I know exactly what you’re thinking, ‘this chick is crazy. She’s obsessed with this continent (Ok. Maybe I am, just a little)’ but trust me after reading this post you will be too! I’m sure anyone who has traveled anywhere in Africa can attest to the fact that this is one of the most thrilling places you will travel to, and I’m not lying!
So I want you to take a minute…think about a few destinations of where you want to travel. I’m sure your list includes places like London, Italy, Germany, and Greece. Mine sure does! However, I feel like you’re missing one important place…a destination that will change you forever while placing an imprint on your heart that you’d never expect- Africa.
I know it’s intimidating, and can be scary, but you’re thinking too much. Africa took me in with open arms, and not once did I feel unwelcome or like I didn’t belong. Have you always wanted to go on a safari? Do you like to climb mountains? Surf? Skydive? Scuba dive? Market-lover? (I know you’re out there.) Foodie? Have a history obsession? If you just answered any of those with a head nod, then I suggest you walk towards the idea of traveling to Africa ready for it to grab your hand and take you for a whirl.
I think some people are afraid of what Africa has to offer, and that’s because they don’t know what exactly she does have to give. It’s ok to be scared, but I want you all to start using that fear, the fear of the unknown, and trust that fear so much that you start to wonder ‘why am I afraid?’ Then go after that fear and discover it; unfold it.
I thought up a short list of 5 reasons I think Africa and you are going to be besties. I limited it to 5 because I could probably go on forever about my time there...so check ‘em out.
- The locals I encountered in South Africa as well as other parts of Africa are kind, caring, hospitable, and so willing to share their culture with you. They are there for you and make you feel like you’re never alone. You’ll learn an unbelievable amount from them; whether it’s tips for what not to do, or the best local spots to hit up on a Friday night, they’re your go-to peeps. Infused with tradition and history, you’ll be amazed and never want to leave the conversation with them (especially when you hear their accents ;) )
The sunsets. They say there’s nothing like a South African sunset, and I will ditto this ‘till the day I die. No matter where you are, the colors that merge together paint the sky like you’ve never seen before. It’s a different type of sunset and brings you all the feels when you’re reminiscing on how amazing your day just was. The best thing to do is grab a bottle of wine, some snacks, and hike up to Lion’s Head or Signal Hill, chill at some bar in Ponta do Ouro, or sit around the campfire in Namibia. Oh, and don’t forget to give your mates a ring, because the company make it all the better! You’re going to catch yourself saying, “wow, I’m actually in Africa” and I promise once you see it you’ll know exactly what I mean.
- Lions, tigers, and bears (oh, my!) Well, maybe we should say lions, giraffes, and zebras instead! Safaris here are such a phenomenal experience. If you’re lucky you may see 3 of the Big Five, and now that’s something to send a post card about! Make sure you do your research before deciding which company/location you're going to use when you do go. When I was in South Africa I went to Kruger National Park and had the most amazing tour guides who were experienced and knew how to answer every question I threw their way.
- Let’s all melt in a pot, mix it up, and call it Cape Town. I only spent 3 months here and I wish it had been longer. After a few weeks I already knew in my heart I wasn't going to want to leave. Cape Town has it all and is for everyone. You name it and it's there! My favorite thing about this city is how different every single person is. You have people from every corner of the world and it just makes my heart so happy. Cape Town is another home for me, and definitely a must see if you're ever in Africa.
- The wine…and beer. I barely have to say anything here. I know we all love a good glass of wine (or two..maybe three!), and for all those beer lovers out there a.k.a. me, Cape Town, ZA is your place to be! There are tons of wineries and super fun local breweries that will make your day. Groot Constantia, Franschoek, and of course the infamous Drifter Brewing Company are just a few of my favs. There’s plenty to drink and you definitely won’t leave thirsty.
- Just one more for good luck: She changes your life. Whether it’s the people you meet, the things you see, the volunteering you participate in, or the way it makes you feel at night, this is the place that changes your life. That airport in Kenya, South Africa, Ghana, Mozam, wherever you end up, will see you cry. Not just tears rolling down your cheeks, but the tears and cries filled with emotions that you can’t even put into words. Africa is all about stepping outside of your comfort zone. Start with the flight, then go from there. You’re going to love it. You’ll go back, because it’s now a piece of you forever.
Africa stole my heart, and I have a feeling she might steal yours too.