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Saturday 31 Jan 2009
Dublin, Ireland

And so beginneth the latest travel blog...

Ah yes, back to my old faithful travel blog... it's been too long my friend (last March in fact!)

One of the most enduring memories of my childhood in the 80s is our family driving along a dusty road in the evening somewhere between Dahran (or maybe Jeddah) and Riyadh just as the sun was setting. The radio was blaring out various bland 80s tunes (don't get me wrong I like 80s music, Duran Duran did rock (!) ... but much of it was dodgy to say the least), then on came Toto and my all time favourite song "Africa". And the onset of bliss.

That song has always evoked such powerful imagery for me about Africa (notwithstanding the stories the folks told of their time there) that it has always been on my "must-do" list (despite thousands of attempts to extort my bank account details onto their shores) and a few weeks ago I decided in my typically spontaneous fashion: "Sod it, it's Africa time baby!".

Yah sure I've been to Morocco and Egypt ... but is that really Africa? Not even close.

It seems to be common among the budget travellers to do Africa "last" (everyone gets South east asia and South America covered first while saying they can't wait to do Africa)... I never really understood why that was ... until I started researching this trip.

 

You see: Like Cuba, Africa is EXPENSIVE

Researching a Kilimanjaro climb, here I was thinking it might cost about 300 euro. Nah add another 1,200 on top of that mate!

Safari? You're talking 300-500 euro PER DAY!

 

After that preliminary shock... I began the "exhausting research stage" of trying to find the best balance between doing what I want, while trying to avoid emptying my bank account (which is either the most interesting, or most boring frustrating part of a trip... this time it was a little of both).

Being Africa, scams are rife, so you always have to worry about that when researching tour companies.

 

The two countries I've always wanted to visit as my first experience in "deepest darkest Africa" are Tanzania and Ethiopia.

Tanzania because it's got Kili (Africa's highest mountain) and the Serengeti, and it's a lot less predictable (read "safe") than Kenya. Also my bro-in-law is from there!

Ethiopia because... well because it's always fascinated me! Humanity started here; it's historical artifacts are undeniably amazing; the people are supposed to be really cool; and.. well, it's RAW and will be a fun challenge to get around.

 

Lonely Planet's Thorntree forums proved to be invaluable while I was researching... plus I also purchased Tanzania and Ethiopia guidebooks 1 month ago which gave me ample time to identify what I should prioritise in each country.

Finally I came up with an itinerary... although it's really rushed (which I didn't really want) and crushed into a limited 4 week period.

I'm still researching companies to go with for Kili and the Safari, but I think I've decided on one who is offering me a great combo price if I book both tours with them.

 

Equipment to bring is also a major headache for this trip. I had to purchase a sleeping bag, mattress, hiking boots, hiking jacket, head torch, water purification tables, 300 euro worth of VACCINATIONS (!), 180 euro worth of Malaria tablets (!)... even a brand new ZOOM lens on my camera!

Yowza .. I did say Africa is expensive ... although the January sales have thankfully made the clothes part a bit cheaper.

 

Anyway ... my last two weeks here, then I'm off. I need to work on my fitness if I'm to avoid getting altitude sickness on Kili during the 6 day climb...

Until then.

Pete out.

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I bless the rains down in Africa

Travel blog by peterforan

Day 3  ... Lookin forward to Uhuru peak, Kilimanjaro

Day 3 ... Lookin forward to Uhuru peak, Kilimanjaro


With Toto's defining tune ringing in my head, I don khaki pants and venture full-throttle into Africa! Elephants, lions, huge mountains, men with spears intent on stabbing me (probably) and the "Cradle of Humanity" (tm)... 4 weeks ain't gonna be enough!

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Photo Album

  • Service from...

    Road back to...

    Tanzania

    Service from the seat of your bus!
  • Northern...

    Road back to...

    Tanzania

    Northern Tanzanian landscape
  • Replica of...

    Aksum

    Ethiopia

    Replica of the silver coin I bought
  • The Rome Stele

    Aksum

    Ethiopia

    The Rome Stele