Saturday, August 27, 2011

How Do You Describe Africa?

I've had friends and family members ask me, "So, what is Africa really like? I mean, not the gorgeous animals or scenery but the people. Are they happy? Isn't it dangerous? Isn't there a lot of violence? Tell me what it's really like, without the pro-Africa commercial thrown in."

Here's my response. You can't really describe Africa without talking about the animals, the beautiful sunsets and sunrises, the lush green landscape during the rainy seasons, the sweeping savannas, the pure gorgeousness of it all. And that includes the people. Africa has the friendliest people, always with smiles to greet you and a kind word. Yes, there are parts of Africa that are dangerous. And Africa has its share of "slums" (I hate that term), just as many other continents and countries have slums. What I know is that when I'm in Africa, I'm happy. And when I return home, I become somewhat depressed and very homesick for it. Africa is more a feeling than anything else. Once you've gone -- and you get the feeling -- you understand. Otherwise, it's really hard to explain to people who've never experienced it. In short, it's a life-changing place to visit. It changes you, for the better. That I promise.

So you see, leaving out those descriptions (the animals, the vistas, etc.) just isn't possible. Each country in Africa is very different, but beautiful in its own way much like Texas is very different from California or Pennsylvania. When I'm in Africa, it's almost as if all of my senses are on super heightened mode. Everything is more vivid in its coloring, appearance, sounds and smells; almost like it's in super-enhanced 3D or something.  I remember thinking to myself last year (shortly after I'd returned from Zimbabwe) that just knowing that Africa exists makes up for other things in life.

Think Africa is all wilderness and wildlife without big modern cities? Think again. Check this site out and you'll see that Nairobi has huge malls, street cafes, restaurants, museums, and monuments to rival many American cities. The Panari Skycentre has the largest ice skating rink in Africa!


But I don't visit Africa for the large cities with malls. I want to be outside in its beauty, talking to the people and photographing the animals and scenery. I want to inhale the smells, listen closely to the sounds, and admire the beauty as much as possible. I secretly hope that by doing so, Africa will become a part of me. Once you truly fall in love with it, you take it into your soul. It's very close to what my version of heaven would be like, quite honestly. Deep stuff, huh? Yep, that's the effect Africa has on those who fall in love with it.

So, in short, for a place so spectacularly gorgeous, it's difficult for me to adequately describe it verbally because so much of it is the emotions it invokes.Words just don't do it justice. Maybe some photos of my favorite things in Africa will provide a better description. 

If you don't think Africa is for you, it very well may not be. I'm a huge animal lover, so being around the wild animals in a beautiful environment is right up my alley. But if you ever have the opportunity to go, take it. Take it and go with an open mind. See if you don't fall in love.

Victoria Falls
(between Zambia and Zimbabwe)


African Elephants

African Flora

Lion Cub

African Vista

Adult Male Lion and Cub

African Yellow Billed Hornbill

Visiting Rosedale Orphanage in Zimbabwe, 2010

An African Sunset with Acacia Trees Silhouetted

African Flora

African Cheetah

Flamingos

African Giraffes

The Great Migration

My new friend JB with me prior to my departure

African Wild Dog or Painted Dog

Friends enjoying a huge campfire in Zimbabwe

African Elephants

African Giraffes

Feline Friends

Elephant Sunset


Note: I'm always very vigilant about giving photography credit for all photos that I post. Many of these photos are from Google Images and had no credits listed. If one of these photos is a photo you took, please email me and I will either remove it or credit you (your choice). All photos copyright of their respective owners.

Animals Matter.
Africa Matters.

5 comments:

  1. The African wild nature is exciting and unique. Must be wonderful to enjoy it. No doubt its inhabitants, human or otherwise, must be left in peace. Protect this small world is a great duty to the "Creator of Heaven and Earth"

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