We were told there were over 30,000 species of animals in the Ngorongoro Crater, but it’s hard to process that information without actually going there. So when we did visit the floor of the crater during our trip, and got to see for ourselves the sheer range and diversity of creatures of all shapes and sizes, we were totally blown away. I’ve been to open range zoos before and you know, they’re cool, but this is the real deal in the real world. Everywhere we looked there was just such amazing life – cheetahs, zebras, rhinos, hyenas’ lions, flamingos, elephants – we saw so many incredible animals I can’t even remember them all! It really puts everything in perspective, seeing nature in that raw, untouched form. 

My fondest memory of Africa was actually in the middle of the night. I couldn’t tell you what time it was, but I awoke in my tent needing to use the bathroom. As I unzipped the door and plodded quietly through the campsite, I heard the unmistakable roar of a lion from just beyond the fence. It struck me that we were there, surrounded by nature, thousands of kilometres from home under a starry African sky. I settled back into my sleeping bag, I began to drift off to sleep – with the sounds of the wilderness echoing all around me. 

The whole continent of Africa really surprised me. I guess I’d always associated Africa with safaris and dry, dusty terrain. The incredible beaches, steamy rainforests and such rich culture changed my perception completely. I think if I had to pick a favourite, it would be Namibia. One second we were climbing gigantic sand dunes, the next we were strolling around a tiny German-inspired town -It was surreal!  Namibia is the kind of place your friends get sick of hearing about when you get home.  I think I’ve talked about it so much; a few of them are going next year just to shut me up!