“Why Africa?”

Why Africa?!?”

that’s the typical reaction I get when I tell people I am heading there.

Why not?”

is my answer to the typical reaction.

Africa – misunderstood, over-looked and often sensationalised. Our impressions of Africa have been shaped by media and stories – unsafe, war-torn, disease-ravaged, poor. By no means they are untrue, yet we often don’t hear about developments, progress and good deeds. My curiosity was piqued, I had to go see for myself.

Looking back, it was actually a trip two years in the making. In the spring of 2014, I was going through the daily motion of work and home. Desk-bound, dreary London weather, stale recycled office air and way too much computer screen time, I was dreaming of the wild, being in the middle of nowhere, close to animals and nature.

Back then, all I knew of Africa was South Africa. I had read of unsavoury things about Johannesburg: muggings, carjackings, unsafe alone at night. I spoke to friends who marveled at the beauty of South Africa but would perhaps not live there. Always keen to challenge myself, my curiosity was piqued. If people can travel or live there, I’m sure I can!

I applied within my organisation for a role in Durban, South Africa; I was close but it did not happen. I wrote and submitted my profile for a holiday job with several safari lodges and tour operators; I did not hear back from anyone. In the end, I changed my life by taking a summer break and switching jobs but still continued to work and stay in London.

Fast forward 18 months later, wanderlust set in again. Excitement of a new job wore off, London life was great but felt empty and repetitive. Once again, my mind and curiosity drifted to Africa. I had to go, I definitely needed a change, a challenge and an adventure! It took me all but 5 minutes to make up my mind. I decided that I would pack up, sell everything and leave for Africa in 4 months’ time. I announced my decision to family and close friends. I got mixed reactions. Nobody was surprised that I would do something like that. However, everybody was bewildered by my choice of destination, sparking the ‘Why Africa?!?” reaction.

If like me, you would also answer ‘Why not??”, read on to follow the rest of my journey.

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