Taking the time to write in a journal

Taking a journal and keeping a diary whilst on your African travels is such an essential way to remember your trip of a lifetime.  Your senses will be encountering a wave of new experiences and the in-depth chats and all you are learning from those around you mean that however much you think you will remember, you really will not!

The act of writing the journal at the end of each day, maybe sat on your veranda with a sundowner whilst watching and hearing wildlife or enjoying the beautiful African sunset, really will ensure you stop and take the time to remember and take in what you have just experienced that day.

I am so glad that I have a journal full of my memories of new experiences and trips.  I recently spent some time looking back on what I had written over the years and it took me right back to my feelings on those adventures and left me excited to book some new trips.  The journal was also full of tickets, local currency, leaflets, and other momentoes from my numerous travels; it was a real treat to look through.

Journals and travel guides

Here are some of my excerpts and memories from my trips to Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa that I wanted to share with you. I hope you enjoy them and maybe they will spark an interest in you!

Uganda – travelling with my daughter and friend

My Chimp trekking memory ended up being quite gruesome but I guess that is nature and I still vividly remember this trek as we saw a community of up to 120 chimps; it was totally exhilarating.

.”…So energetic with the chimps racing around, amazed at how noisy they were and so humanlike but was shocked when the guide told us how violent they can be, he said he saw them kill a red tail monkey, a few went up the tree and threw him down to the ground where the others were waiting. They pinned his arms down and tore him apart limb by limb!….”

I’d forgotten a lot of what we ate during this trip but here was very traditional lunch that we had…

“Lunch today was a traditional Ugandan Goat stew, Pasha, Plantain, Irish potatoes and greens!”

The amount of community interactions always stay with me but I think this particular encounter as it was my first ever visit to a very small, rural community hospital that we had the privilege to have a little tour of really stayed with me.

“Looking around a very small rural hospital today was a highlight for us, it had a very basic maternity ward. Today at the hospital was Aids day (happens on a Tuesday and Thursday) on these 2 days the hospital only gives Aids treatment/medicine!”

First Leopard spot!

“On way to Bwindi today we drove along the outskirts of Queen Elizabeth National Park and unbelievably we saw a leopard walk across the road in front of us!”

Unicef outside hospital

Kenya – with my husband

Ants in my pants! 

“tonight we camped in basic tent I was a little scared but felt reassured that our guide was on guard, as usual needed the toilet in middle of night so squatted nearby tent for a wild one but in no time was covered in ants…..our guide, Joseph, swiftly came to rescue spreading diesel around our tent which immediately got rid of the ants but was then worried we’d go up in flames!  Luckily made it to the morning!”

The food on safari is unrivalled especially when set up whilst on a walking or driving safari, here we had just done a wonderful walking safari and…

“…we saw so many elephants close up and then walking back to the truck there was an amazing breakfast table set up and we had the best breakfast I have ever had: delicious sausages, eggs, homemade breads, exotic fruits it was unbelievable what a setting for a full English breakfast with more trimmings than I could imagine!”

The smell!

“We spent over 2 hours today watching a cheetah who had just caught an impala, we were the only truck and were totally mesmerised by something totally raw and gruesome but couldn’t stop watching.  When the cheetah ate into the impala’s stomach, we actually got the smell of strong grass from the contents of its stomach….”

I forgot we finished this particular Kenyan trip with a few days’ scuba diving at the coast – I remember loving being on the beach as such a contrast to the safari

“Fantastic first dive, saw loads of rays, turtles and even an octopus, so much better diving than we thought…”

Sea turtle in Kenya

Zimbabwe – with a friend

Paddle fast and away from the hippos!

“Today we did a canoe safari, I felt Roberta and I struggled as not as strong as the other couples, especially when we were told to paddle fast away from hippos, luckily we didn’t see any so gradually relaxed and got to enjoy and the birds and a couple of crocs luckily resting on the banks!”

White water rafting

“Wow loved today, was so nervous but obvious, who was, our guide was amazing and each rapid was such an adrenaline rush, such a great group we went with, lots of laughs and fun…”

Exciting first Lion spot

“omg I can’t believe it we saw a pride of lions today, I actually clapped, we watched them for ages they are massive but also look so gentle”

Watch out for the hippos on a canoe safari!

South Africa – with a friend

Foolish start to climbing Table Mountain

“…. decided to climb up Platteklip Gorge, it was so hot and quite tricky – didn’t help that we dropped our water supplies early on so by the time we reached the top we were totally gasping for a drink but worth it for the amazing views…”

Sunbathing with Penguins

“Had a great day just on beach at boulders bay found a lovely bit and sunbathed all morning bit of an unusual place sharing our spot with cute little penguins…lovely cocktail at camps bay overlooking bay…”

Penguins at Boulders Bay, Cape Town

Vacations and time experiencing and indulging in other cultures, fully immersing oneself in what a country has to offer, is a joy and a privilege.   It is important to appreciate and make the most of these precious opportunities and to preserve that memory through photos and by taking and writing a daily journal – it will give you pleasure for years to come.

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