This fourteenth newsletter will be the last of this world tour as October marked the last month of our incredible honeymoon!
Honestly, we could not have dreamed of a better way to finish this trip of a lifetime!
Zanzibar island in Tanzania
After many hours on the road in our very uncomfortable truck (small reminder: we were in a group tour), we hopped on a ferry to spend a few days on the island of Zanzibar. We weren’t sure what to expect and it was lovely! The island is a beautiful blend of Arab, African and Indian culture. Fresh fish and lobsters are delicious, affordable and complemented by a wide variety of spices.
The island is also full of history, from the old city to the Indian Ocean on which we could sail at sunset on traditional boats.
We were very impressed by our visit to the old slave market. Indeed, the history of Zanzibar is very dark and the island has long been known worldwide as a central point for the slave and ivory trade. We were able to learn much more about this subject which seemed far away from us in Europe (even though Europeans were the cause of this practice). As a matter of fact, during a conversation with one of our guides in Tanzania he was amazed to learn we had never visited a slave market in Europe!
Zanzibar was also another opportunity for us to dive. Despite difficult conditions due to the strong current, we were spoiled by the beautiful seabed and a lot of wildlife. The real surprise was a group of dolphins with their calves who came to greet us fifteen meters below the surface, this is living the dream!
On the road between Dar Es Salaam (the Tanzanian megalopolis from which ferries depart for Zanzibar) and Arusha (the starting point for the superb Tanzanian safaris), we had our first and only incident on the road. It was all good in the end, after a rainy afternoon (the first rain for us in weeks) our truck / bus slipped on the dirt road to reach our lodge. After wobbling on each side, the truck went to slide and we were lucky enough to be held by a poor little tree! We all got out, more or less calmly, crawling through the driver’s cabin. More photos on Facebook.
Camping Safari in Serengeti Park and Ngorongoro Crater
The most beautiful landscapes and safaris were undoubtedly those of Tanzania. We had the opportunity to spend some magical days in Serengeti Park and Ngorongoro crater with all the animals we could dream to see (lions, leopards, wildebeest, cheetahs, hippos, elephants…). These safaris, however, are much more expensive, and not an essential stop for a successful African safari experience. Our article about it (and the myriad of other late articles) will be coming soon on the blog!
In addition, we got to meet the legendary Maasai warriors who are scattered around northern Tanzania and south western Kenya. This semi-nomadic tribe has maintained a traditional way of life while taking part in the economy and local politics. Their dances and ceremonies are very impressive and are accompanied by jumps so high it does not seem humanly possible. Nicolas was invited to try it during our visit of a village.
For this part of the trip, we camped in a tent. We were looking forward to it, but we must admit we were disappointed by the huge campsites with hundreds of tents and dirty bathrooms. The lions who came at night roaring around the tents of our unfenced campsite, however, greatly increased the satisfactory level of this experience. However, it was nothing compared to our out of this world experience wild camping on the reserve during our volunteer program in Zimbabwe.
Nairobi, capital of Kenya
Our incredible African road trip ended in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. We enjoyed a full day before our flight to Egypt.
We were able to visit an elephant orphanage where adorable baby elephants are rescued and reintroduced into the wild. It is an amazing project, indeed a young elephant whose mother is dead (of natural cause but more often because of human activities) has no chance of survival by itself. It was an hour pleasantly spent listening to an excellent guide while watching elephants playing and drinking milk from a bottle.
After this we visited the home of author of Out of Africa, Karen Blixen. A literary visit suggested by Clémentine and appreciated by Nicolas. Karen Blixen, though a symbol of the colonial era, is highly respected in Kenya. This historic site has allowed us to expand our understanding of this controversial historical period while feeling like we were in the movie Out of Africa (which inspired generations to visit this region of Africa).
Our article is already online ! Read more about our journey through ancient and modern Egypt.
The last destination of our world tour was one of our favourites. Discovering the treasures of ancient Egypt was unquestionably a dream come true but we also enjoyed the treasures of modern Egyptian life in the cities and the countryside, breathtaking desert landscapes and the beauty of the Nile and the Red Sea.
Anxious for our safety, we decided to go through a travel agency, Lady Egypt, to organize our 12 days in the country. We were incredibly welcomed and it made this part of the trip very comfortable. Some destinations, especially in the desert, required a police escort which would have been very difficult to organise ourselves. However, we always felt safe and we think we could have also planned part of the trip independently.
The notions (though very basic) of Arabic Clémentine remembered from classes at university were also helpful and very well received by locals who covered her with compliments.
Cairo and the pyramids
Our stay began with the visit of the pyramids and sphinx of Giza, incredibly close to Cairo. From our hotel room, we had a view of the two largest pyramids but we really appreciated their mysteries at their feet. Also, we decided to get inside two of them. A great adventure that required a certain physical level and not to be claustrophobic. After a long time climbing in a squatted position we arrived in completely empty rooms (not even a sign to congratulate us!).
We then fully appreciated the meaning of the quote: “the important thing is not destination, but the journey”. This is true for our entire world tour! To come back to the pyramids: what an adventure to get inside these places almost 5,000 years old!
The city of Cairo, with the old Cairo, the market district (“the souk”) and the Egyptian museum, is incredibly interesting. Because Egypt, beyond the pharaohs, is also a cradle for the Greeks, Romans, Christians and Muslims.
Cruise on the Nile, temples and tombs
Four days of our journey were spent on a cruise ship where we could peacefully observe the life and landscapes on the Nile banks. These beautiful moments were punctuated with breaks where we disembarked to visit beautiful temples and cities such as Luxor and Aswan.
In these temples, we were able to observe frescoes and hieroglyphs for the first time. We had no idea the sand had so well preserved these incredible works of art for so many millennia. In some places, it is still possible to view the original paintings. Can you imagine each hieroglyph was coloured? Also, the structures are imposing, with very high columns and statues of gods or pharaohs.
In the Valley of Kings, we even entered pharaohs’ tombs! Fortunately, the traps had been thwarted before our passage.
The Red Sea and excursions in the desert
The end of our stay was spent between the sea and desert. We fell in love with the Red Sea. Indeed the diving there, with conditions more than ideal, was perhaps the best of our world tour. On the way back, two whale sharks came to hang out behind our boat. The whale shark, measuring between four and twenty meters, is considered the largest fish currently living on Earth. We are really privileged to have crossed their path!
Moreover, during our two trips to the desert, we saw mirages, oases, lakes, falls, Bedouin villages, camels, mountains and even ruins being excavated.
After 14 absolutely fantastic months it was time for us to go back (and not just for our wallets). Overall the trip was more than positive, we did not hope to have so few troubles and each step brought us real happiness and wonder.
On the 19th of October 2019, we landed on French soil and were happily greeted by our families. The hardest thing was to find our warm jumpers in our moving boxes! After the high temperatures of Egypt and a year to fill up on vitamins D, we are appreciating the beauty of Autumn and are warmed by the reunion with our loved ones.
Our life plans are still in the process of reflection. What is certain is that there will be a before and an after the world tour and we are happy we made the decision to leave our routine.
With regard to the blog and social networks, we have a lot of beautiful content (written and visual) to work on and share. We hope you do not get tired of our travel stories because we are far from finished telling you about our world tour.
Expect to receive a newsletter for the end of 2019 where we would like to review our 14 months of travel (find our 6 months review and the video). For this, we will need your help: what are the questions you would like to ask us about our honeymoon / world tour? Send them in the comment section or or write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, do not be shy, personal questions are allowed!