Jessica Nabongo in Hawf, Al Mahrah, Yemen/Photo: Jessica Nabongo

Ugandan becomes first Black woman to visit all countries in the world

Uganda’s Jessica Nabongo has become the first Black woman to have visited all 195 countries in the world.

The 34-year-old US resident proudly announced on her Instagram account Catch Me If You Can from the island nation of Seychelles that she had made the unique mark of having toured all the nations in the world.

Nabongo, whose Ugandan parents migrated to the United States, was born in Detroit and she uses both her Ugandan and American passports.

Having started travelling at the age of six, Nabongo made history on Sunday, 8 October 2019 when she arrived in Mahe, the capital city of the last country on her list, Seychelles.

7am. Mahe, Seychelles. 195 of 195, she told the whole world on her Instagram account, which chronicles her travels, the people she meets along the way, and features many of the poignant images she has captured, “with hopes of encouraging readers to get out and see life through a different cultural lens”. ⁣

Nabongo, who travelled to Seychelles with over 50 friends and family, took to social media to thank her community of followers.

“So much to say but for now I will just say thank you to this entire community for all of your support. This was our journey and thanks to all of you who came along for the ride!!”

Jessica Nabongo in Moscow, Russia/Photo: Jessica Nabongo


Nabongo only decided to take on the goal of visiting all the countries in the world in 2017. At the time, she had travelled to 60 countries. She has consequently visited 135 countries in just two and a half years.

According to her Facebook page, Jessica, better known as j. nambowa, “lives a duality that could be described as Afropolitan. Seeds of travel and wander were planted at an early age when she embarked on her first international journey, travelling to London and Uganda at the age of six.

“Largely encouraged by family summer holidays in the Caribbean and trips home to Uganda, Jessica’s curiosity for different cultures and deep desire to see every country in the world has intensified in the last six years.

View this post on Instagram

Welcome to Algeria 🇩🇿!!! Country 193 of 195!! Algeria is the biggest country in Africa, claiming the title after South Sudan gained independence in 2011. Algiers, the stunning capital perched on the Mediterranean Sea is dotted with French colonial architecture – balcony fronted flats with large windows, and remnants of the Ottoman empire in the casbah. ⁣ ⁣ Here I am standing in front of city hall and you will see Arabic with Amzigh, an indigenous script below. Most Algerians can trace their lineage to one of five major tribes still easily identifiable today. ⁣ ⁣ For some, getting a visa to Algeria can be difficult and take a lot of time. I’m the visa whisperer so with a little persistence and convincing I was able to get mine faster than anticipated. If you want to visit Algeria definitely get in touch with @fancyellow_travel_algeria because they can help make the process very smooth and their guides are amazing! ⁣ ⁣ Have you heard of Algeria? Visited? Is it on your bucket list? #catchmeinalgeria

A post shared by Jessica (🚫Jess) Nabongo 🇺🇬🇺🇸 (@thecatchmeifyoucan) on

“In 2002, Jessica left Detroit to attend school in New York City at St. John’s University, studying English Literature. A successful yet unsatisfying career in pharmaceutical sales left her searching for something new. Jessica’s sense of adventure led her to move to Japan in 2008, giving life to Catch Me If You Can.

“Jessica has lived, worked and studied on four continents – North America (Detroit, New York City, and Washington DC, USA), Asia (Kusatsu, Japan), Europe (London, England and Rome, Italy), Africa (Dassa-Zoume, Benin) – earned a graduate degree from the London School of Economics, and visited 195 countries on six continents.”

Vivian Asamoah

Follow Jessica Nabongo on Instagram at The Catch Me If You Can


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