New Zealand is one of the best places in the world to celebrate New Year’s Eve — mostly because the weather is so much better down here than in most of the northern hemisphere!
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Hannah and Adam are 2013 Bloggies Award finalists and editors of Getting Stamped. They have already covered the Philippines, New Zealand, and Cambodia, and that’s only a small portion of the destinations they’ve made it to on their current two-year travel jaunt. Their Acacia Africa overland expedition departing on May 4 will take them across seven countries; but before they head for the continent, we thought we’d ask them about their expectations for this once-in-a-lifetime journey, and get their perspective and helpful tips for other first-time travellers to Africa.
Out of all the continents why put Africa on the list?
Hannah, we know you’re a bit of a beach fiend, so is there any one beach location that you think will have it all – “sands down?”
Game viewing must be right up there, but, do you have any plans to see the game differently than on a 4X4 drive?
Culturally, how has travel undoubtedly changed you? And based on that knowledge, what experiences are you looking forward to most in Africa?
Up close and personal.
What’s the best advice you can give to travellers about money in Africa?
In our current travels we have mainly used cash in the local currency. Our bank refunds all ATM fees we incur and there are no international transaction fees. Therefore we only take out enough cash to last us a few days, so we don’t have an excess amount of money on us at any given time. With proper budgeting we find this the most efficient way, and we don’t like losing money to money exchangers. We have also used our credit card here and there, because using it abroad can incur lots of fees. Generally the business will pass the 3-5% fee charged by the card company on to you, and on top of that there may be international transaction fee of 2-3%. Our cards don’t charge us the international fee, but we still don’t like when our money costs us money.
Hanging out in Africa.
We’re imagining you’ve jumped out of planes or done some great adventure travel stuff before now – what excites you on the adventure front about this trip?
Victoria Falls is definitely on the agenda.
Beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage in Southern Africa, and since this is Adam’s forte I’m guessing he knows the score, so what’s his take – will you be opting for the Kenyan Tusker or the Namibian Windhoek, or do we have to wait?
They say Africa can change your whole outlook on life – name three destinations where that’s happened so far and where you think the same might happen in Africa?
Cambodia: On our tour of the killing fields we listened to the stories of pain and suffering that happened just a generation ago. Suddenly, our guide rushed us to the car and we had to take a new route; a garment-factory strike had just turned deadly. The army had just shot and killed several workers who were peacefully seeking to increase their 40-cent hourly wage. It left us feeling as if Cambodians haven’t had a fair chance at life for several generations.
New Zealand brought to light how gorgeous the world really is in its pure state. The landscapes were breathtaking around every corner we took. We’re expecting the same jaw-dropping vistas to leave us speechless in Africa.
The Galapagos Islands: It was amazing how close we were able to get to the wildlife, and how amazing it was to see how the animals behave due to the lack of human interference.
Expectations for Africa: It seems to be the only place left in the world to witness the natural world, the last place that is truly wild. We have the Big Five and especially the big cats on our check list (who wouldn’t?!), and Adam is also a bit of a camera buff so you can expect some great photos and video. We’re still waiting in the travel wings, but as we make our way from Kenya to South Africa we’re sure the continent’s larger-than-life landscapes, Spitzkoppe and Mount Kilimanjaro amongst many others, will give us pause for thought. With an opportunity to explore the wilds of Africa including the Mara, Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti, we’re pretty sure we won’t be the same people that arrived.
When you think of a safari naturally your mind goes to the animals, but we are also genuinely looking forward to interacting with the local people along the way – Malawi, Tanzania and Botswana are cultural hot spots on our expedition. We want to see how people live, and to experience part of their culture. We always love to walk through local markets, as it’s one of the best ways to see into the heart and soul of a culture. There are always exotic foods, local crafts, and one-of-a-kind adventures. Zanzibar’s Stone Town is something we don’t want to miss, as there’s nothing like a bit of bartering to sample the local flavour of a place.
Not specific to any one destination/continent – why would you tell people to travel?
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