by Guest Blogger – Lauren Dionysius
Things I have learned:
- jamming people into the back of a ute is an acceptable means of transportation
- the average cactus makes for a perfectly functional clothesline
- red dirt turns to red mud in the rain
- car maintenance is overrated: 8 breakdowns in 3 days between 4 Land Cruisers is a lot, even for Africa!
- urgency does not exist: no-one is in a hurry and nothing happens quickly
- and the quicker you can adjust to (and accept!) the previous point, the easier life will be!
- don’t be fooled: ‘pap’, ‘maizemeal’ and ‘sadsa’ are all the same stuff, but different countries use different names. And while it might look like chocolate pudding, it will never, EVER taste like it, regardless of how much sugar you add!
- the ticks in Africa enjoy the taste of humans and the resulting ‘tick bite fever’ is cruel, especially in the remote African bush
- every tree in Africa has a thorn of some description
- electricity is overrated, however hot showers are NOT!
- do not visit the Tanzanian coast during Ramadan – food is scarce!
- 25 children died unnecessarily in Malawi because the hospital ran out of anti-malarial and they weren’t restocked for a month
- bean stew actually looks and tastes worse than it sounds
- the ‘toilets’ in this part of the world are on a whole new level of stink! You are better off learning to squat in the bush – just look out for thorns &, um, local kids!
- when the entire mobile and internet networks are down, Africa just keeps on going. What would Australia do?
- ‘nibblies’ in Kenya are called ‘bitings’
- sleeping out under a starry Namibian sky is a magical experience
- 1000s of seals in the one place = one giant stink (though still smells better than a Tanzanian toilet!)
- the city of Cape Town is just as beautiful the third time round as the first
- seatbelts are optional in Africa
- dust gets everywhere into EVERYTHING
- don’t underestimate the off-road capabilities of the humble mini-van – those things can go up, over and through things at speed, if given the chance!
- it is possible to survive without phone reception for two weeks. I am living proof.
- a sossusvlei is a lake in the desert between sand dunes
- a deadvlei is a dried up sossusvlei
- don’t eat tuna at the beach – you will attract lots of seagulls
- it is possible to survive (many days even!) without the internet
- I am not cut out to be a makoro poler (those little dug out canoe things in Botswana)
- Namibia is the most stunning country in Africa, that I have been to so far
- every place in Namibia starts with an ‘O’ or an ‘S’ which is very confusing!
- trekking through wild Ugandan jungle in search of gorillas is no easy feat
- there’s very little in Africa that cannot be fixed with a screwdriver and duct tape.
Why not enter today and see where it takes you?