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I’ve finally finished compiling the footage I took on our overland trek from Johannesburg to Nairobi. I struggled with this package more than I do with most. I assume one of the reasons is because I am emotionally attached to most of the video, which makes it very difficult to edit pieces out.

I also found that while I wanted to write a script, I couldn’t find the words. I wanted to give the experience the weight it deserved. I wanted to make it poetic. But I found Florence and the Machine’s “All This Heaven Too,” said exactly what I wanted to say while letting the video speak for itself.  I hope you enjoy.



And since I had so many nice moments left over, I put together some of the pieces which ended up on cutting room floor. Thanks to everyone on our trip who put up with me shooting video while you were sleeping, sweaty, and or just generally ruffled from camping for a month.



For more stories from our African Adventure, start here.

~ Molly

Day 11

We leave Livingstone and get back on the road. There’s just 11 of us from our original group and we’ve gained 3 more people from a tour that came up the west coast of South Africa starting in Cape Town. The 11 of us on the trek from Johannesburg have really started to settle into a groove so it will be interesting to see how the new three change the group dynamic. We’ve also got a new guide, Maretha (or Mazza), and a new driver, Raymond. Both Maretha and Raymond will be with us for the rest of or days on the road. It’s oddly reassuring to have stable “parents” for the rest of the trip.

We pack up our tents in light rain. This is the first morning it’s been raining since we’ve been on the road, which is nice because technically it’s the wet season. Camping in sunny weather is one thing. Camping in the midst of torrential downpours is totally different.

We make our usual, almost daily stop for supplies. Our tour provides most of our meals, but for water, snacks and beer, we’re on our own. Most of the places we’ve stopped along the way so far have been modern supermarkets – right in the middle of strip malls. Not what I thought we’d see in Africa at all but I guess perceptions are made to be broken.

This is also Africa.

There’s a game park next to our campsite for the night. We here there is a family of giraffes with a baby giraffe in the area. We see the family from a far and after tiptoeing around some muddy paths, we get pretty close to them.

Lots of Mud. Photo by Nellu

It’s surreal being on foot so close to exotic animals. It’s very Jurassic Park.

Photo by Nellu

Day 12

We park for lunch at a rest stop off the main drag today. About a dozen local kids see our truck pull in and come running.

The set up for lunch for 16 people is by nature quite elaborate. We pull out the folding chairs, tables, plates and utensils. We have bins for washing our hands and bins for washing dishes as well as all the food and food prep materials. And Mazza adds nice touches to our meal time rituals with a table cloth and plant. It must be an odd show for the kids – all of us arriving in this big truckbus, jumping out for lunch, and then just as quickly packing up to go.

The kids just stand by the edge of the road and watch but do not cross an invisible line. It’s only when people from our group approach them with cameras that the fun begins. First the kids pose, many of them striking defensive stances with fists toward the camera or something out of martial arts film.

Chloe and Claire share pictures with the kids. Photo by Nellu

Photo by Nellu

Then they come in to look at the digital images and laugh at each other on the screen. And then, the kids want to try to take pictures themselves.

Thanks to Claire Walton for the photo.

Nellu and a few others are brave enough to hand over their cameras for some pretty interesting results:

One of the pictures the kids took with Nellu's camera.

Photographers in the making.

To be continued…

~ Molly

Back in August, Nellu and I signed up to do an overland Africa adventure with G Adventures, formerly known as Gap Adventures (more on the name change later). We had planned to do some kind of safari while in Africa and after some complex and not so complex justifications, we signed ourselves up for a month-long trek. Our route from Johannesburg to Nairobi would take us through 6 countries in 28 days. (For more of our itinerary, click here.) It was certainly more than we would normally take on, on our own.  The fact that we’d need to do 21 days of camping… well, we needn’t worry ourselves with such details especially with a part of our trip that was more than 5 months away.

Johannesburg to Nairobi Adventure Map from G Adventures

When we arrived in Johannesburg on an overnight bus from Cape Town, we hadn’t fully wrapped our heads around what we were getting ourselves into. But one thing was for sure, the idea that for the next 28 consecutive days we knew where we’re going to sleep was filling me with a deep sense of joy. (To be honest, I didn’t know where were going to sleep. But I knew that someone knew and that’s all that mattered.)

If we could make it to the airport, our hotel the first night of the trip would pick us up from there. So Nellu did some extensive research via the intraweb and figured out a train we could take from Park Station in downtown Johannesburg to just outside the airport. We’d need to walk about 1.5km from the train station to the actually airport because it wasn’t South Africa’s fancy new airport Gautrain, but the regular old metro. The route was straightforward and it cost just a fraction of the Gautrain. As Nellu put it, “All the people who work at the airport, this is how they get to work everyday.”

We definitely got some looks on the metro, but that happens a lot. I assume it’s because we’re carrying massive military duffels on our back but who really knows. When we were finally in the van on the way to our hotel, our driver pointed to the very metro we had just gotten off and said, “See this train. Never take this train. This is the train where the robbers get robbed.” Good to know.

We made it safe and sound to the hotel, and from there on we were in the hands of G Adventures. But I was nervous, mostly about our stuff. We assumed that most of the people who do this type of trip don’t do it as a part of a longer 10 month round-the-world adventure. What if our bags didn’t fit on the truck? We had emailed back and forth with our G Adventures representative Amanda to make sure it would be all right. But you never know for sure until you know.

And then there was the issue of the people. There would be 20 other people joining us on this portion of the trip. What if the other members of our group didn’t like us? And more importantly, what if we didn’t like them? This was like the first day of school all over again.

To Be Continued…

~ Molly

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