Africa is a continent that is filled with multitudes – of people, languages, cultures and traditions. It is not quite as high on the backpacker list as, say, Southeast Asia or Europe, but it is a place of great opportunities to have meaningful experiences.
Africa tends to get a negative reputation because of the images of poverty, starvation, war and disease that are perpetuated in the media. These are realities of life in some parts of Africa and they should be taken into consideration when planning a trip there. It is important to be aware of what is happening in the region where you are traveling, for your own safety and for the purposes of social awareness.
However, Africa is a massive continent and there are many, many places where travelers can experience the wonderful warmth of the people.
For example, you can go on a safari and see some of the world’s most spectacular creatures, including the magnificent African elephant and many other amazing beasts.
The landscapes of Africa are varied and gorgeous as well. Who has not dreamed since childhood of visiting the Sahara, seeing the famed and storied desert up close for themselves?
Traveling to Africa will also allow you to open your eyes to the realities of life there, and in a sense, become an ambassador for a largely misunderstood region. Africa is a truly wonderful place but it does need to be better understood and appreciated. A recognition of all that is great about Africa could lead to it becoming a place in which more people and companies will want to invest in positive ways, which will help alleviate some of the difficulties in the country.
But it’s also just an amazing place in which to spend some time. After all, it is the place from which humanity originated and the sense of being in the place where the species began is unlike any other.
You can plan a trip that allows you to see some spectacular parts of Africa that show you a little bit of each aspect of the continent and the many cultures there. For example, visit South Africa and enjoy the wonders of Cape Town and Johannesburg, go cage-diving with great white sharks, see the religious relics in Ethiopia.
Take some time to visit the many villages in Africa, where you will be moved by the warmth, hospitality and generosity of the people. Africa is too often associated with HIV/AIDS, mass rapes and murders and those are tragedies that are holding the country back in its progress. But beyond that, there is a resilient people who look out for one another and have an immeasurable emotional strength and spirit. It is a unique fortitude and one that will leave a deep impression on you for the rest of your life.
So take the leap and visit Africa – you won’t regret that you did.