Cork To Cape Town Overland – Announcing My Big Adventure

Most people that follow me on social media will know of this epic adventure already, as I fear it’s all I have talked about for the past two months. However, it came to my attention this week that many of my friends and family members that may not be as addicted to Instagram or Snapchat as I am, had no clue what I was up to or where I was going. So, dear readers, friends and family members, in case you did not already know, on Monday August 22nd (thats….TOMORROW!!) I embark on a 9 month overland trip from Cork to Cape Town. The catch? I am not allowing myself to take any flights!

How did the idea come about?

Lot’s of people keep asking how this idea came about. in truth, it’s something i wanted to do for a long time and is the culmination of a lot of crazy ideas as well as a not so nicely worded email from a friend suggesting I stopped flying everywhere!

Essentially, I’ve been a little obsessed with Africa ever since I lived in a remote township in South Africa when I was just 18 years old. I had just graduated from school and jetted off to South Africa to teach Business and Economics for a year. This incredible, and testing, 12 months honesty shaped me as a person cementing my love for travel and starting a decade-long love affair with the African continent.

Teaching in South Africa, 2004 - 2005

Teaching in South Africa, 2004 – 2005


Teaching in South Africa, 2004 – 2005

Don’t be fooled into thinking I’m ‘incredibly brave’ (as some people keep putting it) to be travelling through such a long list of unusual destinations. The truth is, I’ve been to most of the countries on this list before when I was a lot younger and a lot more naive! During University, I spent every summer either travelling or volunteering in East Africa, exploring remote parts of Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya. I also returned to Kenya for a month to study WASH projects in the remote North as part of my Masters Thesis project. East Africa honestly feels like my home stomping ground and I sometimes feel more at home in Africa than I do in Ireland.

This was before digital cameras, social media and LONG BEFORE I had a travel blog. This means this will be my first opportunity to properly document my African adventures – something I’m very excited about.

Making new friends in Kenya, Summer 2006

Making new friends in Kenya, Summer 2006

Making friends while writing my Masters Thesis, Easter 2012.

Making friends while writing my Masters Thesis, Easter 2012.

At first, I simply thought about booking a one way flight to Cape Town and just winging it. It’s one of the most beautiful cities in the world and I could happily live there for a few months hopping from one awesome hostel to the next. That seemed like too easy an option, however, and wouldn’t be the most interesting read! If I wanted to go to Cape Town, I should at least attempt to follow in the footsteps of Charlie Boorman and Ewan McGregor and take the long way down!

Finally, as a travel blogger it can be very hard to differentiate yourself from the crowd. As a blogger that focuses on solo female travel and tips for those planning long backpacking trips on a budget, I believed I needed to do something really epic to keep my already awesome readership more engaged. I wanted to do a trip than no one else I know has done – one that will set me apart from the crowd. Whether this trip will be enough or now…only time will tell. If you’re read this far at least, do me a favour and leave a comment!! ;-)

What’s the route / itinerary?

Not surprisingly, the second most asked question this summer has concerned what route I plan to take. How exactly does one get from Cork to Cape Town without flying?! Every Generic John, Ais and Niamh From Across The Road seem to have had their own opinions on what route would be best, why I should not bother going to X and Y and some pretty outlandish suggestions about how I should do the trickiest part of the adventure – getting from Turkey to Egypt. I myself have settled for the Cargo Ship option…whether that is a success or not..we’ll see!

While I do have a rough itinerary, it has already changed quite a lot in the past few weeks and I have no doubt it will change again. It feels incredibly liberating to have no time limit for the trip, a factor that means I can choose to stay in certain countries for months at a time if it feels right.

Below is my rough 6 – 9 month itinerary for Cork to Cape Town.  

Following a 16 hour ferry ride from Ireland, it will take me across these 14 European countries: France, Switzerland, Italy, Slovenia, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia, Macedonia, Albania, Greece and Turkey.

Then following a two day cargo ship journey to Port Said, it will take me through the following 14 African countries: Egypt, Sudan, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa.


What are you MOST excited about?

I don’t want to give away too much, but I will be partnering with some amazing hotels, activity providers and tourism boards long the way. Right now I am most excited about a 6-day Grand Train Tour of Switzerland that we’re taking at the end of August. We’ll be touring one of the world’s most beautiful countries in Panoramic Trains with big glass windows and stunning views. We have partnered with some funky hotels and hostels around Switzerland too, which I can’t wait to share with you.

What do you pack for such along, crazy trip?

Good question, want to come help me pack?! I’m not going to lie guys….i’m struggling!! I am a big fan of packing light but when you work as a travel blogger you need to travel with an insane amount of photography equipment! My “gadgets” are currently taking up over half my backpack leaving just a teeny bit of room for slightly less important things like: clothes, shoes, towels, toiletries etc.

Here’s the (slightly ridiculous) amount of equipment I’m bringing with me in my backpack:

  • GoPro Camera (plus accessories).
  • DJI Phantom Drone and controller. 
  • Canon DSLR.
  • 3 extra Canon Lenses.
  • Macbook Air.
  • iPhone.
  • My old Samsung (just in case!)
  • Skyroam Hotspot device (to stay connected).
  • A million chargers and adapters.


Previous African adventures 

Here’s a quick glimpse at some of the crazy adventures I had while travelling in Africa about 10 years ago – funny stories that I (for the most part) never shared on this blog!

  • Celebrated the Millennium TWICE due to the 7.5 year time difference in Ethiopia
  • Bought a flight to Addis Ababa to meet a guy…booked flight 72 hours before leaving.
  • Got stranded on a remote island in Uganda with nothing to eat but Pineapples.
  • Attempted to hitchhike to South Sudan with Russian truckers.
  • Waded through a crocodile infested river.
  • Hitched a life home on top of a truck load of fish.
  • Lived with Irish nuns in a missionary compound in Kenya.
  • Taught Business and Economics in South Africa and 12 months.
  • Taught English in very remote Kenyan village in Turkana.
  • Wrote my Masters Thesis on Comprehensive Security problems in Kenya.
  • Got both Malaria and Dengue Fever (5 years apart in different countries).
  • Suffered terrible side effects from taking too much Anti-malarials.
  • Hitchhiked to Mozambique at the age of 18.
  • Saw a Lion Kill in Kruger National Park.
  • Found a man murdered outside my hostel in Maputo.

I’m thinking I will update this list as I go, so leave your questions below and I can edit this post and answer them for one and all to read. For now all I ask is that you…. WISH ME LUCK! 

Janet x

  • Gil Sousa
    August 21, 2016 at 9:18 am

    I’m so eager to see all your photos and videos! Have an amazing trip!

    • Janet newenham
      August 22, 2016 at 6:22 am

      Thanks so much Gil – I’ll have to send you a postcard! ;-)

      • Gil Sousa
        August 22, 2016 at 6:45 am

        Please do! I love postcards :D

  • Anita Hendrieka
    August 21, 2016 at 9:18 am

    Have an amazing time Janet! Cannot wait to follow you on your adventures through these fantastic countries. All the best x

    • Janet newenham
      August 22, 2016 at 6:22 am

      Thanks Anita – I’m so excited to get started at this stage! :D

  • Christine
    August 21, 2016 at 9:33 am

    Sounds absolutely amazing Janet! I can’t wait read all about it Best of luck girl!

    • Janet newenham
      August 22, 2016 at 6:23 am

      Awww thanks Christine – it’s going to be some adventure alright!

  • Mirela Surghie
    August 21, 2016 at 10:13 am

    Amazing adventure, Janet, got excited to follow your journey!

  • Noelee
    August 21, 2016 at 10:40 am

    Sounds like an amazing trip! Best of luck with it, I’m sure it’ll be some adventure. Is someone joining u through ur Switzerland leg? Just wondering as you said ‘we’? Can’t wait to read how you get on, enjoy! :)

    • Janet newenham
      August 22, 2016 at 6:23 am

      I have a travel buddy for the entire trip actually!! :D

      • Noelee
        August 25, 2016 at 5:44 pm

        Awww that’s fantastic! I’ve done some long solo trips too but you just can’t beat company on a long journey, especially when you’re moving on the whole time. That’s brilliant. Loving seeing your photo updates & looking forward to reading about your adventures as you go! :)

  • Kassie
    August 21, 2016 at 12:26 pm

    How exciting! Can’t wait to follow along on your adventures

    • Janet newenham
      August 22, 2016 at 6:24 am

      Thanks Kassie – it’s a long old adventure but should be so much fun!!

  • Tarah
    August 21, 2016 at 1:14 pm

    This sounds so amazing! Can’t wait to follow along!

    • Janet newenham
      August 22, 2016 at 6:24 am

      Thanks for all the support Tarah!

  • Natasha
    August 21, 2016 at 4:23 pm

    We are pretty much doing the exact opposite. Cape Town and up, maybe we will cross paths along the way! Good luck! I would highly recommend adding Mozambique to your plans, we just came from there and it was one of my favorite countries in the world.

    • Janet newenham
      August 22, 2016 at 6:25 am

      Ohh really? I heard it’s difficult to pass down through from Malawi though due to in-country conflict? We might just go for a week to Inhumane – I was there before about 10 years ago!1

  • Monique
    August 21, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    What an amazing adventure! Stay safe and have fun

  • Rapunzel's Passport
    August 21, 2016 at 4:57 pm

    Wow! I’ll definitely be following your amazing adventure. Looks like the kind of trip I’d like to do. Have fun!

    • Janet newenham
      August 22, 2016 at 6:25 am

      I’ll keep you updated and maybe you can do the same some day!

  • Nicole
    August 21, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Good luck Janet! I can’t wait toget back to Africa, I loved it there. I’m most excited to read what you have to to say about Sudan, Dijibouti, Eritrea and Ethiopia- those are all ones high up on my to-visit list!

    • Janet newenham
      August 22, 2016 at 6:26 am

      Yes, I can’t wait to get to Africa – I feel that’s where the REALa adventure will start haha.

  • Dave
    August 21, 2016 at 9:49 pm

    Can’t wait to follow along Janet. Such an amazing idea, and I’m sure it’s going to be life changing! :-)

    • Janet newenham
      August 22, 2016 at 6:26 am

      Ohhh I hope so as I wanna write a book at the end!

  • Voyager
    August 22, 2016 at 3:31 am

    Would be interesting to follow your entire trip. Can’t wait to hear your stories along the way! Have a great trip and enjoy and have fun!! :)

    • Janet newenham
      August 22, 2016 at 6:26 am

      Thank you – should be the trip of a lifetime for sure!

  • Jeani
    August 22, 2016 at 9:10 am

    I am definitely following your trip! Good luck and enjoy! Maybe we will be able to meet when you arrive in Cape Town!

    • Janet newenham
      September 6, 2016 at 7:11 pm

      So glad you are following along Jeani – and hope to meet you in Cape Town!

  • tink jayne
    August 25, 2016 at 12:53 pm

    Eeek! So excited for you. Will be following on Insta and Snap of course :)

    Tink Jayne lifestyle

    • Janet newenham
      September 6, 2016 at 7:11 pm

      Thanks lady – it’s definitely the most exciting trip I’ve ever taken!

  • Evans
    August 26, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    I enjoy adventure…!
    Have fun girl.

  • May EatCookExplore
    August 26, 2016 at 5:48 pm

    Wow. What an adventure. I have just found your blog and will follow your adventures getting to Africa.

    • Janet newenham
      September 6, 2016 at 7:07 pm

      Hey! Well I’m so glad you found it and it will be fun to have you following the adventure! :-)

  • fruitmatthias
    December 3, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    Hi, did you already start? Im preparing travelling overland to Kenya but dont know as well how to come from Turkey to Egypt…could you find anything yet?