The Mysteries of Sub-Saharan Africa Revealed
Why should you travel to sub-Saharan Africa? Because in sub-Saharan Africa it is still possible to come face to face with ancient mystery and danger. Therefore, when you come to sub-Saharan Africa you can discover what very few people in the developed world have. It is a sense of accomplishment and it is the ultimate reward of global travel.
This missing link to happiness and satisfaction is yours for the taking, just reach out and grab it. This is what makes sub-Saharan Africa the best adventure travel destination in the world.
My experiences with diverse African wildlife, culture and geographical landscapes are covered in extensive detail below.
Why is Sub-Saharan Africa so Mysterious?
Africa was for thousands of years considered to be an inaccessible global travel destination. Large formidable geographical obstacles such as the Sahara desert prevented cultural and environmental integration with the European continent. As a result, this geographical isolation has preserved the world’s most diverse cultures, wildlife and landscapes.
This isolation has been compounded even further by unbridled rivers such as the Congo. The Congo river is extremely powerful and remains impossible to navigate. As a result of these geographical obstacles sub-Saharan Africa was even sealed off from itself and unique distinctions formed in close proximity to each other. These relics of prehistory have been sealed off from the world for millennia.
However, modern travel technologies unlock much of this ancient mystery and reveal it to those with a spirit of adventure. Travel in sub-Saharan Africa remains mysterious but it has become accessible to those who wish to travel here.
In the post below, I have compiled a list of my 5 best travel Adventures in sub-Saharan Africa. Additionally, you will find a plethora of additional photos and travel documentary covering the African experience at Global Travel Press.
European Influence on Sub-Saharan Africa
Much of sub-Saharan Africa remains mired in corruption post independence. This is very similar to almost all countries in Africa that were colonized by the Europeans. Unfortunately, the rape of sub-Saharan Africa continues to this day, however the magnitude of it has been reduced to a more politically correct the level.
Fortunately, the conditions are slowly improving and incremental benefits are appreciated by the local population. The introduction of modern technology such as 3g wireless internet and cell phones has been very beneficial to the local population.
However, another way that western democracies can help their former colonies is by using sustainable travel options. This provides employment and much needed economic opportunity in sub-Saharan Africa.
Travel to the Island of Madagascar
Millions of years of isolation has created the most unique biodiversity in the world for Madagascar. For 88 million years, the island has been isolated. As a result, endemic species such as the lemur have evolved into 100 different species.
Additionally, hundreds of species of orchid and unique trees such as the baobab and banyan thrive on the island. Although Madagascar was colonized by the French it has since gained independence.
However, much of the French architecture remains in locations such as the capital city of Antananarivo. Therefore, visitors can enjoy a blend of European and Malagasy cultures when they visit.
Unique Cultural Diversity in Madagascar
Did you know that 90% of the indigenous population of Madagascar can trace their genetic origins to East Africa and also SE Asia?
Indeed, many of the Malagasy have genetic roots in the island archipelago of Indonesia. This distinctly separates their heritage from the African continent.
This disparity was revealed by DNA testing of the Malagasy people. This is a very unique characteristic that reflects the diversity which defines Madagascar so well.
The Unique Desert Environment of Namibia
The African continent has long had formidable geographical obstacles. However, Namibia is more unique than the rest of the continent. The disparity arises from the weather inversions created by the ice cold Belguela current that flows northward up the coastline.
The cold water is nutrient rich although the weather inversions have a profound effect on the landscape. As a result, the Namib desert was created and it covers the western half of the entire country from north to south.
This desert environment has existed for over 20 million years making it the oldest desert in the world. The Benguela phenomenon creates fantastic self tour safari opportunities such as the Cape Cross Seal Reserve, Sossusvlei, the giant coastal sand dunes and unique desert wildlife.
Cultural Preservation in Namibia
Furthermore, this inhospitable environment kept the European colonialists at bay and this helped to preserve the cultural environment of Namibia. The San Bushman from the interior referred to the inhospitable coastal region of Namibia as “The Land God Made in Anger”.
Fortunately for us, this formidable landscape makes Namibia the undisputed #1 self tour safari destination in the world. Africa travel adventures are definitely best appreciated from the perspective of a self tour safari.
Although the country was eventually colonized by the Germans in the late 19th century, the unique cultural characteristics of the Himba, San Bushman and other local cultures are still practiced today.
South Africa Travel Adventures
South Africa is the southern neighbor of Namibia. The European colonists had a strong interest in the southern tip of Africa beginning in the 15th century. Prior to the creation of the Suez canal Europeans had to sail around the southern tip of Africa to reach their colonies in East Africa and Asia. This created a formidable logistics issue and the European colonists were keen to resolve it.
Therefore, Cape Town was established as a victualing station for ships to stock up before rounding the Cape of Good Hope to reach the Indian Ocean. As a result, control of South Africa was fiercely fought over for centuries.
Although the Dutch controlled South Africa for many years the British finally gained control after the 2nd Boer War. Cape Town has retained much of the British influence in their legal system and also architecture.
However, it is the Dutch Afrikaner who still has the dominant European presence in South Africa today. Native inhabitants of South Africa such as the Xhosa and Zulu gained independence from Apartheid in the late 20th century.
In modern times, South Africa is still racked by corruption and inequality even though the democratically elected African National Congress has had political control for several decades.
Although the colonial Europeans created many injustices to the native inhabitants, their infrastructure remains. As a result, it is the most developed country in sub-Saharan Africa and it is very accessible to adventurous visitors.
Unique Culture and Adventure in Kenya
The construction of the Suez Canal was completed in 1869 and this opened up East Africa to the European Colonists. Until then, foreign explorers had to round the Cape of Good Hope or travel through Northern Africa to get there.
Originally the colonists of Kenya were the Germans however, control was handed over to the British in 1890. The British had a keen interest in the agricultural quality of the land. Indeed, the influence of the British colonialists on Kenya’s agricultural production remains post independence.
Culture and Safari Adventure in Kenya
Due to the late arrival of the Europeans Kenya enjoyed some of the same cultural protection as Namibia. Therefore, many indigenous tribes such as the Maasai at Maasai Mara still practice their centuries old traditions.
However, far and away the most interesting aspect of Kenya is the safari. Additionally, a visit to Maasai Mara can be combined with a cultural tour to the traditional Maasai village.
Indeed, Kenya has the best safari viewing opportunities in the world, although self tour safari opportunities are limited. This can help to preserve the country’s wildlife resources and boost revenue from guided safari tourism.
Kenya achieved independence from the British colonists in the second half of the 20th Century. Although Kenya has borrowed heavily from the British and retained English as the national language.
Plus, Kenyans retained the British legal and political system post independence. Additionally, the British influence on agricultural production of tea remains.
Similar to other countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Kenya remains mired in corruption and inequality many years after achieving independence.
Mozambique is Africa’s “Tip of Gold”
This mysterious African country lies off the SE coast of Africa. Mozambique was discovered very early on by the Portuguese explorers who were looking for natural resources. In fact, they named their first point of landfall “Ponta do Ouro” which translates as “tip of gold” in English.
The gold digging Portuguese colonialists never found the payload they were looking for. However, they did still colonize the country and a heavy Portuguese influence still remains there to this day. As a result, Portuguese is still widely spoken by the native inhabitants and their colonial architecture can still be found.
Unfortunately, Mozambique became mired in a brutal civil war post independence and the country still suffers from the devastation that resulted. Additionally, much of the countries unique African wildlife was killed duding the war.
Find True Adventure in Mozambique
However, in the southern tip of Mozambique there is a special reserve called the “Reserva de Maputo”. It is a special enclave where an adventurous visitor can find elephants, crocodiles, hippos and much more. Moreover, the much larger and more renown Kruger National Park lies in the far south on the border with South Africa.
Additionally, this part of the country is openly accessible for self tour safari and it is one of the best of the Africa travel adventures that you can find. Reserva de Maputo is a true experience on the African frontier. Additionally, the land borders from South Africa are easily accessible for land crossings.
Similar to all countries in sub-Saharan Africa, Mozambique still remains mired in corruption and poverty post independence. Even when aid and finances are made available corruption still wins the day.
Most recently, the “Ematum” tuna boat scandal resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars being misappropriated by the government of Mozambique. This is Africa!
European colonization over the last several centuries introduced Africa to the world. Eventually, hundreds of years of exploitation gave rise to independent nations. After battles for independence they then faced internal strife that descended into civil war.
As a result, the continent that has emerged is a more stable political landscape and makes modern Africa more safe and accessible for Africa travel adventures.
After centuries of European colonization, Africa is now the 2nd most populous continent in the world. Therefore, all of the wildlife and unique geographical landscapes are combined with the remnants of a diverse cultural landscape.
Modern Africa has become a readily accessible continent for the adventure traveler and it creates great opportunities for sustainable global travel. Therefore, the “Dark Continent” is no longer an inaccessible mystery!
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