One of the things I love about traveling is the all-consuming onslaught of new experiences, ... Another is of being able to share those experiences with my favorite person. So often at home Donna and I seem to get pulled in different directions by all the little demands of everyday life, our backs against one another, fighting different battles for the same team. I love taking a month off, going out and charging into a new adventure together, facing the same direction, meeting the same challenges, celebrating the same wins.

A trio of Ugandan children collect water in Lugogo Swamp.

On previous trips we've largely camped, covering as much as 4,500 km over three or four weeks (sorry Sweetheart) with little or no preset route. If not adventure travel, at least maybe slightly adventurous travel. We generally wouldn't know in the morning where we'd end up in the evening, or what we might happen across in between the two.

It is certainly possible to camp in Africa as well. And there is no limit to the level of adventure and uncertainty one can seek there. Because of a lack of prior African experience on our part — and a lack of some of the boundaries and support services that one can take for granted in places like Australia or New Zealand — we decided to build in a bit more certainty on this first African trip.

We camped a couple of nights, but stayed mostly in lodges. We tended to pick lodges, though, that provided the things we valued most about camping: quiet settings well out in the bush with not too many other folks about, a fuzzy boundary between inside and outside, and an open perch from which to set up a camp chair and watch the sun rise or set, lizards skirt about on the tree branches, or birds dip through golden evening light. 

In large part, this is just a personal retrospective for Donna and I, and maybe a few family and friends. But there is another thing, in planning this trip and many others, we've found the stories and photos of those who have traveled before us helpful in inspiring and informing where we might visit, what we might do, and where we might stay. So this also is a chance to give a little something back to the traveling community. Maybe we can convey a little of the beauty and magic we found in so many places as we journeyed for a few weeks in Africa.

South AfricaBrent Daniel