Searching for Routes Beyond
Travel Ideas and The Fascination of Africa
The Joy of Africa
Land anywhere in Africa, from The Cape to Cairo and all your senses will immediately be bombarded. You have arrived somewhere so different. There is so much that I enjoy exploring, for example:
Of course, the Safari
- Most people think of Africa and Safari! A Safari to see the animals and Parks of Eastern and Southern Africa is a must if you can and a trip of a lifetime. To me, yes seeing the Big Five is wonderful but so is seeing the herds of wildebeest, gazelles etc. on the Plains of Africa.
- You had better go soon. I first went to East Africa in the 1980’s and it is alarming to think that the Elephant population is now less than half what it was then. More alarmingly is the statistic that the population has declined by 30% in a recent 7 year period. This decline, mostly due to poaching and urban encroachment is perhaps terminal. Even the countries that use tourism well to conserve their wildlife, do not seem to be having successful results.
The Cradle of Mankind
- Whilst on a safari in the Serengeti a short detour will take you to Olduvai Gorge and a small Museum which belies its significance as the site of work by Louis Leakey and furthering our knowledge of very early man. The Rift Valley across Kenya, Tanzania and Ethiopia was likely home to our early ancestors.
- Much later and a mere 5 to 7,000 years ago life was developing into a remarkably advanced society in North Africa and of course the preservation there is excellent, especially in Egypt and the Pharoahs.
History, Colonies & Independence
- The mostly awful history of colonization that took place, continues to shape today’s African continent, its politics, its economics and the global challenge of emigration. The residual social impact of Belgium, French, British and Portuguese colonization can be explored in most places, although increasingly you have to work harder to see some of the physical buildings. Much of the infrastructure of the 19th and 20th century, whilst perhaps still used is in disrepair, be they hospitals, schools, railways etc. It is enlightening to study this period and then the era of Independence, in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s. Ill prepared nations were full of hope at this time, only for poverty, war and catastrophe to happen upon nearly all the countries of Africa.
- Today there is more hope than for several generations. Yet you cannot ignore the terrible shanty towns of Nairobi or Cape Town and every other major city. Whilst there has been progress poverty a lack of hope and opportunity is rife. Already many of Africa’s young folk, having no hope at home, make for the bright lights of Europe. If you go you will understand.
- Despite the best endeavors of invaders and colonizers most African countries have very strong, distinct cultures. Victorian Europeans devised the borders largely ignoring ethnic and natural groupings and so most countries are home to multiple peoples, with different languages and customs
- Today’s African’s always amaze me with their improvisation and the ability to fix things with nothing; be it a broken down car, electric system or whatever. Kenya was the first to devise a way to transfer money by mobile cell phones. It is a talent that many of us have lost. The vibrancy, which can be almost frightening to us Westerners, in African cities, is to be seen to be believed.
Currently the population of Africa is just 16% of the global total; by 2050 it will be 25% and it is the fastest growing continent. Some forecasts show Nigeria with a population of 600 million (nearly twice that of the USA) . Africa will affect our Western lives in the next 50 years, so its good to learn about it.