listen to africa

an audio adventure through africa

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Has nothing been posted here for a while? We're probably away from internet access - check the microblog for short updates from the road by mobile phone.

Geotag Icon The journey so far

Blog posted by on Jun 30th, 2009

As we’ve now had visitors from over 100 countries (which is very exciting, and heartening) and as quite a few of you have only recently started visiting the site, we thought now would be a good time to say hello to new visitors, welcome, and we hope you enjoy following our journey over the next couple of years.

And, as I’m a bit wordy, we also thought we’d post an abridged version of our first few months on the road for people new to the site, in case you can’t quite bring yourself to wade through the blog. more »

Geotag Icon The podcast, and other website updates

Blog posted by on Jun 26th, 2009

While we’ve been waiting for the courier company delivering our parcel to find Laayoune (ten days so far), we’ve spent a lot of our time working on the website, which we never quite managed to finish before we left…

First up, we’ve finally launched our podcast feed! This means you can subscribe to get our sound recordings automatically delivered to your chosen podcast software (eg iTunes) or feedreader (eg My Yahoo) whenever we publish a new piece of audio. Gobbledegook? Our podcast page explains how to subscribe. For the geekier among you, here’s the feed:
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Geotag Icon Morocco, in numbers

Blog posted by on Jun 26th, 2009
triangles of triangle cheese eaten

142 triangles of cheese eaten. © Listen to Africa

The second in our “in numbers” series:

1603 kilometres cycled in Morocco (3130 kilometres total)
142 triangle cheeses consumed
139 round breads consumed (including in restaurants)
128 kilometres cycled on the longest day
115 tomatoes eaten
100+ squashed snakes (lost count)
62 kilometres – average daily distance, on cycling days
61 onions eaten
45 days in Morocco more »

Geotag Icon Spotlight: all about argan

Blog posted by on Jun 22nd, 2009
A goat eating argan fruits. © Listen to Africa

A goat eating argan fruits. © Listen to Africa

Throughout this journey, we will be documenting people, projects and ideas that we find inspiring – whether they relate to climate change, agriculture, rural transport, cooperative projects, human rights or humanitarian welfare (or anything else that interests us!) – in a series called “spotlight”. Here’s the first: on the argan tree, the women’s cooperatives who extract oil from it, and the tree’s importance in preventing desertification. If you like, you can listen to some audio we recorded in one of the cooperatives (“The merry nutcrackers“) as you read:

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Geotag Icon Seven days in the Sahara

Blog posted by on Jun 18th, 2009
Huw, sitting by dunes in the Sahara. © Listen to Africa

Huw, sitting by dunes at the roadside. © Listen to Africa

Well, we’ve had dust storms and drizzle, sunburnt toes and suspected dehydration, a smashed laptop screen and a broken front rack bracket, stunning landscapes and more stars than either of us has seen in a long time. It’s only been a week but there seems to be so much to write – and again, I seem to have written a dissertation, sorry. Just look on it as just balancing out all the microblogging?

On our first night south of Guelmim, a civil servant we spent the evening with told us: “Don’t expect the Sahara of old. There are more and more population centres along the road all the time. For the real Sahara, you must get away from the road.”

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Geotag Icon Thoughts from Sidi Ifni: tourism, climate change and roadside encounters

Blog posted by on Jun 7th, 2009
Bikes leaning by the roadside in Southern Morocco. © Listen to Africa

Bikes leaning by the roadside in Southern Morocco. © Listen to Africa

Where we were? Oh yes, lounging in the bath with a fridge full of cold beer in a breezy apartment in Agadir. Things have changed a bit since then; we’re now in a small town overlooking the sea at the edge of the desert. The electric lights flicker here. Turbaned men sit at their stalls, faces half lit by gas lamps and half obscured by darkness. Goat meat sizzling on charcoal sends drifts of smoke across the streets at night. Hooded and turbaned figures – men and women, northern Arabs and mountain Berbers, blue-turbaned Touaregs and other Sahrawi (desert tribes), the occasional sub-Saharan African or European – exchange long greetings, walk together in the warm evenings or sit under the afternoon shade of a tree and then talk into the night.

We may be a million miles away from Agadir culturally, but geographically, we’re only about three days’ slow cycling away. We weren’t sorry to leave Agadir. Its sad history – the bodies of around 18,000 people were buried under the original city in an earthquake in 1960 – makes its atmosphere slightly eerie: strenuously new (it’s almost a caricature of Morocco’s effort to prove itself modern), and subtly aggressive in a way we haven’t felt anywhere else in Morocco. None of this seems to put off the British hen and stag parties though, and the city’s soul now seems to exist only in its tourist industry.

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Geotag Icon About the sound recordings part I: wildlife sounds

Blog posted by on Jun 2nd, 2009
Huw recording wildlife sounds. © Listen to Africa

Huw recording wildlife sounds. © Listen to Africa

As you may have already seen, this expedition has several focuses, and we’ll be using sound recordings to document a wide range of issues that interest us. In this blog, I’ll explain a bit about the wildlife recordings.

If you watched the film we posted yesterday, “A Time Comes”, you’ll have noticed that I was wearing one of my other hats (a climbing one rather than a cycling one…). Like many people, my interests and passions span several areas but there’s a common theme running through them. That is, a deep love of the natural world and a belief that, as one of my childhood heroes put it: “People protect what they love” (Jacques Cousteau).

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A Time Comes: the story of the Kingsnorth Six

Blog posted by on Jun 1st, 2009

Today saw the launch of a new Nick Broomfield documentary, A Time Comes, about the Kingsnorth Six, a Greenpeace nonviolent direct action closing down one of the UK’s most polluting power stations and a landmark acquittal that helped shape the UK’s climate change and energy policy. If you’re wondering why we’re mentioning it on the Listen to Africa blog, you’ll see in the film that one of the Listen to Africa team (Huw) was also one of the Kingsnorth Six. more »

Geotag Icon Recipe: Moroccan tajine

Blog posted by on Jun 1st, 2009

Eel tajine with green peppers, tomatoes and lemon

Eel tagine with green peppers, tomatoes and lemon

On our first night in Immessouane, we noticed Nawal cooking up a delicious tajine – the staple Moroccan dish – in the hostel’s communal kitchen. On our second night, we asked if we could record her as she cooked. We thought we’d post the result here in case anyone wanted to try out the recipe.

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Route map

Blog posted by on May 28th, 2009


Prompted by a comment yesterday, I decided – belatedly – to put up this map of our proposed route through Africa, from the UK to Namibia. (We originally included this with our main map but, as we added more and more data, it was getting too slow to load.)

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