Awesome Southern African cities you should visit in 2023 (Part 2)

The last time I filled you in on which cities you shouldn’t leave Southern Africa without seeing, I did mention that it’s good I have had to learn about my bucket listed cities via blog posts, TV and the like and that without them, I would not even know about certain parts of the world I desire to travel to. Today I am so geared to share with you the other cities around Southern Africa you should visit in 2023 or later. I was happy to have shared on why you should visit cities like Livingstone, Walvis Bay, Cape Town, Dar es salaam and Swakopmund. If this list didn’t make you start your travel plans, I hope to do a good job making you try out the following towns:

1) Mombasa (Kenya)

I once mentioned how Kenya is like literally the epitome of Africa.Very few humans could actually not have coastal cities as their ideal hide out or hangout place. Both the areas in and near Mombasa have a touristic touch but if not a tourist, you will still love Mombasa anyways. This city is known for its history and you could enjoy going down the history lane whilst admiring the Old Town which was the center for trade between the Africans and the Arabs.

Do stop over at Fort Jesus as well on your history tour and learn more there. It is tradition to take pictures of landmarks, so Pembe Za Ndovu should never be left behind without showing some love because this is like the face of Mombasa!

2) Stone Town (Zanzibar)

It’s good to be old school sometimes and seek the things of old. Stone Town is just perfect for this kind of vibe, l mean the place screams ‘history!’ The town has old structures rich in history. Visit the Old Fort of Zanzibar sometimes called The Arab Fort which is right in the heart of Stone Town close to lots of accomodation choices ranging from hostels to 5 star hotels. You will find some local entertainment going on there to keep your spirits up.

Stone Town is the starting point for the refreshing day trips to Prison Island, Nakupenda Island and indeed many other places I did not see. If you happen to be a food lover (especially one in love with seafood and Indian food), Stone Town will just do it for you! I found lots of restaurants and certainly enjoyed the ones I picked.

3) Lusaka (Zambia)

Not that the town is not that touristic but i have met many a traveller that aren’t that into touristic stuff yet travelling. Some travellers like this could enjoy many places in Lusaka like Trotover Farms for those into horses and enjoy some horse riding .

Lusaka boasts some game reserves and you don’t have to go so far off to have a safari experience and the perfect place for this would be Chaminuka Game Reserve which is close to the main airport and do enjoy watching animals.

Restaurants are also an ideal fun place especially for your taste buds. We have restaurants in the likes of Bombay Lounge, Keg restaurant and bar, Radisson Blu Hotel, The Quorum Hotel, Neelkanth Sarovar Premiere, for those who like to keep it fancy. Aside all these activities are others like the night life if that is your thing.

4) Windhoek (Namibia)

Namibia’s capital, Windhoek is a must-go. The city is calm, busy on some days and ideal for a short city getaway. There are historic landmarks like the Christuskirche i found which is the face of Windhoek. So much history attached to this structure! Other structures that captured my attention were the Independence Memorial Museum that focuses on struggle for independence. The museum is very close to the Christuskirche and could be seen in one tour.

I liked Windhoek for its affordable but neat accommodations. There are lots of shopping malls that offer lots of convenience. I loved the drive on the elevated pieces of land in certain parts of the city which was an opportunity to view the city from a better angle.

5) Kasane and Maun (Botswana)

There are many people I have asked about what one could do in Botswana and often times the replies make it appear like there isn’t really much one could do there. Maybe there is a reason some say so but I doubt the two towns Kasane and Maun would agree to that and am thinking so long there is a desert in the country, should be a reason for it to qualify as a place for people like me.

Kasane is a small border town in Botswana that offers the Chobe Safaris. These are famous safaris even on the Zambian side as you will find many Zambian tour companies offering day or more than a day trips to these national parks. This place I must say is elephant territory so you might want to watch out for these big fellows. I saw lots of those and other animals as well like the Impala family.

There are few cheap flights you could find from Kasane to Maun and back and this could give you the opportunity to see the lovely Okavango Delta from above that looks especially incredible!

These are the towns in Southern Africa that you should find a reason to visit.

Nungwi to Kendwa beach hike and everything beautiful in between

How it looked on map😁

I have always been mistaken to belong to a younger generation than the one I belong to. In some cultures this is a good thing while in some, it’s quite a challenge because people judge you based on your body size. I applaud those that watch their weight by checking what food contains religiously but that has never been my thing. What has helped me is exercise.

Being a high school teacher, I have sometimes been mistaken to be a recent allumni because well …. some people think that way, not because I still get in touch with my teen self when working with teens at times but because they think I look young. But what has really helped me stay forever 21 in this confused world of stresses?

So basically, this is the thing: though a teacher, I have taken sport seriously. I have always started aerobics and tennis in schools I have been attached to. I have also always been involved in athletics with the teenagers I teach just to lead by example so to me exercise must be doing some wonders!

I would rather work out than diet🥺

When in my personal space without these teenagers I see everyday, I still take long walks mostly around my neighbourhood, which brings me to this beach hike I did in Zanzibar from Nungwi to Kendwa and back to Nungwi and you have got to see the beautiful things I saw!

I boasted an 8km in a day dedicated to beach side hike because the first 4km was done in the morning and I spent the afternoon going back to point A. This walk was not about the speed but the soothing effect of everything I saw in between. Naturally, for experienced walkers, this was supposed to take a total of 2 hours.

I started off with my pink Nike backpack loaded with nothing much but some swim wear cos I knew I would need cooling off somewhere ahead. I packed myself some ‘chewies’ to go. I didn’t carry a water bottle, I knew I would find H2O ahead.

Point 1 : Starting points

Starting point 1

I wanted my starting point to be so clear this was some serious walk and I meant business! The two places that marked my start were Makofi Guest House (Where I took a deep breath knowing I would be back in the evenings) and by another place with a poster you can only find in Nungwi. The beauty with this walk is that I had company and so I was more motivated than if I did this solo.

Like I mentioned before about not ageing, staying young has got to do with attitude as well as “loving what we do and doing what we love” just like the relaxing words I found at the start point of my hike. You will stay young when you do what you love and learn to love what you do. This happens because it keeps you smiling and a smile makes you look younger.

Starting point 2: Makofi Guest House

We walked for about twenty more minutes for the other signature start point I wanted which was the “Hakuna Matata welcome again ” sign post. This sign post spoke the truth to me as this was my second visit to Nungwi, Zanzibar. Again, I fell in love with this sign post because it spoke truth. Many would know this phrase from the legendary cartoon Lion King and this phrase means “no worries” in the swahili language. The reason people think am forever 21 is because I always stay away from worries. I look it in the eye but I get rid of it. I also almost all the time avoid toxic people unless there is really nothing I can do to avoid them.

Point 2: Aren’t horses the cutest?!

We continued walking for a good two hours. Not rushing much caused us to appreciate the turquoise waters of Nungwi! This was a long stretch of beauty only to bump into more of what nature can offer. Horses! I even remembered that the day before this hike, I went to the stables at Zanzibar Horse club in Nungwi and met a cutie called Oreo.

Maybe one of these horses we saw was Oreo at work but it was kinda nice to see horses on water! The two hours paid off obviously. It was clearly time to take pics. The horses looked at peace on duty and cooling off. This reminded me how we should stay calm even in adversity if you want to avoid those wrinkles. Focus on positives.

Oreo

Point 3: The cave lady

After a good time horse viewing, we enjoyed a stretch of nothingness except her majesty, the Indian Ocean.

After about an hour or so, we found a rocky, cave-like area. These caves must be formed by water from the ocean and its force. We paused.

When I saw these caves, I was reminded how caves are actually home to a number of animals and if this was the northern parts of the globe, I was gonna be talking bear stories. We don’t have them on this side of the globe. Nonetheless, caves are a refuge for some creatures and going back to keeping fit and staying young, we all need a refuge when down. The other reason I have also been mistaken to belong to the younger generation is because I have mastered where to go for refuge. When I feel down, I know what to do to snap out of it or go through it but feel safe and rested. I have surrounded myself with people with the right energy and sometimes like an eagle, I have sometimes shut some toxic people out so I energize.

Point 4: No place like home

No matter how much fun you are having away from home, the thought of your home country will cross your mind. After leaving the caves, we were at it again. This next spot felt lonely. We were in the middle of nowhere except for the ocean. I thought of back home.

I missed home but I had something on me reminding me of who I am, Zambian. I have had my flag for a long time now and always find a reason to carry it. You will stay younger when you know who you are and quit being like someone else.

Point 5:Pirate lady

I was exhausted and decided to take a dip in the shallow end of the ocean. The swim wear came in handy. Getting to Kendwa is all I could think of. I heard this was also a cool place where full moon parties are held every month! I shook off the feelings of missing home and decided why not pretend to be a pirate girl on this dhow that I saw. I needed to feel powerful to finish this exhausting walk. Sometimes pretending to be okay is okay and may actually cause you to be okay because your focus is on the positives.

Ahoy!

Point 6: Unfinished buildings

At this point, it was too late to give up on getting to Kendwa. We knew we were close but no sign of it was showing except for the unfinished building on water that was coming up which reminded me that keeping our hopes and faith high can sometimes drive out some negativity which you know will make you experience ageing. A stone throw away from this building was some art I found being sold and just looking at this art was quite refreshing. Always look at the big picture and brighter side to stay young.

Point 7: Kendwa, we are here!!

Because of the faith we had, we finally made it 4 kms to Kendwa! I really wished those much talked about full moon beach parties where happening this night because I was gonna stay at the beach overnight, lol! I saw the sign posts showing us we were in Kendwa and this is where I went into the ocean to cool off a second time. I have learned that finishing small tasks that you can handle is quite fulfilling. The feeling of accomplishment can be found even in the least challenging things like this hike but they do keep you in high moods and looking young.

And the truth is Kendwa does rock!☺️

The 9 things you must do in Mombasa as a solo traveller in 2023

When you think of visiting Africa to get the feel of it, one of the first countries that will cross your mind is Kenya.It is the epitome of Africa. Maybe at this moment, you are planning on doing Kenya or perhaps you even recently got here. You will surely love the Africa it really is. We all wanna visit Kenya for different reasons be it for work, projects, sport, politics whatever…., the fact is, there is that one day you will be up to planning what to do there.

Though this is a thought that could come from a local person as well, the tourist would have to get more knowledge on what this place has to offer. What activities can you do that may involve money (but not always) and still make your stay in Mombasa worth while, well spent and enough reason to wanna tell a story to someone like am doing?

About Mombasa

Mombasa is a coastal city in Kenya along the Indian Ocean. It has been said to be the second largest city in Kenya. This town is one of the coastal touristic spots in Kenya and I discovered it is super rich in history!!

Now that you are here or still thinking to be, not all your days can or should be planned. Sometimes we leave room for spontaneity. The day you choose to just go by a plan, do remember to jot down some of the activities you could do whilst in Mombasa and these are based on what I personally did. Some activities are totally free but some would cost just a few bucks.

1. Take a free ferry

Yes you heard me!! Free! This is a ferry you would enjoy free of charge for a good 10 to 15 minutes and there are a number of trips made in a day. Mombasa being on an island is the reason to enjoy Likoni Ferry which serves Mombasa and Likoni. You will find ferries carrying both road and foot traffic. These ferries are operated by Kenya Ferry Services. It is completely free as a passenger but there is a cost for vehicles, motorcycles, trucks etc. I used this ferry for a necessary move but I must confess because we don’t have a beach in Zambia (what I hate about landlocked countries), I sometimes used this ferry for the fun of it.

2. Enjoy some tennis at Mbaraki Sports Club

Sorry to be specific here but you could actually play other kinds of sport here by making either prior arrangements or just popping up and joining in. This gives you the opportunity to mingle with and get closer to the real Kenya through associating with the locals. I had so much fun having tennis tournaments with the local kids I met at Mbaraki Sports Club.

3. Spend time with camels at Diani Beach

I chose to spend some time at Diani Beach just because a camel is one animal I saw last when I was little…at a zoo and I really did not like the reaction I got from it because I tried getting it’s attention by calling out but it didn’t even bother to look or even move. My impression was camels are not that friendly and my opinions of camels changed when I visited Diani Beach.

To enjoy these camel rides just have about 5 to 10 bucks on you and I guess you could pay more if you keep increasing your hours on its back. I was happy to have met a camel that reciprocated my love unlike the one in my childhood. Laban was his name and my regret is not packing some apples or bananas before this trip. I really don’t know what sort of menu Laban has but I should have shown him a bit of appreciation for taking advantage of him.

4. Hike and hydrate on the beaches while picking shells

I know that heat levels in my country Zambia can be quite high and unbearable but not to the extent I found the heat in Kenya! As you enjoy this overdose of Vitamin D, cool off with some coconut water sold almost everywhere at the beaches and in town.Take a hike on the beach enjoying all the lovely views and you could even make them longer!My favourite of them all is to add to my shell collection!

5. Spend time with locals on the Shelly Beaches

Beaches do differ in vibe and while others are touristic, others aren’t. I must say Shelly beach is a beach you will find locals. I did spend time surveying it but I must say I met many wonderful locals there and ate lots of good local food. Try this place out!

6. Do shopping malls

I don’t know about you but I do like me some shopping! Don’t you? You could shop hop and enjoy some treats. Next to street food, the cheaper places to get your meals from are supermarkets and I recommend Naivas which came in handy when I didn’t have to do restaurant food.

7. See some of the cool landmarks of Mombasa (Pembe Za Ndovu)

Some of the other activities I involved myself in were to get to know my immediate environment and appreciate cool landmarks like the Pembe Za Ndovu or Pembe Mbili monument which is so highly valued and is a story for another day………This monument is a set of elephant tusks you should never leave Mombasa without showing some love to. If it means a lot to the Kenyans, it should be appreciated by tourists. A good 10 minutes was enough love for them.

8. Grace Fort Jesus with a visit

I was here for a tour that I feel in my heart did not really end probably because of time. This fort is the pride of Mombasa and is so rich in history which explains my need to go back because I did not finish reading articles displayed in the museum but if it so happens that I don’t go back, I must say it was amazing to still see this fort. I learnt quite a lot here.

9. Admire the Old Town

Old Town is on the South of Mombasa and I was amazed by the historical buildings that date way back in time and history says it was the main centre for trade between Africa and the Arab world. It was amazing to see in this place the first hotel in Kenya and just walking around In this town made me feel I used a time machine to go back in time

How to enjoy a day trip to Paje with $30. Or less.

Fun is subjective. You don’t always need too much money on you to have fun. Some people think travellers are people who have stacks of money on them. Lol! Thanks for categorizing us as rich but that’s not the case at all! I have always shared with others who think travel is for the rich that if you look closely, that seemingly rich traveller is probably sacrificing some happy hours every Friday so they could save up for a plane ticket or a tour.And yes, they do. You probably think I am the most boring person on this planet to sacrifice Friday happy hours, but I have, but then again, maybe because that is not my kind of thing. So equation is balanced there.

Speaking of having fun without stacks of bucks in your slacks, you could enjoy a fun day on the beaches of Paje in Zanzibar!

So then, let’s go!

So to cut on costs, we are going to use public transport they call Dala Dala. I am with the assumption we start from Stone Town because that’s  where you usually arrive at the island.

You have to get to Darajani market and then wait a while for the Dala Dala you catch from there to fill up. Expect to pay less than $2 and do carry a bottle of water or fruit juice while at it as you will really feel the impact of the heat due to a number of passengers on the Dala Dala. If you use Nyerere road, you will most likely be getting to the east side of the island in an hours time.

What is Paje like?

As compared to Stone Town, Paje is reserved and by that I mean chilled, less populated village but surprisingly where most tourists flock to. But what brings tourists here? We all want a beach that has turquoise and clear waters, right? It is tops of the list before all the other activities you may find in the area.

So what activities do we do with less than $20 on us ?

This place is a hub of island-fun, ranging from beach walks to all sorts of sophisticated water games. I am not a swimmer but we all love beaches! I was willing to have a moment here that was memorable but affordable.

This article is not one of those, listing the coolest activities you do on this part of the Island but it is about how to  still have affordable fun in this place every tourist wants to visit in Zanzibar. I was really focused on what I wanted with the little that was in my pocket. Standup paddle boarding! There you have it! It didn’t take too long to find a place renting out the gear.I quickly dug deep into my slacks and paid $15 for a session.

I heard that this water sport was born from surfing and that was like so cool to be mistaken for surfer! With this activity all I did was to stand, sit, squat, kneel or whatever on a board that floats on water and of course they had to give me a board fit for my body size. I paddled from shallow to slightly deep waters considering that I am not a good swimmer and still needed my life. I also asked for the guide to give me some independence to paddle slightly further. I found this water sport to be safe and easy to learn, most of all, it was refreshing to enjoy views and serenity of this part of the island. I just don’t remember having my foot tied to the board like you will observe it’s done but none the less, that didn’t take any fun out of my experience! It was awesome!

When I was done, I dressed up and enjoyed a short walk, picked some shells and enjoyed one of the most fresh fruit drinks ever with some free wifi at a restaurant there and as I got to Stone Town later in the day, I realized that you could actually enjoy a day out in Paje with a $30. Or less.

Overcoming fears of solo travel as a female

Being female comes with its own blessings and curses.We love our male folk but sometimes the feeling of surviving without them around paralyses many a female folk that some have decided to embrace the paralysis and not pursue their dreams.

Without really targeting any culture, it is a well known fact that in some cultures, what women are capable of doing freely, they can’t really do in others. In the African culture, a woman is seen as one who is a helper at home and don’t get me wrong, in many cultures, I should think that is the case. With that being said, the issue of traveling should not be much of a problem until they hear the word ‘solo’. I mean, where are you going on your own?

In my opinion, this question could be coming from the fact that even males do am sure get fearful when traveling on their own. But can this fear be overcome? Can it magically just disappear after sessions with a therapist? There is no one good answer but my observation travelling in Southern African counties as one who belongs in this region, I noticed there are some fears that grip that one female ( especially from Africa) from just stepping outside one’s comfortable place

After travelling to a few countries here in Southern Africa, it’s safe to say these are some of the reasons other females have not stepped out of their comfort zones.

1)How do I even fit in?

It’s no doubt that some people fuss over food, friendships and to some extent, why not?I am used to having my English breakfast, why should I have chapati, omelette, lemon tea and fruit for breakfast ( which by the way was the kind of breakfast I had in Kenya)

Part of travel involves experiencing culture that is different from yours.You could either go and entirely refuse to be a part of it or embrace it. How can you do that? Embrace change, accept differences, go to the park and mix with locals. There is of course the danger in some places of being bullied for being different. At one time in East Africa, I could clearly get that I was being mocked for not knowing the local language

The sure way out of this is really to adopt a care free attitude. Let them talk about how you speak differently, don’t allow yourself to be bothered by that because some locals embrace foreigners. Train your taste buds to accept change, chances are that though different, you may like some foods and ultimately, the other way to overcome the feelings of not fitting in is to stop being judgemental and stereotypical.

2)Will I be safe?

This feeling of not being safe affects many even in places we call home. The feeling is just worse in an unfamiliar place. Hundred percent safety is not a guarantee everywhere but some things that will keep you safe are things like avoiding walking late nights on your own, being intoxicated and try at all costs to keep your stuff safe (bank cards, passport, cash etc) and I have seen some keep their documents in a secure sash that goes in one’s underwear. Pretty cool.

3) Loneliness?

It’s funny how some travellers feel embarrassed or is it insecure of having a meal on their own.Which one is better, to ditch that solo trip because you can’t be on your own, or wait ages or forever for that group trip? I am okay with enjoying that meal on my own.It is embedded in some minds that when you travel alone, you are alone and lonely all the time but that is not true. Starting from your mode of transport which could be a plane, cruise, train or bus to the hotels, hostels and what not, you do meet or find people everywhere. Loneliness is sometimes a negative mindset you should shake off.

4) Family disapproval

Males travelling is usually not as much of a problem in families as opposed to females doing the same.Sometimes it is our family members that disapprove of the solo travel. One way that has worked for me is to update them of my whereabouts and everything you are upto. Taking good care of yourself everytime you travel and family having confidence in you and how well you take care of yourself, will reduce their complaints.

Ahh…so that’s the Old Fort of Zanzibar

The older it gets,the more touristic value it seems to have

The Old Fort of Zanzibar is a beautiful historical feature found in Stone Town, Zanzibar.This feature also goes by the name The Arab Fort.If you ask me….this old fine piece of work is actually a ‘ tourist puller’.One of the much talked about touristic places in Zanzibar.

The inside of the Fort

This feature was built by Omari Arabs in 1699.It was used as a prison.It is now used for film festivals though in the 20th century it was used as a depot.This piece of touristic work is now being used as a centre for cultural activities like curio shops.

On the left are curio shops ….sorry not clear 😜

The Fort is essentially a square of high brown walls with merlons,protecting an inner courtyard.In the courtyard there are some remnants of earlier buildings including those of a Portuguese church and another Omani fortification.

This place is now used for entertainment like live dance and music shows held mostly in the afternoons and evenings.

This group was here for what appeared to be workouts 🤔

Fly or ferry to Zanzibar Island?

Don’t you ❤️ Zanzibar?

“The destination is what you should focus on and not the journey….” WRONG! Enjoying the ride is part of adventure.Having been to Tanzania four times but to Zanzibar twice ….I must confess flying to the island was a lovely experience and happened so fast. But taking a ferry was an experience I wanna share.

For those who love ‘microwave’ experiences and how everything should be fast, fast, fast😁

Taking a ferry to Zanzibar as a solo traveller was a pleasure.For starters, I had to book for the ferry online but this worked more like a reservation because I wasn’t charged in advance.There should be one or two companies with ferries to and from the island but I am recommending you use Azam Marine just because I loved the first experience: https://azammarine.com

The ferry starts from Dar es salaam like indicated on the online reservation that comes to your mail when you use Azam Marine website and it also reflects if that particular time is free or there is availability.

Dar es salaam near the port

Be sure to stick around for “boarding time!” alert but before that do visit  the Azam Marine offices and show them your online reservation and try appearing there at least two hours or so before departure then they will hand you your ticket after your payment.

No two ways about it….if you aren’t a local, it’s $35 for you
Ferry ticket

In an event that you appeared way too early, they could actually even book you for an earlier time than you initially reserved.Note that during peak seasons you should avoid arriving late or you may lose the spot to an early bird.

The ferry on the inside
The ferry on the outside

It took about close to two hours enjoying the view, light waves, company of others…..lots of pictures to take even of other ferries going their way.

Heading to the island 💦
“Karibu Zanzibar”

You know you have arrived when you see that sign post meaning “Welcome to Zanzibar”. It was a solo trip made easy because I read articles like these before the trip and met helpful people too.

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