Trekking the Planet: Africa Recap [Video]

Catch up with the Trekking the Planet team as Darren and Sandy review their time in Africa and the Middle East. In this video, you will witness the Great Migration in Maasai Mara National Reserve, see the Gelada Baboons in Simien Mountains National Park, learn more about the rock-hewn churches of Tigray region of Ethiopia and gaze on the Treasury in Petra. Darren and Sandy also discuss their impressions from the two months they spent in this fascinating region of the world.

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0:10 Well, hello everyone. We’re in West End, Bermuda today.
0:13 It’s been a little over ten and a half months since we left San Diego, California.
0:18 And, since we have had a few weeks to reflect on our time in Africa and the Middle East,
0:23 we wanted to provide a wrap up of our time in these two places.
0:26 That’s right, Darren. We spent about three weeks in Kenya and another three weeks
0:30 in Ethiopia followed by ten days in Jordan. Whew!
0:33 Yeah. We were on the move nearly every day with treks in all three locations.
0:37 We saw and experienced a lot. What surprised you the most?
0:41 Of course, whenever people think of Africa, they think of the animals.
0:45 And, we saw a lot of animals, especially in Kenya.
0:49 We in fact saw the Big Five the first day of our safari!
0:53 Yeah. We had never seen a Leopard before.
0:56 And we got to even see him out hunting Thompson Gazelles, which was really a thrill.
1:01 Right. And, we were there for the Great Migration too.
1:04 And if you don’t know that the Great Migration is, it occurs twice a year when
1:09 up to one million wildebeest, zebras and other animals migrate between Tanzania and the Maasai
1:14 Mara National Reserve in Kenya. It was quite a sight and a blast
1:19 to photograph! I enjoyed the three-day walking safari that
1:23 we did up on our way to the reserve. Yeah. That was really great as well.
1:26 It was a little out there – there no fences. And, we did see a few animals.
1:30 And at night, they employed villagers to maintain a fire to keep the animals away.
1:34 They told us that hyenas did tried to enter our camp.
1:38 Next, we went to the Samburu region north of Nairobi.
1:43 Yeah. We took a matutu – which is a small public bus from Nairobi to Isiolo
1:50 and then another very crowded vehicle to Archer’s Post.
1:53 From there we were picked up by Lucas from an NGO called The Samburu Project — an organization
1:59 that has dug 40 plus wells for the people who live in this hot and dry part of the world.
2:05 Yeah. And, this was a part of Africa that tourists don’t see.
2:08 Real Africa! Yeah. Definitely real Africa!
2:10 But, it was sobering too. And so great to see the work that The Samburu
2:14 Project is doing there. Well, then, it was off to Ethiopia
2:18 where we trekked in the Simien Mountains. What was your take away from this experience?
2:22 Well, again, we saw a lot of animals there including the baboons and the ibex.
2:27 Don’t forget the Simien Fox. You mean the Ethiopian Wolf?
2:31 Whatever. I think they are known by both their
2:33 names. And there are less than one hundred of those
2:36 animals left in the park. So, we were pretty lucky to see two of them.
2:40 Two. I even captured a video of one of them!
2:43 But, to answer your question, Darren, I think the thing that really surprised me
2:47 the most about Ethiopia was the history. I mean, they have a writing system going back
2:51 three thousand years! And, we even saw the Ethiopian version of
2:55 the “Rosetta Stone” which contained inscriptions in three different languages just as the Rosetta
3:00 Stone that’s in the British Museum. So, what about you?
3:03 What are your take aways? The school visit was the thing that
3:07 is most prominent in my mind in Ethiopia. It was the most remote school we have visited.
3:13 And, we have done 18 of them so far. It was pretty clear that they don’t get
3:17 too many visitors there. No. And, we found out later that the
3:21 school was actually built by a German NGO. And, in fact, our guide, Birhan was helping
3:26 to supervise the construction of a third building there.
3:30 I also appreciated the Tigray region in the North. We got to climb…
3:35 You mean, you got to climb! That’s right. You don’t like
3:39 rocks. No. I don’t like not just rocks.
3:42 It guess that 600 foot drop off bothered me a little.
3:44 The path was this wide. It was perfectly safe!
3:47 And, totally worth it because, I got to interview a monk that lived there on top of this mountain!
3:55 So, honest truth they bring newborns up the same path to be baptized.
4:01 The art we found inside this monastery was simply amazing.
4:05 And the monastery as I mentioned was carved right into the rock!
4:08 Ok. Ok. It was good, I saw the pictures. But, after a few days after Ethiopia, we went
4:14 to do some R and R in Dubai and then onto Jordan.
4:16 Your thoughts on Jordan? The locals call Jordan the quiet
4:20 house in a noisy neighborhood and that was just about right.
4:23 We took a trip south from Amman to the Dead Sea and then began our third trek in six weeks
4:29 along old Bedouin trails to Petra. Petra had been on our bucket list
4:35 for 20 years. Every since we saw photographs of the Treasury,
4:39 we both said “We have to go there sometime”. We made sure that Jordan was on our Trekking
4:42 the Planet itinerary early on in the planning. And we wanted more than a day tour,
4:48 so we worked with a local outfit called Adventure Jordan to build an itinerary that ended in
4:54 Petra. Yeah. Here, again, the history blew
4:56 us away. I mean there was broken pottery from the Edomite
4:59 and Roman times nearly everywhere we looked. You were stepping on it literally.
5:04 So, what surprised the most? About Petra? I didn’t know that
5:08 Petra was so big. There are still 500 facades in existence.
5:12 And, experts believed that most of them served as tombs.
5:15 And then, we traveled to Wada Rum. Yup. That is where they filmed Lawrence
5:20 of Arabia in the 1960s. Right. I guess I should have done
5:23 more research before we arrived. But, I was super impressed with the landscape.
5:27 It was a blast to drive around. It was really beautiful. And, we even
5:29 got to ride a camels. Ahh. Your camels.
5:31 Yeah. It was beautiful to ride in the early morning to ride those camels along the
5:35 desert landscape. Right. OK, what’s next?
5:37 Well, we are currently crossing the Atlantic on the Pacific Princess.
5:41 And, we will arrive in Manaus, Brazil on January 3rd.
5:45 And, Manaus is actually 600 miles up the Amazon River which will be interesting.
5:49 And, if you want to know more about our South American itinerary, we have just published
5:53 an article, search on the keyword: South America on our website.
5:56 Well, that’s just about it. If you haven’t signed up for our free weekly
6:00 newsletters and are interested in doing so, search on Subscribe on our website for more
6:05 information. As always, we look forward to receiving
6:08 your comments and questions whether you be an educator in a classroom or one of friends
6:13 that’s following our journey us as well. You can contact us on our Facebook page – TrekkingPlanet
6:17 – or you can email us at Until next time, safe trekking and Merry Christmas
6:23 everyone. Merry Christmas.
6:24 Bye! Bye bye.

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2 thoughts on “Trekking the Planet: Africa Recap [Video]

    • Darren and Sandy Post author

      Not sure if they did…

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