My Next Destination and my Favorite Continent 32


I’m going to South Africa. And I am pretty damn excited.

For those of you new to this site, let me give you a brief recap of my previous African experience during my round-the-world trip.

passengers on cargo freighter with cape town and table mountain in background

pulling into Cape Town on my first freighter passage back in April of 2009

I left home in late 2008 in an attempt to circle the globe without ever getting on an airplane. I arrived in Cape Town on a cargo freighter, the first of four I was to take on the trip, and first set food on African soil. I did the entire length of Africa, from Cape Town to Cairo, overland on my own. Back then, I wasn’t very serious about my blogging, but even so, when I look back on this site I’m surprised how few posts I actually wrote about Africa.

Which is a bit odd because Africa was my favorite continent on the trip, by far.

That entire RTW trip took me sixteen months. The longest period of time I stood still in any single location was in Cape Town (for about 8 days). It was and remains one of my favorite cities, though I didn’t write a single post about it. You can safely assume I wasn’t serious about my blogging back then.

After spending just under four months, easily the most difficult months of my journey, getting from Cape Town to Cairo all I could think of was “get me the hell out of this continent.” I was mentally and physically exhausted. Overland travel through Africa is difficult. Truly difficult.

But what I found myself thinking just a few months later was…

“I can’t wait to go back.”

Africa is unlike any other place. The oddity sitting in a bus or train, rolling through the countryside and seeing a wild herd of elephant or giraffe wandering about remains one of the most indelible memories of my entire journey. I loved traveling through Africa and its been a goal ever since to go back and do a lot more of it.

This trip will be just an appetizer of what I’d like to do in 2013, but its going to be a tasty morsel nonetheless.

Visit South Africa

I am going to South Africa with four other great travel bloggers: Kate of Adventurous Kate, Cailin of Travel Yourself, JD of Earth Explorer, and Mike of Vagabondish. Not only is it a great group, Kate and Cailin and I have just recently teamed up with to form a group of travel bloggers that will be doing some exciting things in the coming months (including a joint venture in November that is part of the reason I can’t stay longer in South Africa on this trip).

things to do in cape town africa lion's head mountain

Here are a few of the scheduled highlights of this trip, sponsored by South African Tourism, starting of course with the most important:

I get to go on the Blue Train, which is one of the world’s most iconic train rides in the world. It is also a formal affair, so I need to pick up a tie between now and then, or they won’t let me eat dinner with everyone else. Here’s hoping my khakis and blue jacket I’ve been carrying around all year pass muster or I am going to have to beg for leftovers.

Multiple days of safaris and game drives at Ngala Game Reserve in Kruger Park. Plenty of animal photographs coming up.

Checking out the Apartheid Museum in Johannesberg and the Alexandra Township nearby.

Maybe a little bungee jump and maybe paragliding off that mountain to the right there (Lion’s Head in Cape Town).

All in all, it is going to be a jam-packed couple weeks. A bit fast and furious for my personal travel style, but I can’t complain. I will be getting a chance to do a lot of things in South Africa that I never would be able to do without the support of the tourist board.

That being said… I still want to dive with great white sharks. Perhaps this won’t be the only trip I take down there in the next year or so…


About Michael Hodson

I’m an attorney that took off on my birthday in December of 2008 to circumnavigate the globe without ever getting on an airplane. After 16 months, 6 continents and 44 countries, I made it all the way back home. Right now, I am back on the road writing about it all.


32 thoughts on “My Next Destination and my Favorite Continent

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      I want to do 2-3 months in that whole southern Africa region sometime in 2013. Its on my short list.

  • Dyanne@TravelnLass

    Don’tgetmestarted. I too backpacked solo (at the tender age of 6-oh!) across all of South Africa (and Mozambique) in 2004.

    And all I can say is – I do so hope that your blogger fam trip will result in a gazillion posts dispelling the insanely ignorant, ludicrously pervasive, utterly ridiculous notion that dear, glorious, wondrous RSA is… somehow “dangerous”.

    Utter nonsense. Yet the notion persists – even in (indeed, perhaps BECAUSE of) today’s travel guidebooks.

    Nothing could be further from the truth. RSA is no more, no less “dangerous” than… certain neighborhoods in the U.S. nation’s capital – Washington D.C.

    Oh, sorry – I did warn ya though – not to…. getmestarted. 😉

    • Meruschka@MzansiGirl

      Sounds like an wesome trip. Its been a dream of mine to go on the Blue Train. It just sounds so romantic and indulgent.
      @Dyanne Totaally agree with you, the international media totally perpetuates the notion that South Africa is dangerous. It really is getting stale.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Well to be honest, there are a number of crime issues in South Africa. Jo’Berg has a well deserved reputation of dangerousness and some other areas crime stats are pretty high also. Its a country I love, but like many others (including my home country, the US) there are also plenty of problems there.

  • Sunee

    It’s always interesting to read about other travellers’ thoughts and experiences of my home country. Can’t wait to read yours!

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Its already high on my list from my first trip there. Cape Town is a city I could live in for a while, for sure.

  • Erin

    Can’t wait to read all about your trip. We still haven’t been to Africa (well, we’re in Egypt at the moment but it’s not really the same) but South Africa is high on our list for 2013.

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      The funny thing is when you ask an Egyptian about “Africa” and they treat it like they don’t live on that continent. Amusing.

  • Pretraveller

    Best of luck with your trip – it sounds like you will be looked after really well.

    I have a friend who recently left RSA to live in Australia and he has many bad stories to tell… I guess if you stick to the well travelled routes you will probably be OK, but you still need to be careful…

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Given this will all be luxury and guided, doubt we run into any problems. There certainly are some issues in South Africa though. No need to gloss over that — agreed.

  • Jarmo

    Good for you mate! I’m sure it’ll be pretty epic and looking forward to the photos from there. I really need to still get myself to that continent!

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      Thanks, Adam. Taking off in a few hours and looking forward to it quite a lot.

  • James Clark

    It was probably a good thing you weren’t so serious about blogging then as you could really enjoy the trip without having to ask “how’s the wifi?”

    • Michael Hodson Post author

      James, I think that more and more as each day passes. I do miss the “old days” a bit.

  • Margyle

    It’s amazing how a place that you can’t wait to leave becomes a place you can’t wait to go back to. I’d love to check out Africa one of these days… and the boat thing definitely sounds appealing!

  • Melissa - The Mellyboo Project

    I completely fell in love with Africa when I spent 7 weeks there earlier this year. I can’t wait to get back next year – my heart actually aches to get back there. I truly feel Africa is one of those places that you can’t help but feel gets deep into your soul. I’ve seen some of Cailin’s instragram updates and looks like you guys have had some amazing animal sightings – totally jealous!

  • Steve

    Back then, South Africa used to be least country I would visit. Now, it has really changed my views because of the good beaches and nice rode trip I can get to experience in South Africa.

  • Tom - Active Backpacker

    Nice on mate! Still haven’t been to the big ‘ole continent of Africa, but it’s on the list and I love the animals (who doesn’t, right?).

    Riding the blue train looks absolutely epic, gotta love a bit of luxury train travel 😀 Looking forward to the photos and adventures!

  • south africa travel

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  • Tam Warner Minton

    I love Africa, have been to South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Mozambique, Kenya and Tanzania. Hey, I see you want to dive with great whites? Go to Guadalupe Island off of Ensenada, Mx…we have an incredible experience there, including a little action that was closer than expected! Check out the Solmar V!

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