Why I Love Africa

Why I Love Africa

Why do I love Africa? Where do I even begin? How do I formulate that love into words? A year ago today, I set out on my first trip to the continent that currently holds my heart, but the love affair started long before I stepped foot on African soil.

Why I Love Africa

A long, long time ago, even before I can remember, Africa was the place I longed to go. For years, the top three places I would list that I wanted to visit were India, Thailand, and anywhere in Africa. Literally anywhere. Not because I was indifferent, but because I wanted to explore every crevice of the continent, learn about every culture, see everything there was to see.

But, my love was taken to an entirely new level once I actually stepped foot on the continent itself. It was then that I felt at home, in a way that was vastly different than I have ever felt anywhere else in the world. Part of me knew it was coming, the other part was still surprised.

Why I Love Africa

I felt home, thousands of miles from the place I had actually been born and raised. I knew no one in Africa, I was entirely alone, and yet, I felt at peace; I was happy and content. All alone in my tent that night, in a new country, a new continent, in the great unknown, I wrote that it felt as “if my soul has been here forever,” and I meant it. I think it is still there, except now it is joined by a huge piece of my heart.

Why I Love Africa

This love for Africa, I know, is not one that is just exclusive to myself. I share it with those I met on my journey. But, I also have found that I share this with each person I have met, or talked to, who has also journeyed to the continent. On my bike tour in Chile, my food tour in New York, and with my fellow travel bloggers, I have had conversations with people who have had the same experience. Their hearts too long to be back, no matter how long they’ve been away for.

Why I Love Africa

To those who haven’t been there, I wish that there were words to express what Africa is really like, or how my heart aches to be back. No other place on this planet can simply compare, and it must be experienced to fully understand and appreciate all that it is.

Why I Love Africa

It’s hard to believe that exactly one year ago was the day I flew out from New York to Johannesburg and then on to Victoria Falls. That adventure proved to me why Africa had held my heart for so long, and I began to finally understand my love for it even further.

Africa Bound

So, what is it I love so much about Africa?

The Sunrises and Sunsets:
The sky lights on fire each morning and night as the sun rises and sets. I looked forward to seeing each one everyday and the beauty never ceased to amaze me.

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The Wildlife:
The reason most people come to Africa is for the wildlife. While it was relatively low on my list compared to everything else, it was by far one of my favorite parts of the adventure. Seeing these animals in their true environment was a sight I wish most people could see.

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The Food:
I tried just about everything there was to try in Africa, and I liked it all. From kudu to warthog, I couldn’t get enough. Every meal I had in Africa was a meal I throughly enjoyed, and I even brought home a recipe or two.

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The Music:
Music gives me a strong connection to a place I visit and Africa was no different. Even before I arrived, I have always loved African music, so while there, I made sure to ask for a few recommendations and head to the local music store once arriving in Cape Town. I bought four cds and continually listen to them to bring me back to Africa. These are two of my favorites.

The People:
From the people I befriended on my tour to the local people I met along the way, I never had a negative encounter during my four weeks of travel. Everyone I met was kind-hearted and interested in building a connection with me.

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The Ever-Changing Landscapes:Β 
As you travel from one country to the next, the landscapes change drastically. Even just in Namibia alone the landscape just constantly changing. Still, no matter what the landscape, it was always beautiful and unlike anywhere I had ever visited.

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The Freedom:
The middle of nowhere is strangely freeing. There’s something about being able to connect to nature, the people around you, and yourself, and Africa brought out these qualities within me. Each day, with the African wind blowing through my hair I felt alive and free.

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Each day, I think back to how I felt while visiting this continent and how I long to be back. Yes, there are plenty of places in the world that I still have to see, but luckily, many of them are in Africa. Hopefully, next summer, I’ll be able to head back to Africa, this time to the east, so I can finally reconnect with the part of my heart I left back there.

Photo Credit: Rae

Photo Credit: Rae

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Comments (33)

  1. Ryan

    Ahhh! Africa! I need to get there at some point, it will be in the next few years I know it!

    1. The World Wanderer

      Yes, Ryan, you really do need to get there. πŸ™‚ I think you would absolutely love it! I’m hoping to get back next summer.

  2. Nate Chambers

    Great post! All of it. I too love Africa and ready to explore more of it. The pic of “freedom” is DOPE!

    1. The World Wanderer

      Thanks, Nate! It is such an amazing place. Glad you liked the picture, it was taken at Fish River Canyon in Namibia – beautiful place!

  3. Pola (@jettingaround)

    What a beautiful post, Erin! I hope you get to go back to Africa soon – I know what it’s like to itch to return to a place you have come to love.

    As I’m typing this, I’m listening to your sing recommendations, hoping that I’ll get to venture out too. So far I’ve been to North Africa, which is much different from where you went.

    1. The World Wanderer

      Thanks, Pola! I’m hoping for next summer. So hard when you fall in love with a place, and you always dream of being back there.

      Yes, North Africa is so different than the South, you’ll have to get South soon. πŸ™‚ If you need company, you know where to find me.

  4. Raul (@ilivetotravel)

    I can totally relate with your feelings. The nature is so vast and so different than what is known to me. The sunsets whether in the Cape of Good Hope or over the Serengeti seem that much more spectacular than the usual. I don’t know what it is but Africa pulls!

    1. The World Wanderer

      Yes, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Hopefully, next time I can conquer Kili as you did!

  5. Anita Mac

    Wow – I can see that Africa has really captivated you! I can’t wait to experience it myself…you paint such a vibrant picture of the emotion of the place! I want to stand up there with the wind in my hair and feel so alive and free too!!! Ironically, I was just talking to some people about Africa this weekend.

    1. The World Wanderer

      I know you would love it, Anita! The wind through my hair was the most vivid memory…I actually remember sitting in the safari car or anywhere else and feeling it and just being happy. I also kept saying, “remember this, remember how good this feels.” πŸ™‚

  6. Traveling Ted

    I felt the same way about Southeast Asia after I returned. I have never been to Africa, but I am sure if I visited I would feel similar feelings. I hope you get back soon because I loved your Africa posts from your trip last year, and I hope to read more.

    1. The World Wanderer

      Yes, Southeast Asia is special too! Before Africa, it had full hold of my heart. πŸ™‚ Still, I hope to go back soon! Yes, Africa is hopefully on the schedule for next summer. I cannot wait to explore the East and be back at home. πŸ™‚

  7. Paul Farrugia (globalhelpswap)

    Africa is on my bucket list too as I have only been to Morocco. Namibia is the No.1 place I want to go to. Great post as always!

    1. The World Wanderer

      Thanks, Paul! Yes, it’s an amazing place. The landscapes in Namibia alone are pretty unreal. πŸ™‚ I’d go back to anywhere in Africa in a heartbeat.

  8. the lazy travelers

    your african posts were some of our favorites buuuut also some of the worst because we’re DYING to go. setting our sites on 2014!

    1. The World Wanderer

      Haha, well I’m glad you are planning 2014! If you are looking for some company, you know where to find me. xx

  9. Ernie Martinez

    What a beautiful travelogue post. I love the Zahara video, especially in HD, now I’m forced to purchase the album πŸ˜‰

    1. The World Wanderer

      Thank you, Ernie! Oh, definitely purchase the album, it is one of my favorites. It’s great to drive to!

  10. lola

    for some reason this post makes me want to cry. it is so emotional. your writing is lovely as i can feel your love & loss for being away from Africa. there are many places i’ve traveled where i felt comfortable – like i’d been there before but i’m still looking for the place that feels like “home”.

    1. The World Wanderer

      Aww, thanks for the beautiful comment, Lola! Glad you could understand how I felt. It’s so hard still being far away from it, and I hope to make it back soon. Finding that place that feels like home is the best feeling in the world.

  11. Helen

    Love this Erin! You know how much I love Africa too! πŸ™‚ x

    1. The World Wanderer

      Hi, Helen! Yes, I know that you too share my love of Africa. πŸ™‚ It’s a place like no other.

  12. A

    I’ve only been to N. Africa, but I so desire to see the rest of the continent. Your pictures are certainly captivating and motivating. I can understand why you love Africa so. I hope to get the chance to experience it in the same way as well.

    1. The World Wanderer

      North Africa is beautiful too, but entirely different. I have been to Egypt, but the other countries are high on my list of places to visit. So glad you liked my pictures. It is such a special place, and I truly hope you get to experience it soon. I cannot wait to plan a trip back. πŸ™‚

  13. Katrien

    It is SOOOO nice to read and see how millions of people love South Africa!!!
    I am born in Namibia, but now staying in Johannesburg…but every time we go visiting Namibia, I cry my haert out as time is coming closer to get back home!!! Only after you have slept under Gods blanket “the open sky of Namibia” you realize that you was very close to Heaven.
    Please contact me should you wish to come back to South Africa, I can tell you about a lot more beautifull places to go….enjoy your next trip!!

    1. The World Wanderer

      This is the absolute truth: “Gods blanket ‘the open sky of Namibia’ you realize that you was very close to Heaven.” I can still remember looking at the sky in Namibia. Sigh. I cannot wait to go back. I am thinking next summer, I’ll head to the East, but if I wind up in South Africa for a bit, I’ll let you know. πŸ™‚

  14. Pete R.

    Wow! I’ll have to get there at some point soon. I’m currently traveling around Asia and Africa does seems like an awesome candidate after Asia. πŸ™‚ At least that is what you are saying.

    1. The World Wanderer

      I loved Asia too, and must plan my return soon. However, Africa will forever hold my heart. I really hope you get there. It’s pure magic. πŸ™‚

  15. Jamie

    Ahh, your photos of sunsets and deserts just gave me the chills! Went to Morocco a few months ago, and I’m missing Africa already!

    1. The World Wanderer

      I can completely understand. I miss Africa every single day. πŸ™

  16. Michael Burke

    I was also moved even changed by my amazing time in Africa. I truly felt like I was back home ! Please enjoy my words here I love Africa……. Each day each breath, she consumes me. I have never changed so much in such a short time. Each day I feel more part of her. Her colour, smell, her smiles , the ever changing landscapes. Her beauty and her majesty. Like sweet wine flowing through my veins, my heart sings as I wave to all those faces going by. Back home to my Grandmothers Birth place. They said β€œwelcome home”, those village boys. How did they know? You all said I would cry, I thought no, but yes I often do. Not for their pain but for their happiness . I cry now, together hearts will sing ,” I love Africa”. See her now as I write.. Kilimanjaro , it doesn’t get much better .Tears on a hard mans face. There is no time but now , no words just peace. Thousands of smiling faces, the mass of souls are singing out . Yes I see and feel it now…. In those trees I sense the Spirits of our saving , could it be our looking for? Sailing ships a familiar shore, now I’m crying happy and singing . Thoughts intense of please no more. I love Africa. An epiphany I can’t explain .Not like the ancient rituals , sound of rain, and men together by campfires. Beginning to end but there really is no such thing as time, just imaginings. We still love sitting by the camp fire and we love listening to the rain? I love Africa the Eden and our Birthplace , Man.
    How can I explain to you my friend what I have seen and felt unless you to have seen it all … Africa.
    Michael Burke.

  17. Rufina

    Hello Erin. Its such a nice thing to hear how much you love Africa.
    For sure its a beautiful continent. Welcome to Tanzania the land of mount Kilimanjaro. You will never regreat being here.
    If you want you can keep in touch , will take you whenever you want to be.
    You are warmly welcome

  18. Tamba

    I like your article about Africa which my continent. I want more to come to Africa and appreciate the continent! It will change the sad view of Africa in the mind of people. I have a Facebook Page where I’m promoting a positive image of the continent. Thank you for liking and inviting people.
    https://www.facebook.com/AfricaADreamToLive?ref=hl

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