Stories from Southern Africa

So, I have been told I talk about Africa a lot. I think it confuses people, so I thought I will just write it all down in this blog in new section called “Stories from Africa”. I don’t keep a journal, but my time in Africa was so beautiful that it was one of the very few occasions in my life where I did keep a journal. Unfortunately, they’re all in the Netherlands, so I can’t read into the notes I wrote back then, so for now, I’ll just use my memory instead.

Let me start off by saying that I have been fascinated by the African continent for a long time. During law school, I specialised in human rights with a focus on development and I often used case studies and examples from Sub-Saharan Africa. So after law school, in the summer of 2008, it was time for me to visit the continent for the first time. I prepared for a solo backpacking trip through Southern Africa. My parents weren’t too happy and my grandparents were even less pleased… Part of that was because they don’t know too much about Africa. They thought the whole continent was at war and they didn’t understand what attracts me about it. I basically focused my studies in such a way that I would be able to work in Africa in the future – so no matter what, I would go. I explained them more about the countries, peace and war situations, development problems, cultures, wildlife, geography and hoping they would understand my reasons better, I went anyways – with a promise that I would take care.

I believe my initial itinerary was to visit five countries in Southern Africa in six weeks: starting from South Africa, going to Botswana, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique back to South Africa. I thought that was pretty packed already. By the end of the trip, I had travelled about 10,000km through seven countries in six weeks by public transport, mini vans, free flights (YES!), taxis with the nicest drivers, hitchhiking (WHAT? i know…), etc. I will write up the stories from my memory in the weeks to come. I will probably update the posts once I go back home to the Netherlands, one day.

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