Family, Friends and Followers!
travels in Africa put us almost 2 months behind on our blog. We will try our
best to get caught up in the next few weeks.
we last left off, we had just arrived in Lusaka, Zambia after a long train and
taxi journey. We spent one night there and got on a bus to Livingstone
the following morning. We didn't realize that Easter weekend would be
such a travel weekend. Everything was booked and packed! We had to take a
minibus because all of the buses were full. The 6-hour ride turned into a
9-hour ride and we arrived in Livingstone just before 8:00 p.m. We were lucky
to find one of the last remaining rooms in town at a less than desirable hostel
but it was better than nothing.
following day we made our way to Victoria Falls...that was the reason we were
there! Victoria Falls is claimed to be the largest sheet of falling water
in the world thus earning it a spot on the list of World Heritage Sites.
It was definitely impressive and lived up to its description. We
were there during the end of the rainy season and the sheer power of the
waterfall was incredible. We were awestruck at the volume of the water
that poured out and over the massive cliff.
rainy season you get wet and we mean really wet! We threw on some plastic
covers but those were basically a joke to make you look ridiculous as if there
was even a remote chance of keeping an article of clothing dry.
viewing. Dry for now but not for long.
view of the bridge connecting Zambia and Zimbabwe.
on waterfall! Is that all you've got?
force and thunderous roars! We waited for a long time for the mist to subside
so we could snap a picture.
were soaking wet and all smiles. It was like being a kid and playing in
the rain. We spent hours getting soaked and laughing. It was so
much fun. We definitely recommend seeing the falls during the rainy season as
long as you bring a good attitude with you. We are curious to see what it
looks like during the dry season. Guess that's an excuse for a future
rainbow means double the fun.
the water from the falls and the downpour of rain, we finally caught a glimpse
of sunshine so we could take a picture together.
few hours later and we were finally drying out.
from Boiling Pot and the hike around the ridge of the waterfall.
did some research and found out that you could actually visit the Zimbabwean
side of the falls for the day without having to pay for a visa. Zambia
and Zimbabwe permit you to make day trips from each side. We were
thrilled that we would be able to visit another country for the day albeit only
the border of the country. It still counts, though!
that's a towel as a baby holder. We're going to bring this back to the
States when we get ready to have a baby. It's cheap and has multi uses.
double rainbows. These two rainbows made a complete circle under and
around the bridge. Now, you don't see that everyday.
Saying our last goodbyes to the falls.
friend from college, Leah, told us to splurge and grab drinks at The Royal
Livingstone. It's a fancy hotel with and even fancier view. Thanks for the
suggestion, Leah! What fantastic way to celebrate the end of another
beautiful day. Cheers! Martinis and beers never tasted better.
made our way back to Lusaka so we could press onward to Malawi. The bus
was "scheduled" to leave at 10:30 a.m. There's no such thing as
an on time departure in Zambia. We waited on the bus for 4 hours until it
filled up. We were losing our patience but we had entertainment from the
vendors. This guy was trying his best to sell a wig and some perfume.
There is no such thing as a random item in Africa.
always bring your child to work day in Africa. We were amazed at how well
behaved the little children were. Most babies just slept while wrapped on
their mother's back. On a disturbing note, several women offered to let
us have one of their children. Although we would have loved to show those
babies a good life, we are fairly certain that is illegal.
4 hours later and this guy was still trying to coax people into going to
finally arrived in Lilongwe, Malawi at 4:00 a.m. It was a long night and
a horrible night's sleep in a dirty hostel dorm room. We had to spend two nights here before we could made our way to Nkharta Bay.
5:00 p.m. on a Friday night which means it's quitting time!
real conversation that took place while we were walking around Lilongwe
Guy: "Hey white man!" (in a soft voice)
to Leanne: "Is he talking to me"?
Guy: "Hey white man!" (a little louder)
to Leanne: "I think he's talking to me?"
Guy: "HEY WHITE MAN!" (screaming at this point)
to Leanne: "He must be talking to me because I'm the only white man around
then turned to the random man and the random man gave him a big grin and a
thumbs up. You've gotta love Africa!
another 7-hour bus ride and 1 hour taxi ride we found ourselves a little piece
of paradise on the lake.
another 7-hour bus ride and 1 hour taxi ride we found ourselves a little piece
of paradise on the lake.
stayed at Mayorka Village and it was a green environment complete with
composting toilets! We highly recommend staying here if you find yourself in Malawi.
afternoon soccer games! The entire town was in attendance and it was so
much fun watching their passion for the game.
in? Not so much.
Bay is absolutely beautiful.
we were checking in, we both said that we needed to email Fiona (our friend
from the train ride) as soon as we could get some sort of internet connection.
As luck would have it, we looked up and their was Fiona! She had
just checked in a few hours before us. What are the odds of that?
We were thrilled to spent the next several days with our buddy.
Leanne and Fiona made several new friends and got in some much needed girl
felt like a stud with all of these gorgeous ladies surrounding him, that is
until they all started talking about girly things and he lost interest rather
place even had canoes so of course we took one out for paddle around the
taught some local cuties how to snorkel.
a few hours we made it back to our home away from home. Our bungalow was
the one with the bay window. It was incredible. We were only supposed to
stay for four day but we wound up staying six. Yes, we have it so
a ride up the hill after a night out on the town.
guesthouse took us out on the lake for a few hours. Of course, we packed
the small boat to the brim before we took off.
first stop was to feed a Sea Eagle
then went "cliff jumping". It was really just a high rock but
it was still fun. picture of Josh jumping in the water
is an overwhelming love for President Obama throughout Africa. President
Obama's face and name are everywhere including this little boy's tattered
6 glorious days it was time to start a real adventure. We researched but
couldn't find much about traveling from Malawi to Rwanda via bus. It
could take anywhere from 4-7 days depending on if we got to the borders in
time. We both decided we were up for the challenge and were ready to move on from Nkharta Bay.
was tough but we had to say our goodbyes to Fiona. She was planning on
returning to Malawi in a couple of weeks to start a job. Only Fiona could walk
into a bar/restaurant/hotel and come out with a job of managing it for 6 weeks.
Congrats, friend! We can't wait to hear all of your stories when we see
you in London in August.
was our rough itinerary for the following few days including all of our forms
from Nhakarta Bay to Mizuzu
was supposed to take us 45 minutes but in true African fashion, it took us 1
and a half hours.
from Mizuzu to the border of Malawi
was supposed to take 5 hours and but our luck would have it that we were on one
of the slowest buses in Africa. We literally didn't go over 30 mph the entire time.
Our 5-hour trip turned into seven.
few hours cost us a border crossing. We had to find a guesthouse and
spend the night in the border town, Karanga. That was definitely not in
the plan. Luckily, a nice taxi driver took us to a guesthouse close to
the bus station.
1 modes of transportation:
to Mbeya, Tanzania
alarm went off at 4:45 a.m. and as we lurched out of bed, we asked ourselves
"why are we doing this?".
were out the door and greeted with a downpour as we were walking to the bus
station. Luckily, it only last 20 minutes.
made Josh do a photo shoot session while we waited. He wasn't the
happiest of campers so she was trying to lighten the mood.
the rain cleared, we hopped in a mini-bus crammed to the roof and crossed
the border into Tanzania. It was then another 4-hour bus ride to Mbeya.
We got out of the bus 5 miles too early and had to catch a rickshaw to
the bus station. We promptly bought bus tickets to Dodoma for the
following day to make sure our plans were secured.
walking around Mbeya we found more Obama love. Too bad this restaurant was
2 modes of transportation:
was another early start as the bus departed for Dodoma at 7:00 a.m. The
good thing about this leg of the journey was the landscape. Lush, rolling hills
abound! We even drove through a national park for 50 miles. We saw
elephants, giraffes, hyenas, wild boars and impalas! Unfortunately, the
bus was going at a speed that did not allow for pictures through the
bad part of this leg of the journey was the lack of food. We wound up
eating a bunch of bananas that we purchased off of a street vendor. That
was all that we ate for the day. Is it bad to consume multiple bananas
throughout the day?
arrived in Dodoma around 9:00 p.m. exhausted and hungry. It strange how
tiring it can be sitting on an uncomfortable bus for 9 hours straight. We
were definitely worried about finding a place to stay for the night.
told the taxi driver we didn't want too spend much on a room. The room
was cheap as dirt. This is what you get for going cheap...a dirty,
squatter toilet was thrown in at no extra charge!
we checked into this guest house Josh pulled out his passport to give to the
man working. He did not need our passport just our names and what tribe
we belonged to. What tribe? Josh had to think fast on his feet so
he wrote the "Obama" tribe. So in some remote area in Western
Tanzania there's a tribe on record called the Obama tribe with two members.
3 modes of transportation:
We headed to the bus station to board our "Sports" bus early in the morning. We arrived when it was still dark.
The sun rose and we were on our way!
This adorable couple rode on the bus with us. They had matching outfits and held hands as soon as they got off of the bus. True love!
From hills to flat landscape.
Who's ready for a snack? Please...no more bananas!
our long journey we finally crossed the border into Rwanda.
were greeted by a raging river.
went through a brief check to make sure we didn't bring over any plastic bags.
They are illegal in Rwanda. Josh had his taken away but Leanne got
away without losing any. We had to take a mini bus to Kigali but we finally made it!!!
Day 4 modes of transportation:
2 mini buses
1 motorbike taxi each
Our trip from Malawi to Rwanda had finally come to an end.
66 hours on buses
6 mini buses
2 coach buses
4 motorbike taxis
It was an exhausting experience but the journey was priceless!
When we arrived in Kigali we went to the Airtell store (cell phone). Josh had purchased a sim card at the border but our phone wouldn't dial any numbers. We went into the store and were greeted by Aisha. She informed us that our cell phone number needed to be connected to a local sponsor. She asked us if we knew anyone in Rwanda. We told her we didn't and she was so generous and offered to sponsor us and used her information so our phone would work. Talk about customer service! She then asked if we had a place to stay. We told her we didn't and that we were on a budget. She insisted that she would show us to a nice place that was affordable for us. She hopped on a motorbike, as did we and showed us to a hotel. We couldn't believe her generosity. She went above and beyond to make us feel welcomed in Kigali. We actually met up with her the following night and met her family, her cousin, and she took us to a fabulous local restaurant.
She has a heart of gold and is so beautiful on the inside and outside!
It amazed us at how kind and friendly the people of Rwanda are considering the tragic history of the country. As wikipedia describes, the Rwandan genocide was a genocidal mass slaughter of the Tutsis by the Hutus that took place in 1994.
We visited the genocide museum and it was completely heartbreaking. Over 500,000 people were killed from April 6- mid-July.
It's hard to believe that a country filled with such warm-hearted and friendly people could have endured such a devastating event only 19 years ago.
We are glad to see the progress of this country and we commend them for their continued positive outlook on life.
had heard that Burundi, just South of Rwanda, was a beautiful and untouched
country so we jumped on a 7-hour bus headed there.
is definitely a good way to describe Burundi. They are not accustomed to
seeing tourists and we were only granted a 3-day visa. This was going to
be a fast trip so we tried to make the best of our short stay.
Guess what? More bananas!
Lake is the longest lake in the world and the second deepest lake in the world.
It is also the source of the Nile River. This was of interest to us
since we would be in Egypt in a few days.
managed to catch a wedding on the lake.
was very windy but quite a nice lake that sat on the capital city of Bujumbura.
be completely honest there wasn't much to do in Bujumbura as far as tourist
sites go so we ended up hanging out on the beach all day and goofing
told you it was windy!
Check out those blowing locks!
sitting on the beach we headed out to another destination further along the
lake to take in the sunset.
weren't the only ones enjoying the view!
some beers we headed back to our hotel to enjoy the remainder of the evening. We actually rode three deep on a motorbike taxi to get back to our hotel. Safe? Definitely not! Josh was celebrating that we made it back to the hotel OK.
was a very short stay, indeed. Before we new it, it was time to part ways with Burundi and head back to
went back through customs and were on our way back to Kigali.
Crossing the border by foot was a scene you would only find in Africa.
we arrived back in Kigali we checked out more genocide memorials including the
famous Hotel Des Mille Collines otherwise known as Hotel Rwanda from the movie.
one point this church housed 16,000 refugees trying to escaped the genocide in
Remember how we said they love President Obama in Africa? They love him so much they even have strawberry Obama chewing gum!
It's even magic!! The flavor only last about 2.5 seconds and we are almost positive it will rot your teeth but we had to try it. We wonder if President Obama knows he has chewing gum floating around in Africa.
All good things must come to an end. It was time for us to head to Egypt so we had to say our farewell wishes to Aisha before we headed to the airport. She surprised us with a present of a painting of traditional dancers from her village in East Rwanda.
Aisha, you are such a beautiful person and our lives are richer for knowing you. You are a true friend and we miss you and your family so much. You made our time in Rwanda unforgettable. Thank you for all that you did for us. We will think of you and your family every time we look at that picture.
As always, thanks for following!
Fingers crossed that we can get another post up soon.
Leanne & Josh