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In the summer of 2009, Nicolas Rapp decided to take a break from his Art Director job at The Associated Press to attempt a one-year overland travel around the world in a 1996 Toyota Land Cruiser. He was back in New York in February 2011 after traveling 15 months and 37,000 miles.

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  • Out of Africa

    Posted on July 3rd, 2010 Nicolas No comments
    Out of Africa
    It is now Saturday, July 3rd. In few hours, hopefully, I should be sailing toward Yemen. It has been easy to find a boat on the Djibouti port. Maybe too easy, so I am still waiting for confirmation of the trip before I can consider this trip a done deal. Around 11 a.m., I will know…
    It has been a week now that I am in Djibouti. I didn’t do much, because of the heat. It is so hot that you can’t move between noon and 4 p.m. Most stores are closed during this period of time. It is the summer here, in one of the hottest city in the world.
    On Monday, I went to the Yemen Embassy to get my visa, and for US$ 35, it was done in one hour. My friends here have a “fixer”, Alex, a local guy who helps getting things done. He drives me around Djibouti and he does make things easier since he speaks Arabic, the country second language with French.
    So we went to the port and found out that a boat, a wooden dhow, would be leaving on Saturday or Sunday. Most of these ships are cattle boat, but I am not sure exactly what mine will carry. Anyhow, no dhow leaves the harbor before it’s completely full, and if we transport cows, we will have to wait for sundown to load them.
    The trip, if you do it alone, cost you US$ 40. With my car, it should cost me US$380. To this price, I will have to add something like US$150 on this side to load the vehicle, and US$100 to unload.
    I will arrive in Al Mukha (Moka) on the Yemenite side, a coastal town right across from Djibouti. Crossing will take 12 to 16 hours, depending on the weather. At this location, the entrance of the Red Sea can’t be more than 150 miles wide, but the sea is sometimes rough. After touching down, I plan on going down to Aden, then east toward Oman.
    Because of the security situation in Yemen, I will need to find out as quickly as possible how to get an authorization to travel from the police. I believe I should be able to procure that in Aden. Some roads across the country and the border crossing with Oman are sometimes closed to foreigners. The situation is changing all the time, so I will have to find out all of that upon arrival.
    This will be the most unstable country I cross since the beginning of the trip, and I am not planning to stay there longer than necessary. I will try to put the few thousand kilometers to the border behind, even so I want to see this beautiful country. Landscapes and cities should be an unforgettable adventure, and I hope to share the pictures with you very soon. Unfortunately, I believe there’s hardly any internet access through the country, so my faithful readers will have to wait a bit to see my report. In any case, you know it will be a while, so please don’t worry and stay tuned.
    Sophie prepares coffee the Ethiopian way.

    Sophie prepares coffee the Ethiopian way.

    It is now Saturday, July 3rd. In few hours, hopefully, I should be sailing toward Yemen. (UPDATE: As of Monday, july 5th, still in Djibouti, and not sure when the boat is leaving) It has been easy to find a boat on the Djibouti port. Maybe too easy, so I am still waiting for confirmation of the trip before I can consider this trip a done deal. Around 11 a.m., I will know…

    It has been a week now that I am in Djibouti. I didn’t do much, because of the heat. It is so hot that you can’t move between noon and 4 p.m. Most stores are closed during this period of time. It is the summer here, in one of the hottest city in the world.

    Relaxing with Dave and Mimi.

    Relaxing with Dave and Mimi.

    On Monday, I went to the Yemen Embassy to get my visa, and for US$ 35, it was done in one hour. My friends here have a “fixer”, Alex, a local guy who helps getting things done. He drives me around Djibouti and he does make things easier since he speaks Arabic, the country second language with French.

    So we went to the port and found out that a boat, a wooden dhow, would be leaving on Saturday or Sunday. Most of these ships are cattle boat, but I am not sure exactly what mine will carry. Anyhow, no dhow leaves the harbor before it’s completely full, and if we transport cows, we will have to wait for sundown to load them.

    The trip, if you do it alone, cost you US$ 40. With my car, it should cost me US$380. To this price, I will have to add something like US$150 on this side to load the vehicle, and US$100 to unload.

    Little celebration for my upcoming birthday.

    Little celebration for my upcoming birthday.

    I will arrive in Al Mukha (Moka) on the Yemenite side, a coastal town right across from Djibouti. Crossing will take 12 to 16 hours, depending on the weather. At this location, the entrance of the Red Sea can’t be more than 150 miles wide, but the sea is sometimes rough. After touching down, I plan on going down to Aden, then east toward Oman.

    Because of the security situation in Yemen, I will need to find out as quickly as possible how to get an authorization to travel from the police. I believe I should be able to procure that in Aden. Some roads across the country and the border crossing with Oman are sometimes closed to foreigners. The situation is changing all the time, so I will have to find out all of that upon arrival.

    Due to security concerns in Yemen, I changed my plates as well as country sticker.

    Due to security concerns in Yemen, I changed my plates as well as country sticker.

    This will be the most unstable country I cross since the beginning of the trip, and I am not planning to stay there longer than necessary. I will try to put the few thousand kilometers to the border behind, even so I want to see this beautiful country. Landscapes and cities should be an unforgettable adventure, and I hope to share the pictures with you very soon. Unfortunately, I believe there’s hardly any internet access through the country, so my faithful readers will have to wait a bit to see my report. In any case, you know it will be a while, so please don’t worry and stay tuned.

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41 Responses to “Out of Africa”

  1. Happy Birthday! That coffee is pretty wild how it looks like being made. The plate on your truck- you must have to reg. it too to get them Huh. Well sounds like you have some great friends helping out. Havent seen Nadia post any thing on here. How’s she doing any Hoot?

  2. Re: Internet access, any Yemeni town over 10,000 or so should have at least one Internet cafe.

    And if you want to see landscape unlike any other, go inland east of Mukalla, up through Wadi Do’an, and then east through the Wadi Hadramawt. It’s not as direct as the coastal route to Oman, but it’s safe, accessible, and beautiful.

  3. Despite your admonition, I will worry until we hear you are safely through Yemen. Good luck and travel safe. Oh, and Happy Birthday!

  4. Jenni-Kirkland, WA

    Take Care!
    I am glad you got some much needed rest.
    It is good to see you smiling – Thank you for the posts!

  5. Be careful and HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

  6. Good luck Traveler! Wishing you luck and safety!

  7. Good Luck!!!!!!

  8. I can smell that glorious Ethiopian coffee from here! Wise choice on the plates, by the way. Safe journey and we’ll here from you on the other side. Cheers!

    Randy
    Wanderism.com

  9. Good on you Nic – go for it ! Can’t wait to read your next post.

  10. It looks like you had much fun, hookah and all.
    Happy Birthday! Joyeux Anniversaire!

    The Land Cruiser seems to be fairing well, and what a really intelligent choice to change the plates
    and stickers.

    Have fun and continue to be safe.

  11. Good to see you crossing into Yemen. I really wish you cross safely into Oman and continue with your journey. I will pray for you.
    WISH YOU A VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
    Vijay

  12. Happy 4th, and happy upcoming b’day, Nick! Hope you have only smooth sailing from here on.Thanks for the report and sharing the pix.
    Wim (vacationing in Surrey,BC)

  13. catherine from cali

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY FRIEND, BE SAFE AND GOD SPEED!

  14. Hey Nick,

    Is that some Argentine plates I see?

    Adventurous greetings,
    Coen

  15. Thanks to all for the birthday wishes. When it comes, I will hopefully be in Yemen. As of now, the boat still didn’t leave the port of Djibouti. Every day I am told it is for tomorrow. Something I got familiar with in Central America and Africa…
    yes Coen, these are Argentine plates I got done in Buenos Aires.

    N

  16. Love the pictures Nic! 🙂 Reminds me of the strong coffee and teeny tiny coffee cups when I was in Spain and Morocco. Thanks for sharing. Happy upcoming birthday! (Psalm 139–paraphrased–no matter where you go in the world God sees you and had a plan for your life from the very beginning) 🙂 Be blessed! Beth

  17. Dan from outerspace

    Happy Birthday Nick!

  18. Yikes! Are you guys doing drugs in Djibouti????

    J’ai pensé que vous êtes un bon garçon!

  19. p.s. stay safe!!
    the ethiopian desert sounded bad… yemen sounds worse… take care of yourself!!!

  20. Congratulations! I have been trying to follow you on Google Earth, and I must say, it is truly an adventure for you, and I check your website feed at least twice a day, looking for news.

  21. Nicolas,

    I started reading your blog back when you were in Texas. I found it hilarious and I thought that you were a total idiot for undertaking this journey, especially considering how little you seemed to know about vehicle maintenance back then. I never thought you would make it beyond Central America. I laughed and predicted your imminent demise when I read about your troubles in Honduras. I was pretty amazed that you even made it across South America. Now that you’ve made it across Africa, I must tell you, I’m impressed. You’ve taken this much farther than I would have ever guessed.

    Definitely pulling for you now. I’m pretty sure that you’re going to finish this.

    C

  22. Ms. Marti-Nashville

    Nick so glad to see you having such a good time after all the drama getting there. Yes, we all will worry about you. But as usual you will forge on and accomplish your goal! Guess you’ll need to hold your breathe traveling with animals. LOL Take care and Happy Birthday! What a way to celebrate this year.

    Ms. Marti

  23. Ms. Marti-Nashville

    Nick, to say the least you have introduced so many new things to us! I had to check out exactly what a dhow was. Geez you better take some anti-nausea pills or patch before you leave! I’m sure you will have a real adventure sailing. Be safe!
    Ms. Marti

  24. Gary in Nova Scotia

    Have been following your expidition, enjoy the photo’s and the read
    Travel safe

  25. Happy Birthday!! Looking forward to your next update.

    After reading about your trip(s) across the desert, I told my teenagers they cannot complain about no a/c in their car.

  26. Nico! Happy Belated Birthday!!! I just saw the Disney movie “UP” and thought of you!! you really are living a lifetime adventure. The Argentine plates are very beautiful and what a blessing to have such great friends as yours. Nadia, hope you keeping track of our buddy nick.

    Stay safe and healthy! Keep on trucking 🙂

    God bless!

    Lup

  27. HAPPY BIRTHDAY NICK! (yes we know it’s only on the 10th, but we have internet now!)

    We are glad to read that you seemed to have reached Djibouti and may by now already be on the your way to Yemen. We are now in Nairobi, arrived yesterday. All well here, some small car problems aside. We should have a very belated blog update tomorrow.

    best of luck with your travels, stay safe (but do it dangerously!)

    best wishes, riaan, stephanie, joel

    xxx

    ps stephanie is waiting for a reply about Iran, will let you know…

  28. Ms. Marti-Nashville

    Renee, they are smoking a Hookah. You smoke tobacco with it. But I guess you can smoke marijane in it too. LOL!! Like I said, Nick is showing so many of us new things. Here’s looking for more new things learned!

    Ms. Marti~Nashville, TN

  29. Murali in Reading PA

    Have been following from the beginning. Use your photos on my computer desktop. Everyone in the house sees the pictures and says where is he now. I have been living this journey vicariously with you.
    Stay safe be careful and enjoy the journey.

  30. Smooth sailing Nick
    Happy Birthday.. 🙂
    Will be very anxious waiting for next post
    take care and GOD BLESS YOU ,,

  31. Good luck – I”ll be waiting for the next update. Your trip is very inspirational!!!

  32. Dear fellow followers,

    I just wanted to update everyone and let them know that Nick left on a small boat headed for Yemen last night (Thursday July 8, 2010). It was kind of a challenge to get his truck onto the small boat but after some tense moments the crew at the port was able to load it on with a crane. Unfortunately it wasn’t after they damaged the body of his truck (and possibly the undercarriage). However, he is finally and officially out of Africa and on his way to new adventures.

    I must say it was a pleasure having him here this past week and a half and it will be a time I will not soon forget.

    Happy Birthday, Nick and God speed to you on the rest of your travels! I’ll see you on the other side!

    Dave

  33. Hi Nick.

    I trust that you are doing well. Be safe and wish you Happy birthday. We are with you in spirit my friend.

    Take care.

    Lewis (Wits University – South Africa)

  34. Happy Birthday Nick!!! Hey, is it me or are Ethiopian women just gorgeous? Looking forward to your next posting amigo.

  35. Hi Nick,

    Belated, HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!

    I see you got to relax a little bit for this trip :-). That’s great.

    Well, I’ll stay tuned like you said :-).

    Good luck with the next journey!

    Wan

  36. Professor Joy D

    Hi Nick– Happy, Happy Birthday!! Looks like your experience in Africa was quite interesting. I just pulled out a picture of you and the IGET team at a restaurant in Johannesburg to frame it!! It was so wonderful meeting you and enjoyed having you with us on our trip in April. My best to you on the rest of your journey!!

  37. Marlon Trivino (Corona, CA)

    Thanks Dave Brzeczek for the update. Greatly appreciated. Just curious, were you guys smoking tobacco?

    NYHombre, it’s not you. They are beautiful women.

    Nick, I hope you’ll find an internet connection in Yemen and take care of yourself.

  38. Hello Nick:

    Good to hear that you and your Land Cruiser are in route to Yemen. Dave is such a sweetheart to keep us informed about your departure. Thanks Dave. Well, July 10th is just about here for us in the United States. How wonderful it is that your new friends from around the world are so very eager to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Nicolas Rapp. This particular birthday will no doubt count among other “great birthdays” as most memorable and exciting for you. We look forward to hearing all about your new adventures, and are anxious to view new one-of-kind photos. Nick, keep doing what you have been doing since leaving Brooklyn, New York and you will be just fine. Stay safe and many blessings your way.
    -JoyMaria and Paul

  39. Marlon,

    Yeah that was flavored tobacco. Strawberry to be exact. It’s a nice relaxing activity when you are just trying to beat the heat here.

    And yes, Ethiopian woman are gorgeous!

    You are all welcome for the post. I’m anticipating like everyone else to hear that Nick made it to Yemen safely. This part of the world doesn’t work too efficiently but I’m sure by now Nick can handle just about anything thrown his way.

  40. I really love following your stories! It completely brings something special my afternoon.

  41. fantastic blog 🙂 I’m very happy I wandered onto it through my friend’s blog, going to definitely have to add another one to the list.