After watching “The Year in Review” on TV at the end of 2018, I realised I couldn’t keep waiting for the perfect moment to do anything. I had to create the moment. And just like that, I was going to Africa! My adventure was happening and the countdown to the biggest trip of my life had began.
My solo trip began in South Africa, then Zimbabwe, Zambia & Botswana. A quick stop in Zanzibar to relax and then on to Kenya & Tanzania. I was leaving in August, to have the best chance of seeing the Great Migration and was away for 5 weeks in total.
Travelling through Africa really does capture your heart. There are many times you will be in awe of this beautiful continent, but there are 5 simple experiences that have a profound effect on your life. You will leave Africa a changed person, for the better.
From your first to your last, every African sunset will leave an impression on you. The full roundness of the sun, the brightness of the colour, the way it radiates across the whole sky – it is breathtaking. Over the mighty Victoria Falls; sinking below the ever-changing landscape; with herds of elephants marching along the horizon; glowing over the plentiful Zambezi River; each sunset is unique and memorable.
Nothing quite prepares you for your first animal sighting in the wild. It doesn’t matter what animal it is, ferocious or gentle, you will always remember that excitement. Searching and searching, eyes wide open and then bam! You’re so torn between just taking it all in and wrestling with your camera to get that perfect shot. My advice? Just take it all in.
So now you’ve seen your first animal, and probably hundreds more, since you know – it’s Africa! But the thrill of a lion stalking around your vehicle or an elephant storming straight towards you is a feeling unknown before now. It’s excitement, admiration, disbelief, wonder and sheer terror competing inside you. It is magical.
No matter where you go in Africa, the people are always smiling and saying hello. They invite you into their homes and share with you their most personal thoughts and way of life. They make you feel welcome and offer you their scarce resources – hand crafted beer, homemade meals, precious beading materials. It is truly humbling when those that appear to have nothing are so open and giving. It forces you to take stock of your own life and what is really important.
The upbeat, rhythmic sounds of Africa are contagious. They make you smile, want to dance and immediately put you into a good mood. You hear the music on the radio, in the streets, at your restaurant, on the shores of the river. If there is one song in particular that encapsulates this continent for foreigners, it’s ‘Africa’ by Toto. At first it seemed cheesy, but you hear those drums and it brings Africa to life. I recently heard it again for the first time since leaving Africa and my stomach did a somersault. I’ve never had such a strong feeling from a song before! I was immediately back there – the sights, the sounds, the smells. I was beaming from ear to ear and couldn’t stop.
It’s definitely gonna take a lot to drag me away from Africa! I had to come home this time, but I’m already planning my next trip back. Don’t wait for the perfect moment, go now.
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