COLLECTING EXPERIENCES, NOT THINGS: EAST AFRICAN EXPLORER TOUR

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COLLECTING EXPERIENCES, NOT THINGS: EAST AFRICAN EXPLORER TOUR

Our motto and motivation is to “collect experiences, not things”. Whilst on our journey, we’re aiming to spend our time and money on spectacular experiences, to be left with incredible learnings and memories, not tangible objects. This way, we’re sure to keep our lives light without additional luggage, but also be the change we want to see in the world.

Our next featured experience is the Topdeck Travel tour, East African Explorer.

This was our third taste of group travel, so one could say we are slowly growing out of the ‘Group-Travel Novice’ status, after the 17-day European excursion late last year, and now this trip – something a little closer to home, and something a little more adventurous.

Surprisingly, we’re starting to love group travel (yes, even in our 30s and even after having all the freedom to travel non-stop as a couple). Let me tell you why…

Aside from the obvious benefits of having all accommodation, transport, and food pre-paid and organized (besides the odd evening where you’re free to roam around on your own, searching for the best local curry),  group travel adds a certain comradery to the entire experience. When something doesn’t go entirely to plan (because, let’s face it, with travel, almost everything is a mystery) it’s more of a conversation starter and team-work initiator, than a sour taste leaving you feeling helpless. Of course it helps when the people you travel with are fun-loving, adventure-hungry and up for anything (which we were very lucky to have on both of our Topdeck trips).

East Africa | How Far From Home

The East African Explorer tour is extremely different to the tour we did through Europe, though.

For a start, we were required to camp 90% of the time (although the option to ‘upgrade’ was available at almost every spot), and this meant no restaurants (so a lot more hands-on involvement in the bush kitchen), wet tents in the rain (and some manual labor to put-up and pull-down your own sleeping cove almost everyday), and a constant ‘team player’ attitude (as daily routines and jobs for every member were part of the norm). I think it’s safe to say that if you’re a prince or princess who needs 85 pillows and silk sheets, this is probably not a tour for you.

East Africa | How Far From Home

The mode of transport is also somewhat different – a cushy European bus has been replaced by a 3.5 ton truck that offers “Afrimassages” and “Africon” (affectionate terms we gave to the bumpy rides and open-window air supply).

So yes, this type of trip is probably not for everyone.

You’ll need to be ready for bush toilets (i.e. bushes for squatting), having damp clothes and towels almost all the time, pot-hole-covered dirt roads, bugs in and around you constantly (ok, not constantly, but they’re definitely close by), chilly and moist mornings (yes, ‘moist’ felt like the perfect adjective), and you’ll need to be ready to help out and sometimes get your hands dirty at a moment’s notice.

East Africa | How Far From Home

The benefits of a trip like this? Wow, where do I begin?!

Firstly, you’ll get to see a part of the world very few get to experience. Unlike the bustling tourist-ridden CBDs of the Western world, most of Africa is still very much untouched and preserved with local cultural nuances. The white sandy beaches of Zanzibar, the lush forests surrounding the base of Mt Kilimanjaro, the true animal kingdom of the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, and the world’s largest waterfall, Victoria Falls are just a couple of the highlights.

East Africa | How Far From Home

I may be slightly biased as an African, but there’s something so magical about this continent. The variety of terrain, weather conditions, landscapes and dreamlike scenery is something every person should be lucky to experience. There’s a reason the oldest known human remains are found here – and there’s a reason the East African Explorer tour is one of the most soul-enriching experiences you will ever get the opportunity to share.

It’s also quite a humbling experience, as you see how some of the poorest people in the world live from day to day. There’s no grand palaces, or red carpets, or shiny shopping malls. You’ll be making purchases from vendors on the street, craft markets filled with entrepreneurial artists, and your reward at the end of the day will be a warm shower (if there’s warm water available).

Zanzibar Tanzania | How Far From Home

So let me say this: if it’s adventure, escape from man-made scrapers and a chance to really experience living alongside nature you’re after, you really don’t need to look further.

East Africa | How Far From Home

Thank you Darlington, Sam, Vilde, Helene, Brodan, Scott, Bec, Chloe, Abby, Blair, Cassie, Mel, Dan and Lee. Stevo and I know what “pabu” means, and we’ll be sure to tell you next time we see you, wherever that may be in the world.

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Check out highlights from our 21-day African excursion below, or follow along on Instagram, Facebook or Snapchat.

 

From the Zambezi River and powerful Victoria Falls in Livingstone…

Zambia | How Far From Home

Zambia | How Far From Home

…we hopped onto our truck and headed north-east to end up camping with zebras near Chipata.

East Africa | How Far From Home

Zambia | How Far From Home

We left early the next day and headed towards Lusaka…

East Africa | How Far From Home

Zambia | How Far From Home

…then ended up at the beautiful South Luangwa National Park…

East Africa | How Far From Home

East Africa | How Far From Home

South Luangwa Zambia | How Far From Home

…where we spotted elephant, leopard and hyena…

South Luangwa Zambia | How Far From Home

South Luangwa Zambia | How Far From Home

South Luangwa Zambia | How Far From Home

…then left Zambia and moved onto Malawi…

Malawi | How Far From Home

Malawi | How Far From Home

…where we camped by Lake Malawi at Kande Beach…

Malawi | How Far From Home

Malawi | How Far From Home

…and enjoyed an entertaining punch party at sunset…

East Africa | How Far From Home

We moved onto another beach lodge at Chitimba Beach in Malawi…

Malawi | How Far From Home

Malawi | How Far From Home

…then moved onto Tanzania…

Tanzania | How Far From Home

Tanzania | How Far From Home

…and finally hopped onto a ferry to get to the island of Zanzibar…

East Africa | How Far From Home

East Africa | How Far From Home

…where crystal blue waters and white sand were our view for 4 days.

East Africa | How Far From Home

Zanzibar Tanzania | How Far From Home

After leaving Zanzibar, we went past Mt. Kilimanjaro, towards the mighty Serengeti…

Serengeti Ngorongoro | How Far From Home

…where we camped with lions and hyenas…

Serengeti Ngorongoro | How Far From Home

…spotting hundreds of wildlife and bird species…

Serengeti Ngorongoro | How Far From Home

Serengeti Ngorongoro | How Far From Home

Serengeti Ngorongoro | How Far From Home

Serengeti Ngorongoro | How Far From Home

…and ended up at the Ngorongoro Crater for views and sightings like no other…

Serengeti Ngorongoro | How Far From Home

Serengeti Ngorongoro | How Far From Home

Serengeti Ngorongoro | How Far From Home

East Africa | How Far From Home

Our final trek was into Kenya…

East Africa | How Far From Home

East Africa | How Far From Home

East Africa | How Far From Home

…where we stayed in Nairobi and said our final goodbyes.

2 Comments
  • Ewan
    Posted at 16:22h, 16 May Reply

    If only we knew you were coming to Tanzania. My wife and I (both from Cape Town) have been living in Arusha for the past 2 years and have followed your adventures since the beginning. Happy to see that you enjoyed your time here!

    • howfarfromhomeblog@gmail.com
      Posted at 17:12h, 16 May

      Aw man! We seriously need to put our itinerary up somewhere online so we can meet up with our community. Thanks so much!

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