Europe Begins with Greece and the Greek Islands

23rd of April 2016:

I had all of 20 minutes of disturbed sleep before we arrived in Dubai. We had a 4 hour stopover before catching the plane to Athens. Coincidently we were in the exact same terminal and only 3 numbers different, so I felt like I knew where everything was. We fell asleep on the lounge chairs for 2 hours. It was just what I needed to survive till the next plane. We bought Mc Donald’s again with our food vouchers from the aeroplane. I was so skeptical when they gave us the vouchers with our boarding passes because I was concerned that meant we would be delayed even longer but apparently they were being nice. However once again not much was open apart from McDonalds so here we were again eating double cheeseburger meals for breakfast. It just makes me feel so ill, but when you gotta eat, you gotta eat. At 10am we were boarding our plane again off to Athens. Nick hasn’t been to Europe so I was so excited for him. We bounded on the plane to find we were the second to last seats. The last two rows on the side are only 2 people which is good that it means your not sitting next to some stranger but bad in the way that we can’t spread out.

Greece

When we arrived in Athens we waited in line for only 5 minutes to get through customs. It’s not like it’s exactly hard for Australians to get in anyways. We just have to stay less than 99 days before paying for a visa. We grabbed our bags from the carousel and a map and were on our way to the bus to the city. I honestly don’t even know how to catch a bus back at home so for me to catch a bus in a foreign country I am fathomed on how I actually successfully arrived at the hostel. The bus ride however was a good hour. Once we were in the city square we took a trolleybus for 2km to the street our hostel was on and arrived safe and sound. It has been a very long day and I was beyond exhausted but we still walked around the block to explore. 

Our aim was to get some dinner as we explore what the city has to offer. We found a little yiros place opposite a church. No one spoke a word of English apart from one waiter who only knew the basics. However only 5 minutes after working out what the chicken yiros was, it was served in front of us. Their yiros’ are by far the best yiros I’ve ever eaten. I know that you would hope Greece has good yiros but it tasted fresher than back home. They filled it with lettuce, tomato, chicken and chips. The chips are quite foreign but good. Half way through our yiros I heard Nick say “omg” as I turn around I saw 8 men and women running down the street towards us all in black with black balaclavas. With what’s been happening in the last 6 months in Europe this is terrifying. My heart sunk and I stopped breathing. All of a sudden they threw pamphlets in the air and started giving away free frozen chicken to the people in the line to go to church and on the street. Within 5 seconds the whole ordeal was over. Everyone was confused as to what was going on, especially the old lady with a free chicken. It looked as if they had just robbed the supermarket (they still had the supermarket basket) and just did a runner to give back to the people. I would rather free chicken then what originally crossed both our minds. After this ordeal instead of drifting off to sleep we walked around the night markets for an hour before heading back to the hostel.

24th of April 2016:

Our first full day in Europe, and my god we did not take it easy. Our plan was to go see the Acropolis and that we definitely did. We were up and ready for the day. The Acropolis is huge one that makes me exhausted just thinking about it. We started our walk to the main Acropolis through a botanical garden where we saw little turtles in a water fountain. As we walked past the Parliament House I had read about the changing of the guards at 10am and as it was 9:45am and the cues were building I suggested to Nick for us to stay and watch it. He simply said “why would that even be exciting”. Clearly he did not do any reading about Athens or know of how cool they can be. The police pushed us to the other side of the road when 30 seconds later we heard drums. There was a band playing and the soldiers marching behind. When I say marching the first imagine that comes to mind is the normal marches, however their march is far more unique and bizarre to say the least. They lift one leg up straight then put it down whilst then take a normal march step. 

Changing Of The Guard, Athens, Greece

Even changing of the guard their balancing on one foot before taking another step. Their balance skills are incredible. Once they had arrived into the parliament it was a stampede to get to the front, on the other side of the road. Literally people were running in front of children, no one cared about anyone else apart from themselves. Even Nick left me behind to get to the front whilst I was stuck behind some big Italian woman. 

Changing Of The Guard, Athens, Greece

We then walked down to the main square where we jumped on a double decker tour bus to jump on and off around the Acropolis. Nick didn’t want to do this at all and it wasn’t until half way through the day that I realised this. I like to learn about what I see but the tour bus wasn’t very good anyways. The bus dropped us off at the top of the hill where the Acropolis was. By the time we arrived it was past lunch time and the line was unfortunately long. The sun was beaming down on us while we waited 15 minutes to buy our tickets. As we walked through and up the hill we saw a huge amphitheatre where they perform concerts. 

Acropolis, Athens

Further up the large Acropolis sat on top of the hill overlooking the modern Athens. To imagine how they built these with no technology or machinery is unfathomable. The structures are huge, it makes me look like an ant walking next to the white pillars. We walked all the way around taking in the modern Athens with the contrast of the Ancient Greek ruins. 

Acropolis, Athens

We walked back down the hill to go to the museum on the other side. After 15 minutes of walking we reached a little area with statues as I went to go show my ticket I realised I had completely lost it. It was no where to be found in my bag and we had already been walking around for 2 hours it could be anywhere. I didn’t want to line up again and pay another $30 euros. So Nick who was more in the right mindset than me said “we should trace our steps.” Well at this stage I was just angry at myself, basically feeling as though I want to throw a little tantrum. We started to walk back up the steps when I remembered I put food in the bin that was in a plastic bag. Thankfully the plastic bag was still sitting on top of the bin and inside was the ticket. A huge relief rushed over me. We walked down to the new museum. On the way a lady gave us a rose, “apparently” free. Over the trip what I have learnt is no one gives away things for free no matter what it is. As she put it in our hands we walked off. Then she started saying how we must give her money for the apparent baby she has. We refused and gave her back the rose. It’s not our fault she wouldn’t take it back. It became so frustrating that I gave her one euro to shut her up so we could leave. We haven’t been fooled like that so congratulations to her for getting one euro. 

By the time we eventually made it to the museum it was 3pm. The museum is impressive, the best museum I’ve ever been in, and surprisingly only $5 euro. The museum has four levels comprising of historic ruins, statues, pots etc. The bottom floor is mostly glass as you walk over the protected ruins. It’s amazing how you can be so close and yet still be able to preserve them without the damage of 1000’s of visitors each and everyday. The consecutive levels consist of a security guard every 5 metres telling people “no photo”. I can understand why Greece is in such a financial debt they have at least 50 security guards whilst only charging $5 euros for one of the best museums in the world. As well as no one pays for public transport as they never have anyone to check if they do, even other Europeans know this. The museum took us only an hour and a half to get through but it was definitely worth it.

We continued walking down to where we found another ruin with a huge corridor and pillars lining down it. We continued our walk through the botanical gardens before the sun was setting. 

After 15 minutes of trying to find where to eat dinner we stopped at a restaurant overlooking the ruins as the sun finally said goodbye for the day. 

What a magical first day in Europe, let’s see where the next two months takes us.

25th of April 2016:

Today’s ANZAC day, normally on this day I wake up early to go the local community dawn service down the street and then walk a further 200m to the Cherry Gardens hall to have sausage sizzle. However, today was not the normal routine, we awoke fairly late for our standards. Today was definitely a waste of a day as we tried to organise our ferry to the Greek islands. After a few hours of trying to decipher which islands and for how long, the booking cancelled. We had no idea why, the money had been taken out of Nicks account but then put back in only 10 minutes later. So at 3pm we raced down to the square to discuss it with a travel agent. She became so frustrated with us when we explained the situation saying that she doesn’t know if it went through or not, even though that is not what we were asking. Nick can be confusing when he speaks to other people who do not speak English. He doesn’t speak simply but asks numerous confusing questions. After I calmed her down and simply said can you book us tickets we were fine. Apparently we had to pay in cash though even though there was a eftpos machine behind her and the window says visa and MasterCard accepted. We walked down the street to get money out, if only today had been as simple as I had wished. As Nick tried to get money out of the ATM it kept rejecting him. He started to panic, as would anyone, after 3 ATM’s rejecting his card I took extra money out to pay for both of our ferry tickets. After paying the woman we went to find another ATM but once again it would not accept. There was not much more we could do until we got back to the hostel so the next best idea was to go shopping. I wanted to buy new clothes because the European standards is a bit different to camping in Africa and travelling around South East Asia. I bought bathers and a new top. Although it’s not much it’s nice to wear something different after 4 months. 

26th of April 2016:
Today’s the day we go explore the Greek islands. We arranged a taxi to pick us up at 6:30am. From what I had become accustomed to in Asia and Africa buying the cheapest ferry ticket means you are either on a boat travelling like Refugees or sitting on your backpack. However the European standards means 3 stories with cars, escalators, restaurants and lounges with tables. When we found two seats spare I sat down feeling like we were treated like royalty. To have a comfortable chair that’s stuck in place is amazing. 

Ferry To Naxos, Greece

We were off to Naxos, only a 4 hour journey which consisted of writing and playing solitaire by myself whilst Nick slept across two chairs. 

When we began to arrive in Naxos, it looked like a postcard. We were both so excited seeing the white buildings and sailing boats. As we stepped off the ferry I could see how clear and turquoise the water was. As we walked down the dock between beautiful sailing boats we saw our free hotel pickup waiting for us. It was so nice to know that I didn’t have to try and navigate how to get to our hostel or have to walk a mile. 

Naxos, Greek Islands

Our hostel is so nice, it’s more a hotel with a private room, bathroom and balcony. It would have cost us the same to stay in a dorm room so we opted for the private. Especially after being with 24 or 11 people 24-7 in Africa it’s always nice to have some of your own time and space. Where you don’t feel obliged to talk and you don’t have to lock up all your belongings when you leave.

As usual we decided to go for a walk around the island. However we began with lunch as we were both starving and it was 2pm by this stage. I ordered a classic Greek salad and it was gorgeous the best Greek salad I’ve ever had. All the vegetables tasted so fresh and the huge block of feta sitting on top just made it even more scrumptious. Then we walked like we usually do all around the island, inland and along the coast. We found a gorgeous little rock pool which would be gorgeous if it wasn’t 10 degrees in the water. By the time we finished our walk it was sunset. We were in bed fairly early just relaxing when as usual I became hungry. We went and got a quick yiros before actually going to sleep.

27th of April 2016:

Waking up on the Greek islands is just as magical as you may imagine. It’s like knowing you have complete freedom. Our plan was to adventure down the island to another beach where we would spend the day. After waking up late and slowly getting ready we were out the door. Breakfast consisted of omelette, bread and jam, orange juice, water and coffee. As we arrived at the bus station to buy our ticket to go to the beach we found out it didn’t leave until 2pm. As it was currently 12pm I didn’t know what to do. So we wandered around, got some more drinks and then eventually sun baked on the stone next to the water.

By the time we arrived at the beach the sun was well and truly in the middle of the air. As we walked around the coast to the beach we walked past something that I truly will never get out of my head. I nudist beach. Oh god did I get the pleasure to see everything, it’s absolutely horrifying. 80 year olds walking around with nothing on. I didn’t know where to look. They were just everywhere. Eventually after 10 minutes walking down the beach we found a area that was a bit more private in the schemes of people’s “private” areas.

We only spent 2 hours sun baking by the water but it was so relaxing. It was all we needed though as I was too fidgety to lie down for so long doing nothing. 

We headed back to catch the last bus to town at 6pm. The rest of the night consisted of walking and having dinner by the sailing boats. I love Naxos it has a true community feel about it. I definitely prefer the less touristy places.

28th of April 2016:
Today we decided to go to the beach across from our hotel. The first day we arrived there was one person, now today families galore were everywhere. As once again we woke up late we had lunch on the beach. I had another gorgeous Greek salad whilst Nick had an amazing stuffed eggplant. If the Greeks know anything it is definitely how to cook the most fresh and gorgeous dishes. 

Naxos, Greek Islands

We found a little private beach secluded from people and the wind. It was one of those days where you think to yourself how privileged you are to live like your retired before actually beginning the working life. We stayed here for 3 hours before deciding to get gelato of course. We then walked to the other side of the island where the ports come in and sun baked on the rocks there. I’m not sure if your suppose to but no one ever notices you that far out and the rock warms your body up.

The sun started to set so we decided to head back. We watched the sunset over the ocean while a sail boat passed. 

Naxos, Greek Islands

It was undescribable how beautiful the entire situation was. Whilst the sun shed the last of its light reflecting on the buildings and water behind us.

29th of April 2016:

Today we say goodbye to beautiful Naxos and travel to Santorini. Today also marks 100 days of travelling. Can’t believe how fast time has gone! Our ferry wasn’t until 12pm so our lovely hotel drove us to the port. Our ferry arrived with 100’s of people pouring out waiting for their Greek island adventure to begin as we were sadly leaving what is my favourite island. We got on the ferry for 2 more hours to arrive in Santorini. Santorini has always had this amazing appeal to it. As if it’s the most gorgeous island known to date. The rich and wealthy fly from 1000’s of kms to sip champagne and watch the sunset. However when we arrived it looked rather boring. The port arrives into a huge cliff face. With no buildings in sight apart from on the top. As we arrived the hotel didn’t pick us up. I don’t know if there was a communication confusion or if they just forgot but we had no idea what to do. By the time we got wifi and tried calling them we had missed the local bus. A guy kept trying to get us to rent a car even though we didn’t want to. We jumped into the last taxi available. I was all happy thinking at least we would get there with no hassle, especially how it was on the other side of the island. The taxi had however dropped us off at the wrong hotel leaving us 3km away from the hotel we had originally said. I was fuming. I felt like a child I was just so angry, my bag was heavy and the last thing I wanted to do was walk 3km. Finally we had made it and the feeling of putting my bag down was amazing. I didn’t even want to talk I was just so angry about the whole ordeal. Thankfully we were in another private room. We went out for a walk. Normally this puts me back into a good mood, especially walking along the beach but the sand was black. It was to confusing for my mind to process. It felt as if I was walking on gravel not soft white sand. The sand is black due to the volcano right next to Santorini. I honestly wasn’t feeling to well by this stage I felt drained and as if a cold was coming on, my entire body just ached. By the time we did a lap of the beach I asked if we could have dinner because all I wanted was to go to sleep. The place I choose was different to say the least, I only chose it because we were walking past it. I went to go sit inside, when our waiter came over, it was clear he was smashed. He was telling us we have to go outside its beautiful. Even though it was clear it was about to rain in 2 minutes. Non the less we moved just so he would stop telling us too. 30 seconds later it started raining. Well this just added to my day. He gave us a free shot, and then was satisfied to leave us in peace. By the time I got into bed it was only 7pm. It felt so much later but my body still ached all over and I started feeling as though my body was on fire. So maybe it was a good idea I went to bed early.

30th of April 2016:

I woke up feeling horrible. Honestly if I was home I would have spent the entire day in bed but we only had one day in Santorini so I didn’t have much choice. It was either see Santorini or see the wall in my room of Santorini. I felt like I had a cold, my whole body still ached, head to toe. We walked over to hire a quad bike. However as Nick forgot his licence I was the one who had to drive. I love my quad bike at home on the farm but not when I have to drive on the wrong side of the road and actually on the road. The only part I liked of driving it was when we were going straight. As soon as I had to turn the corner I screamed and wanted to get off. My brain just couldn’t comprehend driving on the right hand side. I had to keep watching cars in front of me so I could know where they were going. Although once I had to turn the corner with no car in front of me and I just screamed driving in the middle because there was a bus coming out and no lane lines. I should not be allowed to drive. Once I finally stopped the bike and got off I was more relieved, but my body still ached. 

Santorini, Greek Islands

We walked around Ori in Santorini where all the beautiful white buildings and resorts are. Honestly I don’t know what the big hype is about this place. Of course it’s beautiful, but unless I was living it up in one of the five star resorts and having my butler at a click of a finger it really wasn’t that enticing. All I was doing was watching other people click their fingers for their butler to run after them. Finally after an hour and a half we stopped to have some food. 

Santorini, Greek Islands

The flu sucks, it just drains all your energy out of you. I ordered a chocolate pancake with strawberries. Honestly this was the best chocolate pancake and strawberries I’ve ever had. At first it just looked like it had a sprinkle of chocolate syrup, and I was like oh god there is not enough chocolate but then once you cut into it Nutella oozes out. 

We walked around for another 2 hours till we called it a day to head back to our accommodation. I was so happy for this all I wanted to do was rest. Nicks friend from the hills, Mel was in Santorini so we planned to catch up with her for dinner. There is nothing worse than knowing your going to have to make conversation when you feel horrible. However after a nice warm shower and putting make up on I tricked myself into looking the part. We walked over to the restaurant where we said we would meet. We were 10 minutes late so I thought she would have already been waiting for us, but we did not see her. We sat in the restaurant till 7:30pm when Nick got up to go back to the hotel 200m behind us to get wifi to ask her where she was. Still I was sitting here without seeing anyone. As Nick walks up to the restaurant he asks if that is Mel, she had completely walked past without even looking in. Nick runs after her as she turns down the road to go back to her hostel. I don’t know if she was trying to do a runner or what but he caught up to her. We went out to dinner at the only place that was really open. I ordered a pizza, which ended up being huge whilst they just had dips. Nick did eat a burger at 5pm though.

Our Final Adventure in Africa Serengeti Style

18th of April 2016:
Normally on a Monday you may feel a sense of monday-itis but it doesn’t exist when you wake up knowing your off to the Serengeti today. To those who do not know what the Serengeti is, it’s one of the most world known Safaris, where National Geographic etc. film and do research. We packed a smaller bag again and we’re off to see some more of the Big 5. At this time of the year you may be lucky to see the end of the migration of the Wildebeast and Zebras. Apparently it was our lucky day. After driving for 2 hours to the Serengeti we started to see 1000s of black dots. Then all of a sudden we realised they were all Wildebeast. 1000’s and 1000’s walked in a line, or scattered to the eye can see.

Serengeti, Tanzania

 It was honestly beyond words and I can’t believe we were so fortunate to witness it. After 45 minutes of staring into amazement we were off buzzing excited to see what else was in store for us. We saw the car ahead stop when literally a meter away a huge male lion sat next to the road. I couldn’t even believe it. He was possibly the most laziest lion I’ve ever seen. He definitely looked like he was hit by monday-itis hard. He kept falling asleep, covering his ears just not wanting a bar of it. 

Serengeti, Tanzania

Whilst only 400m away 100s of Zebras grazed in the grass. We stayed with him for 30 minutes, I didn’t even realise my mouth was open the entire time. The drive to our campsite took three hours but those three hours were amazing seeing wild animals everywhere you looked. We saw 11 lions today, two were lazing by the water, and the others were sun baking on the rocks. The two by the water were gorgeous as one got up and walked over to the other and started playing and licking each other until life got to exhausting and snuggled up whilst enjoying the sunshine. They weren’t even phased that two trucks with 11 people were staring in amazement.

Serengeti, Tanzania

 By the time we arrived to our campsite the sun was setting over the African horizon. The sunset was beyond words, bright purple and pink covered the sky whilst a Giraffe ate in the trees and pumbas (warthogs) roamed around with their families. 

Serengeti, Tanzania

The campsite however was not as picturesque. It was something you see in a horror film even the guys didn’t want to go to the bathroom alone. There were no fences around so our tents which were set up by the Serengeti guides/ cooks during the day were in the wilderness where we just saw 11 lions. The bathroom was an old building with creepy vines growing up and was 80 metres away in the darkness. To add to the bathrooms horrible appeal there were no lights so if someone left the door open who knows what kind of animals could have been lurking in there. 

After our dinner cooked by the chefs, the girls had a wonderful chat while Nick and Andrew had a little boys session looking at photos in our tent. 

As I was all snuggled up in my sleeping bag ready to fall into a peaceful sleep, Nick hears a lion roar. From then on in the middle of the night he would yell lion and give me a heart ache imagining a lions head looking into our tent. If this wasn’t enough adrenaline for you Hyenas walked along the tents for a few hours. Thankfully I didn’t need to go to the bathroom but a few did and simply had to hold on. 

19th of April 2016:
We were up nice and early for breakfast before doing a safari all day. From what we had seen yesterday we were both pretty excited to see what else was out there. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite as impressive. It was hard to live up to though. As much as I say this for 4 hours we were surrounded by 1000’s and 1000’s of Zebras and wildebeests so it wasn’t all horrible when you think about it. 

Serengeti, Tanzania

I do love zebras though they remind me of my pony smurf, fat and just keep eating no matter what. I just need to paint him with black strips and I could have my own zebra. However, I finally saw my first hyena of this trip. I remember seeing them when I was a kid when I went to Africa with my parents and that’s all I wanted to see. They are funny animals, their bodies and necks look as if it’s missing something. There are no words to describe them in as much detail as when you see their faces. Their good little scavengers as well as killers they are intelligent in their own right but their appearance betrays them. 

Over the radio the other tour guide told us he has seen a cheetah. This was the only animal out of the big 5 we hadn’t seen yet. He quickly turned the car around and drove a couple of 100m. In the horizon there was one rock with a figure sitting up tall on it. There is absolutely no way I would have ever worked out that was a cheetah or an animal. It was so far away. Then all of a sudden the other truck took off, off-roading for a km to the cheetah and blocked our view. We were so envious that our driver didn’t risk the $200,000 fine and 6 month suspension but can completely understand why. 

At 12pm we picked up Kelly, Kat and Andrew from the hot air balloon place and continued our safari. This was possibly one of the most boring times. All you could see was a horizon of grass and a few trees with no animals in sight. When all of a sudden Nick screams “turtle”, amazingly in the middle of the Serengeti a little tortoise was walking just on the edge of the road. To say that this was the exciting part explains how bad it was.

After lunch we were on our way to the Ngoragora crater.

Ngoragora Crater, Tanzania

 Before this trip I hadn’t heard about the crater but it is truly one of the most breathtaking places I’ve seen. The crater used to be a mountain bigger than Kilimanjaro however it collapsed in on itself and created a crater full of greenlands and lakes. The only animals that are not there are giraffes due to it being impossible to get back up the hill with their long necks. 

The campsite was on top of the crater with frost covering the grass before the big drop off. Once again there were no fences and this time buffalos were roaming around 100m next to our tents. Buffalos are the most dangerous animals in Africa, they give off no warning signs they are going to charge and will not stop until you are well and truly dead. Thankfully we are all alive and well. Another gorgeous dinner cooked by our chefs with the girls talking around the campfire drinking wine. You probably couldn’t imagine a more perfect night and I will never forget this place.

Ngoragora Crater, Tanzania

20th of April 2016:
Today’s our last day in the Serengeti. Time went by so quickly. So we were up at 6am ready to watch as much action as possible before leaving by 12pm. Nick and I were up on our seats with the wind freezing my face following an elephant down the windy road to the crater. As the elephant finally walked off the road and into the bush, Nick saw a lion herding Wildebeast. We all thought he was joking and after a few minutes and a look at his photo using his huge lens he was right. It was so exciting but we were still so far away. So our leader quickly drove us down the road towards where we saw the lion. I wish I could say we saw the lion continue to creep up on the Wildebeast and kill it. However we never found it again. We were all so disappointed but still had the rest of the day to hope for the best. After 15 minutes we came to a lake where 25 or so hippos were sitting by the water or swimming. The ones swimming and eating were adorable, yawning away as they munched and play with each other. All of a sudden the 10 hippos sitting outside of the lake all got up at the exact same time and marched into the water. It looked as if it was 10 o’clock that means swimming time. It was pretty funny to watch their faces they are just so happy eating, I can definitely relate. We continued driving up a big mountain to where 50 elephants were munching on the grass, it was so unexpected. The mud was becoming slippery under the truck and a few times especially going down the little mountain we did a few drags. All of a sudden Kelly yelled out “hyena”, I heard her and just screamed “HYENA!” Although I saw one yesterday it was far away and I saw this one quickly and it was only a metre away from the road. We quickly slammed on the breaks and reversed 100m where the hyena was still lying amongst the tall grass and flowers. It was adorable, I wanted it to get up and walk closer but unfortunately it seemed to walk away. I never imagined the hyena, quite literally bounding through the flowers. With its happy face as if today was the best day of its life. Probably the same face I made when I left my last exam in university. 

We continued driving through mud and puddles. As we were standing up we would have to duck down every time mud came flying to our face. We started to not see as many animals, when all of a sudden more hyenas only a metre away again eating a bone. The three of them were sitting in the dirt chewing away when we turned around and saw 5 male lions sitting only 100m away lounging in the sun. 

Ngoragora Crater, Tanzania

We went to see the lions and just watched in amazement for an hour with 2 different packs of hyenas chewing away and lions in the middle lazing around or drinking water. They were all content and not bothered about 100s of flamingos in the background or the other animals walking around including pumbas. The smell however was horrifying. It was 360 degree action, everywhere you turned a different animal would be lurking. 

Ngoragora Crater, Tanzania

At one point however the biggest wasp I have ever seen started attacking me. I literally was more terrified of this wasp then the lions and hyenas around me. I kept hitting it with the binoculars. Kate decided to change seats from the back to the front. This is completely fine as she said all she could see were bums, as we were all standing up. However she took Nicks seat when he went to the bathroom (in the wilderness in the middle of our drive). I told her I was happy to swap as did Kelly but she wanted his seat, not even the other seat in the front that only had powerboards. She said he’s not even sitting down anyways. Nick was fuming when he got on. The safari to him was like Christmas. He was beyond the most excited than anyone else and now she took the seat that he was standing on the entire time. I understand it’s anyone’s seat don’t get me wrong it was just the fact that she just sat down the entire time and slept, when she could of slept in the back with the four seats and not been in the way. 

After lunch we headed back to snake park. I felt as if I was still buzzing, Nick and I didn’t want to leave we wanted to just keep driving but as soon as we started to go up the crater I fell asleep. It was as if all this excitement and adrenaline over the past 3 days just knocked me out like a child.

I still felt a bit sluggish when we arrived at snake park and was so grateful we did the Masai village walk before than after. Unfortunately Kat and Rhett were feeling ill so they missed it all together. I however had a wonderful long hot shower. I can’t wait till I can soak in a bath though but for now I haven’t felt this clean in awhile. We had a wonderful last dinner together, home cooked cheeseburgers and chips, even pineapple made an appearance. I can’t believe this is our last night together. Where has the 42 days gone? 

We all went to the bar and had a chat and drank some horrible “goon” wine until midnight. 

21st of April 2016:

Today is officially our last day on the tour. It’s crazy I can’t even comprehend how time has possibly gone this fast! We were up nice and early once again setting down the tent for the final time. I wish I could say that we did it in a peaceful manner but unfortunately we thought it was going to pour down so we quickly put down the tent. I wish it had rained then it would have made the rush and pressure all worth it, but the thunder tricked us. We were all on the truck for the final time. I didn’t even want to sleep or write my journal, I just wanted to talk to everyone for the final time. It was only a 6 hour bus ride to Nariobi, but of course we had to go through customs. The Kenya customs was very unique, they have now just implemented a rule that you have to go and pay for the printing of your visa document to fill it out and hand it to them. Although of course it’s not much, it’s inconvenient and bizarre. Kenya are trying to keep up to date with the world and make it electronic, which is fine, but provide paper as well. Just as we went through and had to wait for the officials to stamp it two full buses arrived, making the line out the door. Thank god we got there 15 minutes earlier.

We dropped everyone off at a petrol station in Nairobi, Kenya where we all went our separate ways. It was unfathomable that after 42 days being with each other 24-7 across 7 countries and traveling a distance of over 10,000km we were saying goodbye.

Now there was only three, Kate, Nick and I. We were the three Aussies in the dorm room and now we’re the last. I was pretty happy to get to our hostel and just relax but we had to go to a huge shopping centre for 45 minutes while George and Bella got stuff done. As you walk into the shopping centre you and your bag are searched. Not only this but even in certain stores you go through the same procedure. 

We went to get money out and have a milkshake, and dear god it was amazing. What I would do to be drinking that right now. It was also nice to get updated on what’s happened in the world. Wifi in Africa is basically non existent so whatever has happened in the past 42 days we could finally hear about it. 

As we arrived at the hostel we grabbed our beds and just sat in the cafe enjoying our own time. I was happy to finally be posting blogs and Nick was happy to do his photography. 

It was an early night and I wouldn’t of had it any other way.

22nd of April 2016:
I woke up with so much excitement as I whispered to Nick, “we’re going to Greece today!” I can’t believe it. I feel as if I’ve just become so accustomed to African lifestyle that were now changing again. I’ve also never been to Greece. Unfortunately as much as waking up at 7am with excitement our plane didn’t leave till 10:55pm, so a long day of waiting. We jumped out of bed to have breakfast and wifi again. Nick was able to FaceTime his parents and his dogs whilst my parents were in Alice Springs with apparently poor connection, how ironic. 

I organised to go to the elephant orphanage only 20 minutes away. As Nick had already seen them in Livingstone I went by myself. Nairobi is one of the most unsafe areas, and I was pretty nervous to be in a taxi by myself. Thankfully my tour leader and her friend were wanting to go to the shopping centre to catch up so they jumped in to. She had also arranged the taxi who is her friend who was also previously a tour leader for 10 years. Once I found this out I felt a lot more comfortable. 

The elephant orphanage was adorable, I met Kelly there and luckily she was already at the front of the line. We ran straight to the front of the ropes. The sun was beaming down on us and it has been awhile where I’ve thought that I might actually get burnt, and I was correct. Just on my shoulders. 

Nairobi, Kenya

The baby elephants ranging from 2 weeks old to 2 years all ran down in a line to get their milk and food. It was beyond words how adorable it was. There was one that Kelly and I thought was so cute, it drank all its milk and then went into a milk coma. It was just so happy but just standing there with a smug look on its face. The keepers tried to get it to keep moving so the other elephants could drink but it just didn’t care. Then the baby elephant ran up to me. It would of been up to my shoulders and very heavy. It was adorable though patting a baby orphaned elephant can’t say I do that often. Then these baby elephants left and more came. The next group were from 3 to 5 years they were bigger but compared to a fully grown one very tiny. The guy told us that the more noise we make the more excited it made the elephants. He literally meant this in the way to be silent or they will trample you. Apparently Americans just don’t understand the concept of shhhh. They kept screaming and screeching so the elephant literally put its head under the rope and walked through to them. The keepers ran over and guided it back but once they screamed again it ran over. I felt sorry for the baby elephant it wouldn’t mean to trample people it just wanted to play. After an hour of this excitement we were all done. Unfortunately that meant I had nothing else to do for the day.

I went back to the hostel and organised the same driver to take us to the airport. Apparently Kenyas traffic is really bad so we had to leave 2 hours earlier than you may originally think. This meant leaving 5 hours before our flight left. It was bizarre but I was happy to be there rather than missing it all together. However it seemed to only take an hour to get through. At the entrance of the airport we had to get out of the taxi leaving all our belongs in the car and walk through a metal/ bomb detector, and then wait for the car to go through the same screening and then jump back in to drive to the terminal. If I hadn’t felt safe with him or been to see the elephants I would have been terrified to get out of the car. You never leave your belongings unattended especially with strangers and this is what they make you do before jumping on a plane.

Now we were at the airport 4 hours before our plane was due to leave. Our first plane is only a 5 hour flight. We were told the airport had food but unfortunately it was one restaurant outside. So I was starving to death by the time we got on the plane. I don’t even know how we killed the time but somehow we were 30 minutes before boarding. We had bumped into Kelly in the airport as she was taking the same plane to Dubai and then heading home to Tasmania. I wanted to change my Kenyan money to euro because I knew there was probably no where in the world that would want my Kenyan money. I got 40 euros as a result which is always nice to have the money of the country your going to when you arrive even if it’s just a little bit. 

As we boarded our plane we went into another little section before reaching the plane. For some reason he said I could go to the first class/ business class seating. It was literally no different apart from 20 people compared to 100 but I wanted to talk to Nick and Kelly. 

Emirates planes are very good for the money you pay in economy. Thankfully they had put a few more movies on since the beginning of March including sisters which is hilarious. I ordered white wine with my meal literally just to knock me out but it didn’t seem to work.

A Wander Through Zanzibar & The Northern Beaches

11th of April 2016:
Today’s the day that I have been waiting for since I started this whole journey (apparently 82 days!) Where has the time gone! When I awoke it was raining. No one wants to pack down the tent in the rain, but we had no choice, unfortunately. I was having a very sloth morning no matter how much I knew I had to move quicker my body just couldn’t seem to do it, I wasn’t the only one thankfully. We caught the ferry at 9:30am and this was an experience to say the least. Our tour leader told us to stay together and she was not kidding. We became cattle in a way, 100’s of people commuting to work squished into a little railing. People were pushing every direction it was like a mosh pit when you have no control where your going the mass people around you pull and push you in ever direction. Our group were separated but thankfully we got on the ferry in between the cars. It was still raining at this point so shelter was wanted by all these people trying to not look like drowned rats at work. Although Africans have this power to somehow repel dirt, they all seem to look glamorous no matter what, whilst I have a shower and step out and get dirt on myself again. We then walked a few metres to a tuk tuk to take us to the Zanzibar port. Kate, Andrea and myself jumped in. Our tour guide and us had told him where we were going. He smiled and took off, clearly this would make you think he knows where his going. After driving around (apparently aimlessly) and stopping to chat to people on the side of the road he asks us again where we would like to go. After once again saying Zanzibar ferry he all of sudden says “boat” so now he takes us to the ferry. By the time we arrived our tour leader was starting to panic and everyone who walked were already waiting. Our ferry ride only took 2 hours with non stop Israel the Voice kids show on. We had no idea what they were singing but we had already picked our favourites. 

By the time we arrived at Stonetown, Zanzibar it was 12pm. We checked into our own private room which was gorgeous. After sleeping in a tent for so long a private hot shower and king size bed was paradise. We quickly left the hotel to begin our spice tour. After our lunch we took a mini bus to a little “forest” where our guide would take us through the trees, bushes and plants to show us the natural forms of spices. It was incredible and made me realise how useless I am determining spices through smell and taste. Something I should experiment with back home. Although I personally don’t enjoy eating raw ginger and pepper. As we ended the walking part of the tour with a starfish on our heads and “natural red lipstick” on our foreheads.

Stonetown Spice Tour, Zanzibar

We witnessed a man singing and climbing a coconut tree, very unique talent. All of a sudden Kate turned to me and said she was about to pass out, her face was green and her eyes were dazed. After 20 minutes of Kate sitting down we got her into the mini van to head back to the hotel. 

We continued on through Stonetown, weaving in and out of concrete buildings with impressive huge wooden doors. 

Stonetown, Zanzibar

Stonetown was a maze with every building looking the same no matter which direction you look. We stopped off at an amazing coffee shop, typical me as I don’t enjoy coffee or tea I ordered a hot chocolate and it was delicious. We continued through, ending in a gorgeous rooftop bar overlooking the sun setting over the ocean. After a cocktail we were on our way to the night market. After continuously being hassled to come to their stall we choose chicken yiros (their equivalent) and for dessert Nutella, banana crepe. So delicious. Once we got back to our room it was so nice to have wifi again so we caught up with everyone back home and updated the blog and photos. 

12th of April 2016:

We had the morning to ourselves in Stonetown which sounds exceptional after being on a tour for so long to have freedom but it was just a free ticket to getingt lost. We had a late breakfast where we went for a walk with Bella. She took us to an amazing coin shop that made necklaces and rings out of coins from all over the world. Then we went to a little Spanish restaurant where we drank hot chocolates till we had to head back to go to the northern beaches of Zanzibar.

We took an hour drive to the Northern beaches where we stayed in a gorgeous hotel on the beach. Once again we got a private room with a balcony, after all this glamour it’s going to be hard to be happy in a tent again. 

The service however at the restaurant was true African time, to receive food it took an hour once we had ordered, even for drinks it took 30 minutes. At least we were prepared for this for dinner. The rest of the evening consisted of naps and eating, hard life I’d say.

13th of April 2016:

This morning we had a well deserved sleep in (8:30am) and went down to the beach front for breakfast. The locals speak very little English as I speak very little Swahili, so ordering breakfast was an adventure. Ellie and Rhet were told there were no more eggs left, then 15 minutes later they were ordered to stay because their eggs were coming (even though they weren’t exactly the order they had originally made). We then went for a little walk down the beach, the weather wasn’t exactly what I dreamt of. Being on a beach you generally dream of the hot Ray’s soaking into your skin. Unfortunately for me it was merely rain that was soaking into my skin. Our new adopted dog Rusty followed us all the way down the beach. 

Northern Beaches, Zanzibar

For some odd reason, Africans don’t like dogs, Rusty ran up to the hotel owner when men were chasing her. As we were walking with her she was so upbeat and playful even knew how to play catch with the stick, however as soon as we walked past locals she ran in between us. She was so frightened it made me feel so sorry for her, knowing when we leave she may be left stranded again. I wish we could have adopted Rusty. The rain began to end by early afternoon so we laid by the sun beds overlooking the sail boats in the flat water whilst hearing sellers trying anything to grab your attention. At 4pm we were on a old sail boat sailing and drinking alcohol till darkness fell. It was surprisingly fun, considering I thought it would be the same as the other sunset cruise we did in Livingstone. As the sun was setting we stopped to jump off the boat (again and again). First time in my life I’ve done a backflip into water, let alone with alcohol in my system. Although possibly why I actually did it. It’s not like backflips are hard, to me after gymnastics and trampolining I can easily do it, it’s just I normally hate diving. When we arrived back to land and got changed out of our bathers we went out for dinner. Nick was quite drunk, and the next day didn’t even remember what he ate (a whole chicken pizza). At the bar there was a swing and he fell off thankfully without spilling his beer. I however just loved being on a swing, swinging till my heart was content. Overall tonight was pretty incredible and fun, we don’t drink often but the nights that we have they seem to have held wonderful memories and laughter.

14th of April 2016:
The morning after last night was a different story. I wasn’t as hungover as I have been on this entire trip but upbeat and awake I was not. We laid on the sun beds again, as the sun was out and shining. After an hour or so the massage lady came and I jumped on the idea. I haven’t had a massage the entire time we’ve been travelling and my back, neck and shoulders were so tight. I had knots in my back I didn’t even realise existed because I had become so used to living with it. Before travelling I was exercising every day and stretching a few days a week, now I’m hardly exercising and haven’t really stretched since the last yoga session with Kat, and that was not long enough. After an hour massage I felt taller and better than I’ve felt in awhile since travelling, it was exactly what I needed. Then the rains came, no more sunshine and maybe getting a tan. A huge storm rolled in, torrential rain and thunder opened up the skies for a few hours. Thankfully it was perfectly timed for lunch time. When I had finished my huge portion of chicken and avocado sushi the rains stopped and the sun came out again. Tonight was our last night in the northern beaches of Zanzibar. After last nights ordeal we had an early night with a special feast for the group. Entree, mains and dessert on a table on the beach with candles lit around. Honestly if it wasn’t for 8 people you would call it romantic. It was one of those settings you see people getting proposed in, and unless Andrew was going to propose again to Kat there was just going to be no romance.

15th of April 2016:

We left at 8:30am to head back to Stonetown where we would catch the ferry back to Dar Es Salam. As we jumped into the mini-van to head back to Stonetown, Bella thought she had lost her passport. After frantically looking around her bag and her room she thankfully found it in a little bag she never puts it in. Thankfully, she found it cause she wouldn’t have even been able to board the ferry to Dar Es Salam. We only had an hour and a half in Stonetown to head back to the coin shop and the coffee cafe. 

We quickly caught the ferry back to Dar Es Salam. It was a bit choppy, and even though we were watching some Chinese karate movie (not in English) I started feeling ill. When I was a kid I would never get sea sick, now I’m older I seem to be getting motion sickness on what ever boat I get on. Whilst we were walking to the other port to get to Dar Es Salam I still felt nauseous, I wish this feeling subsided quickly but after two days I felt more normal. We arrived in Dar Es Salam at 4pm to see George who was underway cooking dinner for us all. I tried to help out just so I could distract myself from the motion sickness. It started to pour down so everyone upgraded to a room, as we were also leaving at 4:30am the next day. The rain was coming in so hard sideways whilst we were in bed that it was like a light spray.

16th of April 2016:

Today was another long driving day with 14 hours sitting in the bus bored to our brains. Thankfully today was the last 14 hour drive we will ever have to do in Africa so it always seems to make life that little bit easier. I still had a bit of motion sickness feeling when I awoke but surprisingly when I read, it seemed to be the only thing that would cause it to disappear. I read an entire book today. I don’t think I’ve done that in a good few years. Even Nick started a book, I was so proud of him he reached nearly the 100 page mark which is a miracle! Normally he won’t even pick it up to read the title. We arrived in Snake Park in the afternoon, where we went about our normal routine of setting up a tent and having dinner cooked for us by the campsite staff. 

17th of April 2016:

I was so thankful to wake up when I wanted to and not to an alarm, even if it was still 7am. We had a very relaxing chilled day where we went to see the local shops. Tanzania are famous for their Tanzanite, which are gorgeous diamonds. All the girls swarmed over to the display cabinets knowing in their hearts that there was no way any of us could afford it or reason ourselves to spend that much. Andrea bought the most gorgeous wedding band I have ever seen. Her wedding is in November and she has seen the exact same design in Mexico for double the price and apparently with worse quality (“glistening effect”) diamonds. It was a simple thin, silver band with tiny diamonds glistening around her entire finger.

We came back to the campsite to watch the snake feeding. We had heard a lot about it and it only ever happens on a Sunday. I was actually pretty keen. At 1pm on the dot we were at our campsites snake park zoo all buzzing with excitement when the zookeeper told us today they feed them an hour early because of the sunshine. I was fairly disappointed but non the less we walked around to see all the snakes, when all of a sudden I see a quick slither to the corner. In as quick as a blink the snake was at the birds neck with its tongue. This gave me goosebumps and still is just writing it, I will never get the image out of my head. The bird did nothing, as if freezing made it invisible, unfortunately it opened its mouth up and started eating it… Slowly. When I say slow I literally mean 30 to 45 minutes of this bird pecking it’s eyes because it ate from the feet first. It was horrifying to see the terror in the tiny little chicken knowing that it can’t escape and being eaten alive. As I moved on to the next window a python as big as what you imagine Anacondas in the exaggerated movie to be. It was freaky, I couldn’t even comprehend how big it was with its skin wrapped around its cage and its self. 

Nick, Andrea, Kelly and myself decided to do the Masai walk this afternoon (4pm) because it wasn’t raining and we knew we wouldn’t feel like doing it after the Serengeti. We started our walk through a little local museum, showing us the different huts and cultural norms of the Masai men and women. Their culture is so unique to the western society. Numerous practices which are norms for them would consider you a sinner if you were a westerner. The biggest fact that I still can’t get my head around is that men are allowed however many wives and children as long as they can provide for all. Therefore some may have 1 or 2 wives whilst others may have 20 wives with 50 children. To be considered a Masai Warrior you must pass the test of manhood at 14 years of age. Boys are held down by other warriors whilst an elder completes the practice of circumcision. Unfortunately just going through the procedure means nothing, to be a warrior the boy must not make any noise, cry or show any sense of pain. Please tell me how this is possible it sounds dreadful. It’s not like in the western world where we have pain killers. If you thought this would be enough to be considered a warrior you were wrong. Originally boys then had to hunt and kill a lion by themselves and take the head back to the village. This may have taken days or weeks. Now due to protection of lions they do not continue this practice.

After the museum we walked to the local Masai village. 50 children aged between new borns to teenagers were outside playing. The young children were adorable as they hung on to you wanting to spin them around. Exactly like Laos and I remembered how dizzy it made me. 

Masai Village, Tanzania

They thought Nicks beard was so funny and kept wanting to touch it. He would play with the children allowing them to get close to his beard then growl as they ran screaming and laughing falling over each other. Then Kelly brought a tennis ball out of her bag, when the little children were playing it was fine they would be sharing it between each other trying to chase it. As soon as the teenagers saw it, things became aggressive very quickly. One girl literally flung a guy on the ground as he tried to steal it off her, this resulted in the ball being taken away from them. 

It was time to say goodbye and my god I loved the walk through and playing with the children, even the baby goats were saying goodbye. 

Masai Village, Tanzania

We went into the snake park clinic which is dedicated to solely people being bitten by snakes. Two young boys were in their. One was doing his homework as he had already been sitting there for a month. Apparently it was lucky he didn’t lose any limbs which is beyond words.

Today was a pretty full on day with so many different experiences to say the least!

Malawi Lake & The Creepy Crawlies That Come With It

4th of April 2016:

Welcome to Malawi. Border crossing always leaves you with a surprise and my god another traveller left that for us. Our tour leader tried to get the transit visa, as we are spending less than 5 days in Malawi. The border patrol refused so we had to pay the holiday visa. As we were talking about this in the line a lady all of a sudden snaps and starts yelling at us, accusing us of complaining about not spending the extra money when there’s dying African children. This lady honestly came out of no where and her husband looked straight ahead ignoring his angry wife. Our tour leader explained that, that was not the case the law changed recently but we are all paying it. Then the lady stated that she was living in Tanzania… Unfortunately the flaw in her argument was quite simply the government system is corrupt and if she was aware she would realise the poor starving African children are not getting a cent no matter what visa we get she may have said nothing. 

After an hour we were back on the truck driving into a storm. Today was another long driving day filled with card games (4 hours of Romy) and chatting. When we arrived at the gate to our campsite we were in the middle of the storm! A quote from Nick, “Are we driving through a creek?” Unfortunately no we weren’t that was just the road. Imagine Jurassic Park when the rain is hitting the windows so hard you can’t see out of, and the trees are swooping so low that you fear your window may smash! I honest to god don’t know how our driver George got us there in one piece but we were thankful he did! Our tour leader told us that we should 100% upgrade otherwise our tents would get flooded. Kate, Nick and myself went into a dorm room, and I wish to god that we didn’t make that decision! As we arrived so late and due to the torrential rain and thunder above us we had a local dish cooked for us by two local women. Of course pap was on the menu with a whole fish. It was delicious and reminded me of our last night in Laos when we ordered a whole fish on a stick in a buffet lane. 

It was now time to drift off to sleep and I honest to god wish that, that was all that had happened. However for everyone that knows me knows I cannot tolerate ants. No matter what size or type I hate them all. Well what happened to me was beyond any nightmare I could ever have dreamt of. After falling asleep for an hour, Nick jumps into my single bed saying that there’s heaps of ants on his. So as we squash in a tiny bed they start to come. These black ants may have been small and unnoticeable if there was only one on my bed but when there’s hundreds crawling around they can make any man squirm. I’m not exaggerating when I turned my head torch on and saw my mattress had gone from white to black and moving! They were everywhere, all over us, all in our hair just everywhere. Even writing this I’m getting itchy. At one point Nick decided to put the mosquito net off the ground and tuck it into the bed. Well this just made it worse! They would start crawling up the mosquito net and drop down onto you. Yes they were now catapulting ants! At 4am we had had enough and walked outside sitting on a seat waiting for the sun to rise! At 6am we were at the point of exhaustion that we slept on the cement by the truck waiting to set up our tent to go to sleep! 

5th of April 2016:

Last night was absolutely horrifying. I felt ill with the lack of sleep and stress I had endured throughout the night. We had a slow morning with breakfast and chatting until brunch. I wanted to organise a room to sleep in so at least I could sleep during the day. After waiting 30 minutes for the manager he said that the ants were not his problem and if we didn’t like it we shouldn’t stay in it. So after that remark Nick didn’t want to give him anything so we slept in the tent. Kat and Andrew were so kind and let me sleep in their room for a couple of hours during the day. After this I felt like myself again I think I just needed more rest and my own time for a bit. After lunch Nick and I watched a movie outside then played some beach volleyball. It was an enjoyable afternoon and I’m glad the day turned around for the better because I cannot predict it going any worse!

6th of April 2016:

Today I feel like I can actually enjoy laying by the lake relaxing and just wasting the day away reading my book. In the morning though Nick, Kate, Kat, Andrew and I went to a children’s school. Unfortunately it was school holidays so the only 3 children there were orphans. In which we had to wait till they came back from the hospital as the little boy only about 5 had Malaria. Two men were running the school with one being the caregiver and the other working as apart of the government (but with no benefit). He takes care of all the children in the villages to make sure they are going to school and are not being abused both physically or emotionally. I thought what he was doing was beyond incredible for a volunteer. When he found out I studied psychology he was so excited and was saying I have to come back to help him and to possibly bring a computer, as all the documents of all the children are written out by hand, and at one point the rains destroyed all the documents so he had to start again. The school was basic with a roof missing as the community were currently building it. The school were run by the community with no support from the government. 

Another Acacia truck arrived when we were out. They were a more active group with everyone playing cricket together. 
In the afternoon Nick and I played soccer with some of the local children. It is exhausting running around for an hour and half in the sand, and they really knew how to play and equally to the child’s age. The young ones (5 to 8) would go up against the other kid their own age and the teenagers would share and pass to the young ones. 

It was such an enjoyable and exhausting hour and im so glad that Nick wandered down the beach to the local fisherman. Even I kicked a few goals, surprisingly. When we were walking back Kat and Andrew were playing volleyball by themselves so we tried to play with four but as were all not pros it didn’t end terribly greatly as well as it had become dark so couldn’t see the ball properly. 

After a delicious dinner (home made burgers and chips) we went to “party/ talk” to the other truck. They were hilarious and definitely loved to drink. 

7th of April 2016:

I was awoken suddenly by Bella calling our names through the tent! Somehow we had slept in! This never happens and no one ever wakes up happy trying to stuff the sleeping bag in the bag in 1 minute plus pack down the tent! I felt all flustered but thankfully after a quick breakfast we just sat on the truck getting ready for another long driving day. We drove until 5pm where it was our night to cook dinner as a group. It was fun but when you have so many people from different countries you realise how differently people cook one dish. We were making Mexican and wow if only we had our Mexican friend come a few days earlier and teach us the true way (but maybe without the real Mexican spice). Nick made bruschetta which was delicious and an amazing entree to begin with. The main course Kat and Andrew seemed to have been more in charge as I had no idea what they were making but we ended up with chicken marinated in a lot of soy sauce and beef, Mexican rice (rice with tomato paste & spices), guacamole, salad, random grated cheese (which I did, and still had no idea what it was for) and the best corn ever. I also think we used every single pan and pot in the truck because our washing was huge! When we were just about to pack everything away a huge storm rolled in causing sideways torrential rain. I was soaked even after ducking under the table. I ran into the tent where I enjoyed an early night listening to the rain pelt down on the side of the tent. 

8th of April 2016:

We could of woken up early to start a hike to a waterfall but Nick and I were enjoying sleeping a lot more! When 7am came around we jumped out of our tents to find Kat, Andrew and Kate were still sitting by the truck having breakfast not yet had started walking. Bella thought I was interested but after 2 months in South East Asia seeing waterfalls every second day I was pretty content to have a chilled day, and I was more interested in doing the wood carving. At 10am Ellie, Rhett, Nick and myself followed Patrick out of the gate to do wood carving. If I didn’t have to carry my bag everywhere I would have made a bowl but space is limited so a key ring it was. Nick didn’t participate in the wood carving. My key ring has my name on one side with an elephant on the other. We used boot polish to varnish it, and as a result my hands and legs were covered (somehow). I looked like a child was given paint and just went crazy! 

The rest of the day was very chilled comprising of literally nothing, it feels as though we have had quite a few days like that!

9th of April 2016:

Today was definitely another nothing day! We drove from 4:30am to 8pm, that’s 15.5 hours. We were suppose to stay at another campsite 2 hours earlier but they were having a wedding and we were leaving again at 4am the next morning so our driver needed proper rest. At 7am we stopped off to have breakfast where we were all still asleep. Andrew ordered Goat soup, no matter what time it is it is never time for goat soup. As it sounds Andrew said it was horrible and “tasted like what goats smell” .. Yum! Our driver however loves it and took Andrews in his lunch box to have lunch (cold goat soup.. Even better) but I guess to an African man it’s exciting. I have no idea what our campsite actually looked like as we arrived in the night as well as leaving in the early morning but it looked kinda creepy. For dinner we had spaghetti Bolognese my favourite.

10th of April 2016:

Today is our last day with the seven of us as tonight two extra girls (an Aussie and Mexican) will be joining us. We left once again at 4am and arrived at our campsite at 3pm. I am becoming very use to sitting on a truck for long periods of time doing absolutely nothing and yet watching the day roll past. Today we did however cross into Tanzania which meant changing time zones. Thankfully we only had to put our watches to an hour forward. I am beyond excited to go to Zanzibar and finally tomorrow we will be crossing the ferry to relax on a beach by the ocean. We had dinner at the restaurant in our campsite which was delicious, beef and chicken skewers with rice and salad. We met Kelly and Andrea who were really nice.

Victoria Falls & Eye to Eye With A Leopard & Lion

27th of March 2016:
Today’s Easter Sunday! It’s sad that I’m not spending today in the usual way with a roast lamb with family and millions of Easter eggs flooding the kitchen. It makes you realise how special these days are and how you take it for granted. Instead of devouring my self in chocolate I jumped on the truck for a day’s drive to Elephant Sands. As the name suggests there’s plenty of elephants and sand, unfortunately for us there were only lots of sand. We did see a few when we first arrived but apparently nothing like it normally is. We spent the rest of the afternoon by the pool chatting and listening to a rich obnoxious English guy talk about God knows what. Then the storm came. At first it was only a few heavy rain drops for 5 minutes but when we thought we were safe it poured down. Thankfully I had a good view on top of the truck for 5 minutes prior to this. People were running in circles like ants trying to escape the rain. You would believe the truck would be a safe haven but the truck leaks from the windows and roof. Nick and I ran to our tent where we watched half the movie of, The Fault in our Stars before dinner was ready. Dinner was a gorgeous huge steak and for desert a chocolate cake. Whilst eating our tour guide was telling us the history of Namibia and Botswana. The political side of both countries was surprisingly fascinating given how recent Namibia became independent. I was in heaven but surprisingly exhausted after a day of nothing. This was definitely a different Easter than I am use to and I don’t think I’ll ever experience again, sadly. 

28th of March 2016:

We only had one night in Elephant sands so we were back on the road to Chobie. At the campsite we quickly set up our tents and made lunch in an hour before our first game drive in Chobie. Our hearts were not full of excitement rather we were expecting the worst or of what our previous game drive gave us… Nothing. I think it’s always better to go in with no expectation, because Chobie was breath taking. I couldn’t even tell you how many elephants we saw it would be at least 500 ranging from huge bulls ready to mate to baby elephants only a week old.

Chobie, Botswana

29th of March 2016:

Today’s the day we cross over into Zambia and go to Victoria Falls. I came here when I was a child with my parents and unfortunately our cameras went flat so I was determined to finally take photos and tick it off my bucket list. Unfortunately the truck was still not fixed so we had a very slow morning getting ready, having breakfast and chatting. We left for the border at 11:30am, luckily the border was 10 minutes down the road. After we got our passports stamped we drove another 5 minutes to the ferry port where we had to jump out and walk across the ferry. It took all of 5 minutes and we were in Zambia. Our tour leader grabbed our money and passports to get our visas stamped. This process of 26 passports took an hour. The 7 of us continuing on the tour past Livingstone received our passports first as we got Zambia and Zimbabwe in and out visa. As we waited for the others locals were hassling us to buy their wooden animals and what ever else. It was a long hour. We had another one hour drive from the border to our campsite. Thankfully we stopped off at a supermarket 10 minutes before our campsite to get money out and buy lunch. The first ATM didn’t accept MasterCard, lucky for me as the person in front of me was using it when the power went out for a few seconds. We went straight to Victoria falls. As it’s wet season the falls would be roaring, which means a lot of spray. The first moment I saw the falls it took me back to when I was a child staring at it in amazement. This time I saw it from the Zambia side instead of Zimbabwe. 

Victoria Falls, Zambia

We had 2 hours to walk around and see the falls from all angles. By the end I was completely soaked as if I stood in the shower with my clothes on. This was the worst day to wear a white top. I loved crossing the little bridge where you couldn’t even see because the spray was so dense. Luckily my phone didn’t get damaged otherwise I would have lost my phone and my camera would have been damaged. We only had 30 minutes to go to the bridge that joins Zambia and Zimbabwe, unfortunately to get to the bridge you have to “leave” Zambia even though technically were not actually leaving the country. Non of us brought our passports so she stamped a piece of paper and wrote four on it, how very professional. It was dry on the bridge but you could see the boiling pot and the falls behind it. We only spent 3 minutes on the bridge before we had to cross back over to jump on the truck. We saw Jamie and Cara on the bridge, Jamie unfortunately didn’t jump and Cara was harnessed up ready for her bungee.

We didn’t have much time before dinner at the restaurant. Tonight we had to pay our own meals and I kinda went all out. I ordered a steak, chips and vegetables and banana split for desert. Sometimes it’s nice to spoil yourself, especially when the steak was only $10 Aus. 

Everyone went to bed straight after dinner but myself, Kate and Bridget stayed up using the wifi. I face timed my dad on the way to work. It was nice to have a chat and the wifi was surprisingly good so there was no interruptions. I knew for the next half of the trip (20 days) it would be rare to have wifi, especially good enough to call. 

30th of March 2016:

Today was a very relaxing chilled day. I woke up at 6:15am to go on a microlight fight leaving the campsite at 6:45am. The microlight flight was expensive for 15 minutes but the experience was priceless. A microlight flight is a single passenger and pilot “plane”. Imagine one of the first planes to have aired, it was completely out in the open. Only a seat protected you and the outside world. The propeller was behind me as I spoke to and heard the history of Victoria falls through the headpiece. We flew around the falls, seeing the entire beauty for what it truly is. I remember when I was a kid I said that I would come back and do a helicopter ride over the Victoria falls and I definitely came back and ticked that box. I never thought I would have done it at 22 though. At one point the pilot tells you to stretch out your arms like your a bird, then he does it too, as your falling down into the falls, feeling free. The spray caused some turbulence but non that would concern you. It was the quickest 15 minutes and I could have quite happily have gone again. This was my only optional activity I chose and I was so thankful I did. We got back at 8am where I saw Thomas, Livie and Ella looking green in the face before their bungee jump. Nick, Kate and a few others spent the day with elephants and rafting. The bizarre moment was this was the longest we spent apart in the 3 months, and it was less than a normal working day. I decided to take the rest of the day off and have some “me time”. It’s hard to find when your travelling with 23 other people 24-7. I did all my washing which actually took me longer than I would have ever expected and had lunch by the pool. I got to use the wifi and speak to my mum. Then Nick came up to me with only an hour and a half before our cruise and asked if I wanted to go to town. I was a tad confused why the urgency but the lens he bought yesterday was already broken. We went straight back to the shop and explained the situation. After an hour of utter bullshit policies and them not wanting to give back the money it looked as if Nick was going to get his money back when the manager went to the bank. Unfortunately we just didn’t have time for “African time” and had to leave otherwise we would miss the cruise.

I ran and got changed and put make up on in 10 minutes, I was utterly surprised I got ready that quickly. It was still hot, and as we jumped on the cruise I was sweating, the sun had a bite to it. The night didn’t stay classy like you would imagine on a sunset cruise. We played a drinking game where you cant say the persons name, point, say the word “drink”, or have your glass closer to the edge of the table where someone could fit a finger in between. It got everyone drunk, without fail. The night continued in the bar where we were having shots on the ground. 

Livingstone, Zambia

Apparently you lie down on the ground with your shot glass in front of you when you go, you pick up the shot glass in your mouth and roll over. It sounds hazardous and I honestly don’t know how no one chocked. The night ended in the pool where once again some people went “skinny dipping”. 

31st of March 2016:

As I woke I knew I was going to have to pay for it for last nights adventures. The tent was stifling, but I didn’t feel well enough to get out. I pushed myself to walk to the truck where I sat on a chair and had breakfast. Normally this makes me feel better but not this time. I have never had the feeling of turning my head too quick that I was going to vomit. I tried sorting out my washing but felt nauseous. I knew in the back of my head that today was the day we were crossing to Zimbabwe by foot and spending the day there. I was struggling to walk the 30 metres from my tent to the truck. Nick wanted to sort out his lens so we took the free shuttle to town. Unfortunately they continued with bullshit and he didn’t get his money back, hopefully he can get it off warranty. We took a taxi from the town to the border where we got stamped out “officially” out of Zambia. Rhet and Ellie arrived at the same time. I would say we walked excitedly but I think the better phrase would be staggered to the border. The Zimbabwe border is a 20 minute walk and when your hungover it is possibly the worst thing to do. After a total of 30 minutes walking and 10 minutes waiting in the line to Victoria Falls we were in. We started our 2 hour walk along the falls. This breathtaking beauty makes you forget all your sorrows and allows you to become soaked in all its beauty, quite literally. Its amazing when you come back to a place that you visited when you were a child, it’s like a sense of déjà vu. 

Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe

After a litre of water and this enormous walk I was well and truly ready to sit down and have lunch. We had lunch at the lookout cafe. It was beyond breathtaking right on the edge of the river over looking the bridge that brings Zambia and Zimbabwe together. We all ordered a burger and chips, as there would of been nothing better. After an hour and half of not wanting to move we left to get U.S. Money out of the ATM as this would be the last place in Africa. We walked even slower if that was possible back home to our camp site. The rest of the night was spent on wifi buying flight tickets to Europe. After an hour of research and pure exhaustion running through my body we booked flights to Greece. 

1st of April 2016:

Today we finally left Livingstone with only 7 compared to 24 at the beginning of our tour. It was so bizarre to have so much room. We had another full day of driving ahead of us. We arrived at our campsite at 4pm where Zebras roomed the grounds only a metre away from us. Content with us staring in amazement. They remind me of my horse, Smurf as no matter what you do they continue to eat. I helped cook dinner and played with puppies as the sun began to set. After dinner we did a 30 minute yoga session. My body longed for this stretch, days on days of being cramped in a truck for hours caused my body to ache. As soon as yoga finished I was in bed ready to sleep.

2nd of April 2016:

Another full day of driving, we jumped off to eat some doughnuts for only 1 Zambian kwacha. Only 5 minutes later we were allowed to cross a bridge by foot as we gave them a five litre empty water bottle. This bridge had previously been blown up twice and had security to make sure it wouldn’t. It was the only bridge that joined the south and north parts of Zambia, and therefore important for transporting goods. We didn’t get to our campsite until 5:30pm, only leaving 30 minutes of scattered light free. After dinner we crashed in bed. Even though the past two days all we’ve done is drive for 12 hours, it surprisingly exhausting.

3rd of April 2016:

Finally we were doing something today other than just travelling on the truck. We had a nice sleep in and a long breakfast. I spent the rest of the morning lying by the pool reading a book and trying not to burn. The sun was playing hide and seek behind the clouds and turned into intermittent burning and cooling. Lunch was at 1pm and right on time like our lunch the rains came. Torrential rain created streams and creeks along the campsite fortunately not through our tents. We were so concerned that the game drive would be cancelled because of the rain. Luckily we still had 3 hours to pray. The rain only lasted an hour. Nick met a guy in the campsite who was travelling with his family. His camera collection was out of this world. I don’t remember the specific numbers and what not but one of his lenses was half my height, before it was unraveled. 

We were pumped this time for our game drive, Nick was the first one in the truck ready to go. His beaming face excited for what’s to come, and did we get a show. We had seen four of the big 5 we were just missing the leopard. We told the guy to take us straight to the leopard and don’t stop for any springbok. He laughed and said we will see what’s out there tonight. A four hour game drive we were sure to see something, you would hope. In the first 15 minutes of entering the national park we saw two leopards. 

South Luanga, Zambia

They were so incredibly close, if you stuck your arm out it would grab it. We followed the female to begin, apparently she was lactating which meant her cubs were around, if only we saw them. We watched her so intently for 20 minutes, dead silence only the sound of the camera shutter echoed the park. She was leaving her scent for the male. After she walked off into the distance we followed the male leopard. He wasn’t as close but you could still see the fine details of his spots. After an hour went past he wondered off, leaving us shell shocked in his past. I thought the night would have hit the climax there. Even our tour guide said in the 5 years she’s been doing this job that was the closest she’s ever experienced seeing wild leopards. We drove another 5 minutes where what we saw left our tour guide saying, “are you fucking kidding me” in utter surprise wild spotted dogs ran past our truck.

South Luanga, Zambia

 These animals are incredibly hard to find as they continuously move. We followed them for 10 minutes. They are the best hunters in the kingdom as they move in packs. The night flowed on from here seeing animals every direction you turned. We saw an elephant, two lions, hippos, crocodiles, camillion, Elephant mouse and zebras. I couldn’t have asked for a better game drive and we were sad that the other half of the group missed out on the leopard. One of the best moments (apart from the leopards) was when night fell and the lion walked straight past our truck staring eye to eye with only half a metre between us. My heart stopped and I forgot to breath, because it was as if it knew if it wanted to it could kill us all with its snickering eyes following our every move. What a perfect way to say goodbye to Zambia.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Searching For The Big 5 & A Person

19th of March 2016:

I was so happy to leave Swakopmund we had only been here for two days but those two days felt like a week with all the drama that occurred. I finally had a nice peaceful morning off, with no activities or police officers to deal with. We weren’t bound to leave Swakopmund until 2pm so the morning was filled with Facebook, chatting about Eurovision and eating chocolate cake with a vanilla milkshake at the village cafe. We were heading off to Spitzkope, I had seen photos and it looked breathtaking one of those places that you couldn’t imagine was actually real but rather a series of photoshops. Our drive to Spitzkope was only four hours with the sun beaming down on my bare skin with no escape. As we arrived it was as breathtaking as the picture led on. Beautiful rock mountains surrounded us. Nick and I walked up the rock facing our campsite to get a better view in the 15 minutes we had before our guided tour. 

spitzkope, Namibia

It was amazing, the landscape showed numerous huge rock mountains with bare flat, sandy ground surrounding the rocks and the horizon. We were suppose to have a guided tour with locals about the ancient rock paintings but as it was their long weekend due to Independence Day they were at the soccer. Luckily our tour guide, Bella has been working here for 5 years so she explained all the pictures in detail as if she had heard it a hundred times.

As we walked back from the walk I was exhausted, my calves were tightening up every step of the way. I was happy to sit down and have a bit of down time. Unfortunately I wished it was that simple and the night ended there. An American girl named Kat (Katherine) said she was going to “find her husband and walk with him up that rock.” This particular rock was enormous, I would rather call it a mountain and the terrain didn’t look simple, all natural with no path. As the sun was setting I headed back up the same rock from earlier (this time only taking 5 minutes) and enjoyed the beautiful sunset, setting in between two rocks in the horizon. As I was just about to head back down with everyone, Andrew (Kat’s husband) turns up. With a quizzical concern I ask if he saw Kat. This is the point of the night where the night changed to more drama. He said that Nick had said the same thing to him at the campsite but he thought he was joking. As soon as he realised we weren’t lying his face dropped. Sudden concern spread across his face. We headed back down thinking that she might be at the campsite, but no one had seen her. Ten minutes passed and I saw, Andrew, Jamie and Cara getting torches to find her. The sun had set and they only had 20 minutes before true blackness would occur. I joined them knowing I was the last person she talked to before hand and hating the feeling of helplessness if I just sat waiting at the campsite. I told them which rock she headed up (as there is 3 around us) but Andrew said he told her he was climbing the other one so we headed his direction. Our torches aren’t ideal for finding someone on a rock 100m away. We yelled her name for an hour, whilst continuing to shine our light hoping to see some sort of object looking like Kat, but nothing. Once the sun had gone to bed and the moon and the stars were our only source of light we had to retreat back. I’ve never looked for a person before, not like this in the dark screaming their name, but it was terrifying. As every 10 minutes passed it was like hope was diminishing as well. My fear was she had hurt herself, one image was she was unconscious on the rock face. I told everyone that we should head back to the campsite to make sure she hadn’t turned up and if she wasn’t there at least we could get more people involved. It wasn’t safe for us to be roaming the wilderness with wild animals (apparently a panther) in the night let alone her. The nerve-racking thing was I knew she had no torch or water, she was an intelligent women but is devoted to her husband enough to not turn around when it gets dark, this I knew. I studied psychology and for some reason she has been one of the most fascinating people I’ve ever met. As we were only a couple 100m away we heard a scream. We stopped abruptly and looked at each other knowing that, that was not just wishful thinking that it was real. As we heard it again “Cara” we ran. Adrenaline kicked in and after only 100m we found her safe on the ground with Nick and the others. To see her safe sent a rush of emotions, relief that she was ok and unharmed, but anger at how scared she had made us after an hour searching in the dark. Apparently what had happened was she was on the rock (that I had said) and flashed her camera at the campsite. Nick saw it and ran to the rock. He climbed all the way up to her where he says could have easily broken bones or killed yourself as there were crevices and a gorge you had to jump over. As he reached her he had to bring her back down and it’s lucky their both unharmed. It wasn’t until the next day I saw his leg was covered in bruises and scratches. She was in shock when I saw her, she was just crying in embarrassment. Saying she didn’t even think anyone would be looking for her, and she just thought the sunset was so pretty she didn’t think about it getting dark. At least she was alive. When we got back to the campsite, our leader told us Acacia has only ever had one incidence and that was when someone decided to climb the same rock in the middle of the night and died. 
The night ended in one of those moments where you think to yourself, my life is amazing. We slept on top of one of the rocks outside where the stars glistened and the moon burned bright like a lantern.

20th of March 2016:
We awoke whilst the stars were still in the black sky. We left to go to Etosha whilst the sun was rising above the horizon. Etosha campsite was amazing with a waterhole where wild animals can come and go whilst people observe them only a few metres away. We arrived at 3pm with only an hour before our first safari drive. Excitement was looming as we were so close to seeing wild animals for the first time. At 4pm we were on the truck with cameras charged and eager eyes looking out hoping to see a glimpse of one of the big 5. In our 3 hours we saw a dead giraffe, rhino and springbok. Unfortunately it wasn’t quite as good as we may have hoped for. We had a big day full of driving and from all our drama from Swakopmund Bella treated us to dinner at the restaurant where we had Kudo, soup and salad definitely filled my stomach up. 

Etosha, Namibia

We then set up camp by the waterhole and watched in dead silence with 100’s of people a rhino drinking. It was amazing to see a big animal all by itself drinking water. Every now and again it would raise it’s head listening out to the surroundings before relaxing and drinking the water again. I wish I could of stayed awake longer but once the rhino had left for 10 minutes I had to fall asleep. Nick stayed up till 12pm where he saw one hyena.

21st of March 2016:

Today was a full day of game driving in Etosha. This morning we set off at 7:30am it was a 4 hour game drive and I wish I could say we saw so many amazing animals but it just wasn’t true. Unless your a bird watcher then maybe you would have enjoyed it. We did however see a herd of zebras which was amazing. Four hours seemed to have dragged on as our weary eyes grew wearer as time passed and no animals in sight. We were back in time for lunch where we had a gorgeous beef burger. This afternoon was amazing as we all spent three hours in the pool as the sun was shining. It was one of those moments where I just loved my life, the absolute freedom, and pure joy of it all. As 4:30pm came around we were back on the truck ready for a another 2 hour game drive. My hopes were low and I truly wasn’t expecting anything after this mornings adventures. It’s at the point where you have no expectation that life surprises you, because you let it. Straight away we saw a Cape buffalo from there numerous giraffes including a little baby one. It was not until this one particular animal that made it a day we would never forget. Thomas started yelling “luver, luver!” Unfortunately I had no idea what that meant as he was so excited he was speaking Dutch instead of English after a few seconds he realises and yells “LION! LION!”

Etosha, Namibia

 I quickly hit the buzzer to inform the driver to stop, as we started reversing back we saw one male lion sitting next to a waterhole behind a tree. We stood there taking pictures and staring for 20 minutes as our excitement propelled to a whole new level. We were so excited we saw a lion. Livy was taking photos on her phone when suddenly she dropped it out the window in front of the lion. We were 20 metres away so in two seconds the lion could jump up and get us. Our driver, George says “are you fucking kidding me.” As he jumps out quickly to retrieve it. He risked his life for her phone. 

As we came back to our campsite we were all still buzzing in disbelief that we actually saw a lion. Nick and I ran to the waterhole to see if we could see any more animals. As the sun began to set a beautiful rhino was wondering over slowly as springbok and zebras lined the horizon. It was a breathtaking moment, a gorgeous pink sunset as a backdrop to a big rhino peacefully drinking water in the reflective water. We sat in silence as we watched this gorgeous animal so peaceful in its movements. As a result of living in the moment we missed having dinner with everyone. Thankfull Bella left us a big steak and mash potatoes to have when we arrived. Majority of the group paid for an additional night game drive. I knew we would still have heaps of game drives left and one night drive included but I didn’t want to miss out on anything. The night game drive finished at 11pm and I was well and truly asleep an hour before. Fortunately for me they didn’t see anything but a hyena for a few moments, I felt bad they had spent a lot more money then they should of but I was happy I didn’t miss out on anything as bad as that sounds.

22nd of March 2016:

We were up early in the morning again off to Windhoek. It was a full day of driving again. I’m becoming use to waking up, getting on the truck and sitting for hours, then getting off and setting up a tent, and today was no different. When we arrived at Windhoek we were in the middle of a fairly big town. Nick and I didn’t set up our tent we chose to sleep outside in the cool air where it would be one of our last times. Thankfully a few people upgraded so we stole their mattresses and it felt like a gorgeous bed instead of a thin mattress on gravel. We went to the pool where we chatted and sun baked the last few hours of sunlight away. This seems to be a routine, arrive, go to the pool then dinner. Such a hard life! Dinner tonight wasn’t included so we all went to Joes bar for dinner. It was a huge restaurant with random decor everywhere you looked. It was more of a mixture of old western meets Africa, if you can visualise that. I had a chicken pasta it was amazing, since Africa I hadn’t had chicken and only pasta once so I was in heaven. The night ended fairly early considering and soon we were all snuggled up in our sleeping bags being blinded by the moonlight. 

23rd of March 2016:

Today we were off to Botswana saying goodbye to Namibia. Another long day led to arriving at our campsite in the late afternoon. We set up our mats on the sand half a metre from ants holes. If you know me you know how much I hate ants there horrible and to sleep with them that’s a different story. Our campsite was rustic but pretty with old huts surrounding us. We went on a bush walk with natives showing us plants they use to help with pregnancy and back ache. A specific plant is used and crushed up for back ache the proceeding is far worse than I could imagine. They would cut their back and put the herb inside the cut and then would have to lie still for 3 days and would magically be healed. The lady showed us her back and she had at least 8 lines all the way up her back. They then sat around a fire and cooked the beetles they had found. It was an amazing feeling and I loved every moment of it. This was why I came to Africa to learn about their culture and there way of life. The children were adorable as well showing us her beetle she caught all by herself. One girl was 6 whilst the other was only 6 months old. 

24th of March 2016:

We were up and on the truck again ready to go to Maun. I was starving by the time we arrived to the town. This was the first time we could get out Botswana money but typical I went to get lunch first (using my card). We went to Nandos where I got a chicken burger and chips. It was pretty satisfying even though normally when I’m away I don’t like to eat at fast food places. Whilst eating the chips we waited in the line for the ATM. The issue with Africa is everyone uses the ATM no one uses card so the line takes 10 to 15 minutes at least. I felt safe that we weren’t going to get robbed because people take out their life savings compared to us who took out only 20 in case we wanted snacks. The sun was so hot it instantly made you sweat. As we sat on the ground next to the trucks shade Bella arrived. She told us that she was going to buy us food instead of making it back at the campsite. I instantly regretted Nandos I could of gotten free lunch, this moment of envy did not last long. The local restaurants food looked horrendous and I was happy I was full. 

Our campsite had a pool and a bar with wifi, what more could you want? Nick jumped in the pool instantly and I came over just to test the water and because I was too lazy to put my bathers on. If only I hadn’t been lazy. Nick pulled me in clothes and all, so I quickly got changed into my bathers and hung my clothes out to dry. After an hour I went to go have a nice shower. Sometimes you truly just need some tender, love and care to your body and hair. If only I had done it after beach volleyball. I was covered in sand head to toe. It was so much fun and I would love to tell my p:e teacher that I only missed one serve out of the 20 or so I did! Why did I not have this much strength back in year 11. I had always hated volleyball since p:e and this was the first time that I actually enjoyed it. You can really see people’s true personalities come out when you play sport, especially the competitive and sore losers. 

After a bit of wifi I went to sleep outside on the pool benches, if only I had known. At 1am I awoke to a million mosquito bites. I just couldn’t handle it anymore. I told Nick I was going to set up our tent and sleep in there. He surprisingly agreed and thought it was a great idea, I clearly wasn’t the only one getting attacked. In 20 or so minutes we were in the tent snuggled up falling into a deep peaceful sleep. 

25th of March 2016:

I was exhausted but it was the day we were off to the delta. I had my little backpack full of clothes and toiletries made and was ready for the adventures that awaited. We jumped on a truck that had two lines of seats facing outwards with only a tin roof for shelter. The sun was already quite strong at 7:30am. We had 2 hours of being on the truck where 1.5 hours was on dirt, sand and mud making it incredibly uncomfortable and bumpy. As we arrived locals in little boats were by the waters edge awaiting to greet us. The boat was a two person little canoe. They use to make them out of trees but as the government has banned this they have to use acrylic ones. The lady who used a stick to steer the boat in between the reeds and canals where crocodiles and hippos leaked was called a poller. They get taught at a very young age. From the night before I was beyond exhausted that I fell asleep on our 2 hour boat ride. The canoe was my hip width and we were sitting on plastic chairs with no legs. I awoke when my head fell back and I felt the plastic bend, it was lucky we didn’t fall out. I tried to stay awake because it was an amazing experience but I just couldn’t, at one point I congratulated myself on not falling asleep but then I realised I had been asleep the entire time I just dreamt of the scenery. 

Delta, Botswana

By the time we arrived at the campsite I was burning, tired and hungry, not ideal mood to be in. It was already 12:30pm. They told us lunch would be ready in an hour. Our tent was amazing, we could stand up in it as well as two beds. We had a mini backyard that consisted of a bucket shower and a drop toilet. Lunch was amazing it was mince with bread on top in a metal tin cup. I was by far satisfied now. We asked the tour leaders to take us swimming and to teach us how to do polling. It was so much fun we were playing volleyball in the water (in a big circle passing it to each other). The nerve racking thing was there was a man who stayed in the boat on guard in case there were hippos. Luckily we were fine. We got back with only 15 minutes before our walk. The walk was amazing we were out in the wilderness just walking trying to find lions and rhinos. Terrifying but exciting. I was more at the back of the line as I saw our guide freeze turn to us to shuffle us back. I didn’t know what was happening but at the top of the little termite hill our guide and a few people saw two huge Buffaloes only a few metres. These animals are incredibly dangerous. They don’t show any warning signs of threat or if they will charge. They will literally just start charging you especially how close we were. Luckily we backed up and saw them running off a few minutes later. 

The night was sensational we had a campfire roaring with a hippo only 10 metres in the water also roaring. We had popcorn around the fire before dinner. I haven’t had popcorn since being home and I may have eaten three bowls worth. Dinner we had soup and bread for entree, chicken and rice for mains and a apple crumble for desert. If I wasn’t satisfied at the popcorn I defiantly was by the end of the three course meal. Then the locals came and sang two songs to us and danced around the fire. One dance is where they go on the ground and pretend their a frog and stick their arse in the air very different. It was by far a sensational night but after the night before I was well and truly ready for a good nights sleep in a bed.

26th of March 2016:

Delta, Botswana

We awoke nice and early to do a morning walk around the Delta. We saw the hippo again only 30 metres away in the river. The hippo can stay under water for 6 to 7 minutes and therefore can be hard to find in the dark behind reeds. We were back in the canoes with the poler. Thankfully we were only crossing the river, except over where we had spotted the Hippo. The walk was another 2 hours where it took an hour to see more than just a dead Buffalo’s head. As we approached the lake we saw two hippos playing in the water and one crocodile. This was amazing and terrifying both animals could easily kill us if they felt threatened or hungry in the case of the stealthy fresh water crocodile. We stood in awe for at least 30 minutes watching these amazing beasts happily playing in the water. As we turned back to walk back to our campsite, zebras and giraffes were eating the morning grass and trees. It was picturesque animals eating and frolicking all around us. The walk makes you realise how small humans are to the animal kingdom. We were the last group to get back, but I would have happily stayed at the lake an hour longer. Unfortunately this meant we were behind schedule so breakfast was quick and we were back in the canoe heading to the truck. I don’t know what way we went to get to the campsite but the way back only took us 30 minutes. Another group were waiting by the truck for their adventure to the delta, but ours had unfortunately ended. I wish the truck ride wasn’t so long another 2 hours of driving on dirt, mud, sand you name it. Thankfully we got back at 1pm on the dot where lunch was ready.

When some of the group came back from their Delta flight we were lucky enough to have dinner at the bar. This is where a nice dinner some how escalated into drunk people jumping in the sand and making sand angels whilst others were swimming or “skinny dipping” in the pool. It was a night I won’t ever forget.