Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How to Visit Your Volunteer

Are you thinking about visiting your volunteer in Mozambique?  Are you interested in going to Africa, but not sure where to start?  This is the post for you.

Welcome to Mozambique

First of all, you are in luck.  You are off to a good start.  You already have a ready-made host and tour guide in the form of your volunteer.   Keep in mind that your volunteer knows:

  • What to see
  • Where to stay
  • How to do things cheaply

Your volunteer has traveled their country from top to bottom, traversing the highs and lows in the most thorough and detailed manner.  Your volunteer has hiked, camped, and hitchhiked exhaustively, all for the sake of gathering and hoarding information.  Which beach?  Which mountain?  Which city?  Your volunteer knows the answers.

So where to begin?  First, consider the following questions:

When can you leave?
What do you want to see?

If you are interested in joining a pre-arranged Lisa-and-Dan tour, there are two scheduled tours leaving in the next eight months:

April 6 – April 21 (approximate):  Victoria Falls Extravaganza 
November 20 – December 5 (approximate):  Madagascar Madness

If you are interested in planning your OWN trip with your volunteer, consider the following destinations:

South Africa
Cape Town, Kruger, and the Drakensberg Mountains

Tofo, Vilankulo, and Ilha de Mozambique

Zobue, Blantyre, Zomba, and Lake Malawi

Itineraries are as follows:
Victoria Falls Extravaganza
Wild Animals, Bungee Jumping, 
and the Largest Waterfall in the World!

Meet in Lusaka, Zambia
(Round-trip flight from New York to Lusaka – about $1,500 on April 3 – April 18)
  • Spend one day in Lusaka, the capital city of Zambia
  • Take a bus from Lusaka, Zambia to Livingstone, Zambia
  • Spend four days at Victoria Falls
    • Take a safari
    • Join a sunset cruise
    • Hike around the falls
    • Go bungee jumping
  • Return to Lusaka, Zambia

Options for extension include:  
  • Side trip to Malawi (Lilongwe, Blantyre, and Lake Malawi) 
  • Side trip to Mozambique (Zobue and Tete City)
Victoria Falls
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Madagascar Madness
A lemur adventure!

Meet in Johannesburg, South Africa
(Round-trip flight from New York to JNB – about $1,100 on Nov 20 – Dec 11)
  • Spend two days in Johannesburg
  • Fly from Johannesburg, South Africa to Antananarivo, Madagascar
    • (Round-trip flight from JNB to Tana – about $800 on Nov 22 – Dec 5)
  • Visit the baobab forest in Morondava
  • Hike in the limestone forest at Tsingy National Park
  • Find the lemurs in Andasibe
  • Take a boat across the clear blue water in Diego Suarez
  • Return to Johannesburg via Tana and explore South Africa

Options for extension include:
  • Swaziland
  • Kruger National Park
Baobab avenue in Morondava.  Thanks to Tara Prindiville for the beautiful pictures!
Tsingy National Park
Diego Suarez and Emerald Isle.  Thanks again, Tara!
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South African Circuit (East)
Three countries in two weeks!

Meet in Johannesburg, South Africa
(Round-trip flight from New York to JNB – about $1,300 on July 3 – July 17)
  • Rent a car in Johannesburg
  • Climb into the Drakensberg Mountains at Royal Natal National Park
  • Take a day trip into Lesotho
  • Go white-water rafting in Mbabane, the capital of Swaziland
  • Take a safari in Kruger National Park
Hiking in the Drakensberg Mountains
A day trip into Lesotho
Visiting Kruger National Park

South African Circuit (West)
Cape Town and the Garden Route!

Meet in Cape Town, South Africa
(Round-trip flight from New York to Cape Town – about $1,700 on July 3 – July 17)
  • Rent a car in Cape Town
  • Climb (or ride) to the top of the famous Table Mountain
  • Visit the penguins and ostriches along the spectacular Cape Peninsula
  • Watch for mating whales on the cliffs above Hermanus
  • Camp on the beach in Tsitsikamma National Park
  • Consider a foray northwards into the Transkei and Wild Coast
Flora in Cape Town, South Africa
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A tropical paradise!

Meet in Johannesburg, South Africa
(Round-trip flight from New York to JNB – about $1,300 on July 3 – July 17)
  • Travel across the Mozambique border and into Maputo
  • Spend two days exploring the capital city of Mozambique
  • Take a private shuttle from Base Backpackers to Tofo Beach
  • Relax, take a hike, or dive with the manta rays at Tofo Beach
  • Take a bus from Tofo Beach to Vilankulo
  • Visit the archipelago of Bazaruto and take a scuba diving class
  • Return by bus to Maputo or opt for an extension to Ilha de Mozambique
Tofo Beach
Ilha de Mozambique
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Visit our hometown!

Meet in Lilongwe, Malawi
(Round-trip flights from New York to Lilongwe – about $2,000 on July 3 – July 17)
  • Travel to Blantyre, Malawi and then to Zobue, Mozambique
  • Stay in Zobue, Mozambique for 3-5 days
  • Return to Blantyre and continue northwards to Zomba
  • Hike the forested Zomba plateau
  • See hippos and crocodiles in Liwonde National Park
  • Visit Lake Malawi in Cape Maclear and Monkey Bay
Cape Maclear, Lake Malawi
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It’s easy to visit southern Africa, but there are a few things to keep in mind. 

1.  Malaria— Mozambique, Madagascar, and Malawi are all considered malarial, as are parts of South Africa.  The easiest way to avoid malaria is to take an anti-malarial medication.  For a two or three week vacation, I would recommend asking your doctor about Doxycycline.  Doxy is a common antibiotic and it is not very expensive.

2.  Visas— South Africa and Malawi do not require Visas for American citizens (read—  free entry!), but Mozambique and Madagascar do.  Visas can be bought easily at the airport for $25 (Madagascar) to $60 (Mozambique).

3.  Transportation— It is possible for visitors to rent a car in all southern African countries, but only South Africa offers reasonable and competitive rates.  Public transportation is a good alternative in some countries, like Malawi and Zambia, where roads are well-maintained.  Only brave and hardy travelers should attempt to use public transportation in Mozambique and Madagascar, where roads are worse and the transportation options are correspondingly less reliable.

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Don’t be nervous.  Your Peace Corps Volunteer is experienced, well-traveled, and competent.  While on the road, your volunteer will simultaneously act as your guide, guard, and textbook.  In just a few weeks, you’ll be at ease in Africa, too!

Whether you are looking for a luxurious and comfortable vacation in South Africa or a rugged foray into Madagascar, southern Africa has a lot to offer.  Make the most of your Peace Corps Volunteer, and have an unforgettable African experience. 

Good luck and happy planning.  We would love to see you soon!

Welcome to South Africa


  1. This is AWESOME. If I wasn't a poor returned volunteer I'd be there. You're so right, volutneers know the best way to travel.

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