I have been to 21 of the 54 African countries I hope to visit before my 54th birthday.
As you probably know (if you follow me on social media or have seen my posts on your timelines) I would like to visit all African countries in my lifetime. There were 54 independent countries and island states when I made this decision in 2016 (it is still the case today :)) so I challenged myself to visit them all before my 54th birthday in 2046. Thus was born the tag #54before54 that I use to keep track of the places where I have been on social media.
Read in this post 21 fun facts about my travel and life experience in African countries.
21 African countries, 21 fun facts
I was primarily raised in Cote d’Ivoire.
My mother’s family is from Cameroon.
I visited Egypt in the 1990s.
Like Fela Kuti and Wole Soyinka (among others), I am originally from Abeokuta (the site of Olumo Rock) in Nigeria.
My last “trip” to South Africa was in 2016, when I had a layover in Johannesburg on my way from Dar es Salaam to Lagos.
I don’t remember anything about my trip to Namibia as a kid. (This more of a sad fact, I know…)
Between 2003 and 2008 I lived in Tunisia.
I went to a wedding in Benin.
I sang in a choir in Morocco (when I was in school in Tunisia).
Most of my closest/ best friends are originally from Ghana.
I traveled to and through Togo during road trips from Accra to Lagos.
I was a Global Health Fellow in Tanzania between November 2015 and February 2016.
My first ever business trip was to Nairobi in Kenya.
In Liberia I drove through the largest rubber plantation in the world – Firestone National Rubber Company.
I went zip lining in Mauritius in 2016.
I recorded radio jingle messages in Hausa and Zarma in Niger although I cannot speak those languages. (By the way Niger is one of my Top 5 Trips of 2017).
Ethiopia is on the list because changes to the Ethiopian Airlines flight schedule turned my layover in Addis Ababa into a stopover last year.
I bought some of my favorite pieces of ankara/ kitenge (“African wax print”) in Congo Brazzaville.
My dad and I stayed in the same hotel while we were in Rwanda for work at the same time last summer (and it’s probably the first time he realized that I am an actual adult now).
I had never been to Senegal until I moved here in August 2017.
I wrote the most popular (in terms of views) post on my blog in Conakry, Guinea. (Read it here).
PS: I shared details about the #54before54 goal here. You may also check my page on Instagram and/or features in Irin Journal and Visiter L’Afrique for more photos and information on my experience in Africa.