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Prior to university I spent time in northern Namibia volunteering at a rural school, which sparked an interest in the continent and all it has to offer. A few years later I was back, but this time with four wheels (and a couple of spares) to undertake a rather bumpy Land Rover expedition across Botswana and the Okavango delta. It was this journey that really kindled my passion for the African bush, and I soon began plotting my next African adventure.
Luckily, the wait wouldn’t be too long; after a year or so back at work in central London, I made the decision to pack everything up and return to Africa. My husband and I purchased a 4x4 and spent a wonderful 6 months overlanding 32,000km from South Africa to Tanzania and back again, covering nine countries and visiting as many national parks en-route as possible.
All good things must come to an end, and although I was sad to leave the bush behind, I was absolutely ecstatic to start working for Expert Africa - I still get to talk about safaris all day! I am on the East Africa team here, and have spent the last six years learning and exploring all that Tanzania, Kenya and Rwanda have to offer; three wonderfully varied countries with breathtaking landscapes, warm, hospitable people and wildlife in abundance!
Jessica's most recent Africa trips
I was fortunate to head back to Kenya just a few weeks aftter my last trip. For the first half we travelled by road through the Rift Valley visiting Lakes Naivasha, Nakuru and Elmenteita and continuing north to the lesser visited Baringo & Bogoria. With the drop in elevation, their towering red cliffs and geothermal spings, it felt like a different world to the cooler lake side shore of Naivasha! While the flamingo numbers are not what they used to be, it did not detract from the beauty of these areas and we enjoyed the birding, boat rides, walking, as well as biking at Hells Gate NP. After a night back in Nairobi, I flew over to the coast to visit a number of properties in Diani, moving north of Mombasa to the quieter Watamu area.
This trip to Kenya was a little different as I spent the first week with family (on their first proper safari!). I wanted them to see as much wildlife as possible so we headed to Ol Pejeta in Laikipia for 3 nights, followed by 3 nights in one of my very favourite areas - Naboisho conservancy on the edge of the Masaai Mara. It was a joy to share my passion with them, and everyone had a wonderful time. We were very lucky with big cat sightings including a particularly memorable pair of lion cubs playing with a leopard tortoise. For the second half of the week I waved goodbye to family (they headed to the coast) and I went on to Tsavo West & East - an area that I have longed to experience ever since flying over a few years earlier. The vastness of the red sands and the unparalleled sense of wilderness was magical. Seeing an aardwolf and pups basking in the dawn light on our final morning was an incredible finish to the last game drive!
I was delighted to spend some time on the Zanzibar archipelago, visiting a number of properties on Unguja's Michamvi Peninsular, down south to Paje, and over to the quieter west coast of the island. Then it was over to beautiful Mafia Island where I was lucky enough to snorkel with whale sharks, which was just magical. They are such graceful giants, gliding through the water at a rapid pace! Pemba Island provided an excellent end to a busy trip - a laid back, quiet island, with excellent diving over colourful reefs.
Jessica's previous Africa research
|Country||Arrived||Length of stay||Areas visited|
|Kenya||June 2022||13 nights||Samburu National Reserve, Northern Kenya, Laikipia, Meru National Park, Nairobi|
|Kenya||November 2021||15 nights||Nairobi, Amboseli and the Chyulu Hills, Maasai Mara National Reserve, Maasai Mara Conservancies, Kenya Coast|
|Rwanda||November 2019||13 nights||Kigali, Nyungwe Forest National Park, Lake Kivu, Volcanoes National Park, Akagera National Park|
|Tanzania, Zanzibar||September 2019||13 nights||Tanzania Coast, Stone Town, Northern Zanzibar, East Coast Zanzibar, Nyerere National Park, Dar es Salaam|
|Kenya||February 2019||14 nights||Nairobi, Laikipia, Maasai Mara Conservancies, Maasai Mara National Reserve|
|Tanzania||October 2018||7 nights||Ruaha National Park|
|Tanzania||October 2018||14 nights||Arusha, Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti Migration Area|
|Tanzania||February 2018||13 nights||Arusha, Lake Manyara National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti Migration Area|