Africa

Somalia, Spaghetti and Pirates

Hanad and Abdi sit up against the courtyard wall in the clammy evening heat. A large straw mat has been laid out, which serves both to keep us off the insects and to catch all the pieces of khat leaves they are dropping as they chew the night away. Nearer the perimeter wall, Mohamed and…

Road Trip to the D.R.C.

Ever since arriving in Angola for work last year, I had been pouring over maps of the region, examining what travel opportunities my new location afforded me. One neighbouring country in particular stood out: the Democratic Republic of Congo. The true heart of the Dark Continent, the Congo still seems to capture the imagination, over…

Sudan and Darfur: Same Old Same Old

It’s been four years since I stepped on the sands of The Sudan, so coming back felt both familiar and a bit strange. Arrivals at Khartoum airport seemed much the same, though arriving at 2.30 a.m. on a Turkish Airlines flight meant that more than half of the only 30 or so passengers on board…

Somalia: Mog-to-Kisimayo Road Trip (aborted)

Enough of this… In Mogadishu for how many days – running around in circles, militias in tow – adding to the quantity of armed men surrounding us every time we crossed an arbitrary barrier. Indeed, each time we had to cross into another warlord’s territory, another militia truck would have to be added to our…

Zimbabwe: Back From the Brink?

I spent three weeks in Zimbabwe in December 2009; it was my first return to that country in a little over two years. The last time I was there, in late 2007, inflation was heading into outer space, with more OOOOs on the banknotes than a Venetian orgasm; Comrade Bob was digging his heels in…

Angola: Cabinda Calling

Luanda’s domestic terminal is a crowded, dim, smoky place that definitely has not been affected by the obsession with banning cigarettes that has swept across the globe. Amongst local Angolans hauling piles of luggage were crowds of men from the Philippines and China, packed closely together, dutifully handing their passports over to their handlers when…

D.R.C. – In The Footsteps Of Stanley

PATIENCE, LUCK and cash. Those are the three things you need most if you are going to travel through the Congo. No matter how crap things look when your riverboat breaks down or your bush aircraft does not turn up or the road you are driving along is suddenly swallowed by the advancing jungle, a…