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  • Claire McFarlane

Can you guess how many African countries I've already run in?

(Don't worry if you don't know how may...keep reading for the answer)

I’m in Africa. You might know this already if you follow me on social media. I managed to escape the rather tough French confinement at the end of March this year with the plan of using South Africa as a base to run in Africa for the remainder of 2021.

Then Delta struck. South Africa went into a level 4 lockdown. The country was blacklisted for travel. Borders shut and suddenly I realised that I may not reach any countries for Footsteps To Inspire this year.

This has been hard to process. There have been times when I felt like a failure because I haven’t been able to do any country running.

I know this is not true because I’ve been able to help in other ways with Footsteps To Inspire.

Some highlights have been educating teens with workshops and talks about healthy relationships and consent. And, helping families affected by sexual violence navigate the difficult journey of reporting. We also organised the global run on 18 July with 29 countries joining in to support survivors of sexual violence. Amazing!

But I digress because this blog post is all about running in Africa.

At the start of September there was a glimmer of hope for travel and I set about planning to run in Zambia. Alas, some illness amongst the people helping me in-country and a few stress factors made the visit feel very overwhelming. ‘Postpone’ are the words my gut screamed at me. Yes, quite literally screamed. So have postponed the run to a calmer time.

Ebb and flow has certainly become my motto through this pandemic. How about you?

Staying safe is a number one priority when I travel solo for Footsteps To Inspire.

Solo travelling through Africa is challenging at the best of times. Throw in a pandemic, PCR tests for every flight, tons of paper work and the occasional brush with corruption makes for an even bigger challenge.

I’m no stranger to Africa. I am African. Born and raised in Johannesburg until I was 16 years old, and back many times since 2014 when my dad became ill and passed away.

I’ve also run in much of East Africa for Footsteps To Inspire. A rather ambitious itinerary completing 5 countries back to back in 6 weeks. Phew, that was tough and I’ve learnt my lesson not to put so much strain on myself.

There are so many highlights from this time in East Africa. In Rwanda, I linked in with a men’s organisation working on healthy masculinity and finding ways to reduce gender based violence. Some of the men joined me for the 16 km run along the shores of Lake Kivu. I learnt so much about the struggles and expectations that men face in Africa. I wrote a short blog about the experience which you can read with this link.

Happily, Africa running will resume in 2022.

My flights for Zambia have been rescheduled and a bonus outcome is I’ll be able to add in Malawi for this trip. Land borders are opening up and I like to travel between neighbouring countries using local transportation like the bus or train. I’ll take the local bus from Lusaka to Lilongwe and back again.

Here’s what the Africa program looks like so far:

Zambia run: 30 April 2022

Malawi run: 7 May 2022

Some other countries I’m also aiming to reach before June 2022:




Eswatini (formerly Swaziland)


Having connections on the ground in each country always make the trip much easier to plan and helps to make more impact during my visit.

If you have any friends or connections in these countries, drop me a DM and let me know.

Together, we make the difference!

Big hugs

Claire 🌸


ps. I have already run in 8 African countries for Footsteps To Inspire.

Countries are South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Tanzania, Zanzibar and Morocco. Here are some pics 🤗


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