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Old 06-15-2016, 08:27 PM   #26
cardsharkk04
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

Alrighty, back to photos! We finished up our trip in Victoria Falls, on the Zimbabwe side. Both our driver and cook were from Zimbabwe so we got to hear some pretty interesting stories about when Robert Mugabe (their ****head president) kicked out all the white farmers and redistributed the land, which lead to their economy to crash and crazy hyperinflation. So when we were walking around the streets people would be selling notes that looked like this

Nowadays Zimbabwe doesn't have their own currency, they normally use dollars, but Rands, Euros etc are accepted as well.

So after Chobe we crossed the border into Zimbabwe and hit the falls. It wasn't exactly the best time to be at the falls because the water level was really high, so all the closest view points were whitewashed with mist. And you could only do a few rapids in the Zambezi white water rafting But we still got good views from some of the further off viewpoints!


The sheer volume of water crashing over the falls is pretty spectacular!


I do have someone take my photo every once in a while


What's left of our group. Party time!

So we had two days in Victoria Falls, so we picked a nicer restaurant and had our farewell dinner, thanked our driver and cook, and drank a lot of wine! Oddly enough there isn't much nightlife in Vic Falls, so we ended up doing our drinking back at the hotel. I guess most of the tourists have moved across to the Zambian side these days. So a bunch of people flew home that very next day. The rest of the group would continue on the truck all the way back to South Africa and do Kruger National Park and end in Joburg. And a smaller few would stay on the truck all the back to Cape Town for the full loop! That's way too much time in the truck for me! 20 days was plenty in my opinion. Overall I liked the truck, but as only part of trip. If I spent 20 days on the truck and that was it, it would feel like an incomplete Africa experience. But it certainly is one of the more fun ways to travel! Anywho, I was the only one left out of the group who would be traveling independently So it was onto Zambia!

My taxi driver was the leader of his church choir and he was having me explain antiquated words that he didn't understand from his song book, then he was singing them to me. This is the type of cultural interaction I felt I'd been missing out on on the truck!


The bridge from Zimbabwe to Zambia





Back to the falls. It was even harder to get views on the Zambia side! But I had good timing, as I was arriving during the full moon, so you could see what they called the lunar rainbow, where the light of the moon makes a rainbow in the mist over the falls at night. It was brighter than I expected!


you can see the Zim side in the distance

So Livingstone was definitely better than Victoria Falls, a better downtown, more restaurants etc. I checked into a hostel and was very surprised at the demographics. It was a big tour group of 16 year olds out to save the world, and families with kids. Not exactly like hostels in Asia! I did meet a 28 year old Dutch girl named Carmen, who was traveling in the same direction as me, so we decided we'd go together.


wandering around the markets in Livingstone


neon colored fruit drinks didn't look very appetising to me


bus station

So we took a 7 hour bus ride to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia. The most surprising part of the trip was that even though the roads were straight and flat there were 2 over turned semis on the side of the road. How does that even happen??

Lusaka wasn't a very exciting city. We wandered around for a while but didn't find much. If you ask people for cool places to see for a tourist they'll tell you to go the mall. Ha. When we were in the market Carmen was getting lots of catcalls and compliments on her dress and legs, so she went and bought some kangas (african sorong thingy that they wrap around their waists). Zambia (and most of Africa) is pretty conservative!


markets in Lusaka



Without a car our options in Zambia were a bit limited. At the hostel we met a dutch guy who was working at a fish farm, and had company house right on a lake with extra rooms, so if we wanted stay there for free, we could. So sure, why not? Me and Carmen also had a chance to share a room together


fisherman getting his nets ready


walking through the villages, scaring the kids

There was a little party going on and they invited us to drink Chibuku 'african beer'. It's brown, kind of sour, has little chunks of something in it, and is disgusting. We got pressured into drinking it though!


gross


all the kids running back to their village after seeing us off to the main road

After 2 days we were pretty bored, so we headed off to the nearby Lower Zambezi National Park. A crowded minibus ride, the back of a pickup truck, and taxi ride later and we were at the lodge. We did a nice river cruise. Lots of birds, crocs, and hippos!









The next day we took a bus back to Lusaka, with the intention of going to Chipata, a 9 hour ride. We arrived at the bus station at 10am and a 'friendly' gentlemen escorted us the booth of a bus company that advertised a 10:30am bus to Chipata. Sounds good! We got on and waited. The bus was only like 1/3 of the way full. At 10:30, no sign of a driver or anything. Still nothing at 11. We had a chat with the guy outside the bus trying to get people on board. I guess we were waiting until the bus got full. ****! They got us good. So we waited, and waited and waited. It was hot as balls outside. Nobody was getting on this stupid bus. Finally at 5pm we left. Ridiculous! Then the bus broke down for an hour on the way the way there for good measure. We got into this strange African city at 3am


Don't take the Madoda bus!!




banana ladies


I had lots of time to explore this bus station!


dried eels?? Yum

So next day we finally made it to our intended destination: South Luangwa National Park. More Safari stuff!


photo from the bus getting to the park


Lots of lions here!


Scar and Simba






eating in town, had the place all to ourselves


Africa's main dish: nshima (maize meal) and chicken




wild dogs playing











Hippos would wander around the camp at night, so you had to flag down the security guard to get from the restaurant to your rooms!







So that's it for Zambia. Carmen had to got back to Lusaka to fly to Tanzania and I headed onward to Malawi. Overall Zambia is kind of boring for someone who doesn't have a car, but South Luangwa Park was my favorite out of all the safari destinations I went to!
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Old 06-16-2016, 03:01 AM   #27
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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Let's see, I flew into Cape Town the last week of February and flew out of joburg June 1. Where were you at this time around?
Arrived Cape Town May 14 and left Joburg May 27!

We met plenty of the overlanding groups in Vic Falls in April, which company did you use?
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Old 06-16-2016, 03:48 AM   #28
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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Arrived Cape Town May 14 and left Joburg May 27!

We met plenty of the overlanding groups in Vic Falls in April, which company did you use?
I was with a company called Nomad, I think they're pretty popular. We were in Vic Falls at the end of March though. What was your itinerary? I hope you don't show me up with better photos than mine!

My biggest regret, as I flew to Africa kind of spontaneously, was not having a better lens for wildlife. A 200mm lens on FF camera was not cutting it in a lot of situations! You might not be able to tell, but some of the animal shots were cropped to the max, and if I ever wanted to blow them up they would grainy as hell.
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Old 06-16-2016, 04:06 AM   #29
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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Would love to hear more, particularly on the photoshop side.
Ok, well its obviously photo dependent, as some need more work than others, but for my general workflow here goes. I'm hoping you're somewhat familiar with PS because I'm going to use a lot of jargon.

I'm a big fan of the soft light blending option, so that is usually the first thing I do. Usually this will make the shadows too dark, so I'll do some masking so that shadows don't get too black. I also like using the multiply blending option. A lot times I'll have a multiply layer but then mask out my subject a bit, to make it lighter relative to the rest of the photo, to help draw in the viewers eye.

For photos with an interesting sky, which will often appear a little washed out or lacking detail, I'll select the sky using a channel mask (usually blue) and apply a multiply layer to it to make the colors and contrast come out a bit more. And use 'refine edge' to make sure the mask looks more natural.

Sometimes I'll also selectively change the color balance in certain parts of the photo to my liking.

Next I'll do some dodging and burning. Well mostly dodging to really bring out the highlights. And I almost always do some extra dodging on my subject to make it stand out a bit more.

After that I like to add a slight vignette, which also helps draw in the viewers eye to center of the photo.

And then I do some sharpening, usually to the entire photo, but sometimes to just the subject, especially if the photo is shot at a high ISO and I feel like its getting too grainy.

And that's my usual workflow! Sometimes I'll do something like combine two photos if the dynamic range is too much to capture in one photo. But having a full frame camera and shooting in RAW + the proper editing techniques is usually enough to get enough dynamic range in a single shot.

As you can tell, I spend wayyyy to much time in PS

Feel free to ask me any other questions
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Old 06-16-2016, 08:37 AM   #30
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

Awesome! You know what you are doing with Photoshop. I only know the basics, but you've given me some things I can play around with

How long does a typical photo edit take you?
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Old 06-16-2016, 10:59 AM   #31
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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Awesome! You know what you are doing with Photoshop. I only know the basics, but you've given me some things I can play around with

How long does a typical photo edit take you?
I've got my workflow and all the PS shortcuts pretty down pat, so probably 5 minutes for most photos that don't need much work. But sometimes I get a bit obsessive and if it's a photo I really like I can work on silly minute details for at least half an hour. Up to an hour. But this is pretty rare and usually involves combining exposures. My biggest weakness is spending too much time editing photos that aren't that great, just because I can't seem to help it.

But on youtube definitely look up channel masking and dodging and burning. They've helped me a lot. And It's been a while since I've watched PS tutorials, but I liked Serge Ramelli's stuff. Sometimes I think he takes his editing too far, but its good inspiration to see just what you can do with an average looking RAW file.
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Old 06-16-2016, 12:32 PM   #32
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

Wow, some really awesome photos. You've got talent. And thanks for the photoshop tips.

I looked up the cost of your camera and lense, quite pricey

Do you just buy off amazon?

Is there a noticeable difference between say a $2000 camera and a $1000 camera?

Is the lense or camera more important to how the photo comes out or are they roughly equal? Sorry maybe a hard question to answer.

Would you consider buying a second hand camera or lense, or is it better and less risky to just buy new?
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Old 06-16-2016, 02:06 PM   #33
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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Originally Posted by cardsharkk04 View Post
I was with a company called Nomad, I think they're pretty popular. We were in Vic Falls at the end of March though. What was your itinerary? I hope you don't show me up with better photos than mine!

My biggest regret, as I flew to Africa kind of spontaneously, was not having a better lens for wildlife. A 200mm lens on FF camera was not cutting it in a lot of situations! You might not be able to tell, but some of the animal shots were cropped to the max, and if I ever wanted to blow them up they would grainy as hell.
Haha, definitely not (and using an iphone mostly didn't help), I cycled from Cairo to Cape Town (http://tdaglobalcycling.com/tour-dafrique -- I had a thread about it but stopped updating, will maybe post again in there soon), so we went through 10 countries and it was pretty exciting to hit Vic Falls, where we first saw overlanding trucks/western people/civilization

Yeah, having ~400 is better (and still not good enough for birds sometimes), but it's also really heavy and annoying and expensive and yeah can come in handy sometimes, but I spent some time in Kruger post-cycling and found myself using less and less of the 200-400 since I felt like it was usually more interesting to get more scenic shots (as opposed to my first safari where I literally just stuck the big lens on 400 and left it there for closeups)
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Old 06-17-2016, 03:07 AM   #34
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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Wow, some really awesome photos. You've got talent. And thanks for the photoshop tips.

I looked up the cost of your camera and lense, quite pricey

Do you just buy off amazon?

Is there a noticeable difference between say a $2000 camera and a $1000 camera?

Is the lense or camera more important to how the photo comes out or are they roughly equal? Sorry maybe a hard question to answer.

Would you consider buying a second hand camera or lense, or is it better and less risky to just buy new?
Haha yes, photography is an expensive hobby, but quality equipment is a worthwhile investment. I either buy new off amazon or lightly used off craigslist. You can find some very good deals from people selling off their photo equipment. In fact I bought my 5d mk2 + 70-200mm f/4 L lightly used after the 5d mk3 came out for a very good price!

As for the lens vs. camera question, it's a combination of both. I would say photo quality is more of a function of the lens rather than the camera body. The difference between a kit lens and a Canon L lens is quite astonishing. But when you're editing you can pull out much more details with less noise with a more expensive (ie full frame) camera body.

After shooting on a Canon 7d (crop sensor) and then upgrading to the Canon 5d mk2 (full frame) I was amazed at how much more details I could pull out from my RAW files. Bringing out shadow details without so much noise and recovering highlights on the full frame sensor was amazingly better. And being able to shoot at high ISO without as much noise. So having a full frame camera definitely has its benefits. And nowadays you can buy a full frame body relatively cheap (ie the Canon 6d), much cheaper than when I was in the market a few years ago.
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Old 06-17-2016, 03:16 AM   #35
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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Haha, definitely not (and using an iphone mostly didn't help), I cycled from Cairo to Cape Town (http://tdaglobalcycling.com/tour-dafrique -- I had a thread about it but stopped updating, will maybe post again in there soon), so we went through 10 countries and it was pretty exciting to hit Vic Falls, where we first saw overlanding trucks/western people/civilization

Yeah, having ~400 is better (and still not good enough for birds sometimes), but it's also really heavy and annoying and expensive and yeah can come in handy sometimes, but I spent some time in Kruger post-cycling and found myself using less and less of the 200-400 since I felt like it was usually more interesting to get more scenic shots (as opposed to my first safari where I literally just stuck the big lens on 400 and left it there for closeups)
Oh damn, I didn't realize you made a trip as extensive as that one! How long did it take? Would you do another cycling trip like that again or was it too exhausting? I think if I did another trip in Africa I'd like to do it by motorcycle.

But yea, Kruger was nice because all the animals were so damn close! So I didn't feel like my 200mm was missing out on too much. But if I ever do safari stuff in Kenya and Tanzania I think I'll probably get the Canon 100-400mm. Also I was just looking up prices and do you know why the 200-400 is so crazy expensive compared to the 100-400?
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Old 06-17-2016, 03:33 AM   #36
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

I taught photography many years ago. You have a wonderful eye for composition. I'd urge you to travel around West Africa next.
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Old 06-18-2016, 03:15 PM   #37
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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I taught photography many years ago. You have a wonderful eye for composition. I'd urge you to travel around West Africa next.
Yea, I would like to get to W. Africa at some point, although I know very little about W. African countries. Anything in particular that you really enjoy about it?
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Old 06-18-2016, 04:03 PM   #38
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

So from Zambia I moved on to Malawi. For whatever reason Malawi seems to be the country that draws in the most volunteers. Almost everyone you meet in this country is volunteering in some capacity or working at an NGO. Peace corps is everywhere! It was actually kind of annoying, everyone there is out to there to do good and save the world and you're ONLY there to travel. Most volunteers are cool, but you meet some of self righteous ones that you really want to give a swift kick to the nuts.

In Malawi the main attraction is Lake Malawi, so that's where I would be headed. But first stop was the capital, Lilongwe. A lot of people don't, but I really liked Lilongwe. Its lively and overcrowded and has a real hustle and bustle type feel that I was expecting of big African cities, that I didn't find in the previous countries. The markets were a pleasure to wander around in and they had all these rickety wooding bridges over the river connecting them. Of course I had read that I shouldn't keep anything in my pockets and lo and behold I did indeed getting my iphone picked from my pocket crossing one of the bridges. I didn't realize it when happened, but thinking about it afterwards I knew when it must have occurred. Sneaky bastards.

After one night in the hostel filled entirely by volunteer workers, I headed to a little town called mzuzu and then onto the lake. And the lake is gorgeous! It's lined with little fishing villages and is a great place to take in some African culture. There's not a ton to do, but the place I stayed at had kayaks, stand up paddle boards, and dugout canoes to take around. There's also scuba diving to see all the bright, freshwater cichlid fish, but the weather wasn't so good and the visibility was awful, so that was pretty underwhelming. My favorite place on the lake was Cape Maclear, where it's a crowded fishing village, people everywhere and little guesthouses sprinkled in among the villagers. Out of all the places for good people photos and village life, this was my favorite!

One of the nights there was even a festival headlined by the UK DJ: Rudimental, who I guess has a charity in Malawi. And all the volunteers and NGO workers came in from various parts of the country to check it out. So that was kind of cool, a festival in the little country of Malawi. I mean it wasn't amazing by American/European standards, but still a fun night. Ok, anyway, on with the photos


Some gambling action at billiards table in Lilongwe. I declined to play, ha


market photos in Lilongwe


I loved taking photos on these bridges. Also where I got my pocket picked










bus to mzuzu


sharing is caring


nkhata bay, malawi


Even the little girls were trying to rip me off!




Sunday soccer matches. This was the scene after scoring one goal. Not the end of the game, just one goal!!


best seats in the house




the dugout canoes


not very good weather for swimming, but good for photos


I got some fishing lessons


sometimes I have to roll my ass out of bed at 5:30


fishing




the smoke from the food stalls at the market helped contribute to this one








1st night being at Cape Maclear


and one of the best sunsets of the trip!






got lots of attention from the village kids



























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Old 06-18-2016, 04:28 PM   #39
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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Yea, I would like to get to W. Africa at some point, although I know very little about W. African countries. Anything in particular that you really enjoy about it?
Everything (apart from the extremism in Nigeria): the colours, smells and shapes of the environment and the generosity of the frequently larger than life people make it an extraordinary place (I haven't been to Southern Africa, which is possibly similar).
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Old 06-18-2016, 08:03 PM   #40
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Re: Photojourney: Africa



AMAZING!
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Old 06-18-2016, 08:16 PM   #41
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

Amazing photos.

Has photography always been just a hobby for you or do you have professional experience too?
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Old 06-19-2016, 04:11 AM   #42
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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Everything (apart from the extremism in Nigeria): the colours, smells and shapes of the environment and the generosity of the frequently larger than life people make it an extraordinary place (I haven't been to Southern Africa, which is possibly similar).
I have read that colonialism has somewhat diluted African culture in Southern Africa, and I certainly would love to see what the differences are. If everything goes to plan I'd like to do a Morocco to Egypt motorcycle trip in the next 2 or 3 years via most of the west African countries and finish up through Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt of course. So we'll see if that happens!
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Old 06-19-2016, 04:19 AM   #43
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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Amazing photos.

Has photography always been just a hobby for you or do you have professional experience too?
Well I've done a bit of freelance real estate photography. The weird thing is that I would like to become a full time professional photographer, but I can't seem to justify making the move when I make more playing poker and have the increased flexibility. Like every single year, especially when I'm down-swinging, I tell myself I need to quit playing poker and try and make the move to photography. But then I end up making enough money playing cards that I can travel for 6 months out of the year, and I'm like yeaaaaa poker isn't so bad. It's the golden handcuff.
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Old 06-19-2016, 04:20 AM   #44
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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I have read that colonialism has somewhat diluted African culture in Southern Africa, and I certainly would love to see what the differences are. If everything goes to plan I'd like to do a Morocco to Egypt motorcycle trip in the next 2 or 3 years via most of the west African countries and finish up through Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt of course. So we'll see if that happens!
My father traveled extensively in west and east Africa over several decades, and in fact lived in Nigeria twice, and much preferred the western countries because he felt that East Africa, particularly Kenya, had become too Europeanised.

I hope your trip happens. Once you've spent some time there, Africa exerts a big pull.
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Old 06-19-2016, 05:03 AM   #45
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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Oh damn, I didn't realize you made a trip as extensive as that one! How long did it take? Would you do another cycling trip like that again or was it too exhausting? I think if I did another trip in Africa I'd like to do it by motorcycle.

But yea, Kruger was nice because all the animals were so damn close! So I didn't feel like my 200mm was missing out on too much. But if I ever do safari stuff in Kenya and Tanzania I think I'll probably get the Canon 100-400mm. Also I was just looking up prices and do you know why the 200-400 is so crazy expensive compared to the 100-400?
Great Malawi shots!! Love the one showing all the bridges from the side (and many others)

Cairo to Cape was 4 months and after about 2 weeks I told myself and others "OK this is way too much cycling", which is kind of true, but it also felt really great to finish and some of the most challenging days are the most memorable.

Afterwards, I rented a car in Joburg and was driving around including to Kruger and especially in the smaller villages near Kruger realized how hard it was to stop for cool things (and when I did I'd feel like a child predator haha) and to get the same feel for the roads/surroundings/people as on the bike.

So yeah, not in the immediate future, but I'd like to do another at some point..the South America tip to tip (Colombia to Argentina) one looks pretty cool and they run it every odd year.

Do you live in Chicago?
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Old 06-19-2016, 05:15 AM   #46
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

There's some really nice photos in this thread. I'll have a look through the tech discussion later. I may have questions

It's quite odd seeing lots of green grass in Africa photos. I've done to separate trips to East and South Africa but it was during the dry season on both occasions.

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If everything goes to plan I'd like to do a Morocco to Egypt motorcycle trip in the next 2 or 3 years via most of the west African countries and finish up through Tanzania, Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt of course. So we'll see if that happens!
I went through Ethiopia on public transport. It has the worst roads I've ever come across. You're a brave man if you go through there on a motorbike.
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Old 06-21-2016, 04:36 AM   #47
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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Great Malawi shots!! Love the one showing all the bridges from the side (and many others)

Cairo to Cape was 4 months and after about 2 weeks I told myself and others "OK this is way too much cycling", which is kind of true, but it also felt really great to finish and some of the most challenging days are the most memorable.

Afterwards, I rented a car in Joburg and was driving around including to Kruger and especially in the smaller villages near Kruger realized how hard it was to stop for cool things (and when I did I'd feel like a child predator haha) and to get the same feel for the roads/surroundings/people as on the bike.

So yeah, not in the immediate future, but I'd like to do another at some point..the South America tip to tip (Colombia to Argentina) one looks pretty cool and they run it every odd year.

Do you live in Chicago?
Ha well sounds like if you're intending on doing another similar trip, than it must have been pretty worthwhile! Whenever I meet cyclists they always say how rewarding the trip has been, but at the same time usually they just want to eat a massive dinner and sleep. 4 months from Cairo to Cape Town seems rather short by bicycle though, I feel like if I was traveling overland with public transit I'd want 6 months to do it. But I'll consider doing a much shorter cycling trip in the future to see how I feel about it.

I do live in Chicago, Logan Square to be more precise. You're in Chicago too?

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Old 06-21-2016, 04:44 AM   #48
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

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Originally Posted by Csaba View Post
There's some really nice photos in this thread. I'll have a look through the tech discussion later. I may have questions

It's quite odd seeing lots of green grass in Africa photos. I've done to separate trips to East and South Africa but it was during the dry season on both occasions.



I went through Ethiopia on public transport. It has the worst roads I've ever come across. You're a brave man if you go through there on a motorbike.
Ha yea, well the greenery is nice, but it usually means less animals (except for birds) being that its still the wet season, and parks that feature lots of watering holes are certainly less exciting than what they would be in the dry season.

At least with a bike you can navigate a bit around the potholes! Although to be fair I need to get more experienced on a motorcycle. I have my motorcycle license here in the states, but don't own a bike, and the vast majority of my 'motorbike' experiences have been on automatic or semiautomatic scooters in Asia. So we'll see. But I think experiencing Africa on a motorcycle sounds like a great way to do it.
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Old 06-22-2016, 03:05 AM   #49
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

Lets see here a couple more photos of Southern Malawi. I did some hiking on the zomba plateau and the Mulanji massif. It was kind of lonely in this region, as I was by myself in almost every hostel I was in, but there was pretty good scenery!


bicycle guys taking down wood to the city










god, the chibuku shake shake is so bad




school kids following me up to to Mulanje


pretty big muslim population in malawi








my guide, who wasn't a big talker


the huts up in the mountains were actually super nice! I had some British girls making me porridge for breakfast
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Old 06-22-2016, 03:44 AM   #50
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Re: Photojourney: Africa

I figure I'll start wrapping it up here, I've only on got Mozambique, Swaziland, and a bit more of South Africa left.

But getting my visa for Mozambique while I was in Malawi was quite the process! In Blantyre (the second largest city) I originally went to the Mozambique consulate with all the usual stuff and like 5 days of (fake) hotel bookings, but they said they would only be able to give me a week visa. They wanted 30 days of hotel bookings for a 30 day visa! WTF?! So of course I went back to my hostel and photoshopped 25 nights of hotel bookings in places that would make sense in chronological order. This was a pain in the ass, but obviously much better than making any real bookings. So I showed up again and the lady looked over the booking for a long time before finally accepting them. She said my visa would be ready in three days.

So I used these three days to go hiking in the Mulanje mountains, maybe 2 hours east of Blantyre. They're surprising big and ominous, especially for a country that has been mostly flat. After I got dropped off by minibus I had to get to the little village at the foot of the mountains, which I couldn't find another minibus for, so I decided to walk the 10kms. It was kinda fun, I had school kids following me around, there were tea plantations everywhere, and the mountains in the background. I met a hiking guide on the way there and he wanted to take me on a shortcut to get the village, so ok whatever. I went to the hiking office, which I had read they will give you a guide based on whoever is next up in the queue, but it turned out that my guide was the exact same guide who brought me here, hmm, weird! We mapped out a hike that would be 3d/2n.

Turns out the weather was really foggy and the hiking went by MUCH quicker than they would lead you to believe. I mean we were done with the first days hike before noon, so what was I supposed to do? Sit in the hut for the next however many hours in the cold foggy weather?? So I told my guide I wanted to keep going, as we were doing a loop and there were other huts further along. We kept going to till 4:00 and ended up in a different hut with some nice British girls who were medical workers in Malawi. So it was nice having some people to talk to and cook dinner with.

The next day we were making good time again and we would easily complete the loop in the two days instead of three, so I told my guide I wanted to finish it up. He asked if I was going to pay him for three days, because that's what the original plan was, and I said no, I'm only doing two days of hiking. He was pissed and started yelling at me. I had also learned from the british girls that the hiking guide rates were negotiable, even though my guide and the dude from the office said they weren't, and they were paying their guide half as much as I was. So I started telling him that, as another reason why I shouldn't pay him for 3 days instead of 2. Anyway it was a quiet, awkward, and fast paced walk down the mountain. I paid him for 2 days plus a little extra for the 'cancellation' fee and he seemed fine with that. I took the bus to Blantyre to get my Mozambique visa.

It turns out they only gave me a 20 day visa lol. The whole 30 days of hotel bookings thing is ridiculous. If you don't want tourists to come to your broke ass country then fine! The next problem with Mozambique was there was some sort of civil war type stuff going on in the center of the country. The Renamo forces were ambushing/shooting up buses and cars along the highway. So if you were traveling through that part you had to join a military convoy. 3 people had died in the last few weeks. Well originally I was planning on doing mozambique completely overland, but I didn't really feel like dealing with this ****, I so decided to fly. I bused from Blantyre to a town called Tete and then flew to the capital of Mozambique, Maputo, and then headed up the southern coast from there.

Mozambique's main draws are the beaches and scuba diving, which I planned to do a lot of!


old cathedral 20km outside of Tete. Awesome (and exhausting) motorcycle ride on **** road through tiny villages to get there.




the classrooms and dorms outside the cathedral


always playing football


bus ride into Tete. guy on the far right has rats on stick, ha


the tiny villages on the way to the cathedral, outside of tete
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