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African Journals | Chronicles from the Road, Part One: Landscapes

By Manouk Quint
The road trip started in Cape town were we spent a month shooting a campaign for Fayrouz, a product by Heineken. From there we had no plan, but by meeting locals, listening to their stories and being open-minded about every adventure we came across, we ended up in Windhoek, Namibia with a 4×4 monster truck which we called Bowser (super Mario kart). The route formed by itself, in a natural way.  We got invited to shoot photos for lodges, guesthouses and hotels in Otjiwarongo, Swakopmund, Walvisbay, Rietoog and then we continued on our way to Sossusvlei. There is a big German influence visible in the cities/villages, especially on the Skeleton Coast. You will find Bratwurst on the menu, for sure. Namibia was a German colony until 1904. The route from Walvisbay to Sossusvlei – the C14 – was insane, unforgettable. It is supposed to be a four hour journey, but it took us seven. After hours of sand and drought, something magical happens… You drive through this big mountain, and afterwards you’re suddenly driving through green and purple landscapes – so unreal, like you’ve arrived on the film set of The Lord of The Rings. All the way to the red dunes of Sossusvlei there is so much wildlife to see, and you only pass through one ‘village’ Solitaire. I say ‘village’, but it is really just a petrol station where you can eat apple pie with the few local people who live there. It is amazing. Sossusvlei is like the cherry on the cake; from 6am the colours are changing like the wind. Incredible.
Next stop: Victoria Falls. One of the Seven World Wonders. We arrived in Zimbabwe, but our accommodation was in Zambia (the Falls are on the border between the two countries). Zambia was such a surprise; rainforest, monkeys everywhere, snakes and the best local market – the Maramba Market – where you can meet local people, have fun, and drink cheap local beer, Mozi beer! You can easily spend a whole day at Billy’s Café, listening to stories, playing pool and enjoying local goods like cassava pate (pretty weird stuff to be honest). The music is loud and everyone will dance the day away.
From Zambia to Botswana involves taking a lot of different public transfers, ending up at the border where you take an Industrial-Truck-Ferry. Trucks wait in line – sometimes for more than two weeks! – as the ferry can only carry one truck at a time, with a bunch of people around it. In Botswana, the public bus trips were epic. From Kasane to Maun (18 hours), from Maun to Gaborone (14 hours) from Gaborone to Jo’burg (15 hours). It was the rainy season and a lot of roads where flooded.
Jo’burg was our last stop. This city made a deep deep impression on us. It was so electric, in a lot of ways. You feel the different layers of the city from the past, but you also feel new energies. There is a lot happening, the city with all her different areas is very dynamic and moving. It’s hard to explain the way we feel about this city, we would recommend everyone to go there, to experience it in your own way.
Showing respect and interest in local people is so important. We met interesting people everyday and it was a real honour to hear their voices, their stories and to have chats about the little things in life too. The city center is not the nicest place to go at the moment, but there are a lot of upcoming areas like Maboneng (meaning ‘Place of Light’), Melville, Braamfontein, Fox Precinct and Newtown.
This city brought us a lot, we were really inspired by the people, the vibe and also the deep history that this city is carrying. BBC describes how Johannesburg has changed from a ‘no-go to gotta-go’ – that says a lot. Things are changing, but like all important world changes, it takes time.
See you soon dear Africa, you are in our hearts.

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Follow Manouk on Instagram or visit her website here.
Part Two: Portraits, coming soon…

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