Jack and Jill Are Going to Africa!

Guess what? Tomorrow we’ll be on a plane heading to a new continent.

Jack and Jill are going to Africa!

First stop is Morocco

Why Morocco?
See, ever since I was a kid, I’ve always wanted to go to Timbuktu. “Timbuktu” – doesn’t that word just imply something so exotic? Something so remote, so the end of the world? Later I realised that Timbuktu is not, and has never been, located in Morocco. It is in fact, in Mali. Quite a distance away, apparently.

But that was how Morocco first came to my radar and my fascination with this country has remained ever since. Yes, I still want to go to Timbuktu, but I’m afraid Mali will have to wait.

by tine.law

Morocco might not have Timbuktu, but it does have other places just equally exciting and exotic. Places that are as much fun to say just as much as they are to spell. Places such as:

Marrakech – with its famous plaza, Djemaa El-Fna and its markets.
Chefchaouen – a town known for its white and powder-blue houses. I’ve seen some fantastic pictures coming out of this place.
Ourzazate – for its picturesque Kasbahs.

We’ll be arriving in Casablanca and making a loop through the country. Chefchaouen in the north, then back down to Fez, the desert, Marrakesh, and quite possibly end in Casablanca again.

We also have visas to Ethiopia*

Why Ethiopia?
I remember browsing through shelves of guidebooks in our local library during our research phase and came back home thinking, “We should definitely go to Ethiopia.”

After re-reading facts about the country, I still don’t know what it was that caught my attention. But I can’t seem to shake off that itch.

Secondly but more importantly is the fact that it’s quite easy to get an Ethiopian visa, even for an Indonesian passport holder.

An Ethiopian woman
by Anita

Thirdly, Ethiopia sounds amazing. Places in Ethiopia that might turn out to be the highlights of our trip there include:
Danakil depression – the lowest point in Africa with fascinating geographical formations.
Harar – a Muslim town that has a tradition of nightly feeding of wild hyenas.
Lalibela – this town came highly recommended pretty much by everyone who’s been there. It’s a site where dozens of churches have been carved out of stone.

Then I guess we might as well go to Djibouti*

Why Djibouti?
The only reason we became aware of the existence of this country was because it shares a border with Ethiopia. Then I found out that we might be able to snorkel with whale sharks!

Snorkeling with whale sharks - by Jayegirl99

Seriously, if I get a chance to see whale sharks up close, I can die (hopefully not from fright at seeing this gigantic-slash-awesome animal) happy.

*We are paying closer attention to the evolving situation between Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia to see what effect the military activity has, if any, on tourism/civilian safety.

Be part of our adventures in Africa!

We can’t wait to share our African stories with you. After 6 months in South America and a 3-week “vacation” on the East Coast we’re ready for new adventures in a new continent.

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Have any suggestions?

Blog posts you’ve written on these countries we should check out? Let us know in the comment section below.

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29 Replies to “Jack and Jill Are Going to Africa!”

  1. Africa is one of those continents that people hardly really explore! I've only visited Nigeria and that was an absolute eye opener! I think when you travel to a third world country you not only travel and learn from the culture but you also learn to be humble and appreciate what you have!

  2. Sorry… I didn't make it to the Danakil Depression while I was in Ethiopia, or to the south, where all the tribes are. I've heard good things about both from other people I met there. I know that gas has been really expensive in Ethiopia for some time now and that has driven up a lot of the tour costs since you need a car to get to a lot of locations in the mountains.
    If you need a good tour guide, I recommend Ashenafi Getachew at Victory Tour Ethiopia. He's a very nice man and was very helpful when I was on a group tour. (www.victoryethiopiatour.com)

  3. Thanks for the good wishes and the tips! Did you get a chance to visit the Danakil Depression when you were there? Thinking of going there, but it takes 4-5 days and quite a large sum of money. Wondering if you've been there and what you think of it.

  4. We love Ethiopian food! Some people find injera a little too weird, but I love it! Thanks for the wishes, can't wait to share our food stories from Ethiopia!

  5. Have a great trip guys! It sounds like an excellent itinerary. We haven't been to Morocco yet either and definitely want to go soon. Ethiopia is great. It's surprising and beautiful. Cheers!

  6. The only country I've been to in Africa is Morocco. Marrakech and Essaouira are definitely places you should visit while in the country. And of course, the Sahara desert 🙂 I'll be following your adventures in Africa – Ethiopia and Djibouti sound fascinating!

  7. Have fun guys! And just in case you don't get to Djibouti, I'll point out that it is possible to see whale sharks all along the East coast of Africa. I certainly met a few diving and snorkelling off Kenya and Tanzania, so if you don't make it there, try another of the East African countries. They are fantastic creatures and definitely worth making the effort to meet. Jill – remember the phrase 'gentle giants'!

  8. Yay! We love Africa — though we have only seen the southern parts of it. I can't wait to read about your journey through these northern areas!

  9. Africa!!! I've always wanted to go there. Very exciting for you two and we're looking forward to seeing more of your adventures!

  10. I can't wait to read about it, Ethiopian food is one of my favorites and I have been waiting to hear more about the country so that I can add knowledge of the culture to knowledge of the food!

    A good friend of mine just finished a 3-month stint volunteering in Kenya and is traveling around some of Africa at the moment as well!

    The more I learn about it the more I want to get over there and explore those countries that I know so little about!

    Have fun!!

  11. I've been to Ethiopia twice and absolutely love it! Aside from the border areas and Merkato, the big market in Addis, it's a very safe country to travel in and really beautiful.
    1) Addis Ababa:
    -If you're getting visas on arrival in Addis, the desk is tucked away in a room on the left when you come down the stairs/escalator to immigration. The sign was literally taped onto the door both times I went, so it was not obvious.
    -Toronto Guesthouse in Chechenya neighbourhood is wonderful, although a bit more expensive than other guesthouse options. The desk will change money for you at a good rate.
    -Have a coffee at the Peacock Cafe. It's an institution.
    -Check out Fasika or Habesha restaurants to see cultural dancing – the head spins are something else!
    -Great shopping with less crowds at Shiro Meda market rather than Merkato.
    2) Lalibela:
    -Go for a drink at the Mountain View Hotel. The view is jaw-dropping.
    3) Other places in Ethiopia worth checking out: Blue Nile Falls near Bahir Dar and Kosoye lookout near Gonder in the Simien Mountains.
    4) Top phrases to learn in Amharic:
    Hello – Selam
    Thank you – Amaseganalo
    Please – Bakihin (male) Bakishin (female)
    Have a great time in Africa!

  12. Exciting stuff! Can't wait to start reading about Africa!

    And I think it's awesome that your African destinations are just your "typical" stops.

  13. I'm so excited for you!! I've always wanted to go to Djibouti… but mainly just because the capital is also Djibouti 🙂 I've only stayed a night in Ethiopia but I'm sure you'll love it.

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