One of those moments?! Oh you know which ones I mean! Those moments where everything just seems to be perfectly right, when the universe is very much on your side. Those moments you share with the very right people, when you know that you made it exactly to the place where you’re supposed to be. Those moments that last a second but seem to stretch a lifetime, time slowing down around you so you have enough time to realise that, yes, every little thing is gonna be alright. Those important moments when nothing much happens and the outside world might not even recognise it, but they will stay with you. Because they make you incredibly happy. Those moments that make living life so worth it. Let me just tell you, there were a lot of those moments in Africa. Are you ready for a little adventure?! Come with me on my five weeks Africa travel, exploring South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
TiA- This is Africa
Is what we used to say whenever we were waiting particularly long to pay for our groceries or whenever we were going from driving full speed to braking, with wheels locked up and screeching because there was a donkey crossing the road. Or whenever you shared your shower with five different types of spiders and a 30 cm long lizard. We would roll our eyes and shrug our shoulders and say “Oh well.. TiA!“. But let me tell you what Africa means to me, let me tell you why I fell in love with this continent.
I have always been in love with Africa…without even knowing it; from the time I watched “The Lion King“ for the first time as a 5-year-old, and bawled my tiny eyes out, to the time spent hours drawing sunsets I’d never seen on canvas as a teenager – only realising now that I’ve been drawing African sunsets.
And now I could finally meet that Love, the love I’d been dreaming about all this time.
This is my Africa: It’s all that you’ve heard of with its townships, poverty and dangerous areas – but oh it’s so much more! It’s the sandy beaches and vineyards, western life and iconic table mountain of Cape Town.
It’s the green lush bush and waterholes, rivers and mountains, donkeys and cattle on the road in Botswana. It’s the thundering Falls in Zimbabwe. Africa is little kids with naked feet and dirty legs, with ripped pants and too-small-shirts, but with the biggest hearts and huge smiles spread across their little faces. It’s small villages consisting of round clay houses with reed roofs, warthogs roaming the village roads and dead goats hanging in trees in front of shabby butcheries. It’s Mom’s in colourful dresses with bags on their heads, babies on their backs and little children on their hands walking along the dirt roads- waving and smiling and dancing.
Africa is watching stars at night and the reddest sunrise you will ever see.
It’s bumpy gravel roads and a lonely tree in the sunset. Africa means beautiful people and campfires and guitar songs and strangers turning into friends and life lived right. It’s happy elephants, funny hippos and impressive leopards in Chobe National Park. It’s giraffes, water buffalos watching the sunset, rhinos and gorgeous Impala in Kruger. It’s sleepy lions, relaxed cheetahs and fast Oryx in Etosha.
Africa is wild horses and cute little dassies in the rock arches of Spitzkoppe. It’s mocoros silently gliding through the still waters of the Okavango Delta.
Africa is wild and free and beautiful. This is Africa.
My time in Africa was full of tiny, beautiful, perfect moments that filled my soul with joy and made my heart sing.
Those moments when people I’ve just met turn into friends and family- over “Tell me a nice story“-times and campfires, adventures and sunrises, Savannahs and almost 6000km driven on bumpy gravel roads in a smelly truck.
It’s one of those moments waking up at 5 am in the tent, all cozy in my sleeping bag, to the roaring of lions and the laughter of hyenas; making my way down to the waterhole to watch rhinos and giraffes under the African night sky. It’s one of those moments driving in the truck after watching a beautiful sunset over the vast landscapes of Fish River Canyon in Namibia, a herd of zebras cantering next to us, Toto’s “Africa“ blasting from the speakers, everyone singing along. And all I can do is sit there and smile (and try not to pathetically burst into tears), because I’m just so happy with my nomadic life. It’s one of those moments in Kruger National Park; sleepily sitting by the small campfire at the first crack of dawn after a night of staying up too late and talking about god and the world and everything in-between, hugging a cup of hot coffee and quietly humming along to the strumming of a guitar.
It’s one of those moments watching elephants. Have you ever had the chance to watch wild elephants in nature? It must be one of my favorite things to do. They seem like the happiest creatures alive- splashing and fighting and playing in the gentle waves of Chobe River, practically a huge smile spread across their faces. The little ones running in between the legs of the grown-ups, waving their trunks through the air.
We were lucky enough to come across an elephant bull while walking in the Okavango Delta and even though he could not be bothered by us at all it was a magnificent meeting for me. It’s great to see wildlife in their natural habitat while you drive by, but there’s something incredibly beautiful about seeing them while you’re on foot and at your most vulnerable. I felt the same when finding a herd of water buffalos while walking in Kruger National Park and when stumbling over a fresh lion paw print in the Delta. It makes you feel so small and blessed at the same time, it’s such an impressive thing to be somehow accepted and tolerated by those beautiful creatures who could kill you in the blink of an eye. Because we’re all part of the circle of life.
It’s one of those moments when spending time with the Himba tribe children. When we were supposed to learn about the Himba and their traditions and culture and I didn’t hear a thing because I was sitting in the dirt with a little one on my lap, making music with our half empty water bottles, singing and dancing and cuddling. Because kids don’t care about your religion, nationality, the colour of your skin and what language you speak. They smile at you and put their little hands in yours and take you back to their little big world with no worries.
It’s one of those moments scrambling up Dune 45 in the dark and then sitting in the sand, watching the sun rise over the Namibian desert with the Sonny family. The first rays of the early sun turning the miles and miles of sand dunes into the most beautiful golden-orange light.
It’s the very last morning in Africa with breakfast in the sun and singing “Three little birds“ with Keith and there is no space for sadness in me because the last five weeks were just so beautiful.
I’m repeating myself, but the traveling nomad life is better than anything I could have ever dreamed of. With every mile traveled, with every border crossed, with every step onto unknown lands, with every thrill of a new adventure and especially with every beautiful person that steps into my life and inspires me to think differently, question myself, try harder, be better, love more…, I know I’m doing the right thing, free and easy. And Good Byes never get easier, but having a hard time hugging Good Byes just shows how very good and important the time was we spent together. And that actually is a very beautiful thing. Until next time, all you lost kids from Neverland. Until next time, Africa, my Love.