Europe, Asia, Africa · 66 Days · 38 Moments · January 2017

Lisa & Jeroen go Africa

28 March 2017

Hiii there we arrived safely in Europe. We are incredibly grateful for the warm welcome at Vienna Airport! Once we went through the door Lisa's mum, sister and aunt susi were waiting for us with a big sign and making funny monkey-like sounds to surprise us! Later also cousins Verena and Daniel arrived and we had nice Austrian and red berry cake and mum cooked for us. The next days were very nice as well. Dad took us and the whole family to Cirque du Soleil which was so impressive. We also met our friends Renee and Philipp and their baby girl Hannah who was born few weeks ago which was very special. Thank you all very much for this warm welcome. Coming home is definitely also a really nice part of the journey! Jeroen is on his way to the Netherlands already and Lisa will follow in a few days. We are also looking forward to seeing everyone in our second home base again :) Tot ziens!

26 March 2017

9 weeks ago... we were curious about a new continent to discover and now, 9 weeks later, we're waiting at the airport of Entebbe, our mind fully loaded with beautiful memories and our big backpacks with dirty clothes and souvenirs. The last days we spent our time in Entebbe where we found accommodation in a wildlife education centre. Many animals are living here and our small house 'banda' was directly next to the giraffes. Although we woke up from the shouting chimpanzees sometimes we had a relaxed last 2 days. We're grateful that we had the possibility to explore this part of Africa and we are sure the we will enjoy the beautiful memories for many many years! We're looking forward to see everybody again in Europe!

23 March 2017

The last 2 days we spent in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. Here we went back in the dark history of this small country by visiting the good and impressive museum about the Rwandese genocide. In 1994 about 1 million people were slaughtered in just a couple of months. In the museum we learned about the history and how this brutal event could happen. We were shocked by all the cruelty human can do to each other but touched by the will of forgiveness of the survivors and the believe that only then the country will have a good future. By how we experienced this small country the better future is taking place already. Rwanda is by far the cleanest (the government banned plastic bags 10 years ago already), the greenest and the most organised country here in east Africa and we can imagine people describe the capital Kigali as the Singapore of Africa!

21 March 2017

Rwanda... land of the 1000 hills... 2 days ago we left the beautiful lake Buyoni to cross the border with Rwanda. We got a warm welcome at the border (they really do their best to make a good impression on tourists). After arriving in the city of muzanze we took a taxi outside of the city were we spend the last 2 nights surrounded by 6 magnificent volcanos. Yesterday we used the full day for a nature and community walk. We walked around the borders of the bamboo forests where the mountain gorillas live. The beautiful nature impressed us and all the time we could see, smell and hear... seeing the volcanos, smelling the eucalyptus trees which were everywhere and hearing the happy 'good morning' and 'how are you?' Out of the mouth of the many many children. Of course we got hungry from hiking and we got a heavy local lunch which was a good base for the banana beer we got afterwards.... Today we go to what we heard is one of the most organised and clean capitals of Africa; Kigali

17 March 2017

Vacation: sometimes you need some vacation during traveling and we found a wonderful spot to do that! Lake Buyoni is a beautiful lake in the south west of Uganda. Surrounded by volcanos on an altitude of 1900 meters Buyoni is one of the few places in Uganda where you can swim without the risk of Bylharzia (those are tiny worms who enter your body to lay eggs and multiply) Anyway.... we enjoyed the safe swimming and the local canoes a lot and one of the highlights was our accommodation! We were staying for 4 nights in a "geodome" which means a nice and characteristic tiny house with 3 walls. The lack of the 4th wall gave us an amazing view of the lake out of the bed and provided us the whole night with a fresh mountain breeze.... and yes sometimes birds and other small animals were visiting us inside our geodome....

12 March 2017

Yes we're still Kampala we decided to hire a 4 wheel drive car which gave us the opportunity to drive around by ourself and that was a great experience! Our car was fully equipped with camping gear which we used very well. The 6 days we had the car we were driving in beautiful landscapes of tea plantations, crater lakes, mountains and interesting villages. Every night we camped somewhere else with as highlight a night at the campsite in queen Elizabeth national park. After a ranger prepared a campfire (to keep the lions and leopards away) it was just the 2 of us at the entire campsite! During the night we heard a magnificent symphony of all the wildlife around us with the grazing hippos playing the first violin..(one of them was grazing next to our tent).The next day we drove by our self through the national park surrounded by elephants and monkeys on the road! The 6 days with the car brought us a lot of action and adventures so we decided to take some vacation afterwards...

10 March 2017

We stayed 2 nights in Kampala. On the first evening we enjoyed African rhythms and dances in a local theater. About 40 people were filling the stage to perform the traditional music and dances of Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi and at the end we could move our own bodies as well. The next day was totally different, we visited one of the biggest slums of Kampala and guided by one of 'the locals' we got insights about the life in this part of the city. The whole tour we didn't feel unsafe, people were friendly and we're greeting us nice but it was touching to see the very small children playing on the dirty streets between rubbish and waste water,especially considering the fact that most of the children have HIV.But this is not influencing the beautiful smile they all have and show you generously, often combined with a waving hand and the words "hello mzungu". The tour was organised by an NGO with the purpose to teach about the life in the community and generate income to improve conditions.

9 March 2017

Hey there, this morning we left our beautiful spot at the Nile river to move further to Kampala, the capital of Uganda. We had great days here and after the big 5 we also did 'grade 5'. Yes we did white water rafting on the Nile river which was classified as grade 5, the most heavy classification for rafting what 'normal' people can do... It was a great experience and our boat only flipped up side down once😀. We also did an very interesting village walk and sunset river cruise last evening. Now we prepare ourself for new adventures!!!

5 March 2017

We arrived in Uganda! The bus ride was Loong a bit more than 24 hours but fine. We arrived now in Jinja at a nice campsite, where the Nile River starts out of the Victoria lake. In the next days we want to explore the villages and nature around here. Groetjes

3 March 2017

Mombasa, diani beach: "just some other days in paradise" we had 4 wonderful nights between many monkeys and lovely "bush babies" in a treehouse. During the night we kept the curtains open so the fresh sea breeze could enter our room easily during the night and at the moment we opened our eyes we could see the monkeys around us. Add one of the best beaches of the Swahili coast at a 5 min walk away, awesome food and beautiful weather, that's why we call it paradise. As a special extra we could feed the bush babies every evening at 7. Yesterday we made a trip with a Dow (Arabic sailing boat) and before we prepared for the first of 2 dives we could enjoy the school of dolphins which was swimming next to the boat. We just enjoyed a very nice sea-view dinner in Mombasa. Kenya was short but great! But...Uganda is waiting for us.... after just 18 hrs by bus tomorrow ...

27 February 2017

We arrived well in Mombasa, after a long bus ride. We successfully crossed the border between Tanzania and Kenya, with funny episodes when they checked the our luggage "so you have a snorkel what are you going to do with it?" "Which brand are your hiking shoes? Could you sent me some like these as well?". But everything worked out. We are now at the coast again, at a place called Diani Beach. We sleep in a tree house tonight surrounded by monkeys! :) Greetings to Europe!
We are about to leave Tanzania and are waiting for the bus from Moshi to Mombasa in Kenia. As a nice farewell gift we received an almost cloudless view on the Kilimanjaro this morning during the sunrise! Although it's so tall its actually not easy to see Kilimanjaro because it's most of the time covered in fog or clouds. We spent several hours the last days watching it hoping for the clouds to disappear for a short moment Finally this morning at the last possible moment for us the view to the top was clear. We are grateful!

26 February 2017

Serengeti III: We stayed the night in a tent somewhere in the middle of the Serengeti. Lisa tried to get confirmation that armed guards would be there during the night to reduce the chance that she would be the next lions dinner... but the answer she got was different then expected. Instead of armed guards we got instructions: "if we had to go to the toilet during the night we always go together and in case of... use your torch to shine in the eyes of 'the dangerous animal' and it will go away". We survived the night which was filled with safari sounds to start in the early morning with our next drive. Although it was raining we saw mating lions, giraffes, grazing hippos and a cheetah family. Serengeti was great! The good pictures we took with our camera that's why the pictures of Serengeti in this blog are not as good as the stories.

24 February 2017

Ngorogoro crater : some things you simply cannot describe, and the enormous imploded mountain which is called the Ngorogoro crater is one of them. We camped the night at the crater rim so that we could descent into the crater in the early morning. Directly when we were driving down on the steep road we were in paradise. Protected and isolated by the circle of mountains around them the enormous amount of wildlife in the crater seems to live peacefully on another planet. For both of us Ngorogoro was the most beautiful safari experience and... it showed us the last member of the big five family, the rhino. If you haven't been here yet, definitely put it on your travel list!!!

22 February 2017

Serengeti II: We haven't tried it (yet) but according to the lions the meat of wildebeests should be very tasty...Already 1 hour after we entered Serengeti we saw a romantic dinner of a lions couple... while the impressive male lion was taking an after dinner nap, the female was dividing the fresh meat from the bones...and for the second time we were lucky that this all happened close to our car, we even could enjoy the safari sound of cracking wildebeest bones... But Serengeti surprised us with more beautiful predator moments...2 lion brothers were laying directly next to the road and we're showing us how to scratch a tree with your nails, how to cross the road directly next to our car and... how to poop.. its nature! Just 45 minutes later we were lucky to find another member of the big five laying in a tree... a male leopard! He was easy to locate, not because of his long tail which was hanging down but because of the herd of safari cars standing around the tree.
Serengeti I: So..we are in Moshi, close to the 'roof of Africa' the mighty mountain Kilimanjaro. While we drinking a very good coffee (which is produced in this region) we still enjoy our beautiful memories of Serengeti and Ngorongoro. Our safari started in Serengeti, world famous for the huge concentration of wildebeest (gnus) and we have seen them... imagine driving an hour and all the time you see thousands of those grazing creatures all around you... boring? No thanks to the thousands of zebras and buffalo's which are peacefully share the grasslands there is a lot of variation all the time. Add the backdrop of stunning landscapes and you can imagine this was an amazing experience and then we didn't talk about the predators yet.....

21 February 2017

We are now in Arusha where it is a bit cooler and much more touristic than in any of the other places we have been so far. For us this is a welcome change for some days. We enjoy it to exchange experiences with other backpackers and to have a good cup of coffee for the first time after 3 weeks. Today, we will leave for a camping safari visiting Ngorogoro crater (a unique natural occurrence where a lot of wildlife lives inside a huge vulcano crater) And Serengeti national park a national park of the size of a third of the Netherlands (or the size of Tirol) which is famous for its huge concentrations of wildlife. We go in a group of six backpackers with a guided tour and will be back in 4 days. Groetjes & Grüsse to Europe!
Kondoa IIII: It was very nice to see the interest of the people, to hear their questions and answer them. As the time passed more and more people came to listen and our guide did not get tired to translate. After the coffee we had dinner in the light of a torch at the majors house, a small clay hut. There is no electricity in the Village so torches are the only source of light after it gets dark. We took the chance to ask questions about the Village life and learned that they have plans to get electricity in the future and some people already have mobile phones using solar chargers. They do however not strive for modernized life or radical change but for sustainable income and peaceful community life. The brother of the major kindly provided us his clayhut for the night and we were feeling villagers for a night.
Kondoa III: in the evening we visited a second village. the guide announced our visit beforehand so the major of the village welcomed us and directly invited us to have dinner in his house and to stay at his place for the night. There are about 500 people living in the village most of them farmers living from their crops and livestock. It turned out we were the first white people ever arriving in this village so from the moment we got out of the car more and more people gathered around us to see the "mzungos" (white travellers). We went to the coffee place of the Village with the major which basically were two benches and a bucket of cups where tea and coffee was served. Villagers gathered around us and asked questions about our life, like which kind of vegetables we grow back home and how we would give water to the fields and if we have mountains in our countries. We told them about industrial agriculture and showed them pictures of snow, which led to interesting discussions.

20 February 2017

Kondoa II: here comes the second part of the Kondoa story. In the course of a cultural tourism tour we visited two villages near to Kondoa where we got to know about a really different life. First, we visited a family that our guide supported already for some years trough a charity project. we could join him, bring some gifts and get to know more about the life in rural Tanzania. As most other people in the region, this family lives under basic conditions in a small clay hut, without electricity. Water is carried in buckets from a source 500m away. Our guide helped us to translate so we could communicate with the family and answer each others questions. It was a joyful meeting and together with the guide and the mother of the family we planted six fruit trees we brought from the city that will hopefully help to provide both food and shadow for the family in the future who face difficulties due to changing weather conditions.

18 February 2017

We arrived safely in Arusha. Wow, the last days were really intense and full of new experiences. First we visited the Kondoa rock art sites, which are paintings in caves and on rock walls which are believed to date back more than 3-6000 years ago and are a UNESCO world heritage site. Already the drive there was quite adventurous, as our guide turned out to be a professional ralley driver. After we arrived we did a short walk up hill to arrive at the art sites. We were quite impressed how people managed to create some paint that would last soo long. It was also nice to sit in front of the walls for some time and try to identify the motives and animals and discuss with the guide about expressed messages in the painting. We could clearly see humans, giraffes, elefants, scenes of dancing and playing. We saw different styles of paintings some more realistic some more symbolic. It seems until today it is still unknown how old the paintings are exactly. Estimates range from 3-6 000 years.
Everything's fine here. We had adventurous two days in Kondoa (pics and the story will follow soon), we are on the way to Arusha with a bus now.

13 February 2017

The safari in Mikumi National Park was amazing! We saw many different wild animals in their natural environment. Already when we approached the park, monkeys were running next to the street and we could see some giraffes and zebras nearby. Once we were inside the national park animals were everywhere: elephant s, zebras, giraffes, hippos, birds, monkeys and early in the morning we even saw 4 lions (who just got a buffalo for breakfast). We went in an open (!) jeep together with our guide grayson and the lions were like 5m next to us. "If you don't disturb them they will not do anything" - well we trusted on that but still had some respect being so close to the big cats with no glass, fence or anything in between. It was really a special experience and nice to see there are so many animals living there and especially so many young ones (baby giraffes, baby elephants + hippos..). Today we took the bus and went further to Dodoma, to explore the capital city of Tansania.

10 February 2017

We are back in morogoro the 2 day hike was very nice. Our guide Grason introduced us to the live of the Waluguru people, who live in the uluguru mountains who mainly work as farmers growing many types of vegetables and fruit on steep fields. Interestingly, this tribe has a matriarchal system, which means that the roles of the head of the family, and the head of the village are taken over by women. But in the nearby schools they try to raise children in a way that things get more equal and men get more rights. Women in the village thought us how to weave mats out of palm leaves and how to make pots out of clay. We camped next to an old colonial building built by the Germans in 1911, where a cook lives nowadays, who prepared a great dinner for us out of vegetables from the mountain. On the 2nd day, we climbed through the rainforest to the summit on 2000m. on the top there is a communication tower and electricity lines built 100 years ago by the Germ which are still in use.

9 February 2017

We arrived in morogoro and spent the night in a Christian missionary center, today we do a hike and visit several villages and will camp on the mountain.

7 February 2017

We safely arrived in Dar es salaam, the four hour ferry trip at 5am from Mafia to the mainland with a simple and fully​ packed boat making strange noises, was adventurous but worked out well in the end. Followed by a five hour ride with the local dalla-dallas (minibuses) we returned to the center of Dar es salaam. In Dar we tried to organize a bus ticket to Morogoro for the next day just to find out bookings are not possible here, you just come to the station and buses leave whenever they are full. People here seem relaxed and patient it seems 'time' works differently here. We had dinner with our friend Vincent again, which we really enjoyed and we stayed the night in Dar. We are now in the bus on the way to Morogoro to get to know more about village life and maybe see some lions ;)

6 February 2017

Hi again, today is our last day on the beautiful Mafia island. We stayed the last days in a bungalow in the Whale shark lodge in Kilindoni on the other side of the island. Also this side is very green and mainly untouched. On whole Mafia there are no big buildings or hotels here yet, only small lodges/cottages ~30.000 people live distributed over the whole island but there are only 250 beds for tourists as tourism has not yet really developed here, therefore nature still rules most of the island. its also low season now and we are the only guests in the whaleshark lodge. Therefore the last days were really relaxed, we spent the days mainly reading, walking on the beach or in the nearby village and chatting with the locals or planning our ongoing journey. Today we had the chance to swim with the whalesharks again, which was great. Tomorrow we will take a ferry at 5am to a place called nyamisati and then head back to Dar es Salaam. Groetjes!

3 February 2017

Yesterday evening we were taken into the village of Utende by Tupa one of the employees of the dive centre. In the village we enjoyed a drink at a local bar first before we got a real Swahili style dinner cooked by mama Dorothea, the best cook of the village. It was a very good experience for all our senses!

2 February 2017

We enjoy the time on Mafia island, diving here is really nice, we saw lots of beautiful fish and diverse corals. Today we were snorkelling and we were lucky and could even see whale sharks!! Whale sharks are the largest fish on the planet, we saw 4 different ones which were ~10m long. And we could get really close to them that was really exciting. They are really elegant animals and they have a whole ecosystem of other fish accompanying them. Jeroen tried his new underwater camera and could get some nice shots. For the rest everything is fine here, the people are very nice and welcoming. All day long we can hear people saying 'Karibu' to us which means 'welcome' or 'you are welcome' in Swahili. Tomorrow is our last diving day, we will do early morning diving at 6:00h, so we'll go to bed now. We send warm regards to Europe!

30 January 2017

We arrived at Mafia island. It was a small plane with 9 people on board including the pilot, we had a quiet flight without any turbulences we stay here at a diving school called big blue in a safari tent. It's located in a marine national park and really a little paradise.
We enjoyed the last day in Dar and spend some time planning our next stop! We are currently on the airport and going to take a local flight of 30 min from Dar. Mafia Island should be a really nice island, great for scuba diving. Pictures will follow :)

28 January 2017

We had a nice, relaxed day at the beach of Dar es Salaam today. The beach is nice, the sea very warm. We will stay some more days here at the friendly gecko hostel, we really like the hostel and the people here. The hostel is run by an NGO called Help2Kids which maintains a school and an orphans home in the neighborhood. Therefore many volunteers stay here in this hostel and the atmosphere is very welcoming and friendly. On Tuesday we will probably travel further and head to Mafia Island. Cheers, Jeroen & Lisa

27 January 2017

Hi there, we had a great first day in Tanzania. We met Vincent, a good friend of our dear friend Kathi who lived and worked in Zambia for the last years. She kindly introduced us to Vincent who lives in Dar es Salaam and gave us a lot of great tips for our journey. The house in the picture is the hostel where we stay ...The other picture is an "Austrian" product we spotted in the local supermarket ;)

26 January 2017

Welldeserved our first beer in Tanzania!
We landed safely in Dubai, in 2 hours we go on to Dar. Greetings from DBX :)

25 January 2017

A good start with great seats on the first row (erste reihe Fußfrei ) in the a380 economy class. 😃
Finally ready to go! On our way to the airport. The journey just started and we're excited 😃

22 January 2017

We are excited 3 days to go!