Latest Posts:

On the road (or in the air) – Nigeria

Thursday, 6 June 2024

Having started my African travels in Nairobi I continued north to Lake Turkana in Kenya and then crossed in to South Sudan, mainly spending my time in the Boma and Bandingilo National Parks. Next stop Nigeria, Africa’s biggest country in terms of population, but certainly not its most visited by tourists! Most of my Nigerian travels were in the often troubled north of the country with Médecins Sans Frontières and more on that shortly.

◄ Wherever I went there was always plenty to see on the roads, like this nicely decorated truck we overtook between Jahun and Kano

▲ Or this request to ‘mum’ to look out for me, on a minibus in Lagos, the mega-city of Nigeria. Having your mother keep an eye on things was often a pretty good in Nigeria

◄ A well loaded truck conveying mattresses between Katsina and Jibia, right on the border with Niger.

▲ I was intrigued by the cars, generally Land Cruisers like this one, Range Rovers or Mercedes with their ostentatiously covered-over license plates. The message was clearly ‘I do indeed have a license plate, but I am far too important to need to show it to anybody.’ It’s a topic of some interest in Nigeria and according to Professor Google there are only a handful of people in the whole country with the right to hide their license plate details away. I don’t think I kept seeing those same VIPs all the time.

◄ Another well loaded car, a Peugeot 504 (still so often ‘the car of Africa’) loaded up with drinking water. It’s so overloaded the passengers have to sit on the roof or hang out the windows.

▲ There are lots of Indian Bajaj autorickshaws everywhere you go in Nigeria, this one in Kano was piloted by another Bob Marley fan. No shortage of those in Africa as well.

◄ ‘Victory belongs to God,’ well that’s worth noting, on a fuel tanker in Katsina.

▲ I also took to the air, including flying out of Katsina which had this elegant aircraft road sign on the turn-off to the terminal. Most of my flights in Nigeria were with the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service in a Dornier 328 or with Médecins Sans Frontières in their Beechcraft 1900.

▲ I did fly from Abuja to Lagos with Air Peace, the biggest Nigerian airline, this elderly Boeing 737-300 had done its flight hours in China and then in Italy before eventually ending up in Nigeria. For a such a densely populated country and with all that oil money there aren’t a lot of flights, particularly internationally. Air Peace does have a couple of 777s, but the aviation story in Nigeria is nothing like Ethiopia where Ethiopian Airlines has become very much the international aviation connection story for all of Africa. Well Turkish Airlines tries pretty hard as well. Even Emirates doesn’t fly to Nigeria, they’ve got so much money tied up in the country which they have been unable to repatriate that they’ve simply decided not to fly there any more. If you want to get from Lagos or Abuja to Dubai you’ll have better luck going via Cairo, Addis Ababa, Istanbul or Doha.

On the road (or in the air) – Nigeria

6 June 2024 | Transport

Having started my African travels in Nairobi I continued north to Lake Turkana in Kenya and then crossed in to South Sudan, mainly spending my time in the Boma and Bandingilo National Parks. Next stop Nigeria, Africa’s biggest country in terms of population, but certa...

View Post

People & Places – South Sudan

2 June 2024 | Places

My visit to South Sudan featured a fascinating visit to ‘Lucy,’ the gigantic Jonglei Canal excavator, and unfortunately did not include a stop at the Imperial Airways Shambe flying boat base from the 1930s. I only saw that from the air, I would like to have had a look...

View Post

Parks & Wildlife – South Sudan

30 May 2024 | Places

My April travels through Africa took me to African-run projects in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, in particular Food4Education. Then I explored the Lake Turkana area of north Kenya, landscapes and the tribes and people of the region. Continuing to South Sudan the aban...

View Post

The Jonglei Canal, Lucy & the Shambe Flying Boat Base in South Sudan

28 May 2024 | Places

◄ 'Lucy,' the giant Jonglei Canal excavator My recent travels in South Sudan were principally in the Boma and Bandingilo National Parks – more on that in my next blog post – although my travels started and finished in Juba, the capital of South Sudan. I visited Kha...

View Post

North Kenya – tribes & people

27 May 2024 | Places

My recent travels in north Kenya, around Lake Turkana, the Rift Valley lake which points north to the meeting point of Kenya with Ethiopia to the east and South Sudan to the west, was a chance to see landscapes and people. The landscapes varied from sand dunes to volc...

View Post

North Kenya – landscapes

22 May 2024 | Places

My recent African travels started in Nairobi, visiting Wawira Njiru’s amazing Food4Education project and reacquainting myself with the Thorn Tree Café, the inspiration for Lonely Planet’s long running and much missed Thorn Tree Travel Forum. Then I headed north for...

View Post

Food4Education, the Thorn Tree Café – a visit to Nairobi

18 May 2024 | Living

I’ve just spent a month in Africa, in Kenya, South Sudan and then, with Médecins Sans Frontières, in Nigeria. I started my travels with a brief visit to Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. ▲ Where I met Wawira Njiru at her Giga-Kitchen. This remarkable young woman studi...

View Post

Refugees – to Nauru, to Rwanda, from wherever

14 May 2024 | Media

‘Stop the Boats,’ it’s been a political war cry for both Australia and the UK. Look at a map and it’s easy to see why ‘stopping the boats’ is an easy story for Australians: Indonesia to Australia, the usual route, is a long way – 2000km across the Indian Ocean with pl...

View Post

The Three Capes Track, Tasmania

27 March 2024 | Transport

◄ Tony on Day 1 on the Three Capes Track between Surveyors and Munro Hut Australia has some wonderful walking trails in every state, but most bushwalkers would agree that Tasmanian is the number one destination. The Overland Track between Cradle Mountain and Lake S...

View Post

Tracking Flights

19 February 2024 | Transport

I confess, I spend too much time looking at tracking apps – for boats as well as aircraft, what’s that cruise ship/container ship heading out into the bay from Melbourne? I regularly turn to flightradar24 to track a flight, perhaps it’s a visitor coming to stay with u...

View Post