Today’s the day! After twelve and a half years, I’ve just eaten my last “Happy Friday” roll and sausage and it’s my last day with Shell. It’s the end of an era! I’ll definitely be crying later but right now I want to document my broad plan for the next six months. I would happily plan this to the nth degree but in an attempt to Stop Being Such A Control Freak, I’m trying to keep it free and easy:
- 27th Sept – 16th Oct: A couple of days acclimatisation in Nairobi then overlanding with Absolute Africa through Kenya and Tanzania with the final few days in Zanzibar (birth place of Freddie Mercury!). Overlanding is the cheapest, and apparently the most practical, way to get around Africa. From what I gather, there’ll be 15-20 of us smelly backpackers in a big bus/truck doing a whirlwind tour of all the main attractions. There’ll be a lot of driving along bumpy roads, sharing a tent with an as-yet-unknown random, and a ton of dust but I’m hoping it will be an easy introduction to Africa.
- 17th – 19th (-ish) Oct: This is the scariest bit of my whole trip… and I’m on my own from here on in. The Tazara train leaves from Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania) on Tuesday morning and is supposed to get in to Kapiri Mposhi (Zambia) around 50 hours later… except that it never runs to time and I’ve read that I should budget for anywhere up to 4 days! I’m a bit worried about the general security on the train (hoping I make some friends that I can just force my company on!) but I’m reeeeeally worried about arriving in Kapiri Mposhi after dark. The guide books all sound a bit wary here and suggest you just move on as quickly as you can. The last buses to Lusaka (capital of Zambia, about 3 hours drive away) all finish around 9/10pm so there’s a fairly large window for me to get in to a blind panic.
- 20th – 27th (-ish) Oct: Planning a day or so in Lusaka followed by a long bus/car ride down to Livingstone in the South of Zambia for a week’s lazing around Victoria Falls. It’ll be the end of the dry season so the falls will be less falls-like and more gaping canyon-like on the Zambian side but I can do a day trip across the border to Zimbabwe to get a better view.
- 28th Oct – 3rd (-ish) Nov: On the Zambia/Namibia border, I can jump on an “Intercape” bus – they look like the large greyhound coaches you get in the US so I’m hoping it’ll be pretty comfortable. I’m intending to head straight through Namibia over the course of a week, with maybe the odd tour in to the beautiful orange dunes to break up the miles.
- 4th – 14th Nov: Planning around 10 days in Cape Town – mostly looking forward to a couple of wine tours here – before flying back to Edinburgh on my birthday and landing on the 15th as a 35-year-old.
- 16th/17th Nov – 2nd Mar: Exact leaving date and logistics still to be confirmed (the VSO are quite relaxed about such trivialities) but flying to Nepal with the VSO to be a volunteer team-leader. Hopefully more details will follow on this soon!