Saturday, 6 August 2011

Traveling Africa; brave and beautiful or risky and reckless?

Tell me everyone, what is it that is so endearing about Africa?  Why is it so captivating?  Whether you love Africa, have been to Africa or dream of going to Africa, what are your real reasons?  Is it the people, the landscapes, the music, the culture, the wildlife, the sunsets?  Indeed, they are unparalleled, but what of the politics, the venom, the poverty?  Is there a small part of you that seeks the adventure, the survival, the untapped opportunity?  Do we go to Africa to witness the beauty and then see its heart-breaking tragedy, or do we go to witness the tragedy and then see its breath-taking beauty?

Where did you go, why did you go and what inspired you to return, or not to return?

Please click on the 'comment' button below to join the conversation!


  1. I was born and lived most of my life in Africa. Leaving it was one of the most difficult but necessary things I have had to do.

    When I try to explain the appeal of Africa to someone who has never been it is harder then I think. Surely it should be easy to say go to Africa it is so beautiful, but questions from there... what about the dangers? Become difficult to answer with out dissuading people from going.
    I guess as well there are so many things when you live there that you get used to and become 'normal'and others may find them odd or strange.

    In the end my decision is always yes you should go because you need to understand Africa for what it is and not what it is portrayed as by Western news.
    Its bitter sweet beauty, loud, exciting and wonderful people who's heart is so large and welcoming, that everyone leaves Africa think of it as home.

  2. As an Afrıcan, ı have vısıted several other afrıcan countrıes. One place ı went to ıs vıewed as a 'tourıst' destınatıon, but everythıng we dıd there was not your typıcal tourıst stuff. We went through the town wıth a local ınstead of a tourıst guıde, we sat on the beach wıth locals who taught us the language and days seemed tımeless. These were such poor people and nowhere ın the tıme we spent around them dıd they even let off how poor they were. They we spırıted happy people - that ıs beıng Afrıcan!

  3. That is so true they never think of what they do not have, or what they could have they always appreciate what they do have.

  4. Whilst growing up in Zimbabwe I never considered travelling around the continent in the same way that "travelling to Africa" is viewed in the West. In fact I didn't have a great urge to discover more of Africa per se, I was far more drawn to exploring more exotic places like Europe or South America. It has only been since leaving Zimbabwe and making my home in London that I look back with nostalgia and romanticise about this place I once called home.

    So perhaps some of the appeal of travelling to Africa is in engaging with our curiosity about this enigmatic and mystical fantasy, fuelled by what we see, hear, read, and touch that is called African.

    Perhaps it is also seeing somewhere from an objective position and contrasting this with subjective experience. I feel hesitant to try and define Africa lest I become too attached to this vision and miss out on something beautiful and unexpected or an opportunity to create something new.

    My own relationship with Zimbabwe is constantly changing, its a dynamic and rhythmic dance - in and out, side to side, together and apart. Our story is one of sadness, tragedy and loss against a backdrop of warmth, community and strength. Neither is greater than the other, yet they define one another and lend the rhythm to my dance.

    There is a well known Zimbabwean saying -
    If you can walk you can dance. If you can talk you can sing.

    So my advice would be to go take that first step and listen out for the music and rhythm to your own dance.

  5. When I travelled through Africa the famous comment from the recent film of the time, Blood diamond, was often brought in to conversation by fellow travellers "T.I.A." . It wasn't until several months had passed and I had got used to the waiting around on dirt roads for hours on end or had managed to engineer another hitched ride that I understood what that term actually meant to me. Africa for me meant adventure. Yes it has got poverty, crime and corruption but conversely it has warmth, beauty and a reward which I still reap today, happy memories.

    During the 6 months I travelled the continent i saw South Africa, Botswana, Mozambique, Malawi, Tanzania, Rwanda, Uganda and Ghana. Each country having similar, yet different, qualities. I had planned to go to Kenya and Ethiopia however civil unrest in Kenya at the time put paid to that idea. That is the very fabric of what makes Africa. Things can change overnight thus planning needs to be adaptable and in my eyes it is just another way of saying "adventure"

    I learnt a term on my first trip to Africa and it is still one of my favourite expressions to this day "Everything is possible, nothing is certain" and that is what makes Africa different to the rest of the continents of the world.

    If you feel you are an adventurer try Africa and learn to adapt to whatever is throw at you. The memories will be worth it and they will last a lifetime..

  6. I went on an African holiday to South Africa and we opted to go on a safari holiday to the Kruger National Park. In conjunction with this my wife and I also visited Cape Town and hiked up to the top of Table Mountain and we explored much of Cape Town and went on numerous wine tours. We both loved Africa and would go back in a heart beat.