The Italians have a name for it: “il mal d’Africa” – the African sickness. Once in your bloodstream, there it will stay, recurring unexpectedly, relentlessly, throughout your life. This condition manifests itself as an overwhelming longing to be in Africa. There is no cure, no inoculation, no vaccination. Prevention is the only answer. Do not go to Africa unless you are prepared to contract this condition.
Too late for me; I’ve had it for more than 40 years. However, a remedy is in sight, because in a few weeks we’ll be setting off to go back for a visit to the beautiful country of Kenya.
Friends and family have asked why.
Jeff Sink, a man who wears many hats and is a talented wildlife photographer, who has made 20 visits to Africa, has the answers, which he has very graciously allowed me to share.
This is what he says when asked: “Why do you need to go to Africa each summer”?
1. The night skies and the sounds of Africa, lions roaring in the distance, bush babies crying, elephants grazing right out the back of your luxury tent and the ethereal calls of the hyenas are all hypnotic.
2. The people of East Africa, who have nothing but are willing to share anyway. What they mostly share is their joy for life and their eternal hopefulness.
3. Watching mother elephants protect and adore their babies. It is mesmerizing.
4. Witnessing a cheetah hunt: Your adrenaline spikes when you watch a cheetah accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in less than four seconds. Unbelievable.
5. There is virtually no cell phone coverage so human interactions once again become important. Walk around tomorrow and at any minute look at the people staring at their phones in comparison to people actually communicating. In Africa we learn to care about each other and listen once more.
6. The joyful fearfulness – meaning that Africa is edgy and so you are alive and every day is an adventure. Think about that for a moment – from the time you get up in the morning until your head hits the pillow that night – it is constant adventure. Around every bend is a new natural miracle.
Africa changes you forever. They used to say that “only mad dogs and Englishmen” really love Africa – well I have taken over 250 people to Africa and every one of them loved their trip. And most would return if they could.”
I could add to that the vivid colour of the birds, plants and trees; the smell of hot earth; the limitless horizons; the majesty of Mount Kenya; the superb cuisine; the humming of the whistling thorn trees; blinding sunsets and sunrises; the pleasure of sitting in the cool of the evening with a cold drink while listening to the sounds of the night.
Jeff is already planning his next trip, which, like ours, will be arranged by AsYouLikeItSafaris with 26 years of experience organising specialist safaris in East Africa.
I wish you were all coming with us. 😀