My African Travel Bucket List

Although Kenyan, I have a list of African countries am itching to explore. Ask a Kenyan which country they would love to go to if money was not an issue, African countries rarely makes it to their list. They’ll most likely mention the usual culprits, The UK, The US, China, Germany and the United Arab Emirates with Dubai being the first stop.

Africa is so diverse why wouldn’t anyone explore this majestic continent?

I was writing down my travel bucket list late last year and settled on continental countries first before taking a trip around the world.
First up!

SOUTH AFRICA

What got me attracted to South Africa? The music, hands down. I love South African music. There’s something about their music that gets you up when you’re feeling down. They blend traditional and modern African beats into what we know as South African music.

winter-wonderland-in-south-africathesouthafrican.com

Besides their dynamic music, it snows in South Africa. You know, South African tribes inspired the colorful blankets we saw in Black Panther. These blankets are complimentary in community hotels so I’ll be sure to stay in one. I like free things, don’t judge me.

The one place you can experience winter wonderland without leaving the continent. I know sometimes it snows up north but S.A is the place to go. Snow angels anyone?

ETHIOPIA

This country is right next door to Kenya. A road trip across the country with friends and family sounds exciting, where do I sign up?

Ethiopia also boasts of being the only African country after Liberia that was not colonized by Europe. Meaning everything is authentically African, in Ethiopian standards of course.

ethiopian-coffee-ceremonyCoffe Certainly • Pinterest


Their coffee is a plus. Ethiopians love their coffee so much there’s a whole ceremony behind it. The way they prepare it, the way they serve it, the way they have it, one word, culture. The coffee ceremony symbolises friendship.

If you want the best, most delicious, well served coffee, fly to Ethiopia, thank me later.

So besides the coffee, which I’m sure you’ll absolutely fall in love with, is the alien like landscape. So if you want to feel like you’re on another planet, add Ethiopia to your list.


ZANZIBAR

Zanzibar is a small island in the Indian Ocean on the East of Tanzania. This island made part of a larger Tanzania back when it was known as Tanganyika. I guess you could say they broke up. While Mombasa is a tourist favourite for most, Zanzibar doesn’t fall far behind. These two islands are quite similar but what separate them are the all-natural organic spices Zanzibar is famous for.

beach-hotels-in-zanzibar
jetsetter.com

Zanzibar is also home to the kanga. East Africans wouldn’t be wearing kanga today if it wasn’t for their women.

Little known islands surround Zanzibar so it’s always good to explore. Thinking of going to the beach to soak up some sun, better make Zanzibar your destination.

MADAGASCAR

If you’ve seen Penguins of Madagascar I have some bad news. Penguins don’t exist in Madagascar, you will however, be blown away by the species that have made their home here. After branching out from Africa, Madagascar evolved differently. In turn, the island became known to shelter world’s most unique flora and fauna.

baobab-trees-in-madagascar
mustvisitdestinations.com


The animals and plants are unlike the rest of Africa. Madagascar also boasts of being home to all six species of the majestic baobab tree. Like I said, Madagascar is unique in her own way.


GHANA

Home of the Kente and Swiss chocolate. Yes, Swiss chocolate is actually from Ghana. This country maintains her royal families too. They may not be as influential as they were back then; they still however, have a large following.

Ghanian-queensFitness Goddess • Instagram

In fact the government recognizes Ghanaian Kings and Queens. They get to hold public ceremonies and festivals am looking forward to. To celebrate a people, their culture and their rich history and maybe hopefully get married to one of their young prince, just saying. It could happen, you never know.
Lastly,


EGYPT

The pyramids, why else would anyone go to Egypt if not for the pyramids. For me, it’s the sphinx first before the pyramids. Did you know the sphinx is a woman in a cat’s body? Egyptians were obsessed with cats. The fact that they made one with a woman’s head is fascinating to say the least.

The sphinx in EgyptAncient Egypt Official • Instagram

The pyramids are beautiful and hold secrets to an amazing civilization. The sphinx on the other hand is my number one reason to visit Egypt.

There you go my continental travel bucket list.

Which African countries do you plan to visit in the near future? Let me know in the comments section.

Featured image by islandoriginsmag.com

A Letter To Afro Bloggers. Day 30/30

Its finally the end of the blogging challenge! Woop! Woop!

I went through several stages.

I doubted myself. Tears were shed. I thought I couldn’t do it. I almost gave up.

Clothes were left unchanged. I wore the same shirt for a week. I only got out at night so no one noticed. But I knew.

I showed up late to the challenge. I completed it way past the 30 days, but at least am here. 15 days late, don’t judge me.

The good book clearly says, “thou shall not judge thy blogger that shows up late for the #winterABC challenge.” Let us not argue with the good book, OK.

This challenge kept me up in a good way. I got to share a part of me to my readers.

I can’t wait for the next one. Promise I’ll be early.

My Views On Racism And Gay Rights. Day 24/30

You know the thing about getting older is, you start to notice things. Things you wouldn’t pay much attention to. Like, how this country lets people get away with murder, rape and corruption but not being Gay. Can you believe that? You can kill but not be gay.

What is it about the LGBTQ community in Kenya that people hate so much? They’re adults and probably minding their own business. The world would be better if people weren’t concerned with what people were doing in their bedrooms.

Let’s talk about the role religion plays in Kenya. Notice how Christians are ready to quote bible verses as to why homosexuality is wrong. Then quickly turn a blind eye to pastors defiling kids. As if saying, being gay is sinful but we allow pedophilia.

I was watching Predator Pastors on TV the other day. It was about preachers who preyed on young girls. Girls as young as seven.

One story was about a lady who had sent her 9yr old daughter to the shop. On her way back, she was defiled. She ran back home and told her mum. Her mum did the right thing and immediately reported it to the police. Luckily, the girl could identify her attacker. The police went to arrest him but the congregation fought them off. Her attacker was the church’s pianist. Women with children defended a rapist with their lives. Now why would a nine year old make up something like that?

Christians claim they’re protecting their kids from homosexuality. Yes, because apparently, John, your gay neighbor will wave his magical rainbow wand and turn your son gay.

On racism, am lucky enough to have never come across racist people. I guess that’s one of the perks of living in Africa, sorrounded by Africans

Can we get a few things straight? There is no such thing as reverse racism. I’ve seen some KOT tweeps claim reverse racism in certain situations. For example, how in the hospitality industry people are likely to treat white people better than black people. Their sorry excuse was white people tip.

First, tipping is deeply rooted in slavery and Jim Crow. You should know this by now. White owned establishments hired black people as help and waiters. Despite the harsh environment, they were to be respectful and welcoming. They didn’t get a monthly salary rather, they depended on tips. Tips they might have not received. So basically, they were working for free, most of the time.

This is not reverse racism, its self hatred. Self-hatred is when black people treat white people better than other black people.

Another thing, anti-blackness is when other non-white people treat black people unfairly, so that they could get favour with white people. The idea that white people will treat others as equals due to their anti blackness is a myth. Look, anti-blackness only delays progress for everyone.

Self-hatred is the worse. You know these people will drop everything and do what white people want, without being asked.

Lastly, saying black people are racist towards white people is stupid. How do they benefit from this construct? How?

This world doesn’t need all this hate.

Now that we’ve established today’s topic, why can’t we just get along?

These Outdated Traditions And Cultures Need To Go. Day 19/30

I love my continent. With over three thousand tribes, Africa is a melting pot. Our music, art and dance have shaped today’s pop culture. Pop culture wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for Africa.

Like everything out there that’s good there’s a bad side to it. Although I respect my ancestors for giving us a culture, I hate some elements of it. These traditions no longer work in a connected world. We have the technology and knowledge to do better. Information is important today than it was back then.

These African traditions have no place today.

Breast Ironing

Breast ironing is the flattening of an adolescent growing breast. Hot stones are used to mutilate these girls’ breasts. These Cameroonian women believe that if a girl has a flat chest, men would not be attracted to her. They do this as way of ensuring their girls finish school without getting pregnant. This practice is brutal and horrifying to young girls. Doesn’t it make sense to do something about the men that prey on young girls? How about having the sex talk with the girls or better yet, how about using long term contraceptives?

A flat chest will not stop a girl from having sex and risking her life. Breast ironing makes no sense at all. Using traditional methods to raise children in the modern world is pure madness.

Wife inheritance

What happens after your husband passes on? You wouldn’t think of marrying your brother-in-law now would you? This is the case of many women in Western Kenya. Thanks to this way ward culture, women are forced to marry their brothers in law. Refusing to do so results in their homes burned down, chased away from the community or worse, death.

Women, have no choice but to obey. Notice how men are never ‘inherited’ by women when their wives die.

Death of children

This actually came as a shock to me when I first saw it on the news. So this lady was lucky enough to give birth to septuplets, a first in her home county. Unfortunately, according to her culture, in case of septuplets, they had to kill three of her children. Reason? They believed this would give the new mother an opportunity to comfortably breast feed two kids.

It gets weird.

The new mum believed this too!

While in the hospital she would refuse to breast feed three of her kids. The doctors and nurses had to literally make her breastfeed all her kids.

I can make a list of all the crazy things culture has done to our children. This has to stop.

Misogynist rites of passage

In an African setting it’s very important for boys to go through initiation. This is where they get to learn how to be men. They learn the ways of their people and sadly, how to be misogynist. These boys go from being innocent to acting like they own the country. They no longer do things for themselves and expect women to do it for them. Men learn toxic masculinity from other men and it usually begins on the first day of their initiation. This has to stop.

The art of silence in marriage

You know, often times modern African women are compared to their mothers. “Why can’t you be more like your mothers?” This is in relation to marriage. Men who’ve grown up in such setting don’t realize that, even though their mothers never talked to them, they talked to us. Our mothers went through a lot in their marriage, but they always had to put on a brave face for their children.

This culture sold them silence.

They believed that their marriage problems were not something worth discussing outside. So, most women went about their lives in pain.

Women are no longer staying in abusive relationships any more. The rate of divorce is at an all-time high.

It was hard picking out the five since Africa is culturally diverse. Some traditions may be done in the dark. We can only move forward if we get rid of them. Its 2019, these traditions have no place here.

Any other outdated traditions worth mentioning, let me know.

5 Off Beat Places To Visit In Kenya. Day 17/30

My country is one of the best places to vacay over the holidays. (No, I didn’t get paid to say that.) It’s always sunny, so a weekend at the beach is a must. Maybe a hike is your type of thing.

Thing is, tourists tend to visit and show up in the most usual places, National parks, Malindi beaches, Mt. Kenya etc.

So I made a list of a few places worth your time. Time to hit the road.

Turkana

Lake Turkana

This county is a haven for people who love hiking. Its vast land makes it a go to place for hikers and campers. Lake Turkana also offers great sights, like islands and sandy beaches. This place is also not overcrowded offering a quiet and peaceful experience.

Samburu

Like the Maasai community, the Samburu are a semi nomadic tribe. They’re still conversant with their culture and proud of it. Samburu County boasts of exceptional sites and attractions, national parks and reserves. Lamu has the Lamu festival where they have a donkey race. In Samburu, you can participate in the Maralal international camel derby; it’s the only one in Kenya.

The best way of enjoying this county is by staying at community based lodges.

Meru

Meru National Park | Source Green Global Travl

I found out about this park in one of my trips to Meru County. I have family there so it was quite interesting to know about the park. Meru is only four hours away from Nairobi. The park is closer to town with many hotels so you’re sure to spend the weekend before heading home. This park is full of life.

The people are out of this world amazing. Ever had banana wine before? Ask around and you’ll find women making some. Give it time to get used to the taste, you

Machakos

There’s a hill in Machakos that defies the laws of gravity. Tourists actually only visit this area to put it to test.

If you want to see your drink flow up a hill, the Kituluni Hills in Machakos should be your next stop.

Kakamega

Source Safari254

Kit Mikaye in Kakamega is a tourist destination. One has to trek for few minutes from the main road to get to it. That being said, why not find your way to the Kakamega Rain forest. The only rain forest in Kenya.

The weather around this area is unpredictable. It could rain one minute, get sunny in the other. Come prepared.

This forest is a haven for many animals, birds and tree species.

Addressing The African Union. Day 15/30

I first learnt about African Union in primary school. It’s a mandatory topic for every child in Kenya so, there was no way I was going to escape it. I tried to understand its purpose to Africa. So a bunch of African leaders and their delegates fly to Ethiopia to discuss about Africa. Then what?

If given the chance to address the AU I know I’ll need a few minutes.

First, when are you making Swahili your official language? Swahili is the second most widely spoken language in Africa. Arabic is first but I believe we all know why. The AU spends so much money and time on translators when they could simply learn a language.

Rwanda dropped French for Swahili. South Africa is about to start teaching Swahili in schools. Again I ask, what’s taking so long?

Kiswahili Kitukuzwe.

Source, Kiswahili Kitukuzwe

When the Chinese government gave you free computers, what did you think was going to happen? Did the people who accepted those freebies did so before or after bribery? Nothing is ever for free; the late Mzee Jomo Kenyatta taught us this.

Even after the Chinese got all the information they needed from you. Did you return their gifts or are they still in the building staying pretty?

A room full of grown men and maybe two or three women, and none of you smelled a conspiracy about to happen. I’m ashamed of you.

When will you cut the umbilical cord that’s holding you to the E.U? Will you ever make decisions for Africa without consulting your former slave masters and colonizers? It baffles me that even after our forefathers fought for their independence; we’re still taking orders from them.

Source, CNN

Can we talk about the stolen loot for a minute. Countries like Ethiopia, Senegal and Egypt are trying to get their stolen art from European museums. Don’t you think it’s a great idea to speak with one voice and empty those museums of stolen African art? We can learn so much from our ancestors through their craftsmanship. But it’s almost like we have to fly to Europe to know about Africa.

Until the AU get jealous with her people and put them first. You’ll always be the organization that meets every once in a while to waste taxpayers money.

Thank you for coming to my TED Talk.

5 Africans, Past and Present Who Inspire Me. Day 14/30

Africa is such an underrated continent when it comes to leadership. The world sees Africa as a corrupt place that can’t be saved. Truth be told, inspiring leaders do exist in Africa.

Below are five Africans who’ve inspired me in more ways than one

Esther Passaris: a leaderevolutionary

She’s a feminist, she’s a wife, she’s a mother, she’s a leader and as if that wasn’t enough, she’s confident about her sexuality. She also openly talks about sex and sexuality and has come out in support of the LGBTQ community. Esther Passaris is everything Kenyan men have tried convincing us well never become. These men still use marriage and children as weapons against young feminists. They believe the idea of a married feminist with kids doesn’t exist. Well Esther Passaris is all that plus more. Insecurity is not a good look guys.

Wangari Maathai: an activist, an environmentalist

She protected and fought for a forest from encroachment. A time when protesting was an insult to Moi’s regime. It’s not like today where anybody can get up, gather few friends and family and hit the streets to protest. Back then, few people protested against Moi and lived to tell their story. She was brave to defend that forest.

Wangari led groups of women to fight off the police and army. This attracted a lot of media attention from across the globe. The pressure was too much for the former president. He called the whole thing off. I understand he was to profit from selling the forest for hotels and apartments.

She became the first African to win a Nobel Prize. Her fearlessness saved a forest and inspired many to embrace trees.

Winnie Mandela: a revolutionary

I grew up knowing Nelson Mandela was a revolutionary man. I mean, the guy spent 27yrs in jail for his people. Had young people take arms and protest for his freedom.

As I grew older I learnt more about his life. I got to a point where I needed to know more about Winnie. What was she up to? What was it like for her for those 27 years? Well, Winnie wasn’t the kind of woman to sit down and wait for things to happen. She was out there fighting for black liberation.

Mandela divorced Winnie later after getting his freedom. Most people believe it’s because she strayed from their marriage. Truth is, they both believed in different ideologies. You see, she was more of ‘fight fire with fire’. Mandela was the opposite, more like ‘love thy neighbor.’ They were basically Killmonger and T’challa respectively.

This explains why white media never mentions Winnie. They know she was the real revolutionary.

Binyanvanga Wainaina: a writer, an activist

I never read his books until few years back when he came out of the closet. I read his story in the newspaper and how he knew he was gay at 5yrs. Can I remember what I did at 5yrs? Absolutely not! Binyavanga however, knew who he was. The world didn’t change him decades later. Sadly, he passed away at only 48 years young.

It breaks my heart that Binyavanga never fully lived his life as an openly gay person. For most of his life he was in the closet until the age of 43 when he finally came out. Being a famous African writer and founder of Kwani?, he faced a lot of backlash. That didn’t stop him from enjoying life though.

Binyavanga inspired me to live my life to the fullest, stay true to myself.

Muammar Gaddafi, believer of a United States of Africa

Depending on whom you ask Muammar Gaddafi was a force to reckon with. A leader who saw it fit for a united Africa, a self-sufficient continent with her own currency. He saw a future where Africa would no longer have to get permission from her former colonizers. Unlike the leaders before him, he had the wealth to back him up and get things done. People didn’t see or hear Muammar Gaddafi, people felt his presence. As expected, his ideology on Africa didn’t sit well with America and so they had him killed. Now look at Libya. You can’t imagine this was the same country Gaddafi built.

Am yet to understand why people fear a United Africa. What scares them about African people coming together?

What Its Really Like Blogging In Africa. 13/30

Blogging in Africa is an extreme sport. Everything about it is great until you have to explain to the government why. Why it’s an important tool for Africans to tell their stories to the world.

On day 13 of the blogging challenge, I take on the good, the bad, and the ugly side of blogging in Africa.

The Good

African bloggers own their stories. We get to tell our truth, the unbiased truth. Unlike the Western owned news outlets that want to picture a ‘dark continent.’ We get to share a side of Africa like fashion, culture, music and arts etc.

Source, Essence

Blogging has become a source of income for many. Companies that choose to use blogs to advertise have spearheaded the rise in blogs. Traditional media is slowly becoming an alternative for advertising.

I love working from home. It’s one of those little benefits of blogging. You can be your own boss without ever leaving your home. Except when you need some fresh air.

The Bad

Some Kenyan bloggers have become notorious for supporting the government. “Government Bloggers” has even become an insult to everybody else who blogs. There’s a myth that they’re paid 517sh to blog in their support. I’m not sure if that’s true but it gives a bad name to the rest of us.

Blogging in Africa is expensive. You need at least good Wi-Fi to keep your blog on track. Mobile data is especially expensive although readily available. Try watching a 1 minute video and your data runs out.

The Ugly

Source, ugtechmag.com

A government shutting down the internet during protests has become the norm. Africans can’t vent without risking arrests. This to me comes off as a way to silence people. Are we not supposed to get angry enough to get these governments removed?

How powerful is blogging in Africa? You know there’s power when governments put tax on it. Social media taxes can only be found in Africa. As if buying data wasn’t enough.

Blogging in Africa has come a long way.

The Africa They Don’t Want You To Know About. Day 12/30

Ask anyone what’s the first thing they think about when it comes to Africa. You’re sure to get answers like, Ebola, mud huts, civil wars, drought and famine just to mention a few. I get it. These are the kind of stories covered in the news. Every time Africa gets a little spotlight, people want to report on the bad things, the crazy things. The things that make white people donate all their hard earned money to. You know what I’m talking about.

Let me be the first to say, people should get out more often. Thank me later world.

Here are a few things you never read about when it comes to Africa. Ready? Let’s go!

Cities In Africa

African major cities, our capital cities, they’re growing and yes, they exist. Granted, we still have some of our people living in mud huts. This is no reason to put us in a box. Capital cities across Africa are getting innovative. Within few decades we could be on Wakanda’s level. Trust me; it’s only a matter of time.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial Intelligence is not new to us, at least to Ghanaians and Ethiopians. You don’t read about the A.I labs in Africa because the idea that we’re smart is foreign. It scares people to know that we can code and build robots.

Traditional African Food

Traditional Biltong Stew | Source, The Spruce Makes

A group of researchers wanted to find out why Africans had low colon cancer cases. They compared us to African Americans by using our food. Results were as follows. Traditional African food is not only delicious but nutritious. Ok so maybe they didn’t conclude our food is delicious. What they concluded was, this kind of food creates an environment colon cancer can’t survive. Since then, every time I hear an African has colon cancer I have to ask. What does he eat?

Community

International news outlets love it when there’s tension In Africa, usually after an election. They just sit there and wait until something happens. What most people don’t know is we have a sense of community. You know the saying; it takes a village to raise a child. Africans are that village.

Africa’s Spiritual Beliefs

Ala (Odinani) | Source kwamezulushabazz.tumblr.com

There’s a shift in religion when it comes to Africa. When most of our parents go to church, fellow millennials are turning to spirituality, African spirituality to be precise.

I remember the first time I applied for my university application. This guy quickly goes through my papers and stops abruptly. ‘What is Odinani?’ He asks. A staring contest follows. Realising he’s not getting an answer he goes back to my papers. I left the church a long time ago; I don’t have to explain myself.

Want to know more? Visit any country in Africa. Learn to look at Africa through our African eyes.