Africa Is NOT a “****hole”
Regardless of whether or not Donald Trump — who is the current president of the United States — actually referred to Haiti and African nations as “****hole countries”, I would have to disagree, as I have enjoyed every trip to Africa.
Africa Is NOT a “****hole”
Sure, many countries may have infrastructure which is not considered up to the level of modern standards — but that is part of the beauty and intrigue of Africa, which is a mélange of diverse types of people and some of the most amazing cuisine on which I have dined in my life.
To detail every single experience during my trips to Africa is impossible to cram into one article; so I will offer highlights of my trips — as well as links to trip reports which I have already written…
…and I have many additional trip reports which I have yet to write. Cue in the deep sigh for not getting them written already; but I plan to complete more of them.
Côte d’Ivoire or The Ivory Coast
My first trip to Africa was in Côte d’Ivoire — otherwise known as the Ivory Coast — where I spent three weeks while I was attending college. I have been almost everywhere in that country — from the bustling city of Abidjan to the beautiful beaches of Grand-Bassam to Yamoussoukro to Bouaké through the rainforests to Korhogo — and I had the time of my life.
I have also been to small villages deep in the jungle. I was told that I was one of the first Americans to ever visit one particular little village, where the native people lived in huts, raised goats, ground their corn into meal and cooked it on an open fire, drank fermented liquid from inside a dead palm tree on the ground to which locals referred as palm wine; and even danced in traditional masks and costumes.
For an appetizer during one meal, I had an appetizer — served by waiters wearing tuxedos, believe it or not — at a restaurant in a hotel which I would not have thought would have been absolutely delicious: in a hollowed grapefruit rind half was a mixture of shrimp, grapefruit sections, a sauce similar to a thousand island dressing, corn, lettuce and some other ingredients. I could go for one now — it was that good.
I can assure you that there is little that is more annoying than a stupid goat needlessly bleating endlessly before 6:00 in the morning just outside my open “window” — which was nothing more than a opening in the wall of a dried mud hut with a thatched roof — even after sleeping on a burlap sack using mosquito coils to ward off those buzzing bloodsucking dive-bombers while I was a guest in a hut which the homeowner gave up for me for the night. I may impart my tales and experiences in Côte d’Ivoire at another time — perhaps complete with audio, as I recorded audio portions of my trip along with plenty of photographs.
I have not spent nearly enough time in this country; but one day I intend to return — especially to see and photograph Lake Retba, whose water is actually colored an interesting hue of pink.
I can say that Léopold Sédar Senghor International Airport — which serves the greater Dakar metropolitan area — is not exactly the most modern airport in the world…
I had the time of my life on safari during my trip in Kenya — even with the base camp itself and with what was called a box lunch. I enjoyed meeting the people. I enjoyed the views — such as those of the Great Rift Valley. I enjoyed traveling to and from Kenya, which included lounge access at the airport in New York; and I even enjoyed traveling within Kenya — despite trouble with the vehicle.
The only significantly negative aspect of the trip was that I never saw a leopard — although I came rather close.
If you would like to see some of the animals which I photographed during a safari in which I participated in Kenya back in 2015 — I still have additional articles to post, including one featuring hippopotami — please refer to these photographic essays…
- Cheetah — When I was unexpectedly treated to witnessing a cheetah surprising its prey, killing it and feasting on it
- Giraffe — When I simply hung around with the awkward but graceful giraffes
- Zebra — Watching zebras and their sometimes quirky behavior was interesting to me
- Lion — Viewing of the lion with one eye with his lioness companion
- Elephant — Hanging out with elephants at a watering hole
- Buffalo — Enjoying hanging out with elephants at a watering hole and witnessing the migration of large herds of cape buffalo
- Monkey — Observing playful vervet monkeys
- Baboon — Watching an olive baboon nursing her young
- Rhinoceros — Spotting a lone black rhinoceros crossing the road
- Flamingos — Dozens of pink greater flamingos; as well as pelicans and other waterfowl
- Birds — …as well as the different varieties of birds which I spotted while on safari in Kenya
…as well as of the people of the Maasai society.
- An Introduction and Welcome to a Maasai Village
- Homes Constructed With Cow Manure?!? In Villages of the Maasai People of Kenya, Yes
- How to Create Fire Without Matches or Lighters by Maasai People: A Photographic Essay
- Maasai People of Kenya: A Photographic Essay of Random Images
A road trip around South Africa is a must. From the rolling hills to the beaches along the coast, South Africa is packed with incredible scenery.
I saw what was considered at the time the tallest building in Africa; visited the purported cradle of civilization; and I drove to the beach in Durban.
If you enjoy a good cut of beef — or other types of meat — head on over to a steakhouse in the Johannesburg area. I compared two restaurants there; but a third one is comparable as well — and I have yet to write a review of it.
Best of all, the United States dollar favorably exchanges with the South African Rand; so a trip there will not outright drain your wallet if you are an American citizen.
This landlocked country is completely surrounded by South Africa and contains some breathtaking scenery — but not many paved roads.
I still have yet to tell of my adventure in Lesotho — that will come in due time — but in the meantime, please enjoy these articles reporting on my experiences in Lesotho:
- Four Hours at the Lesotho Border With a Flat Tire — and Locked Out of the Hotel
- Sleepless in Lesotho?
- Review: Katse Lodge in Bokong, Lesotho
- Lesotho in the Morning
- Katse Dam in Lesotho
- The Reason Why I Was Stuck at the Lesotho Border Crossing For Almost Four Hours
Driving into Swaziland from South Africa was like trying to thread a needle; but I finally entered the country. I fought through thick fog while driving through the capital city until I arrived at what turned out to be a place at which I would highly recommend staying, which had incredible views of Execution Rock and the Ezulwini Valley — which means Valley of Heaven.
I still have to post the articles with photographs of the views — but trust me on this one: the views alone were worth visiting the country.
Swaziland is a small country which takes great pride in its arts and crafts; and the people are friendly and helpful — despite supposedly being one of the ten countries with the highest murder rate.
Driving in Maputo can be wonderful — if you enjoy being stuck in gridlocked traffic and having the mirror on the driver side of a rental car stolen after staying overnight in a mediocre hotel property…
…but a nice oasis from the relative madness of the capital city awaits visitors — and it also is a great place to have a nice lunch and shop for goods made in Mozambique: Feira de Artesanato, Flôres e Gastronomia de Maputo — otherwise known as FEIMA.
Matsieng footprints supposedly prove that Botswana is the place where life began — but whether or not that is true, my visit there was fascinating.
My limited experience with the people of Botswana is that they are friendly, helpful and seemed refined; but without losing their sense of origin or abandoning their heritage. Botswana was once one of the poorest countries in the world — but its gross domestic product continues to improve; and the economy of Botswana has become one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
It does not take long to see that the people of Botswana are hard working and proud. The blue, black and white — the national colors of Botswana — are everywhere; and one can tell that the people are proud of their country and its growing success. There is definitely a lot of potential for Botswana in the future.
By the way, did you know that watermelon is thought to have originated in the Kalahari Desert of Africa — much of which is in Botswana?
What a melon-choly thought…
Egypt typically brings the Middle East to mind — despite the fact that much of the country is located in Africa…
…and to see the Great Sphinx of Giza and the pyramids — as well as be inside one of the pyramids — was an amazing treat. This is part of Africa, folks.
If you are interested in visiting Egypt, here is a series of articles pertaining to my experiences in that country; and I still have more articles which I need to write and post in the future — such as being in the tomb of Tutankhamun and seeing the mummified body of the famous king as one of many more experiences which I enjoyed:
- 6 Reasons Why You Should Visit Egypt Now
- Great Sphinx of Giza in Egypt: A Photographic Essay
- Mortuary Temple of Hatshepsut in Egypt: Part One of A Photographic Essay
- Trapped in the Toilet of My Hotel Room in Egypt
- Arguably the Best Service I Ever Received From a Hotel
- As I am Lounging on a Hammock Along the Shore of the Nile River…
- I Became Guest of the Day at This Hotel Simply Because I Drove a Car
- 8 Tips on How to Drive in Cairo and Other Parts of Egypt
- I Drove on One of the 10 Roads You Would Never Want to Drive On and Did Not Even Realize It
- Renting a Car in Egypt: My Experience
- 9 Tips on How to Deal With Aggressive Touts When Visiting Egypt
- The Chaos Known as Cairo International Airport
- 11 Travel Photographs You Should Stop Taking Right Now?
- Should Attractions in the United States Charge Different Fees for Non-Residents?
- Russian Airplane Crash: Should You Travel to Egypt? Is it Safe?
I cannot comment on Haiti, as I have never been to that country — but I intend to return to Africa the first chance I get.
Which country in Africa I will visit next is still unknown to me at this time — but I will not hesitate to return…
…and whether or not he said it, Donald Trump has succeeded in bringing a derogatory epithet to the mainstream media — but I refuse to use profanity here at The Gate if I can help it.
In the meantime, I plan on adding more links of articles pertaining to my experiences in Africa to this article — and I have reminded myself that I have a lot more trip reports to write and feature with photographs…
All photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.