How do you capture the essence of Africa on paper without using up every cliché in the book? No other continent comes close to it for scale, variety and pure, raw impact. Africa offers a travel experience a thousand kilometres from the well-backpacked, air-conditioned tourist trails of Southeast Asia or the cash-cow theme parks of Australia or Europe.
Africa’s natural history alone would make a dozen visits worthwhile – where else on earth can you fall asleep to the sound of lions roaring, or watch a million flamingos take off from the waters of a remote soda lake? Parts of Africa boast scenery so spectacular they’ll damn near blow your mind, but the essence of this incredible continent isn’t in any desert, mountain or lake. It’s the spirit of the people – pushing, shoving, sweating, dancing, singing and laughing – that infects so many visitors with a travel bug so powerful they’ll never stop coming back, sometimes against all sense or reason.
Debate with venerable merchants among the cool, narrow streets of an Arabic medina, dance to the thumping reggae beats coming from a West African market stall, or shoot the breeze with fishermen under Indian Ocean palm trees, and you’ll be struck more than anything else by the honesty, warm-heartedness and vitality of the African people.
Africa’s not always an easy place to travel in. It can be frustrating and challenging at times. Hardships and logistical disasters can happen. But don’t believe everything you see on TV: Africa’s not a hell hole full of civil war, plague, famine and violent crime. It’s a fantastic, enlightening, surprising and intriguing continent. Try it once, and we guarantee you’ll dream about coming back for the rest of your life.