Tag Archive: Africa


Our African Ponderings

We have spent a bit of time writing up what it was like to spend time in Africa and our experiences. We have created special pages for just this. (on the top right)

Molly’s page is : HERE

Muni’s page is : HERE

muni

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african-oscars

Well now that we leave Africa soon (Boo Hoo!) Muni & Molly’s African Oscars are now published.

The categories are : (drum roll please)

1. Best Accommadation / Hotel : Green Turtle Lodge, Dixcove, Ghana
2. Worst Accommadation / Hotel : Pensão Leeta, Mocimboa da Praia, Mozambique

3. Best Meal : La Colombe, Constainia, Cape Town, South Africa
4. Worst Meal : Cafe No Name, Arsi Negele, Ethiopia

5. Best Transport : CTM, Morocco
6. Worst Transport : Burundi

7. Friendliest People : Tied at Burkina Faso and Malawi
8. Unfriendliest People : White Namibians

9. Best Value : Ghana
10. Worst Value : Rwanda

And last but by no means least…

11. Best Beer : Primus 720ml, Burundi
12. Worst Beer : Laurentina Stout, Mozambique

And the most coveted award for biggest tosser in Africa goes to….

The fat, Afrikaner, make-up put on with a cement mixer, hair-do like a bulldog’s arse, manager of the Cat Nap Guest House in Springbok for her inability to take a booking 3 whole weeks in advance. Moan about the check in time, lie about her presence prior to us checking in and then only say that we had booked one night when two were requested. I hope you catch the clap from a toilet seat and you choke on some worm infested biltong again. Congratulations, your golden Oscar is in the post.

We’ve also added some additional categories for those that were worthy of such an acolade.

They are:

Toughest Day : 8th April 2009, Butare, Rwanda after visiting a genocide memorial. (I talk about it HERE)

Most adventerous moment: Boarding a tug boat to travel down Lake Tanganyika en-route to Kigoma, Tanzania

The 5 best highlights (in no particular order):

1. Getting up close and personal with 5 Silverbacks in Parc National de Volcans, Rwanda
2. Being pamered in Madikwe Safari Lodge, South Africa
3. Juming out of a dhow, after spotting Dolphins, onto the best beach in Africa. Praia de Chocas, Mozambique
4. Standing on the precipace of the plateau in Dogon Country, Mali
5. Giggling at the confluence of the Atlantic and Indian Ocean’s at the southern most tip of Africa

Muni & Molly

We’ve come a Lilongwe

So, our time here in Malawi is almost up. It’s only now that it feels like we’ve been on the road a while as Morocco now seems an aeon ago. As we meet more and more like minded travellers it seems we have the same questions. Strangely, and inevitably, the answer always seems to arrive back at the same place. “That’s Africa!”. Some see it as an unacceptable excuse where as others see it as resignation to the inevitable. The latter leaves more room to roll with situations and generally makes life a bit easier.

Here are some of the questions:

  • How is it that such beautiful, intricate and detailed wood carvings can be made here but yet to see a square doorway or window would be something of a sensation?
  • Why do the minibus drivers rev and rev their engines prior to departure but yet turn the engine off going down hill?
  • How is it that some of the poorest countries we have visited, and in the world, are the most expensive places we have been?
  • Why is it that the duty free in Addis Ababa does not take the local currency (Birr)?
  • Why is it that some currency denominations don’t go over that value of a few Euros. Malawi for example. One 500 Euro note would cover the equivalent two hundred 500 Kwacha (largest denomination) notes?

We have mused for a long time how things here are made to work in such a way that they were never supposed to. Some may call it ingenuity, the designers may call it something very different. A prime example is a car I saw with 4 different size wheels with some of the air let out of the tyres to level the car. Did it work? Yes. In the way it was designed…NO! Is it safe. Certainly not. I suppose it’s just Africa’s way of recycling and reusing. But …“That’s Africa!”.

Another example is when Molly and I booked a car for drop off to a ferry port. The car was very late and I barked at the manager. His reply was that the ferry did not leave for an hour and that we would be dropped off when he was ready. I barked some more. “I am black and this is Africa!” he exclaimed. Both of us well knowing that the ferry company was run by Germans meaning that it would actually go on time. But …“That’s Africa!”.

Another example are the pictures below. This bar has been like this for years and getting worse on a daily basis. But after all …“That’s Africa!”.

1 The Wheelhouse2 The Wheelhouse

And just where would Africa be without bendy plumbing pipes, flip flops and plastic? I dread to think…!

muni

Dhanyavad to the Indians

Thali, Dosa, Lassi, Potato Samosa, Pawpaw Salsa, Dhal Bhajia, Masala and Mysore Dosa, Kachori, Chevda and Chapati are now my new favourites. Favourites of Indian food, my savour, my stomach stuffer, my delight, my all. At least once a week commencing many months ago in The Gambia of all places, I thank Shiva for Indians. Especially Indians who made Africa their home.

My history may be slightly wrong but in colonial days, Indians came to Africa as traders and were also brought to build the railways by the British. In 1972, the lovely fella that Idi Amin was, evicted 70,000 Asians that lived in Uganda (they were given 90 days to leave with no possessions bar the clothes that they stood in). Alot moved to other East African countries and further afield in Africa to built new businesses and lives there.

Much to my surprise and delight and probably to Jon’s too as it means I am fed and not hungry and therefore moan less, Indian eateries are everywhere! Since my first tasty meal in a too posh restaurant for us backpackers in Farjara, The Gambia, to the usual Indian fare in Kumasi and Accra, Ghana, to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia which even managed to have tasty scoffs, to the large Indian ladies in Mombasa, Kenya who cooked us the best ever Indian street food served with spicy coconut dippydoo. They became very rich because of all the food I bought and I became very fat from all the food I bought and ate. To Masala Chat the greatest restaurant in Uganda and so far in Africa for us. We went three times, devoured dosas and each time left fuller than the previous time. Even Rwanda did not disappoint. You can’t blame Burundi for not partaking in the Indian buzz but then they only came out of a long civil war in 2002. Maybe with time?

And then there is Tanzania, the land of Swahili food. Well unfortunately I did not manage to find much decent Swahili food but a little Indian tucked away on a side street in Zanzibar restored my faith somewhat. The Radha Food House. It is not often I get to go to a vegetarian restaurant but it is good to see Jon suffer a little whilst eating chickpeas and lentils rather than steak. But not this time! No complaining from him. The food was tastier than ever before and my only regret was that I had not come here earlier rather than on my last night on the island.

So back to Indians in Africa and what they do for me? Well lots really. They sell the best yoghurt, never rip you off, are honest, can give proper street directions, build Hindu temples that I can visit and of course cook the best food ever. They are bleedin’ deadly.

jeanne