THE JOURNEY

This is my travel route that is not included in the book, with recommendations and travel tips of what to do and what not to, where to stay and where to stay away, as well as my costs. Because I was paying for the project with every cent I earned, I had to budget, travel like a local, live simply and could rarely afford traveling longer than two weeks in each country. My itinerary was tight, with little sleep and long days traveling. Use my journey as an inspiration, or even better travel Africa yourself and travel differently.

Please note that prices may have changed. Please contact the accommodations directly for more information.

„Life has no remote…get up and change it yourself.“
― Mark A. Cooper

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MALAWI

Africa for Beginners

NEIGHBORING COUNTRIESTanzania, Zambia, Mozambique
CAPITALLilongwe
LAND AREA118.484 km²
POPULATION17,6 Mio
CURRENCYMalawi-Kwacha
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INFORMATION

TRAVELED KM

Lilongwe -> 329 km -> Cape Maclear -> 315 km -> Mulanje -> 119km -> Zomba -> 333 km -> Lilongwe

COSTS

Flight: €669.34 / $791.37
Travel costs for 13 days: €854.77 / $1010.61
Visa (mandatory): €62.90 / $75.00

ACCOMMODATIONS

KLAUS GUEST HOUSE

Single room, shared bathroom, simple, centrally located in a poorer part of town. They also have one room with a private bathroom. A place where locals stay and it’s run by really nice people but they don’t all speak English. Inconvenient if you don’t have your own car. There’s no generator when there are power cuts but there are candles:) Good place for adventuresome people looking for something authentic.

Info: A pick-up from the guesthouse is cheaper than taking a taxi from the airport

I PAID

€13.50 / $16.00 a night

LOCATION

Lawlldos

MY RATING

3 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.facebook.com/Klaus-Guest-House

THE FUNKY CHILD

Single room, shared bathroom, simple, clean, healthy and yummy food in the restaurant/bar with an amazing view. Breakfast is not included but you can order a delicious breakfast in their restaurant. Nice staff that speak English. Good for backpackers as well as couples. They also have single rooms with private bathrooms. It’s also possible to put up your own tent on the premises. They have a generator.

A pick-up from Lilongwe can be arranged.

Important info: No ATMs in town, bring cash!

I PAID

€21.29 / $26.10 a night

LOCATION

Cape Maclear

MY RATING

4 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

www.thefunkycichlid.com

MUFASA ECO LODGE

This place is right on the beach. I had a double bed with shared bathrooms that are quite far away from the room – kind of scary if you need a toilet in the middle of the night. It’s simple but clean and totally okay to stay for a few nights. They use solar energy and so you always have electricity. They have their own restaurant that makes good food.It’s not central but taxis or minibuses can pick you up. There’s a hippy vibe which is no surprise as it is run by an older expat-hippie woman.

I PAID

€10.55 / $12.61 a night

LOCATION

Monkey Bay

MY RATING

3 out of 5 Stars

LIKHUBULA HIKER’S NEST

Clean and safe, homey feeling. They have their own restaurant and can cook simple but yummy food. There is not much around, so it’s a good thing to have. Friendly, a bit nosy but also helpful staff. They can organize you a guide for any planned activities. Breakfast is not included. They have a generator and they speak English.

I PAID

I paid a special price: €12.72 / $15.00 a night
Regular Price: 22,00 $ a night

LOCATION

Mulanje / Likhubula

MY RATING

3,5 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

http://likhubulahikersnest.com

PETERS LODGE

Single room with a private bathroom. Not central. Breakfast included. But it’s a DUMP! Dirty kind of feeling. Use your own mosquito net! My sink was practically falling out of the wall, the door lock looked like someone had tried to break in a few times. There were cockroaches and other creatures running around. Not a place to stay longer than necessary.

A better alternative: The Pakachere
http://www.pakachere.com

I PAID

€20.83 / $24.53 a night

LOCATION

Zomba

MY RATING

1,5 out of 5 Stars

MAFUMU LODGE

To cut costs, I shared a room with a private bathroom, AC, and WIFI with another traveler I had met. Clean and safe, with a guarded gate, in a richer part of town. A good big breakfast is included, as are a large pool outside and 24 hours electricity. The buffet at lunch gave me some stomach problems and the receptionists are not that competent but other than that, it’s a good bet and close to the airport.

I PAID

€101.00 / $125.00 a night

LOCATION

Lilongwe

MY RATING

4 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

http://www.mafumu.net

MOROCCO

A Gateway to Africa

NEIGHBORING COUNTRIESMauritania, Algeria, Spain
CAPITALRabat
LAND AREA459.000 km²
POPULATION35 Mio
CURRENCYDirham
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TRAVELED KM

Marrakesch -> 281km -> Taghazout ->152km -> Essaouira-> 608 km -> Meknes -> 65,3km -> Fès -> 531km -> Marrakesch -> 197km -> Ouarzazate -> 57 km ->Tiourjda  -> 57km -> Ouarzazate-> 108km -> Tamezmoute -> 108km -> Ouarzazate ->401km ->Taghazout -> 281km -> Marrakesch

COSTS

Flight: €335.95 / $411.8
Travel costs for 19 days: €1235.56 / $1515.76
Costs for the 5 days building the website and traveling back home: €431.06 / $528.39
Bought two carpets: €283.50 / $346.62

ACCOMMODATIONS

RIAD ITRY

Don’t believe everything you read on Trip Advisor. I would not recommend this place. I had a single room with a shared bathroom. No breakfast included. The staff was friendly and arranged an airport pick-up, which was really good, especially since the old city of Marrakech, or the old “Medina” can be confusing and you can get lost easily. The bathroom wasn’t clean and there was no hot water. I slept inside my sheet sleeping-bag because the place didn’t feel clean. There was no heating or AC so in the winter it’s really cold. It has a rooftop terrace but without a view. Staff speaks French and a few words of English.

I PAID

€15.00 / $18.39 a night

LOCATION

Marrakesch

MY RATING

1,5 out of 5 Stars

HOTEL RIAD RAHBA

Again, don’t believe everything on Trip Advisor. I cannot recommend this place either. I had a double bed with no sheets but a private bathroom. No AC or heating. It’s located in the center of the old Medina and near the main square, very basic and for what you’re paying you can get better. It has a rooftop terrace. The staff was friendly and helpful. Staff speaks French and a little English.

I PAID

€16.00 / $19.61 a night

LOCATION

Marrakesch

MY RATING

1,5 out of 5 Stars

HOTEL RIAD EASSOUIRA

I had a nice clean room with a private bathroom and there was AC/heating. It’s in the center of the old Medina and a little hard to find. The staff wasn’t very helpful. I asked if they could pick me up at the square because I knew by then how lost you can get in Marrakech, but they didn’t feel the need…The breakfast was very stingy, I had to ask for more. If you’ve gotten used to what a breakfast should look like, this one was definitely under par. But the room was really nice and the hotel bright, so I can recommend this place for all sorts of travelers. It has a rooftop terrace. Staff speaks French and basic English.

I PAID

€22.06 / $27.26 a night

LOCATION

Marrakesch

MY RATING

3,5 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

http://www.essaouirahotelmarrakech.com

EMERAUDE ESSAOUIRA

A cozy place in the old Medina near the center but on a quiet side street. I had a nice single room, it just smelt a little moldy and the shower was a little moldy, too. I had a problem with my toilet being broken and they moved me to another room that didn’t smell moldy. A wholesome breakfast is included in the price. It has a rooftop terrace. Helpful staff that speak French and basic English.

I PAID

€22.06 / $27.26 a night

LOCATION

Essaouira

MY RATING

3,5 out of 5 Stars

RIAD INSPIRA

In the middle of the old Medina of Meknes. It’s a little hard to find but the rooms are really cozy, big, and clean. Just like in all old hotels a lot of stairs to climb. They provided a small electric heater that was unfortunately not enough to heat the room. So if it’s winter, it’s going to be cold. It’s clean and the rooms are cleaned every day. Breakfast is basic but sufficient. The staff is really nice and helpful, the hotel manager helped me find two of my stories in Meknes! She speaks French and English perfectly! It has a rooftop terrace. I enjoyed my stay here!

Info: Arrive in the day, otherwise you might get lost at night in the old streets like I did!

I PAID

€26.02 / $31.30 a night

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Meknes

MY RATING

4 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://riadinspira.com

DAR SONDOS

I had two beds in my room and a private bathroom. But this place isn’t really up to par. The shower was moldy and I had to ask the staff to exchange the hose because it was so old and hardly worked. The whole room smelt like mold. But they had an AC so at least it wasn’t freezing. Still, I had to wear two pairs of socks at night. Breakfast is served no earlier than 8:00 am but it was more like 8:30 am, which I found annoying if you have a day planned. The place is owned by a foreigner who doesn’t live in town. Instead, it’s run by a local middle-man who is very nice but just doesn’t have an eye for detail or cleanliness.

Still, you can stay here, it was okay. The place is in the old Medina, so call before you arrive and someone will pick you up and help you through the old streets.

I PAID

€28.53 / $35.24 a night

LOCATION

Fès

MY RATING

2,5 out of 5 Stars

DAR ZARA

Mohammed became one of the stars of “Eating with Africa”, Morocco. It’s worth staying here just to get the experience of real Moroccan hospitality. The rooms are all clean and new, although heating on cold days can be a bit of a problem as he only has a small portable electric heater. But Mohammed goes out of his way to make you feel at home and ensure you have everything. You have a beautiful view and you’re in a village with only 40 people. You’ll get a yummy pancake breakfast (breakfast is not included in the price) and lunch and dinner, if you want, in his little restaurant with one table where he cooks personally.

You need a car to get there or a shared taxi. But it’s worth it! Good for anyone interested in something different and good.

I PAID

€17.70 / $21.71 a night

LOCATION

Tiourjdal (54 km außerhalb von Ouarzazate)

MY RATING

5 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

http://darzara.com

DAR ILYANA

Here, I found my next star for “Eating with Africa”, her name is Rajae she is the cousin of the owner and her job was to help him talk to his guests in English. I booked a double room but they gave me a bigger one for the same price. It had a shared bathroom but I was the only guest there, so it didn’t matter. Everything was clean and they had AC with a heater. The village is not touristic but you have restaurants around. You can also eat in the hotel. Breakfast is included. This is a good place to stay when you’re passing through and if you don’t want to be staying in Zagora with the rest of the tourists.

I PAID

€17.71 / $21.71 a night

LOCATION

Tamezmoute (37 km outside of Agdz towards Zagora)

MY RATING

4 out of 5 Stars

SUNDESK

If you’re looking for a place to work in a good atmosphere, this is it. Breakfast is included, the rooms are cleaned everyday and there’s an office with fast internet and sea view. You can work in peace on the rooftop or in the shared office space. I had a double bed with a shared bathroom in an apartment, with our own kitchen and roof terrace. The crew is really nice and helpful. If you want, they’ll organize activities for you, like surfing lessons. A lot of freelancers come here for the surf/work experience.

The town Taghazout is not that spectacular and the people can be annoying, always wanting to sell you something, but there are a lot of restaurants: some cheap and a few healthy and one or two high quality ones. This place is good for solo travelers wanting to work and meet people, as well as for couples. If you want, they’ll organize you a taxi pick-up from Agadir (around €15 / $18)

I PAID

€22.00 / $27.18 a night

LOCATION

Taghazout

MY RATING

5 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

www.sun-desk.com

NAMIBIA

A Nation of Many Cultures

NEIGHBORING COUNTRIESAngola, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, South Africa
CAPITALWindhoek
LAND AREA824.292 km²
POPULATION2,3 Mio
CURRENCYNamibia-Dollar
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TRAVELLED KM

Windhoek -> 208 Km Omaruru -> 51 Km Omandumba Bush Camp -> 51 Km Omaruru -> 239 Km Okakarara -> 522 Km Ondangwa -> 34 Km Ongula Village -> 34 Ondangwa-> 132 Km Tsandi-> 152 Km Opuwo -> 60 Km Oruhona -> 60 Km Opuwo -> 259 Km Ondangwa -> 799 Walvis Bay

COSTS

Flight: €640.38 / $782.76
Travel costs for 14 days: €1248,57 / $1533,12
Visa: As a European I didn’t need a visa

ACCOMMODATIONS

IMMANUEL LODGE

This place has one of the best cooks in all of Namibia. And the property is beautiful. It’s the perfect place to end or to start your trip. The owners Sabine and Stephan, an immigrated German couple, run the place with all their heart. They go out of their way to make sure you have everything you need.
Dinner is a four meal course for around €21.00 / $25.00. You are sure to be served steak, but all meat is good quality and organic in Namibia. Stefan, the owner, cooks himself and he puts a lot of love into every dish.
The rooms are simple but clean and totally sufficient to feel at home. On the property there are springbock, impala and ostriches as well as a turtle that you will see. There is also a nice pool to relax at.
This place is perfect for families and couples. Single travelers might feel a bit lonesome here…
The only small set back is that it’s 50 km outside of Windhoek. But you can get a pick-up from the airport or to the airport. If you don’t have a car, you’ll just have to stay there and relax. Thank you for sponsoring!

I PAID

Double room per night: €49.00/ $60.00 per person, incl. breakfast
Single use per night: €54.00 / $66.00 incl. breakfast
Transfer: Can be arranged before arrival/departure

LOCATION

Windhoek

MY RATING

5 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

http://www.immanuel-lodge.de

TIPS FOR EATING IN WINDHOEK

URBAN CAMP

It’s a restaurant on a camping site, with a lot of young people, self service, European but also local dishes. You can also get some vegetarian food, which isn’t always easy to find in Namibia. There’s a pool and music. A nice place to chill and totally affordable. Also a good place to sleep.
http://urbancamp.net

PEPATA

This restaurant also serves traditional food from the north. The interior is not as cozy as Xwama but it’s more central, more local and a bit cheaper than Xwama.

XWAMA

Means “to ignite”
Traditional Food from the North
You’ll get marathon chicken, which is tough because it’s wild chicken. There is sand in the spinach because if it’s over-washed it loses its flavor, and you can try Mopane worms. It’s a traditionally set up place and worth the experience.
It’s more of an evening place a bit further out from the center.
http://www.xwama.com

THE STELLENBOSCH WINE BAR

Also nice for burgers, steaks, salads, and good wine.

OMANDUMBA BUSH CAMP

A family farm owned by Namibian Germans Deike and Harald. Deike shows genuine interest in every guest and never seems to get tired of asking questions. Harald, her husband, is a real German cowboy and both are great and amusing authentic hosts who you can learn a lot about the area from, if you ask. You’re 50 km from the next town and surrounded by nature and the Erongo mountains. Nothing is kept locked up, not even your tent. There is not much more than nature surrounding you, so it’s absolutely safe and no need to worry. You’ll sleep in a comfortable tent with an adjoining bathroom with warm water. The tent isn’t spacious but you won’t be spending your time in there anyway. In the morning you’ll wake to the most amazing sunrises you can watch from your bed. You can go for a run in the morning and only find animal footprints in the sand. At 8:00 am you’ll be served breakfast together with the rest of the guests at a big table, the same for lunch and dinner, depending on if you booked full or half board. Prepare yourself for a lot of meat and game. There’s no menu, which is a small minus point, you get what the chef serves. It can be a little difficult for vegetarians and even more for vegans …The owners used to hunt their own meat but at the moment they’re giving the wildlife a bit of a rest. At night you’ll sit around a campfire and chat with the other guests. And you will see a lot of wild life jumping around. It’s amazing! In the day time, you can go out on hikes through the Erongo mountains or visit the San tribe in the live museum, a few kilometers away. The tribesmen will explain and show you how they live traditionally.
This is the perfect place to chill for a few days, take in nature and have a deep breath.
You’ll have wifi but no phone reception.
The Bush Camp is 50 km out of Omaruru. If you don’t have a car, you’ll have to organize a pick-up, which is not always possible, or get a taxi to drive you out there.
They also have camping spots, if you have your own tent. If you’re not so into tents, they also have nice rooms on their guest farm a few km away.
You can book full or half board.
I loved this place and can recommend it for families, couples or solo-travelers.
They gave me half price on a full board stay – thank you so much!

I PAID

Bush Camp or Guest farm per night: €76.00 / $94.00 per adult, full board
Bush Camp or Guest farm per night: €38.00 / $47.00 per child, full board
Bush Camp or Guest farm per night: €69.00 / $85.00 per adult, half board
Bush Camp or Guest farm per night: €34.00 / $85.00 per child, half board

LOCATION

Omaruru

MY RATING

4 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

http://www.omandumba.de

STEPS FOR CHILDREN GUESTHOUSE

Steps for Children is a charity organization that provides educational support for the community. A few houses down from the project, they have a guesthouse where I stayed. The rooms are clean and simple and come with adjoining bathrooms. It’s a self-catering accommodation with a communal kitchen. You won’t find the best quality food in the supermarkets of Okakarara, I had a hard time finding good vegetables or fruits. I would recommend buying food at a Spar supermarket in a bigger city before coming. If you don’t have a car, you can get to the supermarket in Okakarara by taxi, it will only cost you N$10, which is around €0.70/$0.80. While I was there, I had a few really nice young volunteers that showed me to my room and were living on the same property. But I had to ask for a towel, and for wifi, and almost everything I needed to know. I didn’t really get much assistance. This is a good stop-over place. You’ll see a lot of Herero people. The town doesn’t have many foreigners so you’ll get an authentic impression. Just don’t expect luxury.

I PAID

Double room with bathroom per night: €31.00 / $38.00
Single room with a bathroom per night: €19.00 / $23.00
Guided city tour per person: €10.26 / $12.58

LOCATION

Okaharara

MY RATING

3 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.stepsforchildren.de/uebernachtung-unseren-gaestehaeusern/

ONGULA VILLAGE HOMESTEAD LODGE

Built alongside a live homestead, 4 exquisite Rondawels (African-style round huts) accommodating 8 guests offer exclusivity and the luxury of home. You will be participating in local chores, delighting in local culinary dishes and drinks, and learning local arts and crafts.
A “homestead” is a property with a farm where a big family lives. What we would call a house for them is the whole property and what we call rooms for them is the many huts on that property.
If you want something authentic but nice, this is the place to visit! It’s on the countryside, around 34 km outside of the city of Ondangwa.
For breakfast, lunch, and dinner you will be served traditional food, often with a modern twist. You’ll get freshly baked bread as well as other yummy surprises. This is a full board stay! You’ll eat marathon chicken and Mahangu and watch the chefs cook for you. They grow as much as they can in the homestead or in the back garden of the kitchen lodge.
The staff is lovely and keen to see to your every need but in a very personal way, making you feel like you’re the only guest – which you might just be. This is not a tourist trap but a beautiful place to watch sunsets and get a real feel for Namibia, the Aawambo tribe, what they eat and how they live their lives.
The rooms are basic but comfortable, and the shower is a bit low on pressure, but that’s just a small minus point. All in all, if you come to Namibia then visit the Ongula! The lodge gave me a large discount with food included to help me out – thank you so much!

I PAID

Double room with bathroom per night: €82.65 / $101.13 per person, full board
Info: If you don’t have a car, a pick-up can be arranged

LOCATION

Ondangwa

MY RATING

5 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.ongula.com

OHAKANE GUESTHOUSE

This is nothing fancy but it works. Opuwo is quite a poor small city and it feels a bit dodgy but the Himba tribe and the Herero live nearby, so tourists come here for guided tours to the villages. The receptionist helped me find a guide for the next day right away, which I highly appreciated! The guesthouse is clean but my toilet was leaking. But then they gave me another room. There’s a small pool, an AC and at night a guard at the front. However, there is no restaurant in the guesthouse and not many good places to eat around.

I PAID

Double room with bathroom per night: €34.00 / $41.80 per person incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Opuwo

MY RATING

2,5 ouf of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://ohakaneguesthouse.wheretostay.na

THE DELIGHT SWAKOPMUND

This is a design hotel with an eye for detail, situated in the center of the city, kind of like “Motel-One” in Germany, just much nicer and more personal. It’s quite large yet the staff is very friendly and takes care that you have everything you need. The breakfast is abundant, with brown bread, freshly made eggs, pancakes, and fresh fruit juices – really good! There is no restaurant in the hotel but a lot of different places to eat in town which you can easily reach by foot. The rooms are spacious and clean, each equipped with a little terrace or balcony. And you have free coffee, tea, and cookies in your room. It’s a place with a lot of Germans and quite a few big tour companies pass through here as well. I really enjoyed my stay. It was the perfect place to sort myself out before the next journey! I can highly recommend this place! Thank you for sponsoring!

I PAID

Double room with bathroom per night: €82.00 / $100.30 per person incl. breakfast
Single room with a bathroom per night: €102.00 / $125.00 per person incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Swakopmund

MY RATING

5 out of 5 Stars

OTHER HOTEL TIPS FOR SWAKOPMUND

STRAND HOTEL

A little more luxurious, you’ll find the Strand Hotel directly on the beach. They have a restaurant with good quality food.
https://www.strandhotelswakopmund.com

SALTY JACKAL BACKPACKERS

For those on a budget, there’s this place which is also a good bet.
https://www.facebook.com/pg/saltyjackal264

EATING TIPS FOR SWAKOPMUND

CORDES & CO.

Good coffee and cake but also amazing salads and yummy main dishes, fresh juices, and western food. A daytime café.
https://www.facebook.com/cordesandco/

BOJOS CAFE

Another daytime café where you can sit outside. Simple, healthy, and inexpensive dishes.

KRISJANS

Also a really nice daytime café with burgers and salads with avocado, quinoa, salmon as well as fresh juices and cakes – yum!

SOUTH AFRICA

The Rainbow Nation

NEIGHBORING COUNTRIESNamibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Eswatini, Lesotho
CAPITALPretoria (Exekutive), Kapstadt (Legislative), Bloemfontein (Judikative)
LAND AREA1.219.090 km²
POPULATION57 Mio
NEIGHBORING COUNTRIESSouth African Rand
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INFORMATION

TRAVELED KM

Kapstadt -> 87 km Riebeek Kasteel -> 91 km Somerset West -> 395 km Outdtshoorn -> 421 km Kapstadt -> 1603 km Durban -> 569 km Johannesburg -> 461 Rooiboklaagte-> 461 km Johannesburg

COSTS

Flight: €326.94 / $391.21
Travel costs for 14 days: €1378.25 / $1694.22
Visa: As a European I didn’t need a visa

ACCOMMODATIONS

TIPS FOR RIEBEEK KASTEEL

In this sleepy but beautiful little town in the Swartland, where some of South Africa’s best wine is produced, you’ll find a lot of nice guesthouses and a handful of cute little restaurants to choose from.
I slept and ate at a private home but here’s a website with some nice tips for where to stay and eat while in the area.

ORT

Riebeek Kasteel

WEBSITE

https://www.riebeekvalley.info

A WINE TIP FOR RIEBEEK KASTEEL

A vineyard I can highly recommend from two young and fun wine makers: Ryan and Samantha Mostert. Have a look: www.silwervis.com

A WINE TIP AND GOOD DEED IN SOMERSET WEST

Carmen Stevens is a very successful winemaker. But she also helps children in nine different schools in Cape Town with a food program. Many come to school on empty stomachs. “Eating should not be a privilege,” Carmen said to me. With the help of the platform “Naked Wines”, where her wines are presented and sold, she was able to raise enough money to supply – as of now – breakfast and lunch to 6541 learners over a two-year period, so that the children can concentrate on learning. And of course the fundraising continues.

I cooked with Carmen Stevens. More about her personal life story and struggles, from growing up in one of Cape Town’s most difficult areas, to emerging as one of South Africa’s most important winemakers, will be covered in the cookbook “Eating with Africa”.

Wine from Carman Stevens https://www.nakedwines.com/producers/carmen-stevens

SWARTBERG COUNTRY MANOR

Wake up at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains. The rooms are cozy and clean. The Manor has little cottages that you can book or nice double rooms in the main house to choose from. There’s a pool where you can relax if it’s warm enough, I was there in winter when it was pretty cold…The breakfast is wholesome with a large variety.

In the evening they offer a three-course South African flavored menu utilizing fresh, local ingredients at a reasonable price. There is quite a bit of meat on the menu but vegetarian dishes are also offered. Every bite is delicious and accompanied by delicious wines. The staff is really helpful and friendly, eager to make your stay as nice as possible. This area is great for outdoor activities, like visiting the ostrich farms in the area or going to the nearby waterfall swimming hole. You can mountain bike or hike or go star gazing. You’ll need a car to get here, as the lodge is around 40 km outside of the city of Outdtshoorn. I really enjoyed my stay here! Thank you so much for sponsoring!

I PAID

Double room: €128.50 / $153.80, incl. breakfast
Single room: €77.64 / $92.90, incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Outdtshoorn

MY RATING

5 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

http://swartbergmanor.co.za

MOROC-KAROO COUNTRY GUESTHOUSE

This is a cute little guesthouse where each room has its own individual touch. The rooms are quite spacious as well. The owners live here too and you can sit on their terrace and enjoy the mountain view. Breakfast costs extra. Unfortunately, I left too early to try breakfast, but I’m imagining it would have been very good as well. The owners are very friendly and helpful, making you feel at home. This place is right next to the Swartberg Country Manor (also 40 km outside of Outdtshoorn), so you can hop over to the restaurant for dinner, or eat with your hosts in their home. It was a short stay but I really liked it!

I PAID

Double room: €60.00 / $71.80
Single room: €43.50 / $52.00

LOCATION

Outdtshoorn

MY RATING

5 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.facebook.com/morockaroo/

THINGS TO DO IN THE LITTLE KAROO NEAR THE CITY OF OUDTSHOORN

The area that today comprises Oudtshoorn and Kannaland in the Little Karoo is the ancient territory of the Khoi people. Have a guide take you around or book a tour to see Oudtshoorn and the surrounding area. This includes getting to see how the people of the Khoi live. Visit ostrich farms, drive through canyons, enjoy the mountainous desert landscapes or go stargazing at night. For your tailor-made different kind of safari contact: http://www.elelaafrica.com

THE BACKPACKERS

I recommend this place because you can get a dorm bed but also a nice single or double rooms at a fair rate. They have a kitchen where you can cook your own food, if you like. There’s a pool and a big breakfast and a bar at night where you can get to know people. Also, you’re smack in the middle of Cape Town’s downtown hip area. Right in between, Tamboerskloof, Gardens and Bo-Kaap. There are tons of great restaurants and bars within walking distance, as well as a shopping center. The Lion’s Head is also just a short Uber drive away. Parking spaces are available as well. This was the second time I stayed here and both times were good.

I PAID

Dorm bed starts at: €14.00 / $16.80, incl. breakfast
Single room starts at: €36.00 / $43.20, incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Kapstadt

MY RATING

4 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

http://backpackers.co.za

PANORAMA CHALETS AND REST CAMP

I stopped a night in Graskop because I wanted to see the view here, it’s supposed to be amazing. Unfortunately, on this particular day it was so foggy I could see no further than three meters. The little chalets are simple, with a kitchen and everything you need. It’s a chilly area but also very beautiful. In the little town there are a few good restaurants where you can get pancakes for breakfast or local as well as European food.
Panorama Chalets also offers breakfast à la carte.

I PAID

A chalet starts at: €55.00 / $66.00, self catering
A big family chalet starts at: €120.00 / $144.00, self catering
Camp site starts at: €10.00 / €12.00, self catering

LOCATION

Graskop

MY RATING

3,5 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

www.panoramaviewchalets.co.za

UKUTHULA COTTAGES – LUXURY ‘BED IN THE BUSH’

Nice self catering apartments / chalets near the Kruger National Park Kampersrus. Personally, I haven’t slept there but it was warmly recommended to me…

LOCATION

Kampersrus

WEBSITE

https://www.bedandbreakfast.eu/bed-and-breakfast/angledale/ukuthula-cottages-luxury-bed-in-the-bush/2498893/

FOOD SAFARI

If you want to experience a culinary safari and South Africa’s rainbow kitchen as well as see the big 5, Elela Africa is the right thing for you. Look for traces of leopards, lions and elephants in the morning and finish the day finding local spices and ingredients at the nearby markets. Back at the lodge, prepare typical South African delicacies and fine foods with a gourmet chef, and enjoy them alongside some of the country’s best wines around a campfire.

LOCATION

Hoedspruit

WEBSITE

http://www.elelaafrica.com

ACORNHOEK / ROOIBOKLAAGTE

You can fly to Hoedspruit where you’ll find a lot of hotels, restaurant and shops. The whole town has a very rich and safe feeling.

If you want to see a place more authentic, then drive through to Acornhoek. There, you’ll see markets and also get a feel for a different South Africa.

I stayed in a small town called Rooiboklaagte, in a private home. There, I was shown what a “hope garden” is. The locals are taught how to grow their own food with the least effort and the best outcome. This project has spread throughout the entire community, including schools, with many people, as well as my hosts, growing their own permaculture “hope gardens”. It’s worth seeing and getting to know. Contact Trygive Nxumalo, who is collaborating with “A Spring of Hope”, to get a closer look and find out more about the project and how permaculture is changing things in this poorer area of South Africa for the better. Find out more on the website.

LOCATION

Acornhoek / Rooiboklaagte

WEBSITE

http://www.aspringofhope.org

TIPP: FRÜHSTÜCK UND MITTAGESSEN IN JOHANNESBURG

The Whippet: They have amazing coffee and the menu is a mixture of really healthy food and really delicious high calorie food. All dishes are prepared with fresh ingredients and with a lot of thought and care. It’s a hip place but it also has a friendly atmosphere and a good vibe.

It’s great place for breakfast, lunch and a cake and coffee. They close around 5:00 pm.

LOCATION

Johannesburg

WEBSITE

https://thewhippetcoffee.com/

SÃO TOMÉ AND PRÍNCIPE

The Center of the World

NEIGHBORING COUNTRIESNigeria, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon
CAPITALSãoTomé
LAND AREASãoTomé 859km², Príncipe 142km² – etwa 150 km von einander entfernt
POPULATION192.000
CURRENCYSãoTomé Dobra
1
KM
1
TRAVEL DAYS
1
PHOTOS
OPEN
OPEN

INFORMATION

TRAVELED KM

São Tomé -> 29.7 km Neves -> 15.9 km Santa Catarina -> 60.8 km São Tomé -> 53 km São João dos Angolares -> 32.7 km Praia Inhame Eco Lodge, Roca de Porto Alegre -> 72.8 km São Tome

COSTS

Flight: €1449.25 / $1686.55
Travel costs for 14 days: €1493.83 / $1738.43
Visa: you only need a visa if you stay longer than 15 days! But I heard the government is considering shortening that period.

IMPORTANT INFO

Bring cash and exchange it on the street! You can get money at the bank but will be charged an immense amount of fees and it will cost you time. If you exchange at the bank you’ll get less money – even if it sounds dodgy, exchange it on the street! Often you can also pay in Euros!

The ATMs do not accept foreign cards.

ACCOMMODATIONS

HOTEL ALBERGRIA PROCELANA, LDA

I had a single room, shared bathroom and a shared kitchen in a simple, centrally located hotel. When I booked, breakfast was not included, now it is. I paid an additional €3.80 /
$4.46 for an okay breakfast with bad coffee. The manager, who even spoke English, was really helpful and nice. He helped me exchange money on the street and get a phone card even though it was already 7:00 p.m. when I arrived. It’s an okay place to stay for a few nights.

Info: I got a pick-up for €15.00 / $17.62

I PAID

€25.00 / $29.37 a night

LOCATION

São Tomé

MY RATING

3 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.bedandbreakfast.eu/bed-and-breakfast/sao-tome/albergria-porcelana-lda/2930914/

TIPPS FOR SAO TOMÉ

RESTAURANT DONTA TÉTÉ

I met Dona Tété but didn’t have time to eat at the restaurant. In any case, the whole island talks about it so it must be good.
https://www.facebook.com/restaurantedonatete/

RESTAURANT FILOMAR

A Restaurant with an ocean view. I ate here. Good for a yummy lunch with fresh fish and local food. A little cheaper than Dona Tété, moderate prices at around €10.00 – 12.00 / $11.50 – 14.00 per person.
https://www.tripadvisor.de/Restaurant_Review-g294442-d3701448-Reviews-Filomar-Sao_Tome_Sao_Tome_Island.html

STP-OFFSHORE LOGISTIC & TOUR, LDA TRAVEL AGENCY

I stayed 3 nights in the home of Gisela Bouças and her family. Her father José Bouças is the country’s most famous journalist. I also cooked with this family and it was one of my most beautiful encounters in this country – super amazing! I slept in a beautiful large room with a double bed, with my own balcony and bathroom. Unfortunately, there was no running water, but always a big bucket of water to shower with…:) If you stay with this family, you’ll experience the real STP and the real food. It might not be possible to stay at their private home like I did, but you can always ask…:) I paid €30.00 / $34.91 a night.
Gisela works in the travel agency and can help you plan your trip and organize a guide and a car for you, like she did for me.
She doesn’t speak English but she knows how to use google translator. With Edson, my guide and translator, we figured it out.
Their approach may seem improvised but for STP it’s normal. They organize everything in their own way and it all works out. She will give you tips about where to sleep, eat, and swim!
And I would recommend renting a car, otherwise you might have to wait a long time to get a ride somewhere… it’ll be an expensive part of traveling through this country (around € 35.00 / $41.12 a day). If you need help go to Gisela.

http://www.stplogistic.st

Real tour STP
If you need a car or a guide who speaks English: Edson helped me out. The cars have character and so does Edson. Such a sweet kid with a fun personality, he really grows on you:)
He will also tell you everything you need to know about where to eat and where to swim.
His daily rate is around €25.00 / $29.37.

https://www.facebook.com/RealtourSTP/

HOTEL ROCA MONTE FORTE

Single room with a bathroom, simple, clean with a breathtaking view from my shower window. That is, of course, if the water is running…A big problem in STP that you’ll often encounter in simple guesthouses. In the morning I asked for water to flush the toilet and the young man working there turned around and said: „Hot or cold?“ I had to laugh so hard. In any case, when the water is off, you will always get a big bucket of water to use for whatever you need. You can eat a good lunch and dinner there, which costs around €8.00 – 10.00 / $9.40 – 11.75. But there are a few more places around where you can eat. Ask your guide. It’s a simple place, rustic and at night it can get cold, so ask for a blanket. Wifi is switched on for a few hours each day. The staff is really sweet and helpful but they don’t speak English. One of the staff members even helped me find a family to cook with in Santa Catarina. A really nice beach nearby to visit is the blue lagoon!

I PAID

€30.00/ $35.25 a night, incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Neves

MY RATING

3,5 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.booking.com/hotel/st/roca-monte-forte.de.html

HOTEL MIONGA

This could actually be a nice place if they renovated the terrace and made sure they have electricity and running water: both were missing on my two nights. The rooms are simple but nice but I had to shower with cold water from a big bucket and there wasn’t any electricity in the evening. They wanted an additional €3.00 / $3.52 a night in taxes but I negotiated that down because of the missing utilities. There is no wifi either! But dinner was delicious. The cook used to work at the famous restaurant / hotel I moved to after staying here for two nights. Costs: €10.00 / $11.75 per person for a candle light dinner, as there was no electricity. The staff was really nice, but it wouldn’t be my first choice to stay here again.

I PAID

€20.00 / $23.50 a night, incl. breakfast

LOCATION

São João dos Angolares

MY RATING

3 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.booking.com/hotel/st/mionga.de.html

HOTEL ROCA, SAO JOAO DOS ANGOLARES

This is the rainiest part of STP, so don’t expect bikini weather! The hotel is a family run business, with one of STP’s best and most famous cooks in the kitchen, João Carlos Silva. When I was there, the prime minister Patrice Trovoada visited and I took a photo with him! It’s cozy and traditionally decorated, I really liked it. The rooms are nice but don’t expect warm water until around 9:00 a.m. I had a frog showering with me, too – just couldn’t get it out of the bathroom. It’s not a luxury hotel but it has the basics. It’s quite expensive to eat here, so buy your water at the local store, you’ll save more than half your money. If you’re there for a few days, try the local restaurants, it’s a bit of an adventure but it’s yummy and way cheaper! Breakfast is cute, they keep bringing you little portions on different plates. Most of the people working there are young people from the village, super friendly but unfortunately almost none of them speak even a word of English. Trying to order scrambled eggs for breakfast was quite an interesting conversation.

Try the special seven course meal at lunch for €20.00 / $23.50 for hotel guests. For normal guests it’s around €25.00 / $29.40. The whole meal takes around three hours. I wasn’t feeling good that day and for me that was a bit long.

The restaurant has a beautiful view and 80 percent of what you eat is grown on their own property. On the property there is also a little gallery with artwork from local artists – some of it was really good! I got my laundry done, it was washed the old fashioned way, by hand. Unfortunately it wasn’t clean when I got it back. But the price of €4.00 / $4.70 that I negotiated directly with the cleaning lady was fair and I would have been surprised if it had been spot clean. I very much enjoyed talking to the son of the owner whose name I’ve sadly forgotten. He manages the hotel together with his sister. He speaks fluent English and is extremely intelligent and can tell you all sorts of interesting historical nuggets about the country and about Africa. I listened to him for a long time. I paid €35.00 / $41.15 a night but somehow they forgot to charge me taxes which would be around €3.00 / $3.52 a night. I would definitely stay here again.

I PAID

€35.00 / $41.15 a night, incl. breakfast

LOCATION

São João dos Angolares

MY RATING

4 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.booking.com/hotel/st/roca-sao-joao-dos-angolares.de.html

HOTEL PRAIA INHAMA

Getting here is a real challenge. The roads are so bad it was really scary. And when you’re there, you’ll need a guide or definitely your own car, otherwise you really won’t know what to do. The rooms are nice, the food is okay. I felt it was a bit overpriced for what it was in the end. I didn’t even go into the water because it was just too chilly. That is something you will not read about in most travel guides: STP is a cloudy island, you don’t get much sun.

It was a bit lonely in the hotel as well, it’s obvious that not many people travel alone here. I wanted to relax for a day but I was glad when that day was over. It’s a nice place to stay but I would think twice about coming here, for me it wasn’t really worth it. I’d rather stay around São Tomé and go to Monte Café where I also did a story, or go swimming in the blue lagoon…

I PAID

€89.25 / $104.93 a night, incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Porto Alegre

MY RATING

4 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.booking.com/hotel/st/mionga.de.html

NGUEMÚBEACH RESORT

I only ate lunch here (€17.00 / $20.00) which was quite expensive, it’s normal in this region, since there is nothing much around, prices are steep. The staff was really friendly and the food was good. I was very happy that at least I had a car to drive there. The view at the restaurant was amazing! And they have a beautiful beach, if it just wasn’t for the overcast weather. The bungalows were simpler than at my place but also a bit cheaper than Praia Inhame. It’s worth checking out.

LOCATION

Porto Alegre

WEBSITE

http://www.nguembu.com

UGANDA

The Pearl of Africa

NEIGHBORING COUNTRIESSouth Sudan, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, DR Kongo
CAPITALKampala
LAND AREA241.550 km²
POPULATION45 Mio
CURRENCYUganda-Shilling
1
KM
1
TRAVEL DAYS
1
PHOTOS
OPEN
OPEN

INFORMATION

TRAVELED KM

Entebbe -> 124 km Jinja -> 416 km Moroto -> 200 km Mbale -> 55,5 km Kumi -> 55,5 km Mbale -> 145 km Jinja -> 82 Kampala -> 43,3 km Entebbe
Flug Entebbe -> Antananarivo: 2668 km

COSTS

Flight one way: €397.02 / $446.34
Travel costs for 15 days: €889.41 / $1004.87
Visa: €47.00 / $50.00

ACCOMMODATIONS

PAPYRUS GUESTHOUSE ENTEBBE

This is a very calm place near the Entebbe airport. They have lovely rooms, each with a little terrace. You have hot water and showers with good water pressure, which you won’t find often in more simple guesthouses. The mattress was comfy, the bed spacious and the room clean!
It’s really peaceful and you can hear the birds chirping all day long. They have proper WiFi so it was a perfect place for me to work in peace. There weren’t many guests during my stay, many people just stay here for a night on arrival or before departing from Uganda, which I did as well. The staff is very nice and the food is good although it’s more expensive than in other parts of Uganda but still the prices are very reasonable. Breakfast is included: eggs, potatoes, sausage, bacon, toast, butter and jam. Thank you so much for sponsoring my stay! It was lovely!

Info: I got a pick-up for €17.60 / $20.00

I PAID

Double/Twin Room: €48.00 / $55.00
Double/Twin Garden Room: €57.00 / $65.00
Single Room: €75.00 / $85.00
My stay was sponsored. Thank you!!

LOCATION

Entebbe

MY RATING

5 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.papyrusguesthouse.com

CASA MIA BALIDA

I stayed here twice. Once in a single room for €19.00/ $22.00 and the second time there was only a more expensive room free but it was larger and I enjoyed having the space to spread out a bit. It cost €23.00 / $26.00. The rooms are really clean and the beds are comfortable, plus you have your own bathroom. I had a bit of a problem with the toilet flush but then I learned how to deal with it — there is always a trick;) And like everywhere I stayed in Uganda, the water is hot but the pressure is low. They serve a yummy breakfast with good coffee, eggs, homemade bread, jam, and fresh fruit. The owner is Italian, so the food is Italian too. You can eat pizza and pasta and fish and meat which is all very good but I just found it a bit expensive knowing that you can eat in Uganda very well for around 2-3 Euros. Here, you will pay more than double the price. The staff is very attentive and very nice. All in all, a really nice place to stay and good value for your money.

I PAID

Small single room: €19.00/ $22.00 a night, incl. breakfast
Large single room: €23.00 / $26.00 a night, incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Jinja

MY RATING

4 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.booking.com/hotel/ug/casa-mia-baliidha.de.html

KARA-TUNGA

This is a camp and a guesthouse. It has big nice tents outside that cost between €50.00 – 80.00/ $ 60.00 – 90.00 and guest rooms that cost €12.00 – 18.00 / $13.00 – 20.00. The tents are new and spacious, the guest rooms are small, a little old with the usual water problems (no pressure ;)) but just fine for the price and you have your own bathroom. A simple breakfast is included: toast, eggs and fruit. They have a nice modern restaurant with good food from pizza to local dishes and good coffee at a very good price. This is where a lot of foreigners who work in the area also meet, as there are not many places to go in Moroto—it’s quite a poor town but perfect for people who want to see something else than mountain gorillas and safari sites. The Karamoja area has a totally different culture to the South of Uganda. Here, they say it’s “Uganda’s best kept secret.” One of the best parts about staying here was the staff and the tours that you can book, discovering the Karamoja area and the Karamojong tribe. There are all sorts of tours, from hiking the Moroto Mountain to visiting the villages of the Karamojong. If you want, you can even stay overnight in a village with the Karamojong tribe. I did, although it might not be something for everyone, there were some surprises and I can’t say I really slept, but it was an adventure and an experience. Especially getting up with the tribe at sunrise and watching the men leave the village with the cattle to graze in the fields. You won’t experience this if don’t sleep in the village. I didn’t sleep in a hut, but in a tent that we brought with us and my guide, who also lived in the village, built it up for me in the middle of his village. I then stayed at Kara-Tunga for two nights. Thank you Theo for helping me get the most authentic experience with the Karamojong and sponsoring my stay! When in Uganda, go north! For more information check out the links below!

LOCATION

Moroto

MY RATING

4 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

www.kara-tunga.com
www.discoverkaramoja.com
www.tourofkaramoja.com

CASA LODGES MBALE

This is a simple place but it’s clean even though it has the same shower problem with the water pressure as every place I’ve stayed at so far. (I always disinfect the toilet seat at every place I stay before using and never use the flip-flops that are there in the room. You never know who’s used them before you and can be sure they will not be disinfected, this applies for all hotels. Always have your own pair of flip-flops with you to use in the shower. I never shower barefoot in simple guesthouses.) There is a rooftop terrace where you can sit. In the evening there is no light up there but still it’s nice. The hotel restaurant serves a variety of food all of which I found quite okay: very large servings for around €2.50 / $2.80 a plate. They might not always have cold beer but they will do their best to solve that problem, even if it means bringing you ice. But again here, I don’t recommend having ice in your drinks unless you can drink the tap water where you are staying; then you can be sure it’s okay. The guesthouse had WiFi which worked pretty well, so I could work properly. It’s a very central place and I slept here twice.

I PAID

Once I booked through booking.com and paid €12.30 /$14.00 a night and the second time I called and reserved a room, it was a bit smaller than the first one but I paid only €11.25 / $12.80.

LOCATION

Mbale

MY RATING

4 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.booking.com/hotel/ug/casa-lodges-mbale.de.html

AKALABAI

This is a difficult one for me to rate, because the manager, Robert, was the person who accompanied me to my story at Lake Bisina. He organized the story and was my translator and guide in the village. I would never have found this amazing story so easily without him. He also organized the boda boda (moped taxi) that we used, the driver, him, and I together. All this saved me a lot of time and organizational stress.
For a normal tourist, the prices for a tour are okay, for me I had to bargain things down a bit. You can go on a boat tour in a fishing boat or eat with the locals in their homes. It’s all very authentic and worth seeing. Calculate around €30.00 / $34.00 per person for a day tour plus transport costs. I was the first muzunu (white person) he took on a boda boda, usually he books a car, which is more expensive. I recommend a boda boda. With a car, you will not be able to reach the villages I went to, as there are no roads to get there by car and it’s a definitely much more adventurous with a motorbike taxi. Robert is a nice man who gave me a lot of information and was helpful in any way he could. For that, I give him a high rating! Definitely 5 points. Unfortunately I can’t do the same for the guesthouse. Robert wanted to charge me €88.00 / $100.00 for rooms that are not worth more than €13.00 – 18.00 / €15.00 – $20.00. I told him how I felt and he understood and said he would change that. He gave me a “good price” of € 25.00 / $28.00. In my first room, the toilet flush didn’t work, so I changed rooms and the bathroom was so dirty I had to ask them to clean it. He was apologetic about this and I wouldn’t mention it if he wasn’t asking for so much money for a room. The place is a 15 minute drive from Kumi, the next big city, so it’s not even central. You’re kind of forced to eat there. They severed me a huge lunch and dinner, which I didn’t order—I was served enough for 4 people, Robert ate with me. They just placed lots of food in front of me and didn’t tell me how much it would cost (even though I asked) until the end. It ended up being around €8.00 / $9.00. That sounds like little, but that’s a lot in Uganda. You can buy three meals for that amount. I told him after the first meal that it was too much and I didn’t want to order all that food. But the same thing happened the next day. I know their intentions were good and a tourist might not notice these things, but for me it wasn’t right and I told him so, too. Again, he understood why I felt this way and I have a feeling they will change things. If you go to Kumi, contact Robert at Akalabai for the tour—it will be a great adventure. As for the guesthouse, you can stay there, I’m sure improvements will be made over time.

I PAID

25,00 € / 28,00 $ pro Nacht, Frühstück inklusive

LOCATION

Kumi

MY RATING

3 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

http://www.akalabai.com

J-FREIGH HOTEL

I booked this place as a last minute solution. It was cheap and looked okay on booking.com. I have to admit, the surrounding area did not look that safe, but the hotel is safe. There was a guard at the gate that checks your car before entering, even the trunk. Because the hotel is so big, I don’t recommend leaving valuables in the room. The rooms were clean, I had a balcony with a nice view of Kampala and an avocado tree in front of my room. The breakfast was basic but just fine: Nescafé, omelet, chapatti, and fruit. In the evening, I wanted a drink. There was a bar but they only served beer and there was no one there, that was quite funny. The next day, I needed a place to work in peace until my next appointment, so they built up a table for me, after seeing me working with my laptop on my lap in the lobby. What I can generally say about Ugandans is that they are so friendly, helpful, and nice! It’s a totally okay place to stay a night!

I PAID

€ 22.00 / $25.20 a night, incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Kampala

MY RATING

3,5 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.booking.com/hotel/ug/j-frigh.html

MADAGASCAR

Mora Mora

NEIGHBORING COUNTRIESComoros, Mozambique
CAPITALAntananarivo
LAND AREA592.000 km²
POPULATION26,7 Mio
CURRENCYAriary
1
KM
1
TRAVEL DAYS
1
PHOTOS
OPEN
OPEN

INFORMATION

TRAVELED KM

Antananarivo -> 175 km Antsirabe -> 484 km Morondava -> 657 km Antananarivo -> 1.109 km Diego-Suarez -> 244 km Ankify Harbor -> 26,5 km Nosy Be -> 618,1 Antananarivo

COSTS

Flight one way: €450.42 / $512.42
Two domestic flights: €535.76 / $609.32
Travel costs for 15 days: €1,096.38 / $1,2447.73
Visa on arrival: €35.00 / $37.00

ACCOMMODATIONS

MAISON LOVASOA

This place is smack in the center of the city, which makes it really easy to reach sightseeing spots by foot. If you go by taxi, you’ll get stuck in traffic. I stayed here upon arrival and before my departure. They were not very good at communicating whether I would get a pick-up, which was a bit frustrating. But when I arrived, everything went smoothly. It’s always important to organize a pick-up before you arrive, it’s much safer. The staff is really nice but only two of them spoke English. So it did get complicated sometimes….One of the staff members accompanied me into town to take some pictures, I gave him a little tip for that and he was really happy!
The rooms are nice and clean and you have your own bathroom, although the water in the shower takes a really long time to get hot. They have a small basic menu. I would recommend eating out, there are a lot of places around. The breakfast is basic and okay but not included. They have WiFi which usually works quite well. At this place, you definitely get good value for your money. I would stay here again!
When going to the airport during the daytime, calculate at least 2–3 hours to get there. You actually only need an hour but the traffic can get really bad!

Info: I got a pick-up for €14.00 / $15.80

I PAID

Single room: €17.00 / $19.20

LOCATION

Antanarivo

MY RATING

3,5 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.booking.com/hotel/mg/maison-lovasoa.en-gb.html

ANTSIRABE HOTEL

There are a lot of hotels where you can stay. Antsirabe is also said to be really a safe city in Madagascar. This place is not so central but the value for your money is good. The rooms are clean, with adjoining bathrooms and if the water is on, there is water, although with little pressure. One day I only had a bucket shower. They brought me hot water but the pressure was better than the actual shower, so I was quite okay with it… They have WiFi and a restaurant serving a few basic dishes for lunch or dinner. The staff was really nice and friendly and helped me find my guide (Yves, see below). Breakfast is not included. In Madagascar hotels, a typical breakfast consists of baguette, jam and butter, and eggs, plus a glass of juice. This is not a hotel for hanging out and relaxing but it’s totally okay to sleep here, for me it was perfect.

I PAID

Single room: €15.00 / $17.00 a night, not incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Antsirabe

MY RATING

3,5 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.booking.com/hotel/mg/antsirabe.en-gb.html

Guide Tip:
Yves was my guide for 4 days. We had a lot of laughs, at the same time he takes his business seriously! He organized a hotel in Morondava for me, which in the end was a better option than what I had originally booked online. In a lot of ways he was a big help.
Email: yvestours@gmail.com
Facebook: Yves Madagascar Tour Guide
Tel: +261 34 29 438 92
Live Antsirabe Madagascar
Tour organizer all of the islands
Biking, Trekking, Adventure, Car rental

Tips to eat out in Antsirabe:
From fish to beefsteak here are two restaurants I was recommended:
Zamdina and Pousse pousse

HOTEL TRECICOGNE

The street is lined by a lot of hotels which reminded me of other typical tourist areas. However, in the beginning of December there are hardly any tourists around because that’s when the rainy season begins and with it the off-season. So, sometimes you can try to get a little bargain on the price in hotels. In this case I didn’t. The room was small but just okay and it had an adjoining bathroom and a fan (it’s really hot). You have a little balcony and sitting spot where you can watch the locals coming out of the water with their fishing nets and going about their daily lives. Breakfast is not included in the price but you can order the typical baguette and eggs.
They have a restaurant where you can enjoy amazing fresh fish for around €4.00 – 5.00 / $4.50 –5.50, delicious! They also have WiFi which works well and some of the staff speak English. I rented a tuk-tuk for €25.00 / $28.00 for the day to do my story and to go to the Alley of the Baobabs. Most people drive there with a car and usually do so to either see the sun set or rise, which is most likely a little more expensive. The main market in Morondava had a great variety of fresh fish and fruits, I think it’s a nice one to visit if in town, just look after your stuff.

I PAID

Single room: €19.00 / $21.50 a night, not incl. breakfast

HAMBURG

Morondava

MY RATING

4 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g298273-d2289952-Reviews-Hotel_Trecicogne_Morondava-Morondava_Toliara_Province.html

HOMELIDAYS

This place is around 500 meters away from the airport. Yves, my guide, recommend it. It’s a little family run guest house, nothing fancy but ok for one night. First, I had a room that was small and dark and I was thinking: “I can’t sleep here.” Then the woman asked me if everything was okay, so I asked if she had another room. She said: “Yes, that room is more for a man.” I agree. I had to pay a few extra ariary but it was worth it to have a good night’s sleep. It was raining, so the woman brought me an omelet to my room. For breakfast, which was not included in the price, I was served baguette and some jam and coffee in my room. When I went to the airport in the morning, one of the staff helped me with my suitcase and brought me to the airport. For that, I of course gave him a tip. It’s convenient to stay here if you have an early plane to catch, but you might be able to find better options. They speak English.

I PAID

Single room: €19.20 / $21.70 a night, not incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Antanarivo

MY RATING

2,5 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.booking.com/hotel/ug/casa-lodges-mbale.de.html

VILLA JEANNETTE

This is a special place run by two French men. Thomas, the manager (who speaks English as well) was very helpful and considerate when I arrived. We enjoyed a yummy lunch together that was prepared for the staff. On the day I left, Thomas asked me what I would like to eat and then went shopping and the housekeeper prepared an amazing dinner for me. Thomas has a good heart and a bad sense of business which I hope people will not take advantage of. He will go out of his way to help you. He won’t ask for it but I recommend to always offer an adequate “thank you” at the end. There is a kitchen where you can prepare your own food and a housekeeper who will wash your laundry or cook for you for a small “thank you,” too. When I needed a ride, Thomas took me around on his motorcycle and helped me take night shots. It’s a simple place but set up with a lot of love. You won’t have the perfect shower or WiFi and you will only have a fan in your room, but you’ll have an authentic and pleasant stay! I can very much recommend this place!
Thank you Thomas and I really enjoyed this city.

I PAID

A single room with a bathroom: €12.00 / $13.70 a night, not incl. breakfast

WHERE TO EAT IN DIEGO

You can eat at one of the many street stalls, which I would definitely recommend. Ask the people at Villa Jeannette, they will point out the best ones to you.
I also really enjoyed eating on the rooftop of Hotel Terrasse du Voyeur. They had great food and fresh juices for a good price and a beautiful view overlooking the city.

LOCATION

Diego-Suarez

MY RATING

4 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.booking.com/hotel/mg/villa-jeannette

VILLA LUNA

This place is located right on the ocean. It’s a 15 minute drive outside of Hell-Ville, the capital of Nosy Be. It’s very quiet as there are only around 3 rooms. On arrival, they cut down a coconut from a tree as a welcome drink for me. I had a little apartment with a kitchen, a living-room, a bathroom and a terrace facing the sea and a little island. You can borrow a kayak from the guest house to get there. When I was there it was full moon, so the tide was low, but when it’s not, the ocean will be deep enough to swim and you’ll have practically the whole beach to yourself. They have a small menu featuring yummy lunch and dinner at a reasonable price. They organized a guide for me (his name was Ronaldo) which was a big help as I had so little time and everything was already set up on arrival. Ronaldo picked me up at the hotel and drove me around on a motorbike. The staff was very friendly and spoke a little English. I felt really safe here and it was the perfect place to relax after working. You will find plenty of places to eat and drink here, and in the capital even good coffee. There are a lot of Italian restaurants, as 70 percent of the tourists here are from Italy.
You can get to Nosy Be by boat, which will take longer and is a bit more adventurous, or you can travel by plane, which is a lot more expensive (€ 260.00 / $ 296.50 one way from Antananarivo) but also a lot faster. The only downside of Villa Luna is that you are not that flexible, if you don’t have a car. Tuk-tuk Taxis have to drive all the way out to fetch you, so there’s not really any way of making bargains there.

I PAID

Price per room: €30.00 – 40.00 / $34.19 – 45.58 a night, not incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Nosy Be

MY RATING

4 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.tripadvisor.co.za/VacationRentalReview-g9859539-d12416787-Villa_Luna_Villa_pieds_dans_l_eau_CALME_QUIET_PLACE-Ambondrona_Nosy_Be_Antsiranana_P.html

ZAMBIA

Let’s Explore

NEIGHBORING COUNTRIESAngola, DR-Congo, Tansania, Malawi, Mozambique, Simbabwe, Botswana, Nambia
CAPITALLusaka
LAND AREA752.614 km²
POPULATION15,7 Mio
CURRENCYZambian Kwacha
1
KM
1
TRAVEL DAYS
1
PHOTOS
OPEN
OPEN

INFORMATION

TRAVELED KM

Lusaka -> 193 km Siavonga -> 496 km Livingstone -> 194 km Sesheke -> 680 km Lusaka

COSTS

Flight one way: €598.07 / $685.15
Travel costs for 17 days: €998.33 / $1069.01
Visa for 30 days, you receive it on arrival: €43.64 / $50.00

ACCOMMODATIONS

NATWANGE BACKPACKERS

This place is in a good area with a new spacious and modern shopping mall nearby. Everyone goes to the mall here, even for drinks in the evening, so it’s nice to have a good one in the neighborhood.
You can get a dorm bed here, a double or single room with a shared bathroom or a room with a bathroom. Prices range from €9.00 – €40.00 / $10.00 – $46.00 a night. The place has a pool, a patio, and a large garden to sit and chill in and they have wifi that works.
The rooms are clean but also basic. Breakfast is included but it’s also very basic (an egg, 2 pieces of toast, peanut butter, jam and instant coffee).
I found the staff friendly but not efficient. It took them forever to bring breakfast and once, when I needed a bottle of water, one of the staff members had taken off with the key for the refrigerator (who locks the refrigerator anyhow..?) and no-one knew when that person was coming back. I waited around an hour for a bottle of water, things like that need to be managed better. Still, I stayed here twice because the price was reasonable for what you get. But make sure they charge you the price you booked for online. They wanted to charge me more than the amount I had booked for but they changed the receipt when I pointed it out.
They also have a small menu featuring a few simple dishes.
A pick-up from and to the airport can be organized.

Info: I got a pick-up for €18.50 / $20.90

I PAID

Single Room: €22.00 / $25.00 a night incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Lusaka

MY RATING

3,5 out of 5 Stars

TIPS TO EAT OUT AND SLEEP IN LUSAKA

The Royal Dill: Good quality Indian food, it just takes a little until the food arrives://www.tripadvisor.de/Restaurant_Review-g293843-d7239375-Reviews-The_Royal_Dil-Lusaka_Lusaka_Province.html

Lilayi Lodge / Eat and Sleep: Here you’ll be surrounded by wildlife, you’ll get great food and it’s a great place to sleep, too. Just a little expensive, but if you want to treat yourself to something nice then it’s a great place to be: https://www.lilayi.com

LAKE KARIBA INNS

Although I was working, the moment I arrived, I wanted to put my feet up and relax. They have two pools, a bar, a lounge and restaurant serving a mix of local and western food. The rooms are spacious and clean with proper AC.
At the bar and refurbished restaurant you have an amazing view over lake Kariba. There are zebras and impala strolling freely in the garden, so you can get really close to the animals, I loved that.
On Saturday they had a sunset gin and tonic bar with all sorts of different gins and tonics—I really liked that, too! For breakfast they provide a large buffet with everything you like. The lunch and dinner menu was also very good and very fresh and modern, you can get healthy quality meals at a good price. The staff is very attentive, a lot of love and thought has gone into the place. The hotel was a bit out of my budget, but they helped me out and sponsored my stay! Thank you so much! If I was on vacation, I would definitely stay here!

I PAID

Double room: €100.00 / $114.00 a night, incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Siavonga

MY RATING

3,5 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

http://www.karibainns.com

TABONIA GUEST HOUSE

There are two Tabonina Guest houses, an old one and a new one. I was traveling with a friend in this week, and we shared a double room and split the price. The first night we were in the new place and had a room without AC, just with a fan, but you need AC. It just costs a tiny bit more to have a room with AC. We switched to the new place because of that, it was a bit further outside of town but it didn’t make a dramatic difference: I needed 20 minutes to walk to the city center from the guest house. The room, especially in the older Tabonina Guest House, was very nice and clean, the water pressure in the bathroom was not the best but that’s normal for an average guest house. There is a pool in the middle of the property, nothing fancy and it’s a bit dirty to swim in, but you can still chill there. Breakfast is included, but there isn’t very much to it. If you want, you can order pressed coffee instead of the instant version and scrambled eggs at a surcharge. The owners were helpful and nice. I would stay here again

I PAID

Double room for two people / no AC: €43.00 / $49.00 a night, incl. breakfast
Double room for two people / with an AC: €43.50/ $49.50 a night, incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Livingstone

MY RATING

3,5 out of 5 Stars

TIPS TO EAT IN LIVINGSTONE

The Elephant Café is said to be Zambia’s best restaurant. I would have loved to eat here, surrounded by elephants. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the time or the money…but I think I can safely recommend it:
https://elephant.cafe

The Royal Livingstone Hotel

If you want to go for a nice dinner and can’t afford the Elephant Café, then come here. I wouldn’t be able to afford to sleep here, but they have a sunset bar with a spectacular view on the Zambezi where you can still see the Victoria Falls. I loved it, it had such a perfect atmosphere. They have a restaurant that is quite expensive, definitely European prices. Here, they serve fish, steak but also local dishes like the mopane worm, in fancy versions. They have a huge beautiful pool and zebras strolling through the garden.
Don’t confuse this place with “The David Livingstone Hotel” that’s next door and not as nice for an evening outing.
https://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g298089-d302798-Reviews-Royal_Livingstone_Victoria_Falls_Zambia_Hotel_by_Anantara-Livingstone_Southern_Province.html

Café Zambezi
Yummy local food (including mopane worms) near the city center, good for lunch at a good price:
https://www.tripadvisor.de/Restaurant_Review-g298089-d2205102-Reviews-Cafe_Zambezi-Livingstone_Southern_Province.html

The Golden Leaf
An Indian Restaurant with good food and at moderate prices, near the city center:
https://www.tripadvisor.de/Restaurant_Review-g298089-d3189385-Reviews-Golden_Leaf-Livingstone_Southern_Province.html

AT GEORGIE’S

In a small village called Likanda, right outside of the town of Sesheke, on the Zambezi river, I found George by chance. I couldn’t find a place to stay and nobody was responding to my short notice request and then someone referred me to him. Everyone knows and loves “Georgie”, as they call him in Sesheke. Without him, I would have never been able to find the beautiful story of the “last gentleman of the Zambezi” for the cookbook. He showed me around and helped me get a good picture of the area.
George’s property reflects his love for wood and nature, he’s a carpenter and runs a small timber business. He let us stay in his two beautiful guest rooms that he built single handedly, each has a large wooden double bed that he also built himself.
It was an amazing experience to be guests in his home where my friend and I ate well and slept well. I learned a lot and saw a lot in a short time thanks to his help. If you are ever in the area and you need a nice place to crash for a few nights, then give George a call or WhatsApp him!
You’ll love it! Thank you Georgie!

LOCATION

Sesheke District

MY RATING

5 out of 5 Stars

PHONE

+260 6995941

CARE FOR KIDS ORPHANAGE

I spent the last days of my trip, including Christmas, with my dad at his orphanage farm “Care for Kids”, where around 50 children live. On the property they have a kindergarten and a primary school for the younger kids. The older ones go to a public school. Right now, my dad is building three more schools to take in more kids in the surrounding areas. Next to the schools my dad has planted vegetables such as cabbage, rape and beans and of course some maize that the orphanage uses for self consumption. They have chickens and two cows that give enough milk so the kids can have some every day. My dad built this farm over the past 15 years and without an organization behind him. He needs all the support he can get. So if you’re interested in getting involved or supporting the project then contact my dad at: care_for_kids_zambia@yahoo.com

LOCATION

Lusaka

WEBSITE

http://www.careforkidszambia.com

ETHIOPIA

Land of Origins

NEIGHBORING COUNTRIESSomalia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Eritrea, Djibouti
CAPITALAddis Abeba
LAND AREA1,1 Millionen km²
POPULATION109,02 Mio
CURRENCYEthiopian Birr
1
KM
1
TRAVEL DAYS
1
PHOTOS
OPEN
OPEN

INFORMATION

TRAVELED KM

Addis Ababa -> 589 km Jinka -> 118 km Turmi -> 118 km Jinka -> 260 km Arba Minch – > 32 km (Dorze Village) Chencha -> 32 km Arba Minch -> 319 km Yirga Chefe -> 122 km Hawassa -> 279 km Addis Ababa -> 772 km Mek’ele -> 103 km Hawzen -> 23 km Magab -> 23 km Hawzen -> 103 km Mek’ele -> 772 km Addis Ababa

COSTS

Flight one way to Addis plus one-way flight to Berlin: €646.00 / $734.50
Travel costs for 20 days / including 3 domestic flights: €1841.75 / $2094.09
Visa for 30 days / apply online: €87.00 / $99.00

WICHTIGE INFO

If you fly in with Ethiopian Airlines, you get BIG discounts on all domestic flights. I couldn’t figure out how to get that price online but in any Ethiopian Airlines office around the country, you’ll get the correct price and can book on super short notice (a day or two before). If I had known this earlier, it would have saved me around €150.00 / $170.00.

ACCOMMODATIONS

GABI HOME STAY

Someone in Ethiopia once said to me “cheap is expensive” and that really often is the case. I booked this guest room because I wanted to save money but I wouldn’t stay there again. First of all, the room was very basic, without even a chair or a table. I was sharing a bathroom with three other rooms, and it was just dirty all the time. Then there was a power cut and electricity was off for quite a few hours, meaning I couldn’t work on my laptop or use the WIFI.

The young man who lives in the house and rents the rooms out had a really sweet housekeeper and breakfast was included, but it was also very basic. If you wanted her to cook you meals or make you coffee, they charged you based on a price list that was way too expensive for the standard of this place — when you first arrive, you don’t have a feeling yet for the country’s prices…

Before arrival, I wrote to the guest house at least three times, asking if they would pick me up, and right before take-off from Zambia, I finally received a message that someone would be there. However, on arrival I would never have found that person, had someone at the airport in Addis Ababa not helped me by making a call and describing what I looked liked. He didn’t even bother to hold up a sign with my name. He then charged me €7.00 / $8.00 for a pickup to his place which was no further than a seven minute drive away from the airport.

I’m writing this because when leaving the country, I paid €48.00 / $54.00 for a night in a decent hotel and the transfer to and from the airport was included. I paid the exact same amount for two nights and an airport transfer in this dumpy guest house.

Of course it was cheaper but it wasn’t worth it. I spent New Year’s Eve alone here too — not a highlight of my trip. There are a few more things I could add, but summed up, there are better places to stay.

Info: I got a pick up for €7.00 / $8.00

I PAID

Single room: €17.00 / $18.00 a night, incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Addis Ababa

MY RATING

2,5 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.booking.com/hotel/et/z-39-s-home-stay.en-gb.html

NEXUS HOTEL

This is the hotel I stayed at on my last night, the airport shuttle is included in the price. I have to admit, it looks a bit nicer on their website than in real life…;) It’s not a hotel with a personal atmosphere but it had a little spa and fitness area which I used, as I didn’t go jogging along the roadside in Addis. They have a little rooftop bar with a view of the city, which was nice. The lunch restaurant buffet was pretty bad, but honestly, buffets are rarely good. They also offer a half-day rate, so you can check out at 8:00 pm, that was perfect for me because I had a flight to catch at midnight. This place is not “the place to stay” but it has everything you need and it’s 5 minutes away from the airport.
Info: Airport shuttle included in the accommodation price

I PAID

Single room: €48.00 / $54.00 a night, not incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Addis Ababa

MY RATING

3,5 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.nexusaddis.com

RADISSON BLU HOTEL

I would never have been able to afford this hotel on my low budget. Thank you to  https://www.elbgold.com for sponsoring a week of my stay in Ethiopia while we traveled together and for also sponsoring my international flights to Ethiopia and back to Berlin.
In the end, I learned that Ethiopia is much more expensive than you’d think!
After staying in quite a few very basic hotels and getting used to cold water, showers with no pressure and broken toilet seats, staying here for two nights was like heaven.
The first thing I did was take a really long shower! They have a restaurant with good food, just expensive. Everything is expensive in this hotel! But that’s Africa, too: in a lot of countries you get either moderately priced accommodation or it’s really expensive. Nonetheless, I enjoyed going to the gym, drinking yummy coffee at the coffee shop, having a yummy breakfast, a good shower in a large clean bathroom with big clean towels and sleeping in a comfy bed with fluffy blankets — it was great!
Info: Airport shuttle included in the accommodation price

I PAID

Single room: €186.00/ $211.00 a night, not incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Addis Ababa

MY RATING

3 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.booking.com/hotel/et/radisson-blu-addis-ababa.en-gb.html

EATING OUT IN ADDIS ABABA

Dashen Traditional Ethiopian Restaurant: This place had a nice atmosphere. Sometimes they have live stage shows with music and dancing. The injera is very good in all its variations: vegan, vegetarian or with meat, they do it all very well and it’s reasonably priced
https://www.tripadvisor.de/Restaurant_Review-g293791-d1214041-Reviews-Dashen_Traditional_Ethiopian_Restaurant-Addis_Ababa.html

Nahkala Restaurant / Yemeni Food
Really, really yummy delicious food, especially the bread! They serve it on big plates placed in the middle of the table for everyone to share. The waitresses are all dressed in typical attire and I liked the traditional atmosphere. This place is nice for groups, I wouldn’t go here alone, it wouldn’t be fun…I can’t find a link to the place on the internet but just ask around for it!

ORIT HOTEL

This is not the Hilton, but I was just happy to find a vacant room in the high season (which I didn’t know it was). I was coming directly from Gabi Home Stay, so having my own bathroom seemed pretty nice. They have a restaurant and the food is okay. You’re not too far from the big market and there are ATMs around the area, so it’s all just fine.
If you plan to visit the market, be careful, there will always be someone approaching you, wanting to act as your “guide”, even if you don’t want them to. At the end they will demand money, even if you kept politely telling that child or person that you didn’t need a guide. That’s what happened to me and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
I flew into Jinka from Addis. It’s a new small little airport and flying in saves you a lot of travel time! (cf. the domestic flight tip on the top of the page).

This is where I found my first guide for my first story in Ethiopia, in the Omo Valley. This is also where I found out that tourists are often overcharged! At least in my opinion and in comparison to other African countries. I wanted to get to the Hamar tribe. My guide told me I had to book a car and a driver for two days to do so and that there was no other way. I paid €260.00 / $295.00 just for that. It gave me sleepless nights because it killed my budget but I didn’t have a choice, it was important for this project. The thing is, my “guide”, who spoke English, was a nice guy, super friendly and I really liked his humor, but in the end he didn’t even come along on the two-day trip, he just organized the car and driver who didn’t speak English; I organized the rest on my own (hotel and story). In retrospect, I feel a little ripped off. He knew I wasn’t a tourist and I had explained exactly what it was that I was doing which is also the best PR for him and this region. I didn’t want him to help me for free but at a reasonable price. He said he could only give me a better price if I paid him in dollars (because they get a better exchange rate for it on the black market), but I didn’t have dollars. When I arrived in Turmi, a village which was only three hours away from Jinka, so not a long drive, I had to pay more guide fees and village fees and all sorts of other photo costs. For every picture you take of any tribe person, get ready to pay. That’s fine, except that tribesmen will come up to you with open hands, demanding to take their photo for money. This is a matter on its own, which I’ll get into another time. Enjoying an authentic experience of the Omo Valley is unfortunately not that easy anymore since tourism has arrived in the area. But in the end, I found a beautiful story and in Turmi my guide Kala who was so sweet — there are lots of nice people, you just have to keep your eyes open all the time and do your research before coming! I would probably try and do this whole trip to Jinka and Turmi differently now.
I would take public transport to Turmi and go with the flow from there.

I PAID

Single room: €15.43 / $114.00 a night, not incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Jinka

MY RATING

3 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.tripadvisor.de/Hotel_Review-g1237159-d6703157-Reviews-Orit_Hotel-Jinka_Southern_Nations_Nationalities_and_People_s_Region.html

TURMI HOTEL

Unfortunately, I don’t remember the name of this hotel, which isn’t on booking.com either, but it’s the first hotel on the right hand side before the main road (coming from Jinka) takes a turn left. This is a small village and there is only one main road. There is this one hotel that all guides stop at with their cars, it comes after the ”guide“ meeting point, you’ll know what I mean once you’re there. In any case that hotel is disgusting (I took a look at the rooms and the toilets)! And the hotel directly next to it didn’t make much of an impression on me either. I was so glad I didn’t have to sleep in either of them. On the other hand, I was lucky I found a place at all, there are not many hotels in the village and I hadn’t booked ahead of time. My room in this place was clean and the bathroom was totally okay. Again, this is not the Hilton, but it works for a night.

LOCATION

Turmi

MY RATING

3 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.facebook.com/kala.ayke

DORZE LODGE

Dorze Lodge is situated at an altitude of 2400 meters, on the edge of an escarpment, offering spectacular views. The lodge is overlooking the Nechisar National Park and the Lakes Chamo and Abaya.
I slept here while doing a story in the Dorze Village and it’s the only real place to stay while up in the mountains. You’ll sleep in a traditional Dorze Hut called an ‘elephant hut’ because they have the shape of an elephant, a reminder of the time when there were elephants in this area — really beautiful! And the view in the morning is breathtaking, just wow! There are huts with a bathroom and a terrace and an amazing view that cost around €30.00 / $35.00 a night. I paid the same for a single hut with nothing but a bed and a chair and access to a communal bathroom outside.

The communal toilets were disgusting, the showers too (couldn’t shower), just really dirty. While writing this and doing my research, I find out that, according to the lodge’s webpage, the single room for one person costs only €13.00/$15.00 a night, while a nice hut with a bathroom costs €30.00 / $35.00. My guide charged me double the price for a small room without a bathroom!
At night, the electricity is switched off and only gets switched on again after sunrise, so you’ll need a flash light. I would stay here again if charged the correct price and only in a hut with a bathroom. The lodge also has a restaurant with a cozy fire place. Just do your business directly with the lodge and not with a guide!
When at Dorze village, try to also catch the beautiful market in Cencia (usually on Saturday but ask again to be sure). It’s a 30 minute Bajaj drive from Dorze.

I PAID

Double room: €30.00 / $35.00 a night, not incl. breakfastk

LOCATION

Dorze village

MY RATING

3,5 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

www.dorzelodge.com

MERKA TO PENSION

I had to spend one night in a hotel in the city but I would not recommend this one to anyone. My guide took me here, he said it was cheap and close to the bus station. Both is true. However, I felt totally unsafe, like anyone could break in. There were drunk men in the restaurant downstairs hitting on me…and then I got woken in the middle of the night to the sounds of loud prayers from the mosque next door, I could hardly sleep because this went on until I had to get up. Altogether, there are just better places to stay, but you can’t beat the price…;)

I PAID

Single room: €10.80 / $12.10 a night, not incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Arba Minch

MY RATING

1,5 out of 5 Stars

EATING OUT IN ARBA MINCH

JEMB Restaurant
I had to look for a place to eat, since there was no proper food at my hotel. And this place I can recommend. I think it’s more of a lunch place, because there were hardly any guests when I was there in the evening, but what I ate was good. They have a variety of dishes from fish and meat to vegetarian:
https://www.tripadvisor.de/Restaurant_Review-g776853-d10046997-Reviews-JEBM_Restaurant-Arba_Minch_Southern_Nations_Nationalities_and_People_s_Region.html

HOTEL HABESCHA

Online, this place doesn’t look very good but it was great! The room was clean, I had hot water and electricity. They have a small restaurant where I ate one of my best injera while in Ethiopia, and for a good price too. Although they couldn’t speak much English, the staff was really sweet and helpful!
When I left, the man working at the place helped me find my minibus back into the city and carried my suitcase (which is pretty heavy) on his shoulders to the street. He wanted to help me save money. There was also a little market I visited on my own. The locals were a bit shocked and amused that I wasn’t with a guide or a group. I went into this clothing store, looking for a certain cloth for a photo but they didn’t have what I was looking for, so the clerk went outside with me to find a vendor who could help me. He stayed with me and helped me until I found something. In the end, he didn’t ask for or expect money from me, I was very touched by that! I would come back to this area to see more. The hotel is definitely not luxurious but for me it was perfect! I didn’t find this hotel on booking.com, instead I called and reserved the old fashion way..:)

I PAID

Single room: €12.36 / $14.05 a night, incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Hawzen

MY RATING

4 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Hotel-Resort/Habesha-hotel-hawzen-1742308025793171/

Here are two more upscale alternative boutique hotels near Hawzen, nestled between the Gheralta Mountains:

Gheralta Lodge
https://gheraltalodgetigrai.com

Korkor Lodge
https://korkorlodge.com

Guide Hawzen / Magab

My guide here was Haile. He took me to his home in the Gheralta Valley. This area was affected badly by the infamous 1980s famine. That’s why I was here, to talk to people about how that could have happened. I was very touched by his beautiful mother and her story and experiences. At the end, Haile understood what it was that I was doing and helped me get better deals wherever he could. He was a good guide.

You should know, however, that you do not need a guide to climb the Gheralta mountains. You only need someone to help you carry your stuff. That someone you will find at the starting point of the hiking spot. Also, you don’t need to get to the hiking spots by jeep, take a motor cycle taxi, it’s way cheaper (they’ll pick you up too, when you’ve come back down) and it’s much more adventurous. You’ll find Haile and most of the guides in the small village of Magab which is the next village after Hawzen. There is a tourist office where you have to pay a “tourist fee” on top having to pay for a guide. The market in Magab is also definitely worth looking at.
Email: Hailekorkor@gmail.com
Telephone: +251 91 426 3799

PARROT GUEST HOUSE

This is a simple but clean place where I had a room with my own bathroom, but most of all it is where I found my last story. While eating dinner in their little restaurant, fellow guests asked for a glass of honey wine. I was curious, so I ordered a glass too. It turned out the mother of the owner makes some of Ethiopia’s best honey wine. I asked if I could cook with her and that worked out, which turned into a beautiful last story in Ethiopia.
If you ever stay in this guest house, ask to see the wine bar of Tsehay Abraha. It doesn’t really have a name because everyone knows it.
As for the guesthouse, the breakfast was simple but it takes some time for them to prepare. They also offer simple dinners. The one thing I would be mindful of, is making sure you pay the rate you booked online. I got confused with the different currencies and only later realized I paid more than I should have. Mek’ele is Ethiopia’s second largest city, and there is a lot you can do here, I liked it.

I PAID

Single room: €23.30 / $26.40 a night, incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Mek’ele

MY RATING

4 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.booking.com/hotel/et/parrot-pension.en-gb.html

SIERRA LEONE

The Little Jewel

NEIGHBORING COUNTRIESGuinea, Liberia
CAPITALFreetown
Fläche71.740 km²
POPULATION7,5 Mio
CURRENCYLeone
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INFORMATION

TRAVELED KM

Freetown -> 241 km Bo -> 433 km Koidu -> 128 km Kenema – > 64 km Bunumbu-> 64 km Kenema -> 68 km Bo -> 241 km Freetown -> 68 km Tokeh -> 186 km

COSTS

Flight : €716.03 / $813.50
Travel costs for 44 days: €2658.31 / $2984.52
Visa / applied beforehand: €100.00 / $113.00

WICHTIGE INFORMATION

Visa: The first time I went to Sierra Leone, I had to apply for a visa ahead of time. I needed to provide a lot of things like my itinerary, hotel bookings as well as a letter of invitation. It cost €100 and I needed to plan at least a month ahead to get the visa in time. In November 2019, when I went the second time, the government had changed the process and now you can get your visa for $80 on arrival.
Getting to Freetown: The airport in on a peninsula. To get to Freetown, you have to cross over with a boat. It costs $40 one way and you’ll get the tickets on arrival. I knew there had to be a cheaper way to get to the other side so, I stayed one night in Lungi near the airport and crossed the next day, also in a speedboat, but with the locals. It cost me $4. To find out where those boats depart, you’ll have to get a local to guide you there and it would be best also to cross over accompanied by a local who knows the ropes. That’s how I did it. The speedboat was in good condition, not overcrowed and a boat left around every 30 minutes.
Sierra Leone is one of the poorest countries in the world, it’s cheap, but not for foreigners. Hotels are expensive as well as any form transport other than local.

ACCOMMODATIONS

LUNGI AIRPORT LODGE

I got a pick up for $10.00 from the airport which is a ridiculous price because the hotel was literally a five minute drive away. But when you’re new in a country, it’s always better to have someone waiting for you. The room was clean, the food was okay and the staff was friendly and helpful. Actually, it was the night guard Mike, who was working at the Lodge who the next day took me to the local boat and accompanied me to the other side. It was an authentic but totally safe experience. I had to pay the hotel in advance which I thought was a bit strange but other than that it was a perfectly fine place to stay for one night.

I PAID

Single room: €42.98 / $48.00 a night, incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Lungi

MY RATING

3 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.booking.com/hotel/sl/lungi-airport-lodge.en-gb.html

AIRBNB – MANON VAN PAASCHEN

I thought I would be staying with an expat who could help me with some tips but instead it was just a house with a couple of rooms, for which an expat was organizing the bookings but wasn’t even in Sierra Leone. It’s for self caterers, but there are caretakers and a cook who for a small thank you will go shopping and cook for you if you ask her to. The caretakers were very sweet and helped wherever they could. The electricity was a problem, that is a general problem in Sierra Leone but it’s not something that can’t be fixed. I had to give them money a couple of times to buy petrol for the generator so I could charge my laptop and work. The room was okay, with an adjoining bathroom but sometimes the water tank was empty and I had to shower with a bucket. Right next door to the house, there is a church where the pastor literally screams through a microphone while „praying“ and preaching and there were weird and loud chanting noises until the late evening. This is really horrible and you can’t sleep when it’s happening. The place is near Lumley which is a good area to be and near the beach front with restaurants, hotels, and cafés are, though I wouldn’t swim at that beach. All in all I liked my stay here.

I PAID

Single room: €33.00 / $37.00 a night, self catering

LOCATION

Freetown

MY RATING

3,5 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.airbnb.de/users/show/22140290

DOHA’S HOTEL AND RESTAURANT

This is a bigger hotel and supposedly the best in town.

It has a pool that’s clean and the food is okay but the service, although friendly is super slow and the rooms are dark and a bit dingy, nonetheless with hot water, just passable for the price. The electricity is only on from 6:00 pm until 10:00 am. After I explained the project, the owner gave me a better deal for the three nights that I stayed. Usually, the price per night is around $50 and I paid around $40. All in all it’s a good place to stay in Bo as there are not that many options.

And I found the owner amusing and friendly.

I PAID

Single room: €37.00 / $40.00 a night, self catering

LOCATION

Bo

MY RATING

3,5 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

http://www.dohashotel.com

SHINE ON SIERRA LEONE / SHINE ON STAY

I stayed here for quite a while and really enjoyed my stay. The place is clean, the room is nice, they serve good food and the staff is super friendly. They have a small pool to take a dip in (when it gets really hot). Shine on Sierra Leone have many NGO projects that help the community. I have to say a big thank you to them, as they were amazing and helped me find one of my stories as well as giving me a large discount for my stay. The people that stay here mostly work for NGOs or in the mining / diamond business. There are no tourists here because there are just so few tourists in the country altogether. One problem you face here as well, is that you don’t have electricity all day. At times that made it very difficult for me to write because I depended on my laptop. In the evening, throughout the night and in the morning you have electricity.
But I would defiantly stay here again and warmly recommend it!

I PAID

Single room normal rate around: €41.00 / $45.00 a night, incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Koidu Town

MY RATING

4,5 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.shineonandstay.com

LUAWA RESORT

Stay at the Paloma Guest House if you can afford it ($50 / a night). For me that was too expensive, so I came here, to the Luawa Resort which is not much of a resort…I seriously considered changing hotels at my arrival, but as I had to pay right away, I don’t think they would have given me a refund. So I decided to grit my teeth and bear it. It felt a bit dodgy and I didn’t want to sleep in the bed sheets and my room was pretty dark. Without lights you could hardly see anything. The electricity was off most of time, even at night, which is a horror because it’s so hot and sleeping in a room without a fan or AC is unbearable. The place is on the outskirts of town so you need a motor taxi to go anywhere even just to eat something, because the kitchen at the resort wasn’t really running… So I was forced to go out for dinner but I really didn’t like driving through the dark on a motorcycle with a driver that I didn’t know – in the end all went well. They have a pool but the water is so murky you don’t want to swim in it, the breakfast was white bread omelet and Nescafe, basically what everyone serves. And although the staff was friendly I don’t think I would stay here again…

I PAID

Single room: €26.40 / $30.00 incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Kenema

MY RATING

2,5 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.facebook.com/LUAWA-Resort-HOTEL-Kenema-1515531115353341/

OASIS GUEST HOUSE

Hotels in Freetown are expensive, one reason being that there aren’t that many, the second that the people staying in hotels are always in town for business hence hotels and guest houses can demand such high prices. All of the foreigners I met along the way were here for work. More than one person advised me to check out the Oasis Guest house but a room cost around $65 / night, too expensive for my budget. I needed a place where I could work in peace, have running wifi and good food, that was inspiring and affordable. When I explained my project to the owner and that I was paying this out of my own pocket, she gave me a discount. I stayed here around 2 weeks but in that time I slept in three different rooms. All the rooms are clean with an AC and fan and an adjoining bathroom, the problem is the frogs outside. They were so loud they kept me up for nights, sometimes I only slept a few hours. And I tried everything, earplugs, pillow over my head,everything…After trying out two rooms, I asked if I could have the room with the least windows. It was the most dark and unattractive room they have, but I was finally able to sleep.
The food is good and you get fresh juices, pancakes for breakfast, salads, good coffee and running electricity and wifi! So, if you don’t sleep here, it’s always a good place to stop by for lunch, dinner or a coffee.

I PAID

Single room: €60.00 / $65.00 a night, incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Freetown

MY RATING

4 out of 5 Sternen

WEBSITE

https://www.visitsierraleone.org/oasis/

TIPP IN FREETOWN

The Country Lodge
If you want to relax then I would definitely recommend the Country Lodge. It has a great clean pool and beautiful view, good food and you actually can order an espresso. If you want to have a pool day, they do charge a fee of around $10 but it’s totally worth it. I can’t say anything about the rooms but I’m sure they’re expensive…The old houses, remnants from before the civil war, on the way up to the lodge are an absolute must-see in Freetown!

WEBSEITE

https://www.countrylodgesl.com

TOKEH BEACH RESORT

This resort is on one of the country’s most beautiful beaches, in fact if you ask me, Tokeh is one of Africa’s most beautiful beaches. You have white sand, clear blue water and hardly anyone there. I wanted to go somewhere nice to reward myself after the tough journey through Salone (Sierra Leone). This place has nice clean rooms in different categories and basic but clean huts (shared bathroom).
It’s not super fancy but nice and welcoming. It’s run by Europeans and they do try cater to the wishes of that sort of clientele. You’ll have a problem with electricity (like everywhere in the country) but you have nice staff, a good menu (European prices) and a beautiful calm beach that is perfect for swimming. To get there is a bit of a hassle, you either take a taxi from the Lungi airport, which costs around $100 (a 3 hour drive) or you get a driver to take you from Freetown, a 1.5 hour drive which costs around $25. Tokeh is actually very close to Freetown but a small part of the road is said to be impossible to travel by car, so you’re forced to take a detour to get there. I remember when I was sitting at the breakfast table watching the waves I was thinking: this is a place I want to come back to and stay longer. In November 2019 I went back.

I PAID

For a hut / shared bathroom: €36.00 / $40.00 for a hut a night, incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Tokeh Beach / Freetown

MY RATING

4 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

http://tokehbeach.com

THE PLACE

There are two hotels along the Tokeh beach. The „Tokeh Beach Resort“ and a resort called „The Place“ 500 meters further down, which you’ll find is the more posh version of a resort. I took a look at the bungalows and have to say they’re really nice but I found it a bit strange that there weren’t any real seating arrangements on the porch, especially for the price! They have a pool as well (which you don’t really need) and the food (European prices) in the restaurant was good but the staff was very slow. Altogether it’s a nice place that I can recommend but they could polish it up on a few ends.

I PAID

A bungalow starts at: €135.00 / $150.00 a night, incl. breakfast

LOCATION

Tokeh Beach / Freetown

MY RATING

4 out of 5 Stars

WEBSITE

https://www.stayattheplace.com

ONEVILLAGE PARTNERS

On this journey, I bumped into OneVillage Partners, an NGO that supports and trains communities to help them change their surroundings and prosper through their own strength and their own decisions. OneVillage Partners catalyzes community-led transformation in rural Sierra Leone. One euro of each sold book will be going to help build up this project and to help more families, farmers, and communities help themselves. I love what they’re doing and for me this is not charity but a future model that could work´ to build up and strengthen many communities in Africa.

WEBSITE

http://onevillagepartners.org

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