Somehow it’s arrived.
Somehow, after a year of brainstorming logistics, hammering down an ever-changing schedule, and discussing feasibility of this trip (how much credence should we really give to those pesky State Department warnings?), our long-awaited journey to Africa is here.
Those mental countdowns seem to last an eternity until all of a sudden they don’t. Seemingly overnight, the journey has arrived and in most cases I feel like I haven’t had a chance (despite literally having almost a year) to really absorb the extent of this adventure.
And man, is it an adventure. I tell people we’re traveling – I never call it a ‘vacation’ – because while we’re jetting off and enjoying amazing new landscapes and experiences in some incredible locales, ‘vacation’ conjures up fanciful ideas of sleeping in, sipping cocktails by the pool and debating where to go to dinner. While South Africa will bring us some of that, the majority of our trip brings challenging off-the-beaten-path adventures with early wake up calls and long days of trekking which will undoubtedly be the experience of a lifetime. We’re starting our trip with two and a half weeks in East Africa, exploring parts of Rwanda, Uganda and most prominently, Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
I’ve talked before about my childhood fantasies about visiting the Congo, and somehow this bucket list adventure is sitting right in front of us, and I’m simultaneously so excited and so worried that it’s going to escape in the blink of an eye, as grand adventures tend to do.
So, for this trip, I’m cool with the long days and the needing-a-vacation-after-your-vacation approach because we’re going to make every day count (gorilla trekking, volcano hiking, traditional game drives, whale watching, shark diving, wine tasting, and so much more). Stay tuned as I share my adventures from throughout the African sub-continent. I’ll be sharing links to our experiences right here as they go live to keep them in one place for easy reference!
- One day in Kigali visiting Kigali’s Genocide Museum + a stay at Mille Collines
- Scoping out Nyungwe Forest from Rwanda’s Canopy Walkway
- An attempt at chimp trekking in Rwanda
- Our perilous journey crossing Lake Kivu + having to be rescued by the Rwandan military
Democratic Republic of Congo
- Information and logistics on traveling to Virunga National Park
- Visiting Senkwekwe Gorilla Orphanage, the world’s only orphanage for gorilla babies
- Our first experience gorilla trekking in Africa, visiting the Rugendo gorilla family in the DRC
- Mt. Nyiragongo Hike: our trek to the world’s largest active lava lake through a rain + hail storm!
- Our second spectacular experience gorilla trekking in the Congo, visiting the Humba family in the DRC
- Success on safari in Uganda with game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Our boat safari on Kazinga Channel for a water-based exploration
- Chimpanzee tracking in Uganda’s Kalinzu Forest (with a bit more success than in Rwanda!)
- Social good + (unexpected) major inspiration on Lake Bunyonyi
- Our fabulous journey on The Blue Train from Pretoria to Cape Town for the ultimate in old school luxury
- Two-days of bliss on the Cape Whale Coast; photographic proof you must visit Hermanus
- A drive to Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope for a bucket list excursion
- From Table Mountain to strolling the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, a perfect day in Cape Town
- Wine blending, a duck run and more during a day of wine tasting in Stellenbosch
- Exploring glitzy wineries and boutique properties while wine tasting aboard the Franschhoek Wine Tram
- Top 5 Cape Winelands experiences that you can’t miss
- From pampering in Hermanus to the quaint vibes in Franschhoek, my South Africa hotel round-up
In the meanwhile, please do follow along with me on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook as I share updated experiences along the way. On Instagram, follow #TWExAfrica to see the collection of pictures we’re compiling from our month-long escape!
FIRST STOP: A long layover in Doha, Qatar.