Our next First Friday Wild Post comes courtesy of Toni White, a travelista, awesome blogger, prodigious tweeter, and woman on a mission to see the world! After trucking round seven countries with us Toni thought Africa bagged the top prize as the hottest continent and you can find out why here. If you'd like to take a virtual trip on our 41-day Cape Town To Kenya overland expedition, click on over to Reclaiming My Future for the highlights, and prepare to be bowled over by Africa!
Millions of people decide to backpack each year with the vast amount of them heading to Asia but few ever consider Africa because, well, it’s Africa. With everything you hear and see on the media why would you want to go?
Why wouldn’t you is the more appropriate question. It kicks Asia’s butt in almost every aspect because of one key ingredient: raw, natural variety.
|Chobe National Park (c) Toni white|
Sure, Asia’s gorgeous but you’ll see rice terraces in almost every country, more traffic than you know how to dodge and so many backpackers you’ll feel like you never left home. In Africa you’ll see everything from tea plantations for as far as the eye can see to nothing but dirt. You won’t see another vehicle for 300km and will only see other backpackers when you hit the campsites and lodges. It’s completely different in almost every aspect.
|Sunset on the Okavango Delta (c) Toni White|
No one country is like another; you can literally experience everything you have ever wanted just by crossing a border. If you love a good city, Cape Town is a fantastic mix of coastal beaches and city life but if you want nothing but peace, quiet and sand dunes, hop over the border into Namibia to spend your evenings spellbound by the sunsets. Even Zanzibar, a small island, changes within just a short drive; Stone Town is alive with bustling alleys, whilst in the North you have white sand, blue sky and turquoise waters. Africa really is a continent that has it all.
|Sunrise dune climb (c) Toni White|
In Asia, the only time you are likely to get to see elephants up close are at either superficial tourist attractions or elephant sanctuaries (and even then you can’t guarantee that they are treated well). In Africa? They’re your traffic jams. You can see entire herds of them as you drive past; it’s nature at its most raw. As you fall asleep at night, there is no noisy traffic, loud backpackers or music blaring from a club - in fact, you'll only hear the creatures calling to each other. Words fail to describe the beauty you see and feel when watching a giraffe or seeing a rhino help its young to the water for a drink. True nature like this speaks an unrecognisable language only your heart can understand.
|Fish River Canyon (c) Toni White|
With its raw simplicity, Africa is medicine for the soul. It allows you to quietly unpack your baggage and put it all back in together neatly in your own time. ‘Hakuna Matata’, is a great way to define not just Kenya but every country I travelled to, as there are ‘no worries’ among the people and animals you meet. It’s just you, nature and whatever you desire to feel.
|Malawi school visit (c) Toni White|
Africa is also one of the most adrenaline-fuelled continents in the world. South Africa has bungee jumping, Namibia’s Swakopmund is famous for skydiving and Livingstone in Zambia is known as the ‘adventure capital,’ and that’s just to name a few. In Zambia alone you can do everything from Grade V white water river rafting to jumping into the Devil’s Pool at the very edge of Victoria Falls.
|Micro-lighting over the falls (c) Toni White|
Your African experience is entirely up to you. You can be involved with local culture and people, and visit as many national parks and reserves as you wish. Contrary to what you might think, you don’t have to travel that far to experience a little bit of everything; making it a continent that suits everyone’s needs and dreams.
The time to go is now before everyone realises the true beauty and wonder of Africa and it becomes as predictable and touristy as Asia currently is.
And, the only question left to ask is: why haven’t you gone yet?"
Langa Township visit, Cape Town (c) Toni White
Toni White travelled with us on the 41-day Cape Town To Kenya overland expedition. From £1,525pp + local payment from £1,057pp (no single supplement) including camping accommodation, transport, most meals and services of a tour leader/guide. Excludes return flight.