Travel photographer Darren Ornitz recounts a journey up the east coast of Africa and into the Middle East.

I do not remember the exact day, or even how the conversation unfolded, but more than half a year after an initial phone call, Jimmy and I landed in Cape Town, South Africa, for what was the beginning of an overland journey through Africa and the Middle East. For the next four months we would travel by local transportation up the east coast of Africa, eventually making our way to India, through fourteen countries along the way.

Below is a compilation of photographs from the journey. Check out my website for more.


Cape Coast, South Africa

Cape Coast has some of the most magnificent coastline in the world. There are a bunch of hostels scattered along it that you can hike to through rolling cow pastures, seaside bluff villages, and desolate beaches.


Bulungula, South Africa

Bulungula Hostel is situated amongst rolling hills, a lagoon, and a beautiful beach, and is run in full cooperation with the local community.


Bazaruto Archipelago

Only a few kilometers from mainland Mozambique, Bazaruto is comprised of five islands and is a protected national park. Here, two brothers pull ashore to the main island (Bazaruto Island) to take a break from a morning of fishing for their families. The islands offer world-class diving and game fishing.


Mana Pools, Zimbabwe

The only game park in the world with lions where you can roam freely on foot without a guide.



Zambia is a country I unfortunately did not have much time to see, but I was able to get a glimpse of what farm life is like. Staying with a family in Lusaka, I woke early and snapped this shot of a farm worker making the morning stroll down to the crops. Most of Zambia’s population engages in subsistence farming with the principle crops being corn, sorghum, and cassava.


Senga Bay, Malawi

One of Lake Malawi's most populated lakeside towns. Every afternoon, all of the local kids gather on the beach and have a jumping contest.


Kendwa Beach, Zanzibar

In my opinion, this is Zanzibar's nicest beach. In this photograph, women and their daughters, wearing traditional Swahili dress, walk home after collecting sea urchins at low tide.


Stone Town, Zanzibar

The town has one main beach, which is ideal for kids to play on after school. A dhow, a traditional Arab sailing vessel historically used to transport good between East Africa and the Persian Gulf, can be seen in the background.


Bandit Highway, Kenya

Trucks travel in convoys for safety on Bandit Highway, and also to provide help to one another if a truck gets stuck in the mud. During the rainy season, the road can be so treacherous the convoy has to stop every 30 minutes (as we did) to help dig out a vehicle.


Lalibela, Ethiopia

I was asked to attend a coffee ceremony in Lalibela, at the house of a boy I befriended while taking photographs. He led me to his home, where I met his mother, his grandmother, two sisters, and had some of the most amazing fresh ground coffee (and I don’t even like coffee).



You can dive with whale sharks in the bay of Ghoubbet, Djibouti. It’s an experience.


Old Sana’a, Yemen

Walking through Old Sana'a's labyrinths of markets and clay walls, some of which are over 400 years old, I felt as if I'd been transported back in time. Honey and frankincense are popular buys.


Old Sana’a

A view from the top of our hotel. Architecturally, this was the most amazing place I'd ever been.



When children in the West are learning to ride a bicycle, Bedouin children in the Wahabi Desert of Oman are sitting behind the wheel of a 4WD truck. This boy chased us down and invited us over to his house for some local sweets and teas. He insisted on driving our Land Rover so it wouldn’t get stuck in the sand.

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