Anyone who knows me is aware of my love of Africa. I have been to South Africa four times and Kenya once. Two trips were short study abroad programs, and the other three were wildlife volunteer programs. I probably talk about Africa way too much, but I can’t help it! Once you go to Africa, your life will change forever. A piece of my heart will always be in Africa, and I bet you a piece of your heart will stay in Africa too.
There are hundreds of things to see and do, but here are my top 5 reasons your heart will stay in Africa just like mine did.
For fun: read this while listening to Toto’s Africa or Cold Play’s Paradise. Don’t forget the wine!
5 Reasons Your Heart Will Stay in Africa
Pretty obvious, huh? That is why it is in my top 5! There is nothing, in my opinion, that matches the rush and joy that is felt seeing a wild African animal in its natural habitat. It is such a magical, unforgettable experience.
Don’t forget about what you can find on a night safari! There are lots of creatures that come out at night. I was lucky enough to see bushbabies, lions, bat eared foxes, an aardvark, hyenas, and more! Just don’t forget to bring a flashlight like we did one time. Our open top jeep broke down next to feeding lions, and we only had cell phone light. Eek!
For fun you can create games for all the animals you see like the “The Big 5: rhino, elephant, lion, leopard, and buffalo” or even small critters like the dung beetle (they are quite entertaining). I have a blank conservation bingo game in my free printables! Just add in the animals.
Another obvious reason your heart will stay in Africa. African sunrises and sunsets are breathtaking. Being in Africa is one of the few times I love getting up before the sun.
There is also such great diversity within the African landscape. One minute you can be driving through the bush and the next minute you are in the mountains. Then a few minutes later you are at a large river and then later you are in the middle of the plains. There are adventures and beautiful landscapes wherever you go.
Are you a meat and potatoes kind of person? If so, you will love Africa! The cookouts (or Braai’s) are a-mazing. If you are a vegan or vegetarian, it may be a bit harder to enjoy the food. I was told numerous times that chicken is a “vegetable.” If that were the case, then I may be able to become a “vegetarian.” Alas, the actual vegetarian in our group did not agree.
If you are an adventurous eater, then you will love this. Even as a picky eater, I tried Kudu and Impala (too gamey for me). The other volunteers and I even accidentally ate crocodile! We thought we had eaten bad chicken before we realized what it was. Only in Africa.
Your experiences will vary depending on your reason for going to Africa. I went for the wildlife and all my trips were amazing. They were unforgettable and somewhat scary experiences. My vehicle was charged by a bull elephant in musk, there was a baby spitting cobra in the bathroom, we had scorpions in camp, and we broke down at night near feeding lions.
But it wasn’t all scary. Hearing lion’s roar and hyenas howl at night is like music to my ears. Sitting on some cliffs while watching the sunset and drinking a glass of wine cannot be duplicated. Not knowing what animal I will see next, working towards, wildlife conservation, meeting like-minded people, and so many other things are all reasons my heart stayed in Africa.
Last but not least, the people you will meet when you visit Africa will stay with you forever. You will form a connection that lasts a lifetime, even if you don’t necessarily stay in touch or talk often. You will remember them. You will remember your experiences together, what you learned from them, and how they may have inspired you. My trips to South Africa and the people I met there was the inspiration for me to get my master’s degree. Some of them even inspired me to get the degree outside of the United States. I will never forget these people and neither will you. They are another reason your heart will stay in Africa.
Are you convinced yet? Africa is a magical experience and words do not do it justice. It is something you have to see to believe, but hopefully, this post painted a pleasant picture in your mind of what it can be like. For me, it has been three years since my last visit to Africa, and it is driving me nuts! I can’t wait to go back. I am hoping to do so in the next 2-3 years. There are so many other countries I want to see, but my heart keeps calling me back to Africa and always will.
PS: Want a travel abroad checklist? Check out my free printables!
Have you been to Africa? Which country? What kind of trip did you take? I would love to hear about it in the comments!
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