So I went to Uganda and all I brought back were fleas!

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This post was originally written on February 13, 2018

February 12

It’s now Monday and it’s the very last day of camping. One more night of unzipping the tent to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night and one more tent take-down … I can’t believe I’m saying this but it’s kind of bitter sweet. Although I much prefer the luxuries of having a roof, sleeping in a tent in the middle of Africa is pretty damn cool.

It’s also been super interesting driving across Kenya and Uganda. You see so much more of the ‘real Africa’ during the long drives through different countries. People walk everywhere – so many women with heavy loads on their heads walking among traffic on dusty roads in the middle of the heat of the day. Men with so many bunches of bananas strapped to a basic bicycle that he could probably get a gig in the circus because it looks so precarious. Straw huts, crumbling brick structures and shanty tin shacks lining the roads are home to so many. Goats and donkeys are everywhere, and the minute you pass by a child you see a great big grin and waves for everyone. It’s so simple here but like I always say when I come to Africa, the people have very little to nothing in terms of materials goods but yet they have so much joy and happiness. Very different from us in the West where we have so much in material things but are we ever happy enough? I think that’s one reason I love coming back here. It’s a reminder of what is important in life and how we really should appreciate what we have. Because in the big picture we have so much!

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The long hours of driving have led to many ‘bushy bushy’ stops. These are road side pee breaks when we can’t hold it any longer. To be honest bushy bushy is usually a lot cleaner and far less smelly than most toilets we have come across. The most entertaining bushy bushy came when I drank too much Diet Coke and was in dire straights. It seemed like forever that I had to wait because the road was village and hut after village and hut. My eyes were turning yellow because I was so full of urine and every bump that we drove over was absolute torture. Eventually the only place we could stop was right in the midst of a group of children. They got so excited when I got out of the vehicle, but little did they know I was only stopping to pee.  I made Ash come with me so she could be my barrier while I did my thing. I bet they’ve never seen an ass so white! Definitely left my mark there!

February 13

And now a day later we have driven back to Nairobi and bid farewell to our group. I’ve met some really amazing people on this trip and I know that I’ve definitely made a few life long friends.

Over the last few days a bunch of us have had these random itchy bites all over our bodies. It’s funny because at first it was a patch here and a patch there, but it turns out we’ve all got the itch! Pretty sure we all have flea bites! A few campsites ago (the one where I got my massages) there was this common area with pillows and benches. At one point we all were laying on them either napping or reading. (Let me not fail to mention that it was also a common area for the resident dogs to hang out.) Let’s hope it was fleas and not bed bugs. We’ve been doing an awful lot of googling and we’ve diagnosed ourselves with the flea sort! Look Ma – I went to Uganda and all I brought back were fleas!

Anyway remember when I told you how I adopted a baby elephant? Well we booked a private session with our baby this evening at 5. We left our hotel at 3:45 and what usually takes about 45 minutes (for 30km) away, took us 2 hours and 15 minutes. The traffic was insane. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was pretty disappointing because by the time we got to the orphanage my little Maktao was sound asleep. So sad. Ash and I did a quick walk-thru of the pens where the tiny ones sleep and begrudgingly made our way back through traffic once more.

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This is where Maktao sleeps until he grows to be a bigger elephant. His keeper sleeps in the bunk right above him to tend to him 24 hours a day.

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Maktao’s keeper

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Usually you’d see dogs just lurking about, but not in Africa…it’s warthogs!

Tomorrow is the start of a new adventure as Ash and I are flying to the island of Zanzibar. Looking forward to beaches and the ocean!

Until next time…

If you are interested in taking a tour that covers the places on my adventure check out G Adventure’s Kenya & Uganda Gorilla Adventure

If you like this post and want to share it to Pinterest, feel free to Pin here!

Uganda Be Kidding Me!

This post was originally written on February 6, 2018

February 5

The last few days have been a bit of a blur. There have been three really long driving days where I’d often find myself slipping into oblivion while watching the countryside pass me by. (I’m going to credit my narcoleptic moments to the anti-nausea pills I pop as soon as my arse hits the seat…  if I could stay awake, I definitely would because only in Africa do you get to see things like a zebra on the side of the road!)

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literally a zebra on the side of the road

Now let me tell you about the roads … driving in Kenya has been quite frustrating because THE major highway (which is one lane either way) runs through village after village. Every time there’s a crossing in the village, the highway has a massive speed bump. This basically averages to once every kilometer having to slow down in order to go over the bumps. Obviously this is great for the village but it makes a long journey even longer and more bumpy!

Crossing the border into Uganda was another feat in itself. It’s crazy because there is literally ONE road that runs from the major port of Mombasa (Kenya) to several other African countries – Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the Congo. ONE ROAD!!!!! And on this ONE road is the ONE border crossing. It was a complete zoo! At least because we weren’t cargo goods we could skip past the line of trucks that went on for at least 10 km down the road. To be honest I don’t think the cargo trucks would have made it through the border crossing within 24 hours! It probably didn’t help that the computers were down and they were having trouble processing the Visas. It was actually quite comical because at one point one of the guys in my group was behind the Visa counter trying to help them fix their computer troubles…only in Africa!

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The bumper to bumper traffic in Kampala, Uganda.

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Never be surprised at what you see on the roads…this guy is hitching a ride on the back of the semi!

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At one point on the journey we crossed over the equator…prime photo opp!

Anyway, once we finally crossed into Uganda I immediately felt that this country was amazing. It’s so lush and green. The people are friendly and the children light up and wave as soon as they see a mzungu (Mzungu is what they call us Western tourists).

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Setting up camp is always rather comical for Ash and I. She is great, but I am just not a natural at the whole wilderness, camping stuff. After setting up our tent we realized that we pitched it right behind the biggest pile of animal shit. Now the challenge will be waking up in the middle of the night to pee and having to avoid the massive pile of dung. Oh mother nature, how I love thee!

After we set up camp a few of us walked into the village. It was absolutely uplifting because all the kids (and many adults) came out of their houses to greet us. The kids are utterly adorable and anything we seem to do makes them laugh. You could probably hear their laughter from miles away. One older girl thought it was absolutely hysterical to say ‘cheeeeeese’ when we took a photo. I tried to hula hoop with a tire and pretended I was a ferocious animal … the laughter truly makes me feel so full.

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February 6

Today was the day of the chimpanzee trek. I honestly thought that the gorilla trek was the only physically taxing thing I’d have to do on this trip but boy was I wrong. We started the trek through the dense jungle at 6:30 am and didn’t emerge until noon. When we started it was still dark so navigating the terrain was a bit of a challenge. Good thing I have my trusty head torch on me! I kept thinking that maybe it was a good thing that it was dark though, because that way I couldn’t see all the bug infested bushes that I was climbing through. Chimps are difficult to track because they are more likely high in the trees and they are always on the move. The pace was fast and it took quite a while until we actually came across a group of chimps …  let me tell you we did some bad ass trekking! This was no ordinary hike – we were climbing embankments and jumping over streams. The dense growth that we were fighting our way through was intense. I felt like a proper Tarzan! I only rolled my ankles twice so that is pretty unscathed in my books!

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You could probably carry a watermelon in the bags under my eyes!

Now the CHIMPS!!! How can I describe this to do it justice? In total we saw approximately 15 chimps, from the big alpha male to little babies. The screeching they’d make was insane and at one point we saw two mating. They literally fly through the treetops and as we looked up from below them, fruits and leaves would fall from high above us. Honestly it was like being in a dream … well maybe not a dream because my dreams aren’t this physically challenging! But seeing these primates in their natural habitat is pretty unreal. They share so many similar human qualities that watching them is truly bizarre … let’s just be thankful that we don’t share similar bums. Their asses are quite grotesque!

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the alpha male

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Mama and her baby – notice the bum!

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I am absolutely fascinated with how human their hands and feet look!

Eventually the trek was over and as I felt like my legs couldn’t take me one step further we emerged onto this large tea plantation. It was so beautiful and green and reminded me a lot of Sri Lanka actually. However let me tell you that after a 5+ hour intense trek I was in no mood to listen to how they make tea! I sat there in a sweaty haze while the locals taught us about tea. All I wanted to do was rip off my clothes and drink water in the shade. Eventually I got to do just that… what a day!

If you are interested in taking a tour that covers the places on my adventure check out G Adventure’s Kenya & Uganda Gorilla Adventure

If you like this post and want to share it to Pinterest, feel free to Pin here!

Nairobi ~ A Day of African Bliss!

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This post was originally written on February 1, 2018

Jambo!  I’m finally here in Kenya!

There are obvious reasons as to why Canada is such a great place to live, but bar none one of its drawbacks (other than it being freaking cold most of the year) is that’s it’s so damn far away from everywhere else! The journey to get here took nearly two days, and to make a drawn out process even more drawn out just add a migraine to the mix! Good ol Barfy Mcbarferson was at it again. As soon as the plane took off from Montreal I was heaving into a little paper bag. The lucky man sitting next to me hit the economy class jackpot!!!  I couldn’t even go to the toilet because we were still acceding.  Anyway fast forward past all that lovely stuff…I made it to Nairobi in one piece. Today I’ve spent the day sleeping and getting adjusted to the 10 hour time difference. Right now I’m sitting next to the pool watching an adult swim class. I can’t help but laugh at was going on right now.  These Kenyans are beginners and they splash like nobodies business. Also sitting next to the pool are a group of young foreigners (the most annoying is this outspoken Canadian – damn Canadians! )  Anyway I’m killing myself laughing because as they swim and karate chop the water like Jackie Chan, the bathing beauties are getting drenched! What a glorious scene!

Anyway, later tonight my friend Ash will get arrive. I’ve booked us a few things for tomorrow which I’m beyond excited for.

Until next time! …

This post was originally written on February 2, 2018

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been in Kenya for less than 36 hours but yet I’ve already seen so much.

First things first – I’ve adopted a baby! His name is Maktao and he was born April 20th, 2017.  More on this later but had to share the big news right away.

So this morning we were picked up by a lovely man named Patrick. We went to the Nairobi National Park were we spent the next 4 hours doing a game drive. It’s quite an unbelievable backdrop because you  can literally see the tall skyscrapers towering in the distance from the city, but yet right before your eyes are lions! We saw everything from black and white rhinos, giraffes in plenty, zebras, impalas, warthogs, water buffalo, a crocodile, dik diks, baboons and of course the lions. I know I’m missing a bunch of animals but nonetheless this National Park did not disappoint!

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As we were leaving we stopped by the Ivory Burning Site. Any ivory or rhino horns that have been confiscated in Kenya from poachers are brought here so they can be destroyed. There was this massive pile of white debris that apparently had 30 million dollars worth of ivory before it was destroyed. Poaching is still a massive problem here and seeing the evidence of so many slaughters was really heartbreaking!

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This pile of ivory was worth $30 million before being burnt

Next up was the David Sheldrick Elephant Rehabilitation Centre. This is where baby elephants from all over Kenya are rescued and brought to so that they can grow and eventually be let back into the wild. Right now they have about 25 babies and each have their own tragic story as to why they became orphaned. Some due to poachers, many fell in wells and were trapped and others were left behind in human conflict. It’s so sad to see so many babies that lose their families all due to us humans. Thankfully there are places like this that rehabilitate them and properly release them back into the wild.

IMG_2479At 11 every day the public are allowed in to the Centre to watch the feedings as well as watch them play. It was so freaking adorable. They are like puppies.  Jostling for the best spot and rolling around in mud like it’s catnip! There was only a rope that separated the public from the feeding area so if the elephants came over (which so many did) you could touch them and pat them. Boy are they ever prickly! I seriously was in heaven! And this is where my adoption took place. For $50 you can adopt a baby of your choice and you’ll be able to get regular updates, a certificate of adoption and get this … a one on one interaction where you get to put them to bed! Yup just stamp the word sucker on my face! I’m going to go do my one on one with Maktao when I get back to Nairobi after the tour. I chose Maktao because he was the most playful and smallest of the bunch. He spent the entire time in the mud and he was just utterly adorable! He was found in Makatao – Tsavo West National Park and he was only 3 months old when he arrived to the Centre. He was found alone by a community member with no other elephant herd in sight. If not rescued he’d certainly have died.

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Maktao is the little one trying to get up out of the mud bath

The next thing on the list was visiting the Giraffe Centre. This Centre is a breeding centre for the nearly extinct Rothschild Giraffe. Once the giraffes are 2 they then  take them to parks around Kenya to integrate back into the wild. Until then, they are free to roam the massive land, and being such social animals they spend a lot of time right at the Centre where the public can get up close and personal with them. Here I was able to feed the giraffes and pet their cute little faces. They had these pellets that you could feed them and when you took your hand away from it’s mouth, a long slobbery string would be attached to your hand. Sounds disgusting but god damn – I’m in Africa with giraffes! The guy that worked there made us put a pellet in our mouth so that the giraffe could take it straight from our mouth. Also fairly disgusting but god damn I’m in Africa!

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Later in the day we met up with our G Adventures group. The first day is the awkward get to know you dinner, and by the third day I always end up feeling like one big family. Looking forward to the tour!

If you are interested in taking a tour that covers the places on my adventure check out G Adventure’s Kenya & Uganda Gorilla Adventure

If you like this post and want to share it to Pinterest, feel free to Pin here!

Me Tarzan You Jane

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This post was originally written on January 29, 2018

Hey Everyone!

So there is this little ballad that some of you may have heard of that is running through my brain and its called ‘Born to Be Wild’. Hypothetically  it’s playing during the opening credits to my next movie called Me Tarzan you Jane. hahaha.

Get your motor runnin’

Head out on the highway

Lookin for adventure

And whatever comes my way…

As the guitar solo comes to an end, the camera zooms in on me getting off the airplane in Nairobi. Yup, this is the beginning of my next adventure and I can’t wait to share it with you all.

Tomorrow I am heading off to East Africa and I couldn’t be more excited. I know that some of you have said my past trips have been a little wild, but I think this one might take the cake. For someone who isn’t a wilderness guru nor a camping buff, this just might knock the socks off me. The first half of the trip will be straight camping. I’ve been able to ‘handle’ the camping with relative ease in the past because there has always been a one day buffer – camp one day and the next a hotel…this time however is hardcore. Now, I wouldn’t necessarily outright choose to camp for nearly two weeks straight, but the main reason I am traveling this time is to go trekking to see the Mountain Gorillas. This was the only way I could afford to do it…so here I go!

 

So my trip starts in Nairobi where I will be meeting up with a friend that I met last year in Sri Lanka. Her name is Aisling (Ash) and she is from London. Together we will meet up with a G Adventures group and travel through Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and back. Once back in Kenya, Ash and I will fly to Zanzibar (Tanzania) and spend a few weeks doing our own thing. Back in 2008 when I volunteered in Tanzania I was lucky enough to spend a weekend in Zanzibar. Honestly it was the picture perfect example of paradise. It had the whitest beaches and the most turquoise waters. This was the place where I was able to swim with dolphins naturally in the ocean!!! So I figured that since I will be so close, I knew I wanted to come back to paradise and explore more of what this island has to offer!!!

 

Anyway, tomorrow is when it all begins and I am excited that my first stop over will be in Montreal. I have a really good friend that lives there (whom I met on another trip a few years back in Turkey) and she is coming to the airport so we can have a visit. After Montreal, I will fly to Istanbul and then finally on to Nairobi.

 

See you on the flip side…let the adventure begin!

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The G Adventures tour that I will be taking is called Kenya & Uganda Gorilla Adventure