Updates From Africa

By Nomadic Matt | Published December 11th, 2012

Gorgeous giraffe in Etosha National Park in Southern AfricaHello from Africa! I’m back in civilization for a brief moment and thought I would give you a quick update. Africa has been wonderful. I’m currently in the Namibian capital of Windhoek, dropping people off from my tour and adding some new faces. The next stop? A week in Botswana before I head to Victoria Falls and finish my trip in Zambia.

Twelve days into my trip, I can tell you that this part of Africa is everything it’s cracked up to be. While I’ve only seen South Africa and Namibia, I’m amazed every day, and my notions about Africa have been turned upside down. Africa is God’s zoo. To be so close to so many animals really gives you an appreciation of nature and the wild. I’ve taken close to one thousand photos (see below for a small sample) and am looking forward to taking even more during my last week.

It’s hard not to take photos. The landscape here is primal. Compared to all the other places I’ve visited in the world, Africa seems untouched. Animals roam freely, and for miles upon miles, you see few signs of humans as you barrel down unkept dirt roads. Once in a while, you pass people walking along the road and wonder, as you notice the emptiness around you, “where on Earth they could be going?”

Each sunset and sunrise only gets better with each passing day. I’ve never seen so many vivid colors in one place.

This trip has given me a lot to think about, and while I’ll save those deep thoughts for another post, I can say Africa has taught me at least one thing: I’m not a country boy. While I always cherish being out in nature, setting up and taking down a tent and sleeping in a sleeping bag is not fun. Nature is awesome but after two or three days of roughing it, I’m ready to head back to civilization. I like beds, pillows, and other creature comforts. I remember camping in Australia five years ago and staying in permanent campsites. The tents were set up with little beds that you threw a sleeping bag on. That was enough roughing it for me.

But here in Africa, I have to worry about black mambas, scorpions, baboons, and being eaten by hyenas if I decide to get out of my tent at 3 a.m. for a bathroom break. (O.K., I’m probably not going to die on the way to the bathroom, but I’m still freaked out!)

Simply put, I’m a big baby city boy. And you know what? I’m O.K. with that. I like cities.

I picked a camping tour because I wanted to see Africa from the ground, not a hotel room, and despite my wimpy ways, I don’t regret doing it. The best trips are always the ones where you push yourself out of your comfort zone a bit.

After all, this is Africa.

I can deal with a little camping if that’s what it takes to see it. Even though I like leaving my bed without having to worry about snakes, everything I’ve seen has made the camping worth it. And I’m super excited for what’s next — bush walks and scenic flights in Botswana.

Here are five photos to whet your appetite for the upcoming photo posts:
Namibia's famous Dune 45 at sunrise in Southern Africa
Namibia’s famous Dune 45 at sunrise

A stunning view of the moon at 9 a.m. in Namibia, Africa
A stunningly clear shot of the moon at 9 a.m. in Namibia

Somewhere beautiful in the South African savannah
Savannah somewhere in South Africa

A group of zebras drinking together in Namibia
Zebras in Etosha National Park, Namibia

A cuddly baby lion in Etosha National Park in Africa
A baby lion, Etosha National Park, Namibia (even more cute photos to come)

comments 52 Comments

You just wet my appetite for being in Africa in Feb.

“The best trips are always the ones where you push yourself out of your comfort zone a bit.”

Tell me about that. After being thousands of miles away from home for months while cruising Europe at my own pace, I sure had plenty of time not just to see lots of terrific views, but also to ponder long and hard about personal issues and how to address them. Sometimes you just have to remove yourself from your comfort zone completely to be able to look at yourself and life from a different and necessary perspective.

And looking at these pictures and what you’re going through to get them, one just has to wonder what all those National Geographic photographers go through to come up with those world class pictures. I imagine we don’t really know Africa as it is until we actually get there and experience it for ourselves. But the same can be said from anywhere else in the world. Happy travels.

Angela O.

Amazing, amazing, amazing! Good for you stepping out of your comfort zone. As a big city person myself, I know I’ll be faced with the same discomforts out in the wild. Thanks for sharing all of this, for braving it and showing that it can be done (as long as ya know there are pillows and sheets in the near future!). Can’t wait to read more about it.

I’d rather have snakes and hyenas than big spiders! Eek! But those are probably there, too. I love the lion cub..so cute. Can I have one?

NomadicMatt

I’ll smuggle one out for ya!

I’m really looking forward to hearing more about your experiences in Africa! Traveling anywhere on the continent outside of, say, Morocco, or maybe Egypt, intimidates me a lot, so I’d like to hear your (fellow city-boy) perspective on traveling there.

Africa looks amazing! And good for you for sucking it up and roughing it as best you can. As a city girl myself, I understand the need for pillows and a house that doesn’t get pegged into the ground every night. Thanks for these awesome photos; can’t wait to see more! You’ve got me really excited for my trip to Swaziland in June.
PS: I hope you get to see the elusive honey badger soon!

NomadicMatt

Still no honey badger :(

Your pictures are making me super jealous. Have fun, city boy!!

My boyfriend is currently serving a mission in Djibouti, his fifth turn there. I wish I could say he’s experiencing Africa like you, but his biggest complaint about his five-star Kempinski hotel is that the Internet is crap! There’s something to be said for roughing it, sure, but I agree with you – I’m a city girl, from Chicago, and need a real bed and a running toilet! All those years as a Girl Scout did nothing for me!!

NomadicMatt

I dropped out of Boy Scouts for a reason!

Wow. My brother and I have talked about going to Africa and how awesome it would be to see the wild that is untouched like you mentioned. Have a blast!

Love the savanna photo. So peaceful!

Looks like so much fun to me. I can deal with camping though, the first couple nights are rough but soon after I adjust.

Wow….so wish I was there! Africa is #1 on the bucket list. Your up close and personal with wildlife …awesome! And the moon shot…so clear! Two words…so jealous!!! Enjoy the scenic flights…looking forward to more photos from Africa.

NomadicMatt

I have thousands. Will probably do 2 massive photo posts.

Your photos look amazing! My favorite is the Namibia’s famous Dune 45 at sunrise. Have fun in South Africa…

Those are some great photos Matt! I’m excited to see more. Glad to see the black mamba didn’t get you. I hope you have safe travels for your entire visit.

Veronica

I hear you about the sleeping bag. I did a 10 day canoe trip on the Orange River in Namibia where we slept on the ground sans tents. Falling asleep under the stars was amazing until I woke up one morning with my right hand about twice its normal size. I was bitten in the night by a baboon spider (what we call a tarantula). Rowing in the heat over the next couple of days was challenging. Here’s a tip, Matt (that I learned from the guide AFTER the bite) – don’t put your sleeping bag down until you are going to get in it. The warm darkness is very attractive to critters.

Tunino Haskell

Very refreshing to see you featuring my home country, Namibia is truly an astonishing place to visit. This is nature at it’s best, nothing is staged in the wild in this country.
Starting at the dunes where you can have so much fun just climbing them because they are so high. Here you will often find a little bug scurrying up the dune, it’s called a “Tok-Tokkie”
Along the coast there are the fishing spots, the lobster diving and just the beaches to enjoy.
Inland you can visit the Etosha National Park, a true wonder of nature, untouched, unspoiled. Lions, Giraffes, ostriches and variety of game can be spotted here if you’re patient.
Come and enjoy my country Namibia, the smile on the face of Africa !

NomadicMatt

You have a great country! I saw a lot of of it and loved it.

Chris Collins

Love your description and pictures. Makes me look at Africa in a new way. Thanks Matt.

Vida

Beautiful photos!! Honestly, Africa has never been top of my list to visit but it sure is now. Love hearing your tales and looking forward to seeing more photos, have you tried selling them? They’re stunning!! Enjoy the rest of your trip.

NomadicMatt

My photos aren’t good enough to be sold but thanks for the compliment!

Lorrie

My hubby and I took that trip last year and loved it. we loved all the G tours we took last year, which ended up being 7 over the course of 10 months of travelling. Africa is top of the list for returning. We did two in India, two more in Eastern Africa and Morocco and Madagascar. All amazing trips!

NomadicMatt

I’m glad to hear you are such a G fan!

Guy

Matt,
If you’re still in Windhoek, go check out Joe’s Beerhouse.
Great beer, food and atmosphere!

NomadicMatt

I went there! It was awesome. Good meats and vibe!

Saunya

Matt,

Thanks for the truly awesome description of Africa and Nambia

I have loved following your blog for a long time but always felt Africa was missing! SO glad you are loving it – the greatest place on Earth in my opinion! Watch your camera at the falls (it will get wet!) :)

NomadicMatt

There are many posts coming up about it!

Wow, amazing pictures! It looks like camping was definitely the way to go. You got so close to the wildlife. Keep enjoying the adventure!

Cecilia

I live in this beautiful country called BOTSWANA that you are about to visit. Africa is truly a gem. Enjoy!!!!

NomadicMatt

I’m here now and love it! It really is beautiful!

As if you’re reading my mind, i am reading as if it is me talking. When i went to South Africa and Kenya back in 2008 I had the same feeling, Africa is heaven on earth…
I really wanna go there again…
Nice post ;)

NomadicMatt

Thanks!

Wow, nice pics matt. We spent 5 months travelling overland from Cape Town to Nairobi and absolutely loved it. We did our safari in the Masai Mara and saw the big 5 and then some. The wildebeest migration is not to be missed! I love the picture of the cub. We’ve got a few of our own. Check’em out! http://goatsontheroad.com/masai-mara-our-quest-for-the-big-5-nick/

Oh mate sounds great. What’s your plan when you’re gonna meet a black mamba or a hyena on the way to the bathroom?

And I thought you didn’t like camping! Awesome. Can’t wait to do this. I feel like I’m slowly building up to it – SE Asia now, maybe get some India and South America experience, and then I’ll be ready!

NomadicMatt

I don’t like camping but I’m coping.

You’re headed to Zambia? Victoria Falls is an amazing stop, but I’m telling you, there’s more to the country than that. If you can, you should extend the trip and MUST visit the Luangwa National Park and Kariba Dam! But Victoria Falls is a good choice too. Though April/May is the best time to go as the falls are full then. However, December isn’t bad too. Plus, go river rafting and bungee jumping! Best feeling ever! Adrenaline filled adventures! :) Have fun! :D

NomadicMatt

I’ll be heading to Vic falls on Tuesday!

NomadicMatt

Yes you can –> momondo.com

An African...

Why is it you never hear people say “this is asia” or categorize an entire continent as a homogenous place… I get it if you say “i’m going to so-and-so countries” but… :/

NomadicMatt

Don’t ask me! I didn’t come up with the phrase!

Rolling Stone

You might not have originated the phrase, but you don’t need to help keep promoting it. This is *part* of Africa, a huge, sprawling amalgamation of cultures, landscapes, and scenery.

Please don’t continue to paint such a diverse landmass with your reductive brush of “zoo safari adventure” because that would be the same as me describing Oahu (where I live now) as nothing but hula and coconuts and saying “This is Hawaii.” Hardly.

Even after living 3 years all over China, I’d never say “This is Asia” even though technically, I would be right.

Awesome update! Glad to hear you’re enjoying everything that raw continent has to offer. Can’t wait to see more updates from Africa.

Cheers!
Goats On The Road

Matt, those photos are fantastic. Favs? Can’t pick love them all, but the animal lover in me seems to be veering toward the last two. God’s Zoo indeed.

Howdy matt..
im winny from indonesia,,
u have a awesome and nice traveler blog,,
i wanna folllow this blog but i dont knw how,,
it would be pleasure if u like to visit my blog and i’d be honorouble if u follow me even in my blog i wrote in indonesian languange..
but all of them are fascinating, i like ur blog,,,

greetings :)

Etosha National Park is all time favorite and best place for tourist :)

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