What does your trip of a lifetime look like? Where would you go, and what would you do? For me, my dream trip was all about Africa... specifically, African wildlife. My whole life, I've been obsessed with animals of all kinds. I'd often imagined what it would be like to come across a wild lion, or to watch a gorilla feed her baby, but never really thought it was something I could experience for real. Even after I earned a university degree in primatology, and lived in Central America so I could study wild monkeys... even after I quit my 'normal' life and moved to Thailand to become a scuba diving instructor, spending my days underwater with sharks... even after I started to travel more and go on amazing adventures, Africa still seemed sort of mythical; a place of fantasy, rather than reality.
Then, one day, I decided to make my dream come true, and started planning my ultimate dream trip. I went mountain trekking in Ethiopia, and on a horseback safari in Kenya; in between, I spent an amazing week on an epic road trip, driving between Entebbe, Uganda, and Kigali, Rwanda. Along the way, I achieved some major goals; I trekked with chimpanzees in Kibale National Park, gorillas in Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, and saw my first wild lion in Queen Elizabeth National Park. It was even better than I could have imagined, and I'd love to share with you the details of how I organized it, what went down, and the answers to some common questions. So, keep reading!
After spending a couple of weeks in Ethiopia, climbing mountains, sleeping on the rim of a volcano, and exploring some of the strangest natural phenomena I've ever seen, I was ready for a bit of comfort and relaxation before embarking on the next big part of my African adventure: a 5-day road trip through Uganda, to Rwanda. Fortunately, I'd already scheduled in a few days in Entebbe; a little town located on the shores of Lake Victoria, and rumoured to be much more laid-back than Kampala, the country's busy and vibrant capital.
Entebbe turned out to be the perfect place to pause for a while, and I only wish I'd had some more days to spend in this super friendly, very relaxed town, which really has a lot to offer! I've put together a list of my highlights, as well as some practical information for visiting this little gem in the Pearl of Africa.
Although it’s not part of the typical banana pancake backpacker trail of Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia, the Philippines is an amazing country that absolutely deserves to be on every traveler’s bucket list. However, with over 7000 islands offering endless opportunities to suit just about everyone, it’s a bit hard to know where to start when you want to plan a trip to this still-exotic Southeast Asian destination.
I spent just over two weeks traveling solo through this epic place, and while this wasn’t nearly enough time to fully explore such a diverse country, I did manage to have an amazing trip packed with adventure. I found the Filipinos to be some of the friendliest locals I’ve met, the country easy to navigate, the natural world truly spectacular, and the cost of travel to be very budget-friendly. Keep reading to check out my itinerary, travel highlights, and top recommendations!
I’ve been drawn to go to Morocco since I first started dreaming of faraway lands. It was exotic, mysterious, and I really didn't know much about it, other than that I wanted to go. Over the years, Morocco evolved into an increasingly popular tourist destination; eventually, each time I scrolled through my Instagram feed, I would see photos of travel bloggers in pretty dresses, posing in front of gorgeous tiles and colourful markets. The perfect shots reminded me of my long-held desire to explore this mysterious country, but I still wasn’t sure what I would actually do once there. I knew I wanted to get out of the cities, explore the natural world, and have an adventure, rather than a photoshoot.
I found my ideal Moroccan experience while browsing the horseback holidays at Equitours, a travel agency that focuses solely on equine escapes, and who I had previously booked several excellent European riding trips with. The week-long ride would be a 230km loop, starting in the resort town of Agadir, crossing the foot of the Anti-Atlas mountains through to the silver-crafting town of Tiznit, then circling back to Agadir via the Atlantic coast. The riders would be mounted on strong, willing, endurance-trained Arab Berber horses. The trip profile specified only advanced riders should consider the ride, due to the fast pace, long hours in the saddle, and the sometimes challenging terrain. Additionally, it was a rustic adventure; riders would camp out in the Moroccan wilderness overnight.
I’d found my dream trip. As much as I love trekking, diving, road-tripping and island-hopping, my absolute favourite way to explore a new land is definitely on the back of a horse. Riding gives me a sense of freedom and connection to the natural world that is truly without comparison. Combining the ride with a camping trip was the ultimate combo; there’s really nowhere I'd rather be after a long day of riding than sleeping under the stars next to the horses.
The trip was scheduled for a time when I could be away from work for a short while, but as I researched flights I realized the journey was extremely inconvenient; it would take a total of 8 flights and almost 6 days for me to get to, and return from, a little Moroccan town that was actually a very long way from the tiny Thai island on which I live. The transit time meant it would not be reasonable to go to Morocco for only a week… but it would be possible, which is all that is needed to make a dream come true…
For some reason (that still remains a mystery to me), when I first looked into going to Morocco for a week-long horseback camping trip, I assumed it would be a fairly straightforward journey from the tiny Thai island on which I live. Once I actually researched my flight options, I realized that in fact it would take four flights over three days to get from Koh Tao to Agadir, the starting point for my riding trip. Basically, I’d spend almost as much time traveling to and from Morocco as on the actual expedition. By the time I came to this conclusion, however, I had emotionally committed to the trip and wasn’t going to let anything like reason or logic get in the way of my equine adventure.
Most of the excessive travel time was due to awkwardly timed flights; I was going to have to stay overnight in Malaysia, as well as Dubai. Fortunately, I was able to arrange my Emirates flights to spend the bulk of my outbound connection time in Dubai, taking advantage of the free tourist visa and stopover offered by Emirates for tourists who want to check out this Middle Eastern metropolis. I was going to have 18 hours in Dubai; from 13:20 to 07:25… so, what to do?
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