Christy and Aaron Tracker

Follow Christy and Aaron on their backpacking trip around the world

“Do You Have WiFi?” “…What is WiFi?”

Posted by Christy in Posts on 10 28th, 2010

Yup, so I am writing this from another Internet cafe because WiFi is pretty much nonexistent in Africa. I really need to update our Website with our Egypt trip with Karen, but I need fast WiFi to upload the pictures and videos we took. We had a fabulous time, and I will post the entry as soon as I can (sorry, Karen!).

Anyway, we are on the 10th day of our 7-week tour, heading out of Zanzibar, a gorgeous island off the coast of Tanzania, and heading back into the mainland to make our way into Malawi. We are traveling with about 24 other people, and I was a bit skeptical at first as Aaron and I enjoyed traveling solo and this was a big change. But I have to say, I am really enjoying the tour so far as the other people are so nice and we are becoming fast friends. I will be tremendously sad once our tour is over and we all head our separate ways.

Again, I apologize that our posts are few and far between, but there isn’t much we can do as we are in Africa and they don’t have quite the Internet speed we were hoping for. Oh, well!

Miss you all!

Africa Overland

Posted by Aaron in Posts on 10 16th, 2010

Christy and I have started the next phase of our trip. We are taking an overland safari from Nairobi, Kenya to Cape Town, South Africa.

Our overland route through East and South Africa

The internet access is really poor so unfortunately we will not be able to post our progress along the way. Here is our itinerary:

Day 1:
We head south from Nairobi across the Masai plains and cross the border at Namanga and cross into Tanzania, we arrive in Arusha late in the day.

Day 2:
In Arusha you can take a side trip to the Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater. The trip is camping for two nights in the parks amidst the animals. If you choose not to visit the park you can wander the markets in Arusha town.

Day 3:
Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater

Day 4:
Return to Arusha

Day 5:
We head towards the coast past Moshi town the capital city of the Chugga tribe. Skirting the base of snowy Mount Kilimanjaro we camp on the way.

Day 6:
We arrive in Dar es Salaam on the Indian Ocean coast

Day 7:
Zanzibar Island – From Dar es Salaam you can take the ferry to Zanzibar Island. Here is the old stone capital of the Omani Sultanate, sandy beaches, spice tours, snorkelling, diving and trips to other nearby islands.

Day 8:
Zanzibar is a fascinating place to visit and you can stay for 3 or 4 days to take it all in. Over a thousand years trade between Africa and Arabia has resulted in the blending of Arabs and Africans into a beautiful Swahili coastal culture with; wooden sailing dhows crossing the ocean, coconut plantations and fishing villages with mosques on the beaches.

Day 9:
Most people spend the first day in Zanzibar Town visiting Stone Town a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the old slave market , the spice growing areas, Jozani Forest with Red Colobus Monkeys and in the evening visit the seafood cafes and have dinner on the wharf.

Day 10:
Zanzibar Island – Nungwe beach resort on the north of the island has the most beautiful beaches in the world

Day 11:
Return to Dar es Salaam by ferry

Day 12:
South through Tanzania; our route takes us through Mikumi National Park where we may well see giraffe or elephant grazing beside the road.

Day 13:
The road from Dar es Salaam to Malawi is 850 kilometers long; through the southern highlands passing Baobab Valley, Iringa and Mbeya to the border of Malawi.

Day 14:
Crossing the border into Malawi, we reach the shores of its huge lake. We spend the night at Chitimba Beach Camp. The campsites and small resorts along Lake Malawi offer sandy beaches, swimming and snorkelling, water-skiing, horse riding or walking in the surrounding countryside. Markets sell carved Malawi chairs, tables and wood carvings.

Day 15:
We head south along the beach to Kande Beach resort – very relaxed and just the sort of beach place you need in Africa.

Days 16 + 17:
Kande Beach.

Day 18:
Leaving the beach we go inland to spend the night in the capital Lilongwe.

Day 19:
We cross the border into Zambia and head into the country along the Great North Road – sparsely settled country side with few people or villages for hundreds of miles.

Day 20:
South Luangwa National Park is well worth the visit; recent trips have seen; wild dogs, leopards, lions, and buffalo. We camp beside the park; from where you can game drive into the park. The road up to the park is dirt and the park been part of vast swamp system, so from January up to March as the road can be flooded we can’t get in until the water recedes and the road’s rebuilt and graded.

Day 21:
South Luangwa National Park.

Day 22:
We leave the park and continue to head west.

Day 23:
We reach Lusaka the capital of Zambia.

Day 24:
Victoria Falls – the Zambezi River plunges 100 metres down a mile wide chasm, creating one of the most incredible natural wonders of the world. The local name for the falls is ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’ which means ‘the smoke that thunders’ and you’ll soon find out why. When the river is in full flow, the falling water causes a huge roar and sends a cloud of spray up to 500 metres into the air. We stay in Victoria Falls in Livingstone above the falls where there is so much to see and do. Adventure activities abound – you can bungee jump, white water raft, and go game-viewing on horse back. More sedate excursions include canoeing, light aircraft or helicopter flights over the Falls and the sunset cruise on the Zambezi. Though the Falls themselves are the main attraction and you can walk through the rain forest along the cliff opposite for an excellent view. Here you can walk with lion cubs.

Days 25 to 28:
Victoria Falls

Day 29:
An early start and a stunning drive through arid land. We cross the Zambezi River by ferry into Botswana and the country becomes lush and forested as we approach Chobe River; the river cruise with excellent game viewing is a must.

Day 30:
We travel along the edge of the Kalahari Desert to Maun a small town on the edge of the Okavango Delta, the starting point for the Mokoro trip. A Mokoro is a traditional dugout canoe and your transport into the Delta. As you glide through the waterways, you will see a fantastic array of wetland wildlife, birds in particular, and you will come across hippos in the water and elephants drinking from the shore. You can go on a walking safari to look for giraffe, buffalo and rare antelope – the overnight stay is a great wilderness experience.

Days 31 & 32:
In the Delta.

Day 33:
Return from the Delta to Maun.

Day 34:
From the lush Delta we enter Namibia and spend the night on the Kavango River in the northwestern end on the Caprivi Strip at Ngepi.

Day 35:
We head west and camp on route.

Day 36:
Etosha Pan National Park. Thousands of years ago this vast saltpan was a lake, till Kunene River changed course and deprived the lake of water. Now the pan and surrounding bush support large numbers and a wide range of wildlife. We view game from the truck and spend the evenings by the floodlit water holes at the park’s campsites. These water holes provide an excellent opportunity to observe animals that are hard to find during the day, particularly rhino and also smaller animals such as the genet. elephant, lion, giraffe, zebra, oryx, ostrich, springbok, jackals, hyenas and meercats are also likely to be seen here.

Day 37:
We leave Etosha and head to the cheetahs. From wild animals to tame ones, we spend a night at the Kamanjab Cheetah Farm where you can scratch the big cats behind the ears before watching them catch their evening meal.

Day 38:
Namibia is a land of wide open spaces and we pass few inhabited areas as we drive towards the Atlantic We stop at Cape Cross where the first European explorers landed in the 15th century. It is now more famous for the Seal Reserve, a breeding ground for tens of thousands of cape fur seals. They occupy the beaches almost as far as the eye can see and you can watch them suckling their young, resting in the sun and fighting with their neighbours. We visit the White Lady 2,000 year old rock paintings at Brandberg Mountain at 8,000 feet the highest in Namibia.

Day 39:
Swakopmund is an old German colonial seaside resort with plenty of things to do for the energetic and German beer halls for those after a more relaxing time. Horse-riding or sand boarding on the dunes, deep sea fishing in the Atlantic or scenic flights over the coastline – just a few of the things you can do here.

Days 40 to 42:

Day 43:
We visit the Namib Naukluft Park in the Namibian Desert, famous for its massive thousand foot high sand dunes. It can be hard work climbing to the top but the view is worth all the effort as the dunes stretch before you into the distance and change colour in the setting sun. Nearby is the kilometer long Sesriem Canyon, which begins as a small deep cleft in the ground then widens till it opens out down on the plains.

Day 44:
After overnighting in the desert we drive south to Fish River Canyon; 160km long and 550m deep; second in size only to the Grand Canyon. You can trek along the rim and from the viewpoints watch the setting sun.

Day 45:
Our last stop in Namibia is the Orange River, which forms the border with South Africa. You can spend the afternoon canoeing on the river.

Day 46:
Crossing the Orange River we arrive in South Africa. We drive through mountain valleys and stony semi-desert and follow the farmland south through the sparsely populated areas of the Western Cape to the Mediterranean climate citrus growing area of Citrusdal.

Day 47:
We arrive in Stellenbosch, the centre of one of the Cape’s many wine routes. A wine tour with plenty of tasting makes for a great day out.

Day 48:

Day 49:
Cape Town on the last day of the trip, it’s a beautiful city, plenty of cafes, pubs, clubs, markets and other sights. Climb Table Mountain or take the cable car to the top for views of the city and Cape Peninsula. City beaches; where you may find yourself whale watching or sharing your towel with jackass penguins. When we arrive in Cape Town on the last day of the tour, we take you to a hostel where you can book a dorm or a room, or you can arrange your own accommodation at one of the many other hostels or hotels. There are several operators who run excursions to the surrounding area and further afield to the Garden Route and beyond. There is an international airport as well as flight, train and bus connections to other South African cities.

Internet in Italy

Posted by Aaron in Posts on 06 25th, 2010

Our last night in Italy and we finally get an answer to the question we have been wondering, “Where is the Wi-Fi in Italy?” According to the man at the front desk of our last hotel, Italy passed counter terrorism laws in 2005 requiring public internet providers to record the identities of users. The law is designed to assist in criminal investigations. The unplanned result was public Wi-Fi became too costly and complicated for cafes, stations, and hotels to provide, so you have to go to an internet cafe, or register to use the computers in hotel lobbies. Christy and I use the internet a lot to plan our routes and book hotels. We were lucky to be with our parents in Italy because they already planned out the route. We did not expect our first internet free country to be so early in our trip. Hopefully this will be good preparation for some of the countries we will be going to where internet is slow or nonexistent.