Kenya & Tanzania
Our first week in Africa has already been an incredible experience. We have seen so many amazing things, met so many wonderful people and learned so much about this beautiful continent. We’ve seen lions mating right in front of us, we’ve kissed a giraffe and we got lost off-road in the Serengeti during a storm. It’s been one of the best weeks of my life.
However, during that first week, one of the worst things I could imagine happened.
I said we would be honest – and we will – but then I hadn’t realised what exactly that would mean.
I was super paranoid for the whole week leading up to this trip that I would die just before I got to go. I just felt that the irony of me dying the day before, or the day we arrived, would be too good for life to pass up. Wouldn’t it just be perfect, life’s last laugh at me.
Thing is, life found a way to one up me. It didn’t take my life the day I flew out to Kenya. It took my best friend’s life instead.
So, being honest means that our first day in Kenya really wasn’t so great. Being honest means that I didn’t sleep at all those first few days and I cried when we visited the giraffes. Being honest means I lost one of the most important people in my life in a strange country surrounded by strangers. Being honest means that I spent a long time being entirely convinced by the belief that God is evil because why, why else would he take someone so good and kind and deserving of everything great in this life at such a young age? Being honest means that no amount of wild animals, or dramatic Tanzanian landscape or once-in-a-lifetime experiences was going to change that.
But, being honest also means that I have still had the best time this past week, and I know for sure I couldn’t have coped if I had been at home. We got so lucky with our group. I don’t know if they know how much they helped, but it was a whole damn lot and I am endlessly grateful to them all.
And, if I’m being really honest, the beer is cheap and the cigarettes are strong, so that’s definitely made things easier.
ANYWAY, the trip.
It’s 27 days, starting in Kenya and making our way down through Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe and finally into South Africa.
The trip is by G Adventures (it’s this one right here!), and is largely camping, so it’s pretty intense, but the tents are actually really great and spacious, plus most campsites have a bar so we’re perfectly fine!
As previously stated, our first day wasn’t exactly all fun and games, but me and Em did have a great time at the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi, which I posted here – definitely worth checking out even if just for the hilarious sloppy kiss pics!
We also met up with the rest of the group that evening, as well as the men among men leading the trip – John “the Cheetah” and Patrick “the Pumba”. I already know we are in the best hands possible with those two.
Day 2 kicked off with an early start – as has pretty much every day since – and mostly consisted of driving into Tanzania in the ‘Lando’ – the big purple overland vehicle, which does sort of become your home away from home for the duration of the trip. It’s fun though, the whole group gets on so well that the long drives are never too bad.
After the long drive and border crossing, we made it to our campsite for the night – The Meserani Snake Park, which unsurprisingly had a snake park in it, but even better, a bar. So after wandering past the snakes and crocodiles, we all went for a bottle of Kilimanjaro before dinner.
We are split into four groups so that each group would take it in turns to help out with something every day, like cooking or washing up, although mostly now we all just pitch in with everything. John and Patrick are the real cooks though, everything they make is unreal. Olivia joked that they are like the African Hairy Bikers and it’s so true. Get a camera on them and you have a winning TV series, several life changing recipe books and a regular feature on a morning talk show.
On Day 3, we split up into Jeeps and headed into the Serengeti NP and Ngorongoro Crater (pronounce the first ‘n’ but not the second). The two of us joined three Mancunian girls whom I love, the wonderful Belgian that is Wally, John and our driver Jimmy “the Leopard” and had the best time during the three days we spent there.
I have a full post on the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater coming up soon which I am very excited about! We got so lucky, we saw enough on those game drives to fill an entire eight-part series of Planet Earth, and I can’t wait to show you some of the amazing photos Emily took.
We spent a final night at Meserani once we got back which was nice – it was good to reunite with Patrick again and we had a lot of fun in the campsite bar that night! Ending the day at the bar has very quickly become routine for us, but how can you say no to $1 beer?
We had a full day of driving on Day 6 as we headed towards the coast, which was pretty long but we napped and chatted and laughed our way through it. Home for that night was Firefly Campsite in Dar es Salaam, where we would be getting the ferry to Zanzibar the next day. The campsite was one of my favourites so far as it had a bar with a pool – definitely appreciated in the 30 degree heat!
So yeah, our first week has been pretty incredible. At first, I felt like losing my best friend while being in Kenya surrounded by people I didn’t know and very limited means of contacting anyone was the worst thing that could have happened. But I’ve realised now that I wouldn’t have coped if I had been anywhere else. Or with anyone else. It’s been fucking hard, but Tristan was so hyped for me to do this trip and I think he would be happy to know I was still able to enjoy it.
So, next stop is Zanzibar, which if you follow either of us on Instagram you will already know is actual paradise! In the meantime, look out for our Serengeti post, it was genuinely one of the best experiences I have ever had.
As always, thanks for reading!
K & M