It had been almost three months since we started from my hometown of Adelmannsfelden in Germany, and we had traversed ten countries, when we finally entered the last country on our itinerary on the 30th of July, 2011. Continue reading “South Africa: The Rainbow Nation”
We left Malawi and entered Zambia through the Mchinji border crossing on the 21st of July, and then made a stop in Chipata, the capital of the Eastern Province of Zambia. The city boasts fancy hotels, restaurants, and shopping malls, and an abundance of banks and ATM machines. This was quite a contrast to where we just came from. It is an observation we made throughout our journey, that things suddenly and often surprisingly change as one crosses borders. Continue reading “Victoria Falls, and free-roaming lions in Botswana”
We had just crossed the Kenyan-Tanzanian border at Namanga and were about to enter the town limits of Longido, when suddenly a car rolled onto the highway. The elderly driver saw us, probably panicked, and stopped his car, blocking the narrow highway in its entirety. I had no option but to slam on the brakes, but it was too late. We crashed into the car’s side, were thrown over the car, and hit the asphalt. Continue reading ““Welcome to Africa!””
We spent the night of the 20th of June in the border town of Moyale, and headed out for Marsabit in northern Kenya in the morning. As we rode from one country into the other, the asphalt road ended. We did not think much of it at the time. The first 120 kilometers on the dirt road were easy and fun, and brought us to the village of Turbi. But then, as we entered the Dide Galgalu Desert, the troubles began. Continue reading “Stranded in the Kenyan desert, and a visit to the land of the Maasai”
The terrain of Sudan is generally flat, and the climate is dry and extremely hot, whereas Ethiopia is mountainous, hence sometimes referred to as the Roof of Africa, making it considerably cooler than other regions around the globe at a similar latitude. Around the border at Gallabat/Metema, that contrast is particularly stark, and experiencing it as we crossed the border was amazing. Within a short distance, the sparse desert landscape turned into a dense collection of abundantly green hills, valleys, and mountains, and the scorching heat gave way to a mild breeze. Continue reading “The Simien Mountains, and the first hijra in Islam”
Signaling the warming up of relations between Egypt and Sudan, a land border crossing between the two nations was opened in 2014. Three years prior, however, when we did our motorcycle trip through Africa, the only way to get from Egypt to Sudan was by ferry. Continue reading “An oasis of hospitality in the searing heat of the Nubian Desert”
In the last installment of this series, I wrote about the Great Pyramid of Khufu at Giza. About a century before its construction, the title of the tallest man-made structure in the world was held by the stepped Pyramid of Djoser at Saqqara, which is located about 30 kilometers south of Giza. Continue reading “Stories of a time long gone, and Egyptian khichuri”
Last time, we left off at the Egyptian desert highway from Alexandria to Giza. The distance between the two cities is only a little over 200 kilometers, and it did not take us long to reach our destination.
Continue reading “A millennium of Islamic scholarship, and a revolution yet to be completed”
Do you speak African? Well, neither do the more than one billion people living in Africa, where about 2,000 different languages are spoken, none of which is called “African.” Too often, people think of Africa as if it was a single country, defined by disease, poverty, hopelessness, and corruption. This tiring image is at best misleading, and has little to do with reality. In fact, Africa is all but monolithic, and arguably the most diverse continent of all. Africa is home to 15 percent of the world’s population and an incredibly large number of ethnicities and cultures, the second largest continent in terms of both area and population, and consists of at least 54 countries. Three of the ten economies forecasted to be the fastest-growing in 2016 by the Economist Intelligence Unit are located in Africa, and 25 Nobel Laureates were born there.
Continue reading “From Germany to South Africa: The journey begins”