Africa: What everybody should know…

Who doesn’t know this feeling – you hear a specific word and certain ideas or thoughts pop into your mind! Most of these thoughts are based on stereotypes, myths or media information. Before I had my first hands on experience with Africa, I was only thinking about war, starvation, severe draughts and misfortune – images portrayed by the world wide media. What a misconception – here are 5 Facts you ought to know about Africa…

Africa was shaped by ancient cultures and traditions

Himba Tribe in Namibia

My Safari holidays brought me to 17 African countries so far and the diversity of traditions has always enchanted me. I can still picture the Himba Tribe in Namibia with their reddish brown skin color and intricate hair design. When closing my eyes, I can still smell their earthy scent.

Fulani Woman in MaliThe intriguing click sounds of the San Bushmen on my Botswana holidays literally left me speechless and it is a joy listening to the soothing and rhythmical chants of the colorful Masai. I will also never forget the ancient tradition of Fulani women in Mali tattooing their entire mouth with black ink as a symbol of beauty and adulthood. This of course without any anesthesia or hygienic precautions. And then the ancient Dogon Tribe in the north of Mali. They are famous for their masked stilt dances performed to demonstrate their creation and existence. As soon as you hear the beat of the drum, the dancers appear with beautifully carved wooden masks, extraordinary colorful dresses and some of them on over three metres long stilts! Your heart skips a beat while you watch this highly skilled exuberant dance that leaves you exhausted just by watching it.

San Bushmen in Botswana

Africa features truly stunning landscapes

Hotairballoon-Safari over the Masai Mara

My guests always ask me, what is the best place to visit and which place do you love the most? Where do I even start? This is such a difficult question to answer as each and single one of them is unique and truly captivating in its own way. I actually gave up figuring out a favorite country or place. But let me share some of my goose-bumps moments with you; imagine the feeling when you stand up in a hot air balloon watching the sunrise over the golden plains during a classic safari in the Masai Mara. Hundreds of animals stomping over the grasslands. I literally became all teary, as I could not believe how beautiful Kenya is!

Victoria Falls Zimabwe and Zambia

Another breath-taking moment was a helicopter ride over the thundering Victoria Falls in Zambia and Zimbabwe and seeing thousands of liters of water cascading down the 100m drop across nearly 2km!

Sossusvlei Namibia

Although I completely dislike getting up before dawn, it was worth the effort when I finally reached the top of the famous Dune 45 in Namibia. Watching an amazing play of colors with the first ray of sunshine peaking out at the horizon is simply a memorable moment. Africa is a place of magic and natural wonders

Smashing wildlife encounters

Cheetah in Namibia

Let’s be honest, who does want to see animals in a zoo? There is nothing more thrilling than having those close wildlife encounters on your safari in Africa where they come in abundance! Listen to that roaring lion in the distance, a cackling hyena right outside your tent or grunting hippos while trying to fall asleep. You have never felt so close to nature! My best wildlife encounter was certainly in Botswana where I pitched my tent in Chobe National Park right next to a tree. At night time I woke up by a crunching noise, heavy breathing and flapping ears… a herd of elephants roaming around our camp site! My heart was beating in my throat. All I saw was a trunk swinging right in front of my nose when I tried to peak out my tent! Can you get any closer to a wild animal? I don’t think so…

Butterflies Kakamega Forest Kenya

But even the small things of nature will make your heart skip a beat – beautiful colored butterflies, little frogs sitting on the reed in the delta or a tiny dung beetle, using all his strength to well, roll a piece of dung…

Africa makes you feel alive

Car Rapide in Dakar

It always makes me giggle when I see the signs on European trains or the tube “No Phone” or “No Music” and my thoughts always wander back to sitting on a matatu in Nairobi, a dalla dalla on Zanzibar, a car rapide in Dakar or a tro tro in Accra… What an overstimulation of your senses – from body odors to blaring music to shouting or sometimes singing people – depending on what tunes are played – and hustlers shoving loo-paper, bananas and other items for sale under your nose as soon as the bus stops or the chickens and goats under your seat!

Colorful markets in AfricaAnd not to forget the colorful markets. Well… my first market experience was actually quite hilarious. I pictured myself strolling leisurely from one stall to the next and slowly purchasing all items on my shopping list! Oh noooo, that would have been too easy. As soon as I stepped a foot out of my car I was surrounded by thirty people trying to sell me their pineapples, broccoli and pepper! I was so overwhelmed that I ended up with everything, just not the things on my list… No matter where you travel on this stunning continent, Africa is stimulating all your senses and you just feel happy and alive…

Colorful markets in Africa

Africa has picture-perfect beaches

Picture-perfect Beaches in Africa

Although I love climbing the top of a mountain and loose myself in the stunning aerial view of things, my first choice will always be chilling somewhere at a beach. Listening to the relaxing reggae tunes of legends like Bob Marley and Peter Tosh with a frozen mango daiquiri in hand. Can it get any better while watching the sunset over the horizon of the turquoise Indian Ocean. Africa features picture-perfect beaches. No matter if it’s the mysterious Zanzibar Island. Or the 12km long beaches along the Kenyan coast in Diani. Or the pristine unspoiled beaches in the Quirimbas Archipelago.  Or the remote Lamu Archipelago. You are spoilt for choice! But I can guarantee;  no matter where you go, you will find a picture-perfect spot to truly unwind from the hustle and bustle of your daily life…

What pops into your mind when thinking about “Africa” – share your thoughts with me…