Backpacker Katchie Nzama, exploring Africa solo

While me and you are busy enjoying festive season with family and friends at the comfort of our familiar surroundings…backpacker Katchie Nzama is on an adventure of a lifetime, travelling across Africa using public transport, camping and backpacking in foreign land.


Her journey began in Cape Town and she’ll visit eleven countries to her final destination Cairo. I must confess, I’m inspired to follow her steps and discover my continent…I’ll announce my own adventure trip before the end of 2015 I promise.

Without hogging the spotlight, read below why Katchie “dares to dream” (as Mpho Lakaje would say it on “Against All Odds” on ENCA) and takes the bull by the horns instead of spending endless hours at the malls…which is the greatest pastime for many of her peers.

Thank you so much. I answered all your questions over a glass of wine. A luxury to a budget traveller.

What’s your professional background?

I was an events coordinator. Working with corporate events such as conferences and incentive travels.

What inspired the decision to backpack across Africa solo?

I have always been passionate about traveling, always curious about Africa and the people that I meet from different African countries. I told my mother while growing up that I had no interest in traveling the world until I have gotten lost in Africa.

Getting lost without a map or a compass was enough inspiration for my wanderlust soul. 

How are you funding your trip and any sponsors involved?

The trip is funded from my own pocket. I have sold and given away everything I owned to make this dream a reality. I have had accommodation sponsorships from various accommodation establishments throughout Africa that loved my passion and wanted to help make my dream come true. 

What challenges have you faced since being on the road?

Besides the lack of transport from Namibia to Botswana which ended up in me sleeping on a lawn in just my sleeping mat and sleeping bag, it has been smooth sailing. Oh and I woke up with mozzie bites on my forehead. 

What have been your highlights so far since embarking on the trip?

The Okavango Delta blew my mind away. I learnt of the Okavango Delta when I was 10 years old in my geography class and I swore to go there. The pictures you see on Google do not do justice to that experience. Being on a makoro, swimming in the river and having a hippo swim in the same spot a few hours later in the evening. This is a must for anyone whether you like camping or not. Visit the Okavango delta in Botswana and take a game walk. I promise those buffalos won’t charge at you. Remember your insect repellant and malaria pills, it is after all a malaria area.

And what have been your lowlights of the trip?

I haven’t had any low lights. Everyday is a learning experience and I somehow find something funny in every situation. I hope not to run out of money because that would be the worst moment – having to go back home before I see the sphinx.

I have shared rooms with roaches and rats and even that was hysterical to me.

Why eleven countries?

I know this might sound foolish but this is how I reason it in my head – if not, why not? 

Why six months of travelling?

So the 6 months happens to be 2 weeks in each country. 1 week as a tourist (backpacking) and then another week living as a local (couchsurfing). Let me just say I have tried so much traditional beers, Africans know how to really ferment fruits.

What happens once trip is over?

I want to continue using www.travelmzantsi.com as a platform that promotes Africa to Africans. Promoting travel destinations, Music and Food. Promoting traveling on a budget. Introducing the different ways to travel without breaking the bank.

There are 54 countries in Africa, I think I have my work cut out for me. I hope home affairs is ready to keep renewing my passports.

What have you learnt about yourself since starting this trip?

My independence scares me now. I have lived alone in Johannesburg and I’ve always known I was an independent young woman as that  is how I was raised but I am amazed by how I just move from one country to the next with such ease. OK I’ll be honest, flirting saves me a lot as well. 

What have you learnt about Africa thus far?

Africans are beautiful people. I have been welcomed to peoples home as a stranger and was made to feel like part of the family. I keep saying the Africans Ubuntu will shine and will shine through me. Everyday I am overwhelmed by the love I receive from complete strangers.

Would you encourage other young chikitas to travel Africa?

Yes, yes, yes I dream of a generation of Africans who travel Africa before running to the U.S or Europe for their gap year.

Where are you now?

I am in Zimbabwe. Having gone through Namibia and Botswana, I am in Zimbabwe have been in Bulawayo but now in Vic falls. Looking forward to ushering in the new year at the colour festival at the Vic falls Carnival then head into Zambia to learn some chichewa. 

How do people follow your travel updates?

Internet connection out in Africa is a luxury so I tend to neglect the blog a bit because I can’t afford R1000.00 for 1Gig of data.

Author: Muzi Mohale

Hi there, am your host and I blog about the tourism industry in South Africa. You’re also welcome to contribute your expert content on matters affecting the industry. You can reach me on muzi[at]tourismedition.com

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