I’m not sure what my hubby and I expected when we first went on safari in Africa; usually we try to arrive with a clean mental slate. But I can tell you that we didn’t expect Africa to get so deeply under our skin.
I was a biology major in university, and always wanted to go and see all the animals in their natural element some day. When we were finally able to swing the journey, it didn’t take us long to become overwhelmed by the amount of sightings we had – my hubby even cracked a joke about most of them being animatronic versions that got rolled out just ahead of our approach.
But even more than that, we made many friends among the safari guides and other people who lived there – all incredibly warm, welcoming and proud to show off their countries. I wish people in North America could all visit there to see what true community is like.
I’ve never given much thought to why Africa is called ‘Africa’. No one really knows. There are various theories, but at one time the continent was called Alkebulan, a word of possibly Arabic origin that means either ‘the garden of Eden’ or ‘the mother of mankind’.
I like both of those. Africa is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, and I’m not generalizing – we’ve been to six of its countries. And it is the ‘mother’ of mankind indeed: paleoanthropology (the study of human evolution) has produced evidence that our species, humans, first evolved in Africa as far back in time as 6 million years ago.
When we were on safari in Kenya a number of years ago, we spent several days in Samburu National Reserve, and there was a moment when, standing on the reddish sands surrounded by purplish mountains and a vast blue sky, I felt in touch with the beginning of the world. It’s such a difficult moment to describe, and without waxing too religious, it was as if I’d stepped back in time millions of years to when God walked the Earth. It was remarkably powerful and spiritual, and I wasn’t the only person in our group to experience it.
Make of that what you will, but Africa is in our DNA, literally, and it touches visitors profoundly. It is the mother to all of us, and a wonderful gift. I’m glad there’s a day to honour it. We need to do our best to cherish and preserve as much of it as we can. Find out more on the Global Citizen website.
All photos are by me and all rights are reserved. E. Jurus
You must be logged in to post a comment.