Africa is a destination that awakens all the senses.
Africa is gobsmackingly beautiful and this is to be expected as is one of the reasons why we travel to Africa. We want to visually experience its magic. We yearn to see the wild African safari animals going about their daily business. Not only do we envision ourselves exploring the African wilderness, like David Livingstone, but we also passionately want to view its majesty for ourselves! Cities, mountains, rivers, waterfalls - Africa offers a vast array of experiences. Of course, alongside the scenic beauty of Africa awaits its beautiful people.
Africa introduces one to new sounds; the sounds of nature, an interesting local dialect, and unique accents. Most awe-inspiring though is the sound of the African wilderness! Sounds of the various African birds, a howling jackal, laughing hyenas, or the grunting sound of a hippo, just to name a few. The most spine-tingling sound of all is the mighty roar of a lion, which can be heard kilometres away not to mention the rumbling of elephants. These are all hair-raising sounds that will make a lasting imprint in one’s memory.
A touch that is not expected and certainly occurs, is the touch Africa has on one’s soul. The dust, the sand, the food, the rawness of Africa and the feel of Africa on one’s skin is something that is difficult to express in words. Africa’s air, Africa’s soil and Africa’s soul touches one more than one can ever imagine. It leaves a lasting, impressionable imprint. One that visitors to Africa translates as ‘I can’t put my finger on it, however, it is a special place that offers a life-changing experience’.
Africans are exceptionally passionate and pride themselves in being exceptionally welcoming, which most times involves a meal. Food is essentially a great excuse for any gathering. Even though Africans love meat, it is home to a variety of cuisines to suit most tastebuds. Africa does not only boast brilliant food but it is also home to award-winning wines and beers. All over Africa, one is introduced to fascinating dishes. Portions are anything but shy, safari belly is a thing. One can’t help but feel remarkably content.
There is nothing like the smell of Africa! Is it the fresh air, the food, the aroma (or call it pong) of the safari animals, or maybe the African soil? It certainly is not one single smell that stands out, it is all of these smells that melt into one and births the African aroma. The African aroma overwhelms each visitor, it sticks to their clothes and their hair. When one arrives home, open one’s bag, it is there. The African aroma follows one home. It creates such warmth, inner peace, and joy, one immediately starts planning one’s next African trip….
Amazing sights, electrifying sounds, unforgettable textures, incomparable feasts, alongside memorable aromas….Welcome to AFRICA!
(All photos were taken by Bench Africa expert, Nicky Oosthuizen)