From the Depths of Africa to its Peak

by Jordan Anderson

Well here I am at the end of a life changing summer. Sitting in Dubai’s airport on my way back to San Francisco, I can’t help but think how different life is here versus where I came from. I am surrounded by gold necklaces for sale at outrageous prices, yet I drove up to the airport 24 hours ago in Tanzania on a dirt road. In some ways that is how my entire summer felt. The tourists in many areas of Africa live a luxurious lifestyle with tea every 3 hours and unlimited food. Many of them chose to ignore and truly never see the realities of life for many local people. If you fly into the Serengeti and fly out without ever visiting a Tanzanian town, did you really see the country? I would argue you did not.

On this blog I want to share with you some of the adventures I was able to go on while in Africa (Mozambique, South Africa, and Tanzania). I recognize that I am extraordinarily privileged to be able to see these parts of the region. Many locals do not have the economic ability to visit places in their backyard. The prices are made for foreign tourists and there is limited infrastructure for local tourists. I write this blog with humility.

So here we go. This summer I visited Kruger National Park in South Africa, got scuba certified in Tofo, Mozambique, climbed to the peak of Africa in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, and explored the Savannah in the Serengeti. Quite a full summer.

My first big trip was to Kruger National Park. This trip happened on accident due to some visa problems, but it was wonderful all the same. My PI (Primary Investigator) Doctor Clotilde Nhatave and her fiancé took me across the border to Kruger National Park. Mozambique is such a thin country that it only takes around 2 hours to go from the capital (which is on the coast) to South Africa. We had a wonderful time in Kruger. We were only there for the day, but we saw so many animals. Check out some of the pictures below. The highlight was when we saw 10 female lions walking along the road towards our car, which was simply TERRIFYING. 

My next adventure was in the Inhambane Province of Mozambique. My 26th birthday occurred while I was in Mozambique and I knew that I wanted to do something special for it. As a solo traveler it can be lonely to have a birthday abroad so I decided to go scuba diving for some company. Some of my colleagues recommended Tofo and it did not disappoint. Tofo is a small town on the coast with many diving locations. It has beautiful reefs and WHALE SHARKS! I had the best birthday in Tofo. Some wonderful women from my lodgings took me into town and we danced the night away with locals. I couldn’t ask for a better way to ring in 26.

My biggest adventure of the summer way climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. This majestic mountain is a dormant volcano that stands at 19,341 feet or 5,895 meters. At its peak, there is 9% oxygen (compared to 22% at sea level). Our leader, Kevin Yang, has always wanted to climb the mountain and my friends VJ Shah, Phoebe Stark and I jumped onto his trip. It was the challenge of a lifetime. The climbing isn’t very difficult, but everything is harder without oxygen. In total we hiked over 80 miles. Below is our trek.

Machame Gate (5906’) –> Machame Camp (9302’)
Habitant: Montane Forest
Shira Camp (12304’) –> Lava Tower (15092’) –> Barranco Camp (12796’)
Habitat: Moorland
Barranco Camp (12796’) –> Karanga Camp (13107’)
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Karanga Camp (13107’) –> Barafu Camp (15332’)
Habitat: Alpine Desert
Uhuru Peak (19341’) –> Mweka Camp (10171’)
Not shown is the massive headache most of us had the entire time on the mountain. Mountain Sickness is real!

My final adventure was a Safari. After Kilimanjaro it was so wonderful to just sit in a car and breath, but we also got to see some amazing wildlife as well. We visited Tarangire National Park to see the elephants, the Serengeti to see the cats, and Ngorongoro Crater.

Well, that’s all for now. I have to hop on this 16 hour plane back to SF. Until next time.

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