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Faces of Gambia

Friendly Gambian

When I think back about Gambia, my mind goes straight to the people. Their warm smiles. Their friendly greetings and their genuine hospitality. It may be cliché to say “it’s the people who make a place” but my experience in Gambia was truly shaped by the people I met along the way. Everywhere I went, I [...]

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Video: The Sounds of Tamala Africa Percussion Troupe, The Gambia

Dancing with full focus

I hear the infectious beat of the drums before I see them. A raucous mix of polyphonic rhythms and dramatic melodies blasts through the iron gates. We enter the family compound and find an 18-member band erupting into a cacophony of roaring percussion beats: the rattling of the tambourine, the tinkle of the balaphone and the beat of the West African djembe drums. The players pulse [...]

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Street Art in the Village of Kubuneh, Gambia

Street art in Kubuneh

During a river excursion in Makasutu Forest, I hopped on a pirogue (wooden dugout canoe) with my guide Amado and paddled on a tributary of River Gambia. Our boat ride brought us through patchworks of red mangroves and past little thatched huts to arrive at Kubuneh, a village just a few miles away from Mandina Lodges. [...]

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Gambia’s Makasutu Forest: Baboons, Rural Villages and Street Art

Makasutu Forest from above

It is barely dawn in the Makasutu Forest. I’m awakened by the chirping of birds, the chattering of the crabs and the distant cries of baboons. The natural symphony echoes from within the forest and mangroves surrounding me and the water beneath my feet. I step outside of my floating bungalow and the musky, tropical air hits me. Electric pink rays splash across the [...]

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Highlights of Gambia: from River Safaris to Fishing Villages

Mandina Lodge

I recently returned from a short jaunt to the Gambia with vivid memories of West Africa and very new perspectives of the region. The Gambia Experience gave me a taste of what West Africa has to offer — but it definitely left me with the urge and curiosity to explore more of the region. From the inland [...]

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Photoblog: Flamingos and Rhinos at Lake Nakuru

Flamingos taking off

By the time we arrived at Lake Nakuru in Kenya, we had already seen many of the big animals of Africa in the Masai Mara including lions, elephants, buffalos, hippos and even cheetahs. But we’d yet to see all of the Big Five, with just the leopard and rhino missing from our list. Here on the shores of Lake [...]

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Digging Deeper: Meeting Locals at Lake Bunyonyi, Uganda

The lake from above

On my recent East Africa trip, the biggest surprise for me was Lake Bunyonyi, a stunning part of Africa that I never knew existed. Sprawling across the Rwandan border in southern Uganda, Lake Bunyonyi was a breathe of fresh air after the dry, dusty savannas of Kenya: Emerald hills rose vertically from the shores of the lake, with beautiful terraces cut [...]

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Keeping Cultures Alive: the Masai People of Masai Mara

The Masai perform the jumping dance

“Welcome to our home,” announces Sam, our Masai guide for the day. We are here in a village tucked within the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. The Masai (also spelled as Maasai) are a semi-nomadic people from East Africa who are known for their unique way of life as well as their cultural traditions and customs. Living across the arid lands [...]

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On Safari in Kenya: Lions, Cheetahs and the Annual Migration at the Masai Mara Reserve

Wildebeest

Over thousands of wildebeests and zebras sprawl across the vast grasslands, peppering the landscape that runs for miles into the horizon. We’ve seen them before – but now to see them in such big numbers is just impressive. As we drive further along the rolling hills and surprisingly green fields, the sheer sight of the thousands of animals before us leaves us silent in awe. [...]

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Gorilla Tracking in Uganda — Part II: Intense Encounters

The eyes of the silverback

A loud grunting sound suddenly echoes through the jungle. With the trackers in the lead, we move downhill, past moss-covered logs and over thick ferns, towards a clearing. There, an enormous silverback sits regally, as if on his throne, munching his way through leaves and branches, blithely ignoring our presence. Through the dangling vines and banana leaves, I can see [...]

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Gorilla Tracking in Uganda — Part I: The First Sighting

Up close with a gorilla in Bwindi

The walkie-talkie crackles. Our guide Benjamin listens intently and whispers back in the local Rukiga language. “We’ve found the gorillas. A male and a female. They are just ahead,” he announces. “Are you ready?” We drop our bags and proceed in silence through the thick and wet jungle with nothing more than our cameras. Even our porters have left [...]

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An Instagram Photo Tour of East Africa

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I’m currently writing from the lush green grasslands of Lake Nakuru, Kenya, where we’re in the middle of our overland trip in East Africa. Over the past two weeks, we’ve covered long distances and packed in tons of activities from gorilla tracking to boat trips on dugout canoes and orphanage visits. It’s been a journey [...]

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Ditching the Digital World in East Africa

Masai in East Africa

Jambo from Kenya! I’m writing to you from Nairobi, where I’ll be starting my overland trip with Africa Travel Co around East Africa. After a few hectic months of working on my new book and the magazine, it’s time to give myself a well-deserved break so I’m taking the opportunity to give myself a digital [...]

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Highlights of Mauritius: from Islands to Mountains

Flying over Mauritius

We’ve just left Mauritius after spending a week island-hopping and exploring the beaches and jungles of the island. From the west highlands of Chamarel to the eastern shore of Pointe d’Esny and the northern coast of Grand Baie, we traversed the island in search of unusual experiences. And although we didn’t find quite as many adventures as we wanted to, we still had a [...]

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Mauritius from Above: Flying over the North Coast on a Seaplane

Heart-shaped islets off the coast

With miles and miles of picture-perfect sandy beaches and acres of greenery, Mauritius is definitely best seen from the skies. Exploring on land and by boat may give good perspectives of the island, but only by taking to the skies can you fully get a grasp of the island’s geography. On our recent trip to [...]

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