Even for those that live there, Africa has an elusive, addictive quality that is difficult to put one’s finger one. Whilst the rest of the world is happy to show off its awe-inspiring,incredibly beautiful or merely just weird, Africans have a hard time telling visitors from other continents what it is, particularly, that binds us so irrevocably to our native continent…
Perhaps it is an always-present subconscious awareness that we live on ancient ground. Africa was the first rock to rise out of the sea and the magma and cool down. Africa is home to both the oldest and the second oldest mountain ranges in the world.
Then there is the bickering among anthropologists, historians and evolutionists about where exactly sentient man started out – and somehow the evidence always leads back to Africa. The First World may rub our noses in their sophistication and technological leads; without realizing that much of Africa is a Third World society living in First World economies. Unhindered by aging legacy networks, Africa boasts some of the finest communications, banking and financial services and cutting edge industry.
Then there’s the wildlife, in its natural terrain, the opportunity to see the Big Five – the lion, leopard, rhinoceros(both black and white species), elephant, and buffalo – so called because these are the most difficult animals to hunt on foot. And there’s something moving about Africa’s Big Skies, and the scale of its mountain ranges, that both humbles and elevates humankind upon the beholding thereof.
Perhaps the issue that has most stunted Africa’s progress into the 21st Century has been the cases of ‘too much too fast’. Europe and to some extent the Americas had the luxury of growing into national prosperity – not so the Africans, thrown into the deep end of billion (US) dollar economies as their erstwhile oppressors took hasty leave of their ‘colonies’…
So we end up with a great sense of affection for Our Old Rock. Awed by the extent of its prehistory and enchanted by its outlawish history, charmed by its magnificent wildlife – lions going in for the kill, fish eagles scouting from –literally – kilometers up, perfect waves for beach goers and hikes for nature lovers, cage dives to look at great white sharks, tours of vintage mines and interactive tours of cultural villages.
It’s still possible to safari in Africa – once we overcome the misapprehension that visitors from other countries have, that lion roam the street and that grass skirts are still a thing.
I have always dreamed of a place where a river, an ocean, a mountain and a forest meet and, in Africa, it’s possible, because I’ve experienced it.
It’s all part of the African Experience– it’s something you’ll never forget.