Turns out the dark, forbidding continent is not so scary as King Leopold would have you believe. In fact I suspect he was the scary, brutal one. Despite news reports of machetes in the streets and savage lion attacks, the real Africa is amazingly…liveable.
Since first stepping foot here in 2006 I have been constantly surprised to see that Africa is not all war and starvation. It’s also music, optimism, inspirational natural wonders and progress. We may still have a long way to go o’er this side of the world, but we’ve come a long way, too. It will be an honor to continue to explore this fascinating, complex and downright beautiful continent.
Here’s a look at a few lovely nations of Africa (that’s right, my fellow Americans, Africa is a continent, not a country).
Ah…home sweet (temporary) home. RSA welcomed me with dramatic coastline, brilliant sunsets and life threatening taxi rides. With more national languages than anywhere else on earth, it’s a country that takes a while to understand. Seems every time you think you’ve got it sorted, it reminds you that you’ve barely scratched the surface. While I have a lekker jol getting acquainted with the nation that gave us Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and Dave Mathews, I invite you to glance through my sorry attempts to capture this place on camera.
Zim has had it rough the last few years. And by years, I mean decades. Violent war, an HIV epidemic and a syphilis crazed leader are enough to drive any country to despair. But Zim keeps on fightin’. She still boasts world renowned waterfalls, lush green highlands, persistent wildlife and an amazingly upbeat attitude. Zim, I’m rooting for you.
One of the smallest countries in the world initially caught my attention just for being so tiny. An impromptu trip there surprised me with a desolate beauty, and the sense of stepping back in time about 20 million years. While poverty continues to dog this tiny, landlocked place, the resiliency of the people seems unshakable. With tradition still going strong, I have to admire this seemingly small dot on the map.
Namibia, oh Namibia. This is Africa the way I want to think of Africa. The natural beauty of your virtually uninhabited land is something I will always remember. Your endless stars, eerie ghost towns and dramatic canyons are the best kept secrets of this region of the world.