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AFRICA: 10 oF the best
whyA frica?
Never been to Africa before, or contemplating a visit?
Wondering what it is that makes people want to return time and
again? Safari connoisseur and lifelong lover of Africa Brian Jackman
explains why you should visit this most seductive of continents.
frica changes you forever, like nowhere else on earth. Once you have Africa’s storybook animals: zebra and
been there you will never be the same. But how do you begin to describe giraffe, elephant and rhino, the pin-
its magic to someone who has never felt it? How can you explain the striped kudu with his spiral horns and
fascination of this vast, dusty continent, whose oldest roads are elephant the menacing, black-as-midnight buffalo.
paths? Could it be because Africa is the place of all our beginnings, the And like every newcomer I was desperate
cradle of humankind, where our species first stood upright on the to see a lion.
savannahs of long ago? Maybe that was what led Karen Blixen to say, in Out of Africa, Nobody forgets their first lion. Mine
“Here I am, where I belong”. was in the Mara, a solitary male sitting on
Africa is so huge. Here, far from the an anthill with the wind blowing through
21st century, you come face to face with prepared for its impact, which has left me his mane. It was a cold, bright morning
uncluttered space and distance on a reeling to this day. and although he was a long way off I could
scale no longer found in Europe. Many For a start, no one told me Africa could see his breath condensing like steam
of its national parks and game reserves be so green. I thought it would be all heat every time he roared.
– Kruger, Kafue, Serengeti, Selous – are and dust and flat-topped thorn trees, as How often have I woken to the
the size of small countries, and you indeed it can be in Samburu and Tsavo rumble of lions greeting the sun. It
could fit the whole of Yorkshire into the and the Kalahari thirstlands. But when is at once the most awesome and the
outermost contour of Mt Kilimanjaro and the thunderclouds pile up in the late most evocative sound in Africa, and
still have room to spare. afternoons, and you smell the earth after to live in lion country is to breathe the
I knew I would love Africa because it rain, when the dust is laid and the Masai air of a vanishing freedom. To rise at
was the fulfilment of a childhood dream. plains are as green as Ireland, you’ll lose dawn when the bush comes alive to the
Yet even then, having read Blixen and your heart forever. endless chanting of a million doves and
Hemingway and the rest, I was still not What I most wanted to see were set out into a world whose horizons are
AFRICA’s 10 most extraordinary experiences
Get lost In RAFt the RApIds on the ZAmbeZI
stone town ZAmbIA / ZImbAbwe
tAnZAnIA The rafts were tied to the riverbank, fretting their mooring ropes like
The historical port and former restless horses eager to stampede through the concertina of gorges below Victoria
slaving centre of Zanzibar Falls. We’d barely cast off before I heard the first rapid, a steady thunder, like ocean
Island’s stone town is surf. Suddenly the raft 50m ahead slid from view, its crew paddling furiously, the
renowned for its labyrinthine skipper barking orders. A second later, there were bodies and paddles spinning
street plan – perfect for losing away like wayward
yourself in. As you dodge fireworks. We were next.
donkeys, market traders, Our raft slid down a
craftsmen and robed Muslim tongue of green water
women, look out for Stone into the foaming maw of
Town’s rich architectural blend morning Glory. There was
of African, Arabic, Indian a sickening lurch, then a
and European influences. crash as
Beautifully-carved wooden the raft careered into the
doors are a speciality – some rapid’s perpetual breaker.
are studded with brass spikes, Morning Glory had a good
a throwback to an Indian chew, then spat us out, like
tradition when doors needed pips from a grape, into a
protection from elephants. calm stretch downstream.
CAll Us todAY! UK 0800 092 9595 IRe 1800 946 843 UsA/CAn 1800 517 0867 soUth AFRICA 011 881 5765 onlIne www.KUmUKA.Com
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