TANZANIA, MOZAMBIQUE (1993) The three of us – my two companions, Lorna and Mike, and I – head down to the docks in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, to catch the ferry from there to Mtwara, in the south of the country, en route to Mozambique. We arrive a good 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time to find hundreds of people milling around. The ground is extremely muddy and there are piles of cargo littered

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ZAIRE (1993) Walking round Kisangani, Den, Viv and I bumped into a real dude. He was wearing leather trousers with laces up the side, black cowboy boots, a leather jacket, a dagger necklace and a baseball cap. Anyone would have thought it was only 30°C. He looked like he was one of the Village People. Stopping us, he asked: “What on Earth are you doing in this crazy, mucked-up place with a not very nice

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ZAIRE (1993) After a particularly heavy day and night celebrating the new year in Lisala’s Temperature 40°C Bar, we retired (reasonably early) to bed – or rather to sleeping bags inside mosquito nets tied to some trees in the grounds of a hotel. We had a very early start in the morning, as we were due to catch a boat down the Zaire River in the direction of Kisangani. I awoke with a start at

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SOUTH LUANGWA, ZAMBIA (2015) “I want to see a male lion and a kill, please,” says Jordan, a fellow guest on our safari vehicle for our last drive in South Luangwa. Jonathan, our guide, gives him a knowing look. “Mmmm,” he mumbles. We charge off. It seems like Jonathan is on a mission. After twenty minutes of driving at fullish pelt, he brakes abruptly. Lying on top of a ridge above the river are nine

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SOUTH LUANGWA, ZAMBIA (2015) Our guide Yotam talks a load of crap. Puku poo, buffalo poo, elephant poo and any other poo you care to mention, to be precise. We are on a walking safari in South Luangwa, and there are animal droppings everywhere. It’s only when you are on foot that you truly notice these things. Earlier, when we set off, there was a tension in the air among our small group. Only the

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SOUTH LUANGWA, ZAMBIA (2015) “Not another elephant – we’ve seen three already,” exclaims my six-year-old son dismissively. We’ve barely been at Flatdogs Camp thirty minutes, and haven’t even made it to the entrance of South Luangwa National Park yet, and he’s already elephanted out. Just inside the park gate, we come across four lionesses. “They are from a nine-strong pride,” our guide Jonathan informs us. “They killed a hippo just around the corner three days

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LIWONDE NATIONAL PARK, MALAWI (2015) “How can you tell if it’s an African elephant?” asks Thom, our guide. “Really?” I think. “Because it’s ears…” “Yes!” “… are shaped like the map of Africa.” Well, I wasn’t expecting that. We are in Malawi’s Liwonde National Park, pottering along the Shire River, dodging pods of hippos and keeping a beady eye on the hundreds of crocs lying on the riverbank. A small group of elephants lumber through

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LAKE MALAWI (2015) I awake early after a disturbed night’s sleep, convinced that rain was drumming down on the roof of our rondavel all night. I open the terrace doors to witness the sunrise over Lake Malawi to find a dozen monkeys frolicking on our lawn. I look up, and sure enough there’s some on the roof. No chance of rain here at this time of year, you fool! I take a walk down the

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DRC, TANZANIA (1992-93) There’s nothing quite like the feeling of rolling around on a table covered in bank notes. For a while I felt like a multi-millionaire – and I was, albeit a Zairian one. Maintaining my millionaire status was hard work, though. A beer cost 2.5 million zaires! In 1992 Zaire, as the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) was called back then, was suffering from crippling inflation: notes were becoming obsolete by the hour,

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AFRCA-WIDE (1992-93) Border crossings in Africa can, at the best of times, be long drawn out tedious affairs. Hours spent waiting in the heat, seemingly endless forms to fill in, numerous questions to answer, your luggage turned inside out and the occasional bribe to hand over. In some places the bureaucracy knows no bounds. However, we found that Africa has a wonderful habit of providing little respites from the monotony of the border queue: whether

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KENYA, TANZANIA (1993) Everywhere you go in Africa, people do everything they can to help you. They don’t want to let you down or disappoint you. This is especially true in cafes and restaurants. One beautiful Lamu morning I dropped into a cafe and ordered a pineapple juice, only to see the owner-cum-waiter run down the stairs and out of the premises shortly afterwards. He returned some 15 minutes later, perspiring and somewhat breathless, clutching

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