Ask any traveler and they will answer you that to meet with people around the world was one of their main interests. This happen because it is an instinct, we travel to understand our own kind and like that to help us to know better ourselves… and perhaps to find sense of this strange joke called life. So our subconscious has this attraction for the diversity that the human being developed, these differences between humans invite us to travel and meet with tribes like the Mursi in Ethiopia, the Eskimos in the Arctic or the Australian aborigines. But then we arrived to some point when the more cultures, races, tribes or religious beliefs we meet, the faster those superficial differences look a small thing compared to everything we have in common, ending with a idea of the human being as a unique species with the same destiny.
But as in any process of knowledge, before starting to theorize where we should go as a species we must know where we come from, and the answer to this question will be found in East Africa, the cradle of humanity. These are the 8 destinations that we recommend, a special tour without safaris, resorts or massais graduates in tourism that speak 5 languages. To these 8 destinations that we recommend you can go alone, on your own motorcycle and many times to your own luck:
1. Lake Natron (Tanzania)
National Parks like Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Kilimanjaro or Masai Mara can present some inconveniences if you are immersed in a motorcycle trip. Its high cost may exceed the limits of your budget, the ban on going on your own motorcycle will force you to go by jeep through an organized tour and the massive tourist definitely kill the magic of the African savannah. But we still have Lake Natron, a lake of acid water where you can arrive on your own motorbike through a dirt road and petrified lava surrounded by real African life. The only traffic you will find will be the massais warriors with their sharp spears and their cattle in search of water and grass. The trip can be done in an intense day from Arusha, but I recommend you make one or two stops to get close to some of the Massais villages where you can ask the chief for permission to camp and spend the night with them. Wildlife is not missing, zebras, giraffes, wildebeest, flamingos and even camels accompany you at every moment, although the risk of seeing lions near the route is small (these, if they are not very hungry, avoid the roads to have contact with the masai warriors). Finally you will reach the foot of the Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano, and from there to the lake.
2. Rift Valley (Ethiopia)
The Rift Valley is one of the biggest rifts in the world and, although perhaps you did not know it until now, responsible for you being here reading these lines. When it emerged it divided this region of the African continent into two very different areas, leaving the east of this a drier climate that forced the apes that lived there to get off the trees in search of more food. These apes then began to walk on two legs leaving their hands free to create tools and utensils, and in the meantime they evolved to us.
The rift is so huge that cross several countries but we recommend you visit it in a specific place where is easy to access. Around over 200 km north of Addis Ababa on the road to Bahir Dar the high plateau is suddenly cut by the impressive canyon. From the cliff the view will be one of the most beautiful that this continent reserved to us, and at the bottom of it the Blue Nile.
3. Market of Merille (Kenya)
On the main route that takes you from Nairobi to the border of Ethiopia if you put attention you must stop in a town that can become very special if you arrive on Tuesday, because that day is market day. To not have electricity or running water is already conditioning the life of the Samburus tribe, an example of survival in the middle of this desert. Life goes slowly every day chewing miraa leaves, a stimulating plant like coffee but that can be very addictive and with powerful effects if consumed in excess, but when it arrives on Tuesday everything changes. From up to 100 kilometers away farmers come walking with their camels, goats and cows to sell them and bring back to their villages other products such as spices, rice or sugar. The early hours of the market with the light of sunrise can leave you some incredible images, and once in Merille remember that from there begins the deviation towards Lake Turkana. One of the great secrets of Kenya.
4. Gikongoro Memorial (Rwanda)
Recent history wants us to remember Rwanda as a synonym of terror because of the genocide that happened there no more than 20 years ago, one of the bloodiest in human history when in about 3 months almost a million people were killed. But don´t let this to stop you, we invite you to visit this country and focus in positive things and you will be surprised about the possibilities of reconstruction of the human being. Although here anyone who is just over 20 years old has a survival story attached to their life, Rwanda today is a peaceful country without hate, with a people united and committed to go ahead. But not only that because Rwanda wants to be an example in many other aspects. It´s a country where its hospitable people will receive you in the best possible way, trying to give to any visitor the best impression, it is also the cleanest and most organized country you will find in Africa to the point of earning the nickname of “The Switzerland of Africa”.
To not repeat the tragedy suffered rwandans have a very important rule, it is forbidden to forget and that is why from the capital to the smallest village you will find memorials of the holocaust all around its geography. One of the most impressive is Gikongoro. At the top of one of the hills of this city you can find the buildings of what was destined to be one of its universities, but today is the refuge for thousands of corpses preserved in limestone dust, children, women and men killed during the darkest times of this country.
There are still 4 more destinations for the list that we recommend, continue reading our next post