Thames Ditton Travel Blog

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Haircut, check, improbable amounts of baby-wipes, check, healthy sense of adventure, check.  All-set, well almost.  Having got the final few bits of kit from work today, I'm ready to embark on Steve Term 2008.  This year, for people who I haven't been prattling on to about this trip, I'm off to Africa!!  In particular Zambia and Malawi.  I'll be heading off with Alex again, the one man who can take any awesome sight with almost no hint of excitement and complete a city's worth of tourist attractions in a single day (there were 34 or so on the Cusco tourist map, he saw all of them), hopefully his laid-back aproach will once again provide a bit of an antidote to my more panicked state.  Joining us will be Chris Wood, who I haven't travelled with before, but I reckon I've lived with him long enough and we've spent a few days in the hills of wales walking, so travelling should be a breeze, right?

To be honest I'm kind of nervous about this trip.  I really have no idea what to expect.  My only other encounter with Africa was a day-trip to Tangiers in Morocco when I was holidaying in southern Spain with my parents four years ago.  This will be an entire new world.  I don't know how the culture works, I don't know how good the infrastructure is, I don't know how easy it is to get around the countries by bus or whatever.  Like all of the trips it will be very much learning as we go.  Which should be awesome.  When we (Alex and myself, along with Lizzy Horne and Chris Deutsch) went to South America two years ago, the infrastructure was good enough to plan lots of things to do, and fill up most days with fun and excitement.  This time we've got far less planned on what we want to do, so things will hopefully be a little more laid-back, and will give us the chance to explore places that we only hear of when we arrive.  Two nights of accomodation, the rest will be winging it.  We have no constraints other than we will be flying into Lusaka, the capital of Zambia on the 11th and flying out of Lilongwe, the capital of Malawi, on the 12th of September.

Our plans have been changed originally, as we planned to spend a few days in Zimbabwe, on the opposite side of Victoria Falls, and then white-water rafting down the Zambezi for a few days, but thats out the window now for obvious reasons.  We are probably going to climb Mt. Mulanje in Malawi at some point, the obligatory mountain on my trip, and cause of about a quarter of the pack weight we'll be lugging around for the entire five weeks.  A safari of some kind will be undertaken, perhaps a couple, and hopefully some kind of river-based lengthy activity, along with lake based fun in Malawi, and possibly some culture as and when it crops up on our radar.

Anyway, I thought I'd write a blog this year, because everyone else seems to be.  But also because in previous years I've emailed home a few times to a lengthy email list, so this year you have a choice as to whether you want to listen to my inane ramblings.  There will be lots of photos and we're taking a video-camera again, so there may even be a trip video afterwards, but knowing how the Borneo and Andean videos went, this may or may not happen.

There'll be hippos probably, but who knows what else.


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