Uncharted Backpacker

Category - Africa

The Pirate Tropical Paradise – Ile Sainte Marie, Madagascar

Ile Sainte Marie, Madagascar

There is only one way to see this place, join the locals and hop aboard a scooter to zip down the 57km of road here. Look over there! An idyllic beach with a thatched hut village. What’s that you smell? Frying fish and other fresh assorted seafood. Continuing along you dodge chickens, pass by cemetery’s marked with the pirate symbol of a skull and cross bone and eventually find a beach that looks like a friken post card. This island paradise is tucked away in a remote corner of eastern Madagascar. There are no big crowds, no tour buses and definitely no McDonalds. This is Madagascar at its most beautiful, cultural and historic setting. It might be remote, but those who make the effort to get here just might find the paradise they’ve always dreamt of! This is Ile Sainte Marie Madagascar. Read More

Highlights Along the RN7, Southern Madagascar

Southern Madagascar

A journey along Madagascar’s famous RN7 highway will take you from grassy highlands to lush rainforests teeming with wildlife, deserts that reminisce a Martian landscape and before finally reaching its western shores. Along the way you will climb massive boulders to find ring tail lemurs, rub shoulders with tribes in bustling markets and hike in some of Madagascar’s most impressive scenery. The RN7 represents all that is strange and wonderful in a nation that is commonly referred to a “the big island”. Hop on a Taxi-Brousse or rent a 4×4 and tackle this epic road! Read More

Travel Madagascar’s Wild West

Western Madagascar

The more I travel the harder it is for me to get excited. The once vibrant picture becomes more mundane and “normal”. Arriving to Western Madagascar changed this perspective. Having previously believed I may have seen it all has been turned upside down by this stunning region. When the pavement ends so does the modern world. Ancient Baobabs soar above, lemurs leap from tree to tree, eerie jagged rock formations conceal spirits of the dead and wild Zebu stealing tribes rule the areas as they have for centuries. I came looking for adventure and Madagascar gave me exactly this! Read More

Travel to Libya’s Saharan Capital, Ghadames

Ghadames, Libya

The Saharan mirage gives way to a wonderful sight of a palm fringed oasis, a caravan town of white Islamic architecture that provokes images of a lost ancient desert masterpiece. The shimmering gold sand dunes in the distance add contrast to such a perfect image. This is not a dream, this is reality if you can make it to the far flung capital of Ghadames, Libya. Ghadames beauty if only the beginning, the hospitality and culture of Ghadames inhabitants will be your lasting memory.  This whimsical desert odyssey is not for the faint of heart as getting here requires a plethora of security issues, but for the jaded traveler this makes the allure of visiting Ghadames even more. Read More

Feeding Wild Hyenas in Harar, Ethiopia

Harar, Ethiopia

Right as the last bit of light descends below the horizon the Hyena man calls out. Calling the resident hyena’s by name and howling as if he is one of them. The medieval city of Harar in eastern Ethiopia is famous for being the city who became friends with these beasts. As the Hyena man calls out again, large figures begin to emerge from the shadows of Harar’s gates. One by one the Hyena’s begin to reveal themselves. The Hyena man then hands me a piece of meat hanging on a stick and tells me to put it in my mouth and feed the Hyena face to face. Doing so the Hyena starts to crawl closer and my mid races, this is Harar Ethiopia! Read More

Lower Omo Valley Travel Guide – Ethiopia

Lower Omo Valley, Southern Ethiopia

The sharp look of a war paint covered Ak-47 wielding tribesmen enters my gaze. The deep blast of horns fill the air as women beg to be whipped with tree branches. The dust rises as the hypnotically chanting tribal groups continuously jump up and down. It’s an absolute shock to the uninitiated, a scene from National Geographic documentaries that you watched as a child playing right before your eyes. It takes time to take it all in, but when you do you are filled with a whirlwind of emotions. Who knew such a place on earth, so beautifully primitive and culturally shocking still existed in this day and age. This is the Lower Omo Valley, in Southern Ethiopia. Read More

The Legendary Saharan City – Marrakesh, Morocco

Marrakesh, Morocco

Chances are you have heard the name “Marrakesh”. Chances are when you think of this name images of a legendary Saharan oasis filled with chaotic bazaars, camels, and snake charmers appear in the back of your mind. If this is what you imagine it to be, then you will not be let down by Marrakesh. Marrakesh has been a traveler’s haunt for many generations. Luring adventurers, explorers, and those who genuinely want a different, more exotic experience. Marrakesh is everything alluring, everything you dream of finding on a true adventure. Marrakesh and Morocco, in general, is a travelers dream.

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Trekking Guide – Simien Mountains National Park Ethiopia  

Simien Mountains National Park – Ethiopia

Why Trek Simien National Park?

Simply put, the Simien Mountains are amazing. Nobody seems to think of Ethiopia looking like this. Humongous, green, pinnacle peaks, deep valleys dotted with grass-hut villages, and fog blanketing the scenery for a picture perfect moment. Simien is breathtaking. Apart from the scenery, there is also an array of wildlife. Most likely, you will see the Gelada Monkey hordes, covering the hills, planning their next assault on the fields of golden wheat. The chances of seeing Ethiopia’s rare majestic Walia Ibex are also high. Simien can also provide a cultural experience as well. Many Ethiopians call Simien National Park their home. They grow wheat on gravity defying terraces and live in very traditional grass roof houses. Trekking here is extremely rewarding. Simien is a World Heritage site, and any trek here will stick with you long after you have left. Trek Simien; I promise that you will never forget this beautiful corner of Ethiopia. Read More

Ethiopia’s Northern Circuit – Rock Hewn Churches of Lalibela and Mekele

Lalibela and Mekele – Ethiopia

Ethiopia: The Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela

Continued From Ethiopia Part One: Addis Ababa and Lake Tana

From Lake Tana, the road goes east through majestic valleys to Lalibela. The road conditions are some of the worst in the entire country of Ethiopia. I arrived late in the evening; after about nine hours of bumpy buses, breakdowns, and coffee stops. Luckily, my hotel was located close to where the bus had dropped me off. I chose to stay at the Alef Paradise Hotel. Room rate was only 15 dollars per night, and was within walking distance of the churches. Read More

Ethiopia’s North – Addis Ababa and Lake Tana

Addis Ababa and Lake Tana – Ethiopia 

Ethiopia’s Northern Historic circuit will erase all preconceptions you have regarding this nation. You will witness rock-hewn churches carved by angels, towering obelisks built by the ancient Aksumite Empire, and impossibly green mountains inhabited by armies of gelada baboons. You will cross terraced farmlands, frigid mountains, scorching deserts and some of Ethiopia’s most raw, beautiful scenery. Whatever your thoughts about Ethiopia are now, you will be amazed to see the magic this incredible country conceals deep in the North. This is a four part series of my journey through Ethiopia’s north. I chose to only take local transport so I could travel as the locals do, and take in as much of the “off the beaten track” country side as possible. Tag along with me and follow this epic series. Read More