Photo Credit: Photo Credit: Maureen Agena| @@maureenagena Twitter
Ugandan Couple's Road Trip in Africa Inspires Africans To Explore On The Continent
Maureen Agena and Edward Echwalu were on a mission to promote African tourism among their own people. The Ugandan couple have embarked on a remarkable five-month road trip across 12 nations in east and southern Africa. This awe-inspiring journey spanned an impressive 13,700 miles taking them through diverse landscapes and cultures. They traveled to Tanzania, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Botswana, Malawi, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Angola.
Starting their expedition in December 2022, the couple found accommodations and located essential amenities, along their road trip. While Agena and Echwalu expected queries about Uganda’s famous attractions, they were surprised to discover that the people they met were more fascinated by obscure quirks. One of these quirks is the cattle-tending hobbies of the Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni.
However, they didn’t letting these differences deter them. The adventurous pair made sure to explore popular tourist destinations, along their epic journey. Crossing the Tropic of Capricorn en route to South Africa from Namibia and enjoying adrenaline-pumping quad-biking in the expansive Namib desert were among the many memorable highlights.
Challenging Road Trip
“Tourism has been painted white on the continent,” Echwalu told The Guardian. “People found it so difficult to believe that we could take time and tour without ‘a purpose’. We told them we just wanted to travel across the continent and know more about their countries, but they would insist: ‘but why?.'”
However, no grand adventure comes without its challenges. During their round trip, the couple faced unexplained delays at border points, weathered damp nights in their tent, navigated rough and unlit roads and encountered instances of corruption with checkpoint police. Extreme weather events, including Cyclone Freddy during their entry into Malawi, provided additional curveballs. Their spirit of resilience shone through, as they joined Malawi’s Land Rover Defender Club in delivering vital aid to the Cyclone-affected Neno district.
As Agena and Echwalu journeyed through Africa, they discovered that “blending in” with local communities allowed them deeper insights. However, it also presented unique challenges. Being more than tourists sometimes led to excessive scrutiny. They experienced a thorough search of their belongings in a remote Tanzanian town. Additionally, the couple faced occasional racism at predominantly white campsites in South Africa’s Free State province.
Despite these hurdles, Agena and Echwalu hope their extraordinary adventure inspires Africans to visit countries in their continent. The couple plans to document their awe-inspiring journey in a photography book.