Overlanding Africa

As the big yellow truck pulled away down the streets of Swakopmund, Namibia, people were hanging out the window, thumping “Hooked on a feeling”, with inside jokes being yelled to and fro. It was an emotional goodbye, culminating in our final act of the tour being Mark bounding down the street like a springbok. As we’d mentioned previously we had initially felt conflicted about signing on to a tour, but it didn’t take long for us to feel at home with an awesome group of people, and 4 weeks miraculously melted away with Absolute Africa. As the saying goes, “Time flies when you’re having fun”. It was also nice to not have to organise getting from A to B squashed in vans of questionable safety, with drivers with even more questionable driving credentials, finding places to stay and having arguments about the cost of a taxi into town, and to actually have bed mats in our tent after prematurely giving ours away in South Africa. But above all, it was the people that made the trip what it was.

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Kruger National Park

“There’s nowhere like Kruger!” affirmed the owners of our hostel, just outside the gates, and to be honest it’s hard to argue. We say this not just because of our African game reserve novice status, but because the scope of the park and the fact that you can explore it on your own are truly remarkable. Whether it’s the immaculate roads, of which they have a purported 6000kms, or the fact you can get a reasonable priced cafe breakfast whilst overlooking Sabie river. While you’re sipping your flat white, elephants sip water at the banks, all at the same price as you’d pay anywhere else in South Africa, they even offer craft beer in the park!

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Into Incredible India

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Blessings for sale, Varanasi.

India, it really is a land of extremes and contrasts. Extreme wealth contrasted by extreme poverty, the highs of the Himalayas to the beaches on the Indian ocean, lush rain forests to bone dry deserts, chaotic cities to chilled out towns or villages and the majesty of the Royal Bengal tiger to the common run of the mill street dog. Although there are some constants, great food, great people and you can be shocked, enthralled and entertained in the same moment, it has a way of getting under your skin in ways other countries don’t. The other constant is a gaggle of fellow travellers who dress in a manner that is to say “I’ve found myself, and have found enlightenment you will never know, now if you don’t mind I have to check on Facebook and post this killer selfie on Insta” – India, as the tagline goes, really is incredible. Continue reading

Bangladesh: River Sides and Bus Rides

 

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The rare Hoolock Gibbon

Bangladesh, often over shadowed by its largest neighbour and, lately at least, in the news for the wrong reasons, is a land criss-crossed by rivers and at times strikingly beautiful is an up and coming tourist destination. We were asked many time why we were heading here, and if we are honest, mainly out of curiosity – curiosity that is reciprocated by the locals. Bangladesh gained independence in 1971 after a bloody war with its erstwhile overlords Pakistan. With a population somewhere around 168m people, it is the most densely populated country on the planet, cramming¬† in a remarkable 1252 ppl per sq.km! (By way of comparison NZ has just 14 ppl per sq.km). That means we’ve now been to the most densely and most sparsely populated (Mongolia) countries in the world on this trip.¬† Continue reading