getting ready to go into the Congo tomorrow and track the mountain gorillas. Word has it we get as close as 2m, and yes i am a little scared.....

We have done a lot of driving through Kenya and then Uganda to get here. Highlight of Kenya was definitely a walk through the grasslands around Lake Naivasha, just wandered through herds of zebra and giraffes. Got within a couple of metres of them, felt so surreal. But got some amazing pictures. Have filled my 1GB memory card already!!!

From there we stayed on the banks of Lake Baringo where we were woken up at 2am by huge hippos grazing around the tent..... I had visions of them stepping on the tent and crushing me.... needless to say i didn't go back to sleep.

Then crossed the border into Uganda and have driven through some amazing mountains to get here. Very excited about tomorrow but also a little anxious, will definitely be a once in a lifetime experience....

Photos - Click Below

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Recent Messages

From Ben
Hey your trip sounded amazing. we're looking to go in January next year. What do you recommend - Southern Africa or Eastern Africa. Don't have the time to do both (only 4 to 5 weeks)
Response: Hi Ben,
With 4 to 5 weeks I'd do Eastern Africa, make sure you get to the Serengeti, into Congo/Uganda to see the mountain gorillas and chill out on the beaches of Zanzibar. Good Luck!
From mum & dad
Finally got to see your site - bloody marvellous!! We'll get the full version when we all get together for chrissy. Can't wait.
All our love Mum & Dad
Response: Typical, only 2 months late, love you too xxx
From Jeff Howes
What wonderful photo's and text.
Looks as if you had a great holiday.
Where next - Oz perhaps?

Uncle Jeff
Response: Thanks!! Definitely off home for Christmas, really looking forward to it! Hope you have a great time in the States...
From Donna
Hi babe

Having an awesome trip, the weather is just fantastic. Will see you back in London soon. Sounds like you are enjoying things too. Thanks for the money. Love Donna XXX
Response: Glad you're having a great time, can't wait to see you hun!!
From claire
hi hun
well i made it home safe and sound. I had a very relaxing week on the beach and i certainly did miss you all. I met up with the irish girl we met on our first day there and a few other girlies, and on the way back to the mainland i met up with Sam and Sarah which made Dar a more enjoyable experience. Hope you still haing a ball and havent killed anyone yet!!!! Say hi to the boys for me. Can't wait to see you
C xxxxxx
Response: Glad you had a good time, Zimbabwe has been surprisingly good, Opodo won't let me change my flight so trying to get from Maun to Jo'burg - not proving to be easy.... so I'll be back on the 25th, see you then hun xxx
From katie
Hi Amanda,
it sounds fantastic, can't wait to see the pictures. Enjoy the last few weeks of your trip!
Response: Thanks hun, glad you enjoyed Croatia! Have fun back at home, good luck with the art course! xx
From Kelly
Yo Mouse

Your travels sound amazing so far! Soooo jealous! Can't wait to get the low down so I can get excited and start planning doing it next year!!

Keep safe and take care!

Kel xoxox
Response: Thanks Betty, hope you're getting some sun up in Ireland! xx
From Donna
Hello gorgeous. In Split, awesome time. I have to tell you how FANTASTIC the packing cell is to travel with! You rock! Miss you. See you 31st Aug. XXX
Response: Keep enjoying the sunshine! Miss you xx
From katie
I'm very jealous! Sounds like you're having an amazing time. I hope your next bus livens up. I'm back in london watching far too much daytime tv. Croatia was awesome though, not hooked on the camping, you were right about the rocky sloping campsites.
Enjoy your last 3 weeks. Can't wait to see the photos.
Katie xx
From Mel
Hi Hon,

Just to let you know, im looking into it for you & will come back with pricing ASAP!

Mel xxx
Response: Thanks gorgeous, I've just sent you a big email xx
From Mel
Mouse, Are you coming home soon? PLEASE! The "gorillas in the mist" sounds amazing =) Glad you two are enjoying yourselves!

Take care & say hi to Claire for me.

Mel xxx
Response: Oh Melly,
Miss you too !!!!!! We are now in Tanzania and heading for the BEACH xxxx
From Donna and Dave
Guess what? Remember that show 'The Apprentice'.... well... Michelle is up the duff by Syed.... Crazy or what? You should have seen Donna's reaction... priceless!!! miss you loads. D & D. xxxxx
Response: Hi guys,
Strange you should say that, someone had an English gossip mag with an article about Michelle so we were just talking about her this morning.....Miss you too!!!
From Dave and Donna
Hey there! Hope your having loads of fun. We all miss you. Home just aint home without you! xxx
Response: miss you guys too, can't believe i've been away a week already, is really full on but amazing xxxx
From Rob
Sorry, I meant to phone to wish you happy travels. I hope the folks on the truck provide plenty of entertainment. Have a great time and put that camera to good use. x
Response: Thanks hun, crew on the truck a bit quiet, but only with them for another week then a new crew next sunday. Already shot 1GB on the camera.... the animals are just amazing, you would love it here. Miss you xxxx
From Rob
Happy travels Amanda, keep in touch and make damn good use of that new camera.
Response: Thanks hun, good luck with everything! xx
From steve
HI Amanda

Have a very good trip and take care.

xx Steve
Response: Hi Steve, thanks! You and Jenny have a good summer! xx