This is the story of two friends traveling through Africa to create awareness for micro financing. In a little over a year Jeffrey de Visser en Twan Crombach drove almost 60,000 kilometers in their Land Rover around the African continent, visiting over 30 African countries. Would you also like to help Africa? Then lend some money to Africa through Kiva.

A piece of tropical paradise in Malawi

Lake Malawi

Posted from Northern Region, Malawi.

After a brief stop in Bagamoyo, we quickly drove out of Tanzania and were suddenly in Malawi. Malawi is a small country that is known as the friendliest in Africa. Indeed, its people are very friendly, but the economic problems, which were mainly caused by the last president and the end of development aid, had affected the inflation rate. Supermarkets were charging ridiculous sums for normal products, and the price of diesel was almost 2.50 dollars per litre. Still, we didn’t want to miss out on Lake Malawi, so the quest was on for reasonably priced accommodation on the beach… Lees meer »

Ngorongoro Crater: zoo or natural beauty?

Ngorongoro

Posted from Karatu, Arusha, Tanzania.

The Ngorongoro Crater is located in the north of Tanzania, has a diameter of about 17-21 kilometres and is very popular with tourists because of the enormous animal population that inhabits the caldera (collapsed volcano). An estimated 30,000 mammals live on this tiny piece of largely flat, open ground, including elephants, rhinos, lions, hyenas, ostriches and grazing animals like wildebeast and zebra. Lees meer »

Heated debate along Lake Natron

Lake Natron

Posted from Arusha, Tanzania.

From the Serengeti National Park we drove along Lake Natron on the only road leading to the Ngorongo Crater. The local government had decided to charge all foreign vehicles 50 US Dollars for each of its three checkpoints, which are on one of the most terrible roads we have seen on the trip. After an argument with the guard at the first checkpoint, we parked the Landy right in front of the gate so nobody could get through. Before long, a local bus stopped behind us and demanded that we move so it could carry on with its journey. We refused. After a heated debate during which most of the passengers got out of the bus, tried to push the car out of the way (in gear – luckily!) and even tried to get in and move it, we got somewhere by saying we were driving for charity and simply did not have the money to pay each municipality to use their road. In the end, we moved our car and a friendly guy from the Wildlife Conservation got us through all three checkpoints. An interesting day in Tanzania.

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This Is Africa: Serengeti, Land Rovers and Endless Hospitality

serengeti

Posted from Shinyanga, Tanzania.

A great many of those who have spent any sort of time in Africa know the expression “T.I.A.”, which stands for “This is Africa”. To truly understand its meaning you need to visit the continent, but the following story may provide you with some background behind the proverb… Lees meer »

A beginners guide to helping an African village

zinduka

Posted from Nyamuswa, Mara, Tanzania.

Many volunteers, NGO workers and others have good intentions about coming to Africa and “fixing” whatever it is they think is wrong. However, along the way, we’ve found that Africans are usually best at both identifying their own needs and finding solutions to help themselves and their communities. One such person is Maximillian Emmanuel Madoro, who lives in the small village of Nyamuswa in Tanzania. He started his organisation, the Zinduka Savings & Credit Cooperative Society, with a vision and two small grants. He now lends money to women in the area to help them set up their own business, expand an existing business or improve their living conditions in a sustainable way. He has combined this small-scale microfinance initiative with two other pillars. Lees meer »

10 most frequently asked questions

FAQ

Posted from Mwanza, Mwanza, Tanzania.

About a year ago I posted a poll on the website asking people how far they thought we would get on our journey around Africa. Many replied, about 63 in total, some of whom thought that we wouldn’t even make it out of Europe! As I write this, we’ve been on the road for well over a hundred days, travelled nearly 19,000 kilometres and have reached Tanzania following what has not always been the easiest route. Many people have now started asking us the same questions, and so I decided to make a list of the top 10. Lees meer »

CouchSurfing in Africa

couchsurfing africa

Posted from Tororo, Eastern Region, Uganda.

Honestly, how stupid would it be to drive into one of the most criminal cities in the world and stay the night with a random stranger? Pretty stupid right? Well, that’s just what we did. I posted our travel plans just beyond the end of the world, where the phone cables had just about reached, and logged in to CouchSurfing. That night we camped in our Land Rover Defender somewhere in a savannah in Northern Kenya. The next morning we drove into a small town, I bought a SIM-card and checked my email. There were five responses from people willing to let us, total strangers, stay the night in their home. One guy, an Indian expat called Gaurav, wrote a message that he had read our website, liked our 1-year adventure around Africa, and was inviting us to stay with him. He seemed nice and genuinely excited to meet us. I called him around noon and we agreed to go to his house in Upper Hill when we reached Nairobi. The other four people who had replied I had to awkwardly disappoint with a decline-message. Lees meer »

To the end of the world and back

Lake Turkana

Posted from Omorate, Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People's Region, Ethiopia.

Usually in overlanding the way through is blocked by either a security issue (e.g. wars, civil unrest and terrorism) or red tape (i.e. bureaucracy). Indeed, it’s only in rare situations that the way through is blocked by any real natural barrier. Unfortunately, the route from Ethiopia to Kenya along Lake Turkana is plagued by the latter. The alternative route, the track going from Moyale to Marsabit, is perhaps used more often, but is so heavily corrugated for a distance of some 400 kilometres that it’s hard to complete without doing serious damage to your suspension or any other part of your vehicle. Besides, the route alongside this massive lake is so remote and beautiful that we hardly needed to think about what to do for the best. Lees meer »

Waiting for the boat to Sudan

aswan ferry

Posted from Aswan, Aswan, Egypt.

Our time with the Nubians on the West Bank of the Nile River in Aswan is coming to an end. The Nubians are an interesting people: they withstood the forces of Islam for hundreds of years, have a strong cultural identity and had to relocate after the creation of Lake Nasser. They have retained their Christian family names, but have slowly converted to a limited form of Islam and are now given Muslim names as well. Their view on religion is like no other I have encountered: open, all-encompassing, knowledgeable and, to some extent, universally acceptable to all theists. Lees meer »

The Desert

desert

Posted from Giza, Egypt.

A vast, empty expanse filled with not much more than sand and rock. Nature’s rubbish bin. Desert travel is lengthy, but never boring; the sand dunes, dust tornados and the odd rock formation provide a welcome change from the endless stretch of sand. The desolate, empty road provides you with a chance to dream, think and reflect. This dream is only disturbed by a car flashing its lights that has suddenly appeared from the fata morgana in front of you. You quickly return to your own lane, give a flash, honk and wave only to fade away in the distance and resume dreaming. Lees meer »