It was a place devoid of excess. Where the soil echoed the mystic, true beginnings of humanity, where the nature of things became wondrous discoveries to visitors from the outside. A place brought to our eyes by Livingstone, Grzimek, and Mandela. A place that blossomed long before these men and will continue to flower long beyond our existence. 6,000 year old trees map everlasting roots holding fast to magical red soil and animals, fierce and Jurassic, roam free.
Calamitous crags form the major roads in this world as endless, unnamed villages pass by the windows of our truck. Transient parleys from our eyes to the eyes attached to bodies seated in half-built shops and half-harvested fields convey an array of intention: joyous greeting, passing jealousy, desperation and a chance at a quick dollar, a shared smile at the tacit knowledge that we’ve arrived in perhaps the most wild place on earth.
I’ve just returned from Africa and can say that the continent where man first walked is profound and without equal. What we were afforded the opportunity to experience in 28 short days I imagine I’ll spend years fully realizing: the fauna bonanza behind a nearly inaccessible marsh curtain in Botswana’s Okavango Delta, the mind melting heat of two days in the Kalahari Desert and what we’d do if the truck broke down (probably die), the Chobe River and Serengeti Plain as flush with marvelous great migration herds and trailing predators as every wildlife show always made them out to be; gorgeous people, less suffering and more living the way everyone should wish to: simply, with contentment and pleasure in their daily existence; Zanzibar! and the aura of arabic-caribbean influence and speed, exquisite coffee, and the birthplace of Freddie Mercury!
I can’t really start writing about these experiences in depth here because I know no one would read it. I’d go on for too long and delve too deep. There are a lot of people I have to thank for encouraging and enabling this voyage, none more than Jules Davies and the amazing people at Topo Designs. Without their enthusiasm for the trip we were about to take, their generosity with their awesome gear, and their desire to be a part of this experience, I doubt we would have engaged it with the fervor that we did. Like a Where’s Waldo book, Topo became a core part of our experience and so our photographs throughout the trip, below a selection of the best from a month with Topo in Africa:
Before boarding our flight over the Okavango Delta
Heading into the Delta via Makoro dugout canoe
With our poler Gladys in Botswana
Waiting for a ride on the Chobe River, Zambia
Outside our tent on a particularly cold night on the Zambezi River, Zambia
Post bungee jump, straddling the natural border between Zambia and Zimbabwe
Early morning at Kande Beach, Lake Malawi
Scuba prep at Nungwi Beach, Zanzibar
Packing the safari vehicle for our last game drive in the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
With more gratitude then I can possibly express on my blog for my sister, our guides, and the Topo team, I return ready for more adventure and forever humbled by an experience in Africa I don’t expect ever to replicate outside of dreams in reflection and breathtaking memory.