Top Five Moments from ‘Lights of Africa’ Expedition

01 December 2010 | News story

CEC member Haroldo Castro and his son Mikael Castro, an expert in ecotourism, have completed their 8-month media expedition “Lights of Africa.” This blog post lists the trip’s Top Five Moments.

Lights of Africa

Mikael and I spent more than eight months on the continent and we have accomplished a fascinating journey. Since we left Hermanus (a small town 100 km from Cape Town), we traveled during 201 days and covered 40,000 km throughout 18 countries. There were some short trips to some small nations, like Lesotho, Swaziland and Burundi; but also long weeks of discoveries in Kenya (39 days), Tanzania (one month), and Namibia and Ethiopia (23 days each). Not to mention our host country, South Africa, where we cover more than 6,000 km. In Ethiopia we covered 5,850 km.

If I transpose the design of our African route to the Americas, our tour would be like leaving Buenos Aires (at 34o South latitude, similar to Cape Town) and arrive in Guadalajara, Mexico (21o North, same latitude that Northern Sudan).

Out of the 201 nights, we slept 89 in the roof-tent over our Land Rover, 51 nights at luxury ecolodges; 38 nights as guests in friends’ houses, and 23 nights at budget accommodations. During seven months, we ate, every morning, oats, granola and bananas as breakfast and a cheese sandwich with avocado and tomato for lunch. At the beginning of the journey, we cooked and prepared delicious vegetarian dishes, but, at the end of the trip, we put aside our culinary skills.

Mikael and I clicked 77,000 photos. That is an average of almost one image per km for each one. The countries most photographed were Tanzania (15,000 photos in total between both of us), Ethiopia (13,000) and Namibia (12,000). But, not all moments were rosy with the equipment. We lost a Nikon camera with lens to thieves in Zambia and three lenses failed to work due to sand and dust.

What were our highlights? Every two weeks, we made a list of our top five richest experiences – and also the three most unpleasant. Thus, we have dozens of memorable situations. Those who left the best impressions and yielded the best images were:

[Click here and scroll down to view photos of the Top Five Moments]

  1. SUDAN: to discover the pyramids and temples of the Egyptian culture in northern Sudan, on the banks of the mighty Nile river.
  2. ETHIOPIA: to spend Easter in Lalibela, where 11 churches were carved in stone 800 years ago, and to better understand the rituals of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church.
  3. UGANDA and RWANDA: to walk in the woods to track a group of mountain gorillas and spend one hour just 20 feet away from the animals.
  4. TANZANIA: to visit Serengueti, Ngorogoro, Selous and Ruaha national parks and document the scene of a lost impala being killed by seven hungry lions.
  5. MOZAMBIQUE: to visit Nuarro and the village Baixo do Pinda and, from the top of the lighthouse, have a fantastic view of the Indian Ocean.

About Haroldo Castro

Haroldo Castro has three passions: storytelling with photos and essays, being in nature and travelling extensively. Travelology created the concept of Travelology, recognizing traveling as a dynamic school. He has over 30 years experience as a photographer, journalist, documentary director and communications strategist. He has lived in Brazil, France and the United States, works in four languages and knows 156 countries. From November 2009 to July 2010, Haroldo and his son Mikael embarked on “Lights of Africa”, a journalistic expedition in Africa. The objective was to show the positive side of the region, so that Brazilian readers, during the 2010 World Cup, could better understand Africa and its treasures. More at www.haroldocastro.com  and www.LightsofAfrica.com