Even forthose that live there, Africa has an elusive, addictive quality that isdifficult 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 tellingvisitors from other continents what it is, particularly, that binds us soirrevocably to our native continent…
Perhapsit is an always-present subconscious awareness that we live on ancientground. Africa was the first rock torise out of the sea and the magma and cool down. Africa is home to both the oldest and thesecond 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.
Butperhaps it’s the renegade, somewhat cavalier attitude Africans seem toengender, given its history of migratory territorial wars, the rise and fall ofnations and kingdoms, indeed the extinction of some, and the almost-lawlessnessthat accompanies the gold, diamond and other mineral rushes, the romance ofancient wealth…
Thenthere’s the wildlife, in its natural terrain, the opportunity to see the BigFive – the lion, leopard, rhinoceros(both black and white species), elephant, and buffalo – so called because theseare the most difficult animals to hunt on foot. And there’s something moving about Africa’s Big Skies, and the scale ofits mountain ranges, that both humbles and elevates humankind upon thebeholding thereof.
Perhaps the issue that has most stuntedAfrica’s progress into the 21st Century has been the cases of ‘toomuch too fast’. Europe and to someextent the Americas had the luxury of growing into national prosperity – not sothe Africans, thrown into the deep end of billion (US) dollar economies astheir erstwhile oppressors took hasty leave of their ‘colonies’…
So we end up with a great sense of affectionfor Our Old Rock. Awed by the extent ofits prehistory and enchanted by its outlawish history, charmed by itsmagnificent wildlife – lions going in for the kill, fish eagles scouting from –literally – kilometres up, perfect waves for beachgoers and hikes for naturelovers, cage dives to look at great white sharks, tours of vintage mines andinteractive tours of cultural villages.
It’s still possible to safari in Africa – oncewe overcome the misapprehension that visitors from other countries have, thatlion 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.