I spent the next year and a half traveling across the entire continent, mostly overland and solo.
On December 28th of 2011, I set out on a one-way flight to Cape Town, South Africa, not knowing what I was doing or when I'd return home. I ended up spent the next year and a half traveling the entire length of the continent, all the way to Alexandria, Egypt and finally returning home to Seattle on July 3rd, of 2013.
Here is a very rough outline of the journey: I started in South Africa, planning to drive to Cairo with two South African guys.
We made it through Mozambique, Malawi and into Tanzania, staying at backpackers and doing a bit of scuba diving before that trip fell apart due to not getting along.
I flew back to Cape Town alone, went to AfrikaBurn, spent a month+ on a farm, then on the coast. From there I crossed into Botswana, where I spent a month with a British guy I met through Couchsurfing, then rode a single speed bike 1,500km across the country.
In the Okavango delta I met a German guy who drove down Africa in a 74 VW, and we spent the next two months together, a month of that at an orphanage in Southern Zambia. We split up, I rode my bike another 900km through Zambia then tried to paddle the worlds longest lake alone in a traditional wooden boat.
It did not go well, but was an amazing experience. I took a 100 year old ex-German warship the rest of the way up the lake, then rode buses and Couchsurfed my way through Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda and into Kenya. Unable to get a visa for overland entrance into Ethiopia, I flew from Nairobi, and spent an interesting but somewhat difficult month in Ethiopia.
I was also unable to get a visa into Sudan and had to fly over it, one of the biggest disappointments of the trip. I arrived in Egypt, traveled the country by train and bus from one end to the other, leaving just two weeks before they threw out their president.
**Simply saying 'yes' to the journey in the first place, scuba diving in Zanzibar, doing a safari in the Serengeti, going to AfrikaBurn, cycling across Botswana, paddling Lake Tanganyika, hiking in the Simian Mountains of Ethiopia and finally reaching Egypt, accomplishing my goal of crossing Africa and most importantly the people I met on the way.
**he initial 4x4 across Africa trip failing, having most of my possessions stolen in Zambia, laying semi-conscious and shitting blood for 3 days in Tanzania, and saying goodbye to a place I love.
Death: I've been in villages when there have been children killed by lions and crocs, where thieves were stoned to death by a group of students, where a man was stabbed to death in a goat raid, heard stories of cerebral malaria killing in only three days, a shooting rampage in Ethiopia and saw the aftermath of a minibus crash that killed all 13 on board. Life is cheap.
I never thought I would: Travel up Africa in the first place, sit on a crocodile, go three weeks without seeing another white person, eat elephant meat, do the dressing on a fresh male circumcision, cycle the Trans-Kalahari, and be an honored guest of local headmen.
Internationalism: I would find myself at parties with as many as 10 different nationalities. Mostly through Couchsurfing, I stayed with people from South Africa, England, America, France, Spain, Russia, Sudan, India, Ethiopia, Egypt, Uganda, Tanzania, Italy, Slovakia, Germany, Botswana, Kenya and more.
Transportation: I used just about every method possible. Driving in a 4x4, taking buses, hitch hiking, riding trains, bicycles, canoes, motor boats, donkey carts, airplanes, sailboats, motorcycles, walking and more.
Accomodations: Everything from mud and grass huts to 4-star condos. I found myself sleeping in logging camps, I've slept on bags of fish while on a boat, countless random couches, laying in the sand of the Kalahari, the homes of cattle ranchers and the homes of many, many Peace Corps volunteers.
Overall: Africa is amazingly safe, expect for when it's not! Most people love America (although don't understand it at all). My experience with Africans was overwhelmingly positive, the hospitality was simply incredible. Africa is undergoing some extremely rapid change, and those growing pains will have major consequences and last well into the future.
This is where I tried to paddle the worlds longest lake in a traditional wooden boat, alone.
Cycling across Botswana on a single speed bike because the book said not to cycle across Botswana.
My favorite backpackers in Africa and one of the most beautiful places.
Ethiopia, probably the most fascinating country I visited in Africa.
Traveling in a 74 VW camper, crossing into Zambia and staying at an orphanage.
I'm looking forward to answering as many questions as I can, with plenty of stories, useful advice and photos here on yeet magazine