Where to in 2007?

Posted by on Dec 30, 2006 in India, Pre-Trip Planning | 4 Comments

With the new year coming up I find myself without a plan. My intentions have always been to follow India with Africa and I still intend to. The only problem is deciding where and how. Most of you know I love planning for trips almost as much at taking them but planning on the road is turning out not as fun as usual. There’s of course, a lack of printed materials at my disposal and I find myself depending on the internet for all of my information. Still, it’s surprising how difficult it is to find out when a good time to go to Tanzania is!

I’ve compiled a list of possible destinations along the East coast of Africa and their weather. The main problem is finding a route that is:

  1. Possible. I’m not sure my mom (or myself!) will survive if I overland Sudan. And I’m not sure I will have an opportunity to get a South African visa in advance so flying there isn’t my best option.
  2. Affordable. I love overlanding but to see a lot of ground in an acceptable amount of time I’m going to have to fly a bit. The only problem is that most routes seem to go through Kenya and South Africa (two countries that are not high on my priority list). Furthermore, Egypt isn’t considered “real Africa” or so I was told by a South African Airways agent. This means it isn’t linked nearly as well with the continent as I’d like.
  3. Comfortable. Who wants to be in Madagascar during the long rains? It’s going to take some planning to avoid both heavy rains and scoarching heat throughout the trip.
  4. Interesting. I want to see some giraffes and zebras but I still really prefer arts and culture. Should I be going to Mali instead?
  5. A Good Deal. Now that South African Airways has joined Star Alliance they’re offering an African air pass. It would also be possible to link Africa on a RTW ticket home. But does either make sense? Most European airlines require one to fly through their European hub to get anywhere in Africa and those miles count. I’ve looked at some airline route maps just to get an idea of what may be possible.

I’ll be speaking to a few travel agents once I hit Mumbai (Bobmbai) in the next week or two. I’m anxious to get to another big city with Western comforts but I’m heading off to Mt. Abu and the Ajanta and Ellora caves first. Sometimes it’s easy to forget about experiencing the present when the possibility of a new adventure lays ahead.

In any case, I think you’ll all be pleased that I’m still the same old Megan come this new year, even if I’m traveling. India is full of psuedo-hippies “finding themselves” by drinking bhang lassis and dreading their hair. I prefer to take my travel alongside some good fries and a fast internet connection.

Those that know me will not be surprised at how long I’ve been searching for a local store that sells the 2007 Moleskine daily planner. It wasn’t released yet when I left back in June or I would have brought it along—I always like my travel notebooks to match nicely. I’ve found this site which tells me where I can buy a Moleskine in person by continent and here’s a list of official dealers, including one in South Africa.

I hope everyone has a fun and safe New Year’s Eve. I’m staying in Udaipur and will be once again celebrating a holiday with Sui, the infamous on and off again travel partner I picked up in Tibet. Moleskine or not, I’m heading South and West toward home in 2007

4 Comments

  1. Vincent
    December 30, 2006

    Hey Megan! Here are some ideas for your Africa routing.

    – start in Egypt to avoid masses of tourists from late spring to summer. Weather is also more moderate in winter/spring. Emirates has flights from almost everywhere in India to Cairo (via their hub in Dubai). It’s a highly recommendable airline. Pick up your Egyptian visa upon arrival at Cairo Int’l Airport.

    – I think buying an air pass doesn’t come out cheaper than going one by one. Unless most African airlines Ethiopian Airlines is quite reliable and they have a surprisingly extensive network. You could fly Cairo to Khartoum to Addis Ababa (visit Ethopia! I did some research during the last weeks as I’ll be going there in October or so. It seems to be a great place. Rainy season is mid March to September). From there you could fly to Bamako… I think you should definitely go to Mali!
    Check Ethiopian’s network here: http://www.flyethiopian.com/destinations/destinfo.aspx

    – You don’t need a visa for South Africa.

    Take care and happy travels!

  2. Vincent
    December 30, 2006

    UNLIKE most African airlines… 😉

  3. vlad
    December 30, 2006

    i recommend ethiopia as well. it’s difficult travel, but so cool… traveling around to all the villages in the south was one of the most fascinating experiences of my rtw. also, traveling through sudan is actually possible. my friends went from egypt to ethiopia and say that as long as you stay mostly in the east part of sudan, everything is fine. plus, it is very very untoursity and could be a very rewarding place to check out. how many people can say they’ve been there?

    oh, check out uganda for sure.. everyone says that the gorillas are the best thing *ever*.

    *v

  4. ali
    December 30, 2006

    Hap-hap-happy new year, Miss Travelpants!

    I spoke to my sis…her in-laws are not in Kerala, they’re in Orrisa (sp?). Oh well…but Joc said that Mumbai was a really cool city. She said it was jampacked with the best and the worst of India. She also experienced the staring everywhere she went. She and her hubby would be walking and he would be like, “Look behind you…now!” And they’d turn and see dozens of heads turning away. Joc and the hubby made a game of it.

    Were there any listings in Mumbai for moleskine products?

    Steer clear of those pseudo-hippies. Call me opinionated but nothing irritates me more than those folks. You’ll find variants of them snowboarding all over the world. They tend to be upper middle class pretending not to be…but then I’m painting them all with a rather broad brush, eh.

    May the planning for Africa get all firmed up sometime in the next month and may you have a wonderful 2007!