So, you know how some places in the world just seem theoretical — even imaginary — until you actually go there?
Well, that’s how I felt about Africa for much of my life. Until now.
Having now seen a few corners of the continent for ourselves — largely in Botswana and Tanzania — we’re happy to report that while Africa is truly vast, it’s far from unknowable.
In fact, we’ve fallen so much in love that I dare say we’ve left a bit of our hearts behind.
Hope to go get ‘em back someday.
Okay, first picture most of the animals you’ve ever seen in a zoo. (Go ahead, I’ll wait.)
Now remove the cages, pens and faux rock habitats and watch as the freed fauna stretch, scratch, nuzzle and roam. Unfurl a sprawling carpet of golden grasses. Drape some low, gentle hills in emerald green and dot them with strange and stony termite mounds. Set out a few million water lilies on the mirrored surface of a lagoon that flows to a snaking, hundred-mile river. Here and there, roll out some unfathomably huge boulders and park them just…so. Fill up a lake with cracked, bone-white earth and pale blue saltwater, then cue lavender-gray mountains in the gauzy, smoky distance. Scorch the ground in places, leaving lines of ash where once there were thorny trees.
Cue a poignant, howling cry, the flutter of wings and the pounding of 5,000 wild hoofbeats…and welcome to an African safari.
In the weeks to come, I’m really looking forward to sharing more of our African adventures with you, as well as singing the praises of &Beyond, the safari company we used in Botswana and Tanzania. & Beyond has just won Travel + Leisure‘s 2010 Global Vision Award for Wildlife Protection, and frankly, the news doesn’t surprise me at all; they introduced us to some of the most ecologically valuable places and creatures on the planet, with passion, care and joy.
For now, here are some of our favorite photos from Africa — just to assure you it’s really there.