Rwanda Day 2: Mountain Gorillas

Our guide stopped us in a small clearing in the mountainside rainforest half an hour earlier than anticipated. “They’re just over there”, he whispered, languidly pointing over to some shrubs a hundred metres away. I was short of breath and it wasn’t due to the altitude. I was nervous. We’d spend the last two hours trekking through farms and forest in the Parc National des … Continue reading Rwanda Day 2: Mountain Gorillas

Rwanda Day 1: Kigali Memorial Centre

My own memories of news reports from Africa in the mid-nineties extend only as far as images of Nelson Mandela smiling benevolently and shaking hands with people who I didn’t recognise. The overwhelming message was that this was not just a new start for South Africa, but for the entire continent. As a politically naive fourteen year-old in central Scotland I didn’t understand or care … Continue reading Rwanda Day 1: Kigali Memorial Centre

African beer – the best so far

Africa does many things well. Beer is not one of them. Besides the locally brewed Chibuku, a pungent gruel-like beer made from maize, most are bog-standard lagers, with no more character than Carling. In the shadow of Kilimanjaro, I discovered Faru, a dark lager made from sorghum. Rich and chocolatey, it was the perfect companion to Chipsimayai, a Tanzanian chips omelette usually consumed during and/or … Continue reading African beer – the best so far

Camels for Peace

There’s a reasonable amount of arrogance¬†dished out by travellers you meet on the road. They tell you the number of counties they’ve ‘done’, the height of things they’ve jumped off, the remoteness of the tribes they’ve visited, and generally the number of things they’ve ticked off an arbitrary list. How far, how fast, how many. By chance we met a man who would humble them … Continue reading Camels for Peace

Reflections on Lake Malawi

For me Malawi was a source of inner conflict. The two things I associate with the country are in direct opposition. Firstly, Malawi remains one of the world’s poorest countries: annual gross national product is less than $250 per person, half the population is malnourished, and life-expectancy is just 43 years, in large part due to HIV/AIDS. Secondly, Malawi is famed for its eponymous lake, … Continue reading Reflections on Lake Malawi