Rediscovering Africa’s Magic
The time is finally here, the time for us to once again visit Africa and experience all her soul-stirring enchantment. For a long time now, her beauty has been kept from us whilst we waited for our world to settle down. For over a year, we could only hold onto the memories we had made, the pictures in our minds, like the pages of a memoir. This time of absence was not an easy one, however, one may chose to see this time away as an opportunity, an opportunity to enrich every experience from now on. What I mean by this is; by not visiting Africa for so long, the magic of seeing her once again is made all the more magic…
When one embarks on a safari, one never thinks the chance to do so will be ever be taken away. Therefore, the chance of slightly overlooking certain things may be more of a possibility. One may still experience the joy of their safari and the beauty of Africa in overwhelming amounts, however, the cracks are there for some things to slip through and be taken for granted. Not anymore. This time away has helped us learn to see the magic in everything, not just the big things, but in each and every moment.
It is like the old saying goes; “absence makes the heart grow fonder” and in this case, the case of not seeing Africa for so long, absence not only makes the heart grow fonder, but also more open, more grateful and more excited than ever before. When one visited Africa before, one always realised that they were experiencing a beauty unlike any other, however, when one is given this opportunity after such a long time away, this realisation is tenfold. Even though Africa has the ability to leave it’s mark on one’s heart after just one visit, time away makes this truth all the more real. One may think that Africa could not become any more life-changing, anymore perfect, but it can. Although this great absence has been sad and hard for most of us, one may choose to see the bright light; people will now observe her with new eyes and with a renewed passion, her enchantment will now be beyond recognition and her magic will flow deeper than ever before.
Let’s picture it together. Coming back to Africa after so long. Imagine this; you are on safari once again after what feels like being away for an eternity. The moment is finally here, the one you thought you would never experience again, the one that you didn’t know would ever be given back to you. Yet, here you are, standing on the threshold as she waits with open arms to greet you once again. You have spent your first night at a beautiful lodge, hidden away in one of the many hearts of Africa. You wake up to the serenade of birdsong, to the distant calls of the packs on the hunt, to the bright rays of sunlight slowly infiltrating your room. You smile with your eyes still shut, because this harmony that you are experiencing around you, although has always been incredible, is now beyond belief. The gratefulness you feel is overpowering, and you tell yourself you are going to relish in every single moment, big and small.
You get up from your billowy bed and walk towards the window where you look out over the awakening plains of Africa. In the distance you can see the heads of giraffes peeking out over the treetops, whilst to the left you see a herd of elephants moving through the grass, seemingly floating in their stride. You walk to the front house where you are greeted by the friendly faces of people who have missed you so, who have missed sharing their beautiful homeland with you, who have missed sharing their stories with you and who have missed showing you the true meaning of Africa’s spirit. They are as excited as you are.
You climb up into the game vehicle, with the same smile you woke up with still painted across your face. You woke up realising how precious this gift is and you once again remind yourself that you will not be taking a single moment for granted; not your walk from your room to the front house, not your steps the front house to the vehicle, nothing. Every moment is richer than beforehand every moment you make sure to capture with a pause, a second of reflection, a mental snapshot. As you leave the lodge and drive out into Africa’s exquisite landscape, you feel as if you are driving directly into a dream, your own dream, the dream you had of coming back to Africa when you could not. You are quite literally having your dreams come true in front of your eyes. You look around you you see the morning light bouncing off of dewdrops, making every tree appear bejewelled. You see how as the day develops minute to minute, the leaves slowly become greener and greener, boasting shades of vibrant green you never thought existed. Everything that you set your eyes upon seems brighter, richer and more beautiful than you remembered. Your eyes continue to absorb all of Africa’s gifts with newfound respect, gratefulness and unmatched appreciation.
As you continue to move through Africa’s dreamscape, everything that you may not have picked up on before suddenly awakens the same excitement as when you see a predator chase its prey. Even the smallest bird flying from branch to branch, diving down to catch it’s breakfast amongst butterflies, and calling out to its mate, suddenly become as exquisite as anything else you could imagine. There is not a single thing that you see, smell or hear that is forgotten on this drive. Everything is new, everything is breathtaking. On your way back to the lodge you come across a herd of elephants and you stop. No one says a word, you look at the elephants and the elephants look back at you. There is a beautiful silence between you all; you are internally greeting these wise giants with newfound respect, whilst they seem to be welcoming you back in some way. There is a true sense of calm and peace in the air, no words necessary, the experience is enough. Your appreciation for being able to see these exquisite animals radiates through the smile still on your face, and the happiest of tears brimming in your eyes.
That night, as you climb into bed after what seemed to be the most glorious day you have ever experienced, your smile remains but changes in significance. This smile signifies a happiness that has never been experienced before. This smile signifies how thankful you are to have received a gift you thought you would again. You think to yourself: “never again will I take for granted the beautiful things that life gives to me, I will find beauty in everything, even in the smallest things and the smallest moments” This is the lesson you have learnt, one of extreme value, as you can now take it back home with you and implement it in every part of your life.
In the distance a lion roars, a soft teardrop falls from your eye, your smile softens and you slowly drift from one dream into another. Welcome back, Africa has missed you!