Around Lake Eyasi in Tanzania lies the ancient homeland of the Hadzabe people. Their hunter-gatherer lifestyle, mostly unchanged for tens of thousands of years, provides a rare glimpse into how all humans have lived for most of our existence on Earth. We first met them in a cave in the early morning. The sun wasn’t up yet, and already they were preparing for a moring hunt – by smoking big pipes of weed.
A hundred years ago the southern white rhino was thought to be extinct, until a small population of less than 100 was discovered in South Africa in 1895. Today, around 20,000 animals exist in protected areas, classified as Near Threatened. One such place is Mosi oa Tunya Park in Zambia, home to the mighty Victoria Falls and a refuge for a handful of white rhinos, and we were lucky enough to meet them all. On foot.
Getting close to lions and cheetahs is something you as a tourist can only do in a handful of places in Africa, and it’s one of the most intense and unforgettable things we’ve ever done. Watch the video the people at Mukuni Big Five Safaris made for us, and read more about this breathtaking experience.
Watch this video of us swimming out to the edge of Victoria Falls, a 2 km wide sheet of water, the biggest in the world, looking down the 100 m drop behind us. It was a fantastic experience, like sitting in the ultimate infinity pool, except going over the edge here would mean certain death.
Steven got out a torch, and searched the plains. “There! Two lions.” “Should I go get the car?”, Andrea asked. When he came back, he had a smart look on his face. “Well, listen. We could go out and look at the lions … or we could go back and watch the leopard I just saw by my bungalow”… Read the story about our two week exploration of Zambia’s Kafue National Park, one of the most beautiful and unspoilt wildernesses we’ve seen in Africa, as we alternate between bush tenting and luxury lodging “colonial-style”.
After a few days in Mbeya, we continued to Malawi and spent the next few weeks travelling south along the massive Lake Malawi, stopping at some beautiful lakeside resorts and charming towns on our way down. During that time we made a lot of new friends, travellers as well as locals, and we fell completely in love with this wonderful place and its charming people. Easy to see why it’s called the warm heart of Africa.
To get to Malawi we board The Tanzania-Zambia Railway. The train would take us on a 24+ hour journey from Dar Es Salaam, across the southern countryside of Tanzania and down to the town of Mbeya, close to the Malawi border. However, as soon as we boarded our ramshackle railway carriage, we started to doubt if it was even capable of getting us that far in one piece.