The Backwoodsmen of Tropical Portugal and Scotland

It is possible to cross the border between Tanzania and its Southern neighbour, Mozambique. There are immigration control posts on either side of the border which provide the required passport stamps. They are located near the coast and mark the only legally sanctioned way of crossing the border. Coming from the Northern, Tanzanian side of…

The Swahili coast

Western Tanzania is not a face-paced place. A vast savanna, parched and dusty in the middle of the dry season, sparsely populated by subsistence farmers and wildlife. The 19th century slave trade and the subsequent German colonial campaigns of pacification thinned out the human population. Big game-hunting safaris did the same for the wildlife. A…

Rwanda – after the genocide

Although Lake Bunyoni lies alongside the Rwandan border, there are no roads through the region, so in order to continue Southwards we first had to catch a pickup truck North to Kabale, the major regional town which lies on the road to the border. On our way to the lake, a few days beforehand, we…

Uganda – guerillas and chimpanzees

I - The Great Lakes The Great Rift Valley contains a series of vast lakes which between them contain 25% of the world’s non-frozen fresh water. The Western edge of the valley merges into the great Central African rainforest. It is marked by a series of long, narrow and deep lakes which run from north…

Into East Africa

Having ignominiously failed in our attempt to cross from West to East Africa overland, we arrived with our tails between our legs, early on a Wednesday morning, to the empty cavernous modern arrivals hall of Jonah Kenyatta airport in Nairobi. Coming from Central Africa, this felt like stepping into a completely different, and much more…

Bangui, capital of misery

In Bangui, the capital city, the full tragedy of the CAR reveals itself. It is a singularly unfortunate country. The loosely organised village communities of the area proved unable to offer sufficient resistance to the raiders who supplied the Atlantic slave trade and many people were carried off over the centuries. When the Atlantic trade…

Cameroun – Cameroon – Kamerun

Walking across the narrow, metal suspension bridge which spans the Cross river, from Nigeria to Cameroon, feels like passing through a magic portal into another time and a far off place. behind is the modern, paved road which speeds one into the tempest and tumult of modern Nigeria; in front a narrow dirt track winds…

Nigeria, bubblin’

All Nigeria is divided into 3 parts. The division is marked by two great rivers, the Niger and the Benue, which come together in a 'Y' shape, creating 3 natural regions. The North is dominated by the Hausa people, their society is characterised by a highly conservative strain of Islam, under the rigid hierarchies of…