Eventful Africa

Revolution along the north coast, pirates on the east and a new country in the middle. Africa won't sit still.

But in the west, not much seems to have happened in the week since we wrote about the revolt against the son of the strongman in Gabon. When we last left our story, the Gabonnaise opposition had pulled an Ivory Coast and set up a parallel government. Last thing I can find is that eight days ago students protested at Libreville University, and it was reported that "the unrest appears to be developing into a wider social conflict."

There's a small  section on Global Voices that aims to aggregate coverage.

Meanwhile the standoff continues in Ivory Coast, and the Gbagbo government has seized some banks, which have nevertheless remained closed.

Farther north in Guinea, on the other hand, they're upbeat about the future with their new leader Alpha Conde, a 72-year-old Sorbonne university professor who has spent most of his adult life in France.

And south down the coast, according to the Economist,

"Last year Angola’s capital was the most expensive city in the world, according to Mercer, a New York-based consultancy. A bog-standard hotel room costs $400, a non-alcoholic drink in the lobby $10 (though a mere $2 in a supermarket). An underwhelming hotel buffet is $75 and a pizza on the street $25.

It may be expensive, Luanda, but now we can get there direct, three times a week, from our home airport, ATL.

One last thing: While looking up and down Africa's west coast, I found what looks like a fun place to stay in between all these places. Next time you're in Gambia (where all that's happened is that the authorities have banned a radio station and separately, lawyers are on strike), check out the Mandina Lodges, eight river and jungle lodges in the Makasutu Forest.

Gabon, Anyone?

If you're going to do your big trips right, and especially if you hope to grab an award ticket, you want to be well into planning at least a year out, and we're looking at a potentially very nice itinerary for about this time next summer, ending with the wildebeest migration in Tanzania and Kenya.

The beginning would take us through Portugal's world, to the Azores, Lisbon and then conveniently on TAP down to the former Portuguese colony of Sao Tomé and Principe. From there we propose to go and photograph mandrills in Lopé park in Gabon.

On Gabon: "this destination is recommended for experienced safari goers or those
who have a history of adventure travel in other out of the way locales
around the world." – The Wild Source. At least there's a Bradt guidebook.

We'll share the planning process.

But for the next nearly two weeks, posts will be less frequent here. It's novel, but starting in a couple of days, we won't be spending much time with the internet for a while. Instead, we'll be hanging at the lake in Finland. Then we'll pop up in Tallinn, Estonia, and after that we'll be posting from all the Baltic capitals and Belarus. Between now and then, cheers!