Entries by Rob Gardiner

Liwonde: Room with a Mvuu

I’m lying on hot wood. Cormorant droppings stain the edges and the occasional insect scuttles past. The sun is high in the sky, but the hippos in front of me are unconcerned. Working their way across the lagoon, a mother and her calf munch on weeds with an almost mechanical rhythm. Cattle egrets perch on […]

Madagascar: A Tale of Two Runs

A week of travel sits heavy in my legs. As I break into a jog, I feel the blood begin to pump. For once, I’m in Africa and able to run or walk wherever I want. This is Madagascar, where the threat of lions, buffaloes or elephants cannot curtail my Forest Gump-esque approach to exploration. […]

Rwanda: For Africans, By Africans

“How much did he say?” Paula whispers into my ear. “$600 million. He said $600 million has been pledged towards conservation.” I reply, suddenly looking around me to try and spot the billionaires in the room. But the audience is only a 150 strong, with no signs of ostentatious wealth or conspicuous huddles of bodyguards. […]

Kenya: Safari Hangout

I wriggle my body onto stretched canvas and inelegantly flop forwards. The whole structure vibrates and I roll over. Above me, the Milky Way is bright and visible, even through my mosquito netting. The air is cold and fresh, filled with the scents of grasses, acacias and lingering wood smoke. I’m lying in a Tentsile […]

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Lake Turkana

There are times when the world stands still, when everything but the here and now melts away. Experiences so vivid, so captivating that they drown out the humdrum, the mundane, the banal. Sights so intense that they seem to pull at the very fabric of your soul. Staring out over the jade waters of Lake Turkana, […]

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Botswana in 96 Hours

I stumbled off my plane feeling the ache that an overnight flight leaves on a body designed for a starring role in the BFG, not the seats of economy class. But almost instantly, I was in the air again, this time buffeted by storm clouds as Botswana’s weather welcomed me. The Kalahari Desert soon appeared […]

Solar Eclipse of the Heart (of Africa)

The best places to see the solar eclipse in 2016. On the morning of 1st September, 2016, an annular solar eclipse will cut its way across the heart of Africa. The last time that central and eastern Africa witnessed an event like this was almost thirty years ago – before I was born. This captivating […]

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Gorilla Marketing: A New National Identity in Post-Genocide Rwanda

“Security will be tight – His Excellency will be there.” “The pope or the president?” I asked rather facetiously. “Are you in Uganda!?” The official from the Rwandan Development Board retorted, a Canadian twang to her thoroughly African exclamation. “In Rwanda, ‘His Excellency’ always means the president.” That was me told. But I had travelled […]