Maasai Mara people village
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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”

Safari Kenya
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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…


Black rhinoceros safari Kenya
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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.

Cheetah safari Kenya
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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…

Maasai People in Kenya
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

…as well as of the people of the Maasai society.

South Africa

South Africa
This is where the tire of my rental car fell victim to a pothole. Note the rain off in the distance. Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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.


Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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:


Execution Rock Swaziland
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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.


Feira de Artesanato, Flôres e Gastronomia de Maputo — FEIMA
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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

Feira de Artesanato, Flôres e Gastronomia de Maputo — FEIMA
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

…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
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Matsieng footprints supposedly prove that Botswana is the place where life began — but whether or not that is true, my visit there was fascinating.

I stayed at the Cresta President Hotel in Gaborone, which is the capital city — and I gave my account of being there the next morning.

Gaborone, Botswana
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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…


Sphinx Egypt
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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:


Lions safari Africa
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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.

  1. So how much. Are you prepared to pay to subsidize immigrants who have no education, no skills, no way to support themselves, no desire to learn English or assimilate. What’s the number? And every dollar the USA pays to subsidize immigrants is a dollar that does not go to an. American citizen,veteran, mother or child? Money doesn’t grow on trees. Glad you liberals are willing to put Americans second.

    1. Progressives have never put America second, our foolish, racist, idiotic president has. What other president has had to cancel travel plans to the UK for fear of massive protests?

  2. I have been to many places in the world and while I wouldn’t like to live in some, I appreciate the experience of being in them. Africa has its highs and lows so while your pictures are great, I’ve been in horrible conditions in Lagos, Accra, and Cairo. I don’t like to generalize and I do not support our president’s comments, but at the same time, let’s not think that Africa is all daffodils and roses… just like any other place in the world, there are good and bad things.

    1. Spot on. The pictures are great, but let’s not put lipstick on a pig. Africa is great and horrible. Some of the scenery is amazing and many of the people are so hospitable, but at the same time, some of the laws are draconian and most countries are not very supportive of the ‘tolerance’ they wish for in the rest of the world. Let’s be honest. The same Africans who want equality will throw a gay person into the lions den in a second. If that’s not hypocrisy, I’m not sure what is.

      1. Yup. Sort of a needless political commentary post (as they usually all are) as everyone who isn’t blinded by #TDS knows Trump is well aware even deplorable third-world countries have beautiful landscapes and people living there. Doesn’t change the fact many of these beautiful people are forced to live in these deplorable third-world conditions often where many literally live amidst streets lined with excrement. THAT’S the reality Trump was referring to. But you’re not going to post any pictures of the reality of those types of conditions. (Wouldn’t help sell any credit card apps for one thing.) Like all good lefty’s you’re busy clutching your pearls and being more freaked out about a bad word Trump used than you are the conditions he’s talking about. The Left is so predictably shallow.

          1. You are a fool and sheltered naive American. I absolutely love Africa, but it is a s******* and has been for along long time. Corruption runs rampid, poverty all over the place, and not to mention the crime. Brian is apparently a liberal by writing such a stupid article. I invite him to go live in the Congo for a couple years come back and tell me how wonderful it is.

        1. What would be helpful is to stop politicizing everything with this left vs. right rhetoric. There are more important things to be concerned about with our leaders. If Trump wanted to discuss any of the (many) problems that exist in Africa, he could do so at any time in a professional manner. But that was not the objective of that meeting or of his statement.

  3. They were most likely discussing the increase in somali immigrants over the past 25 yeaes. Somalia is a terrible hole.

  4. Thanks, Brian. I’ve read many of your Africa trip reports in gathering info for my own trips, because not too many bloggers seem to travel to the places you do or get out and explore in depth like you do. If you haven’t been, I would recommend Ethiopia (Lalibela and Gondar especially for both natural and manmade beauty) and Djibouti for its unique terrain. Djibouti is also probably the closest you can get to experiencing Yemeni culture given the high influx of immigrants and refugees there. Safe travels!

  5. I completely agree. Africa is not a $***hole. There are some very poor and underdeveloped places and there are places where unthinkable atrocities happen, but there is also intouched nature and beautiful, kind people. Same as in the US. Some of the reservations and parts of Appalachia are very underdeveloped and every day shootings and murders and atrocities happen. That doesn’t mean the US is a $***hole either.

    1. The difference is that hillbillies, rednecks, gangbangers, and other US anti-socials don’t even own passports, let alone emigrate to a foreign land halfway around the world. Really though its odd that out of the places Trump singled out, you don’t see many people sticking up for El Salvador or Haiti. These same people conveniently leave out the actual hellhole countries in Africa while waxing poetic about the places they can safely visit.

  6. Excellent post on Africa. You made me remember many of my trips to Africa earlier in my life. I would consider Africa modern at this point compared to when I enjoyed my travels. Even back then, the continent was never what our misinformed president professes.

  7. Yeah, really, this SJW grandstanding is beginning to wear thin. Pound your chest and proclaim how much more sensitive you are just due to travel. When the reality is that you’re not being honest with your readers or yourself. Sugar coating it with nice pictures will not improve the lot of african poverty one iota. It’s going to take a lot more than a brusque president to help freedom ring in Africa and other third world areas. But ignoring the truth just to make yourself feel better only makes the problem even more insolvable.

    1. Aren’t you the same Willy who posted the following comment in this article pertaining to my visit to Manila?

      “Sure, there is the dichotomy between rich and poor there, quite noticable. But I think that’s just the nature of the PI and its people. They don’t hold anything back, nothing is hidden. So it’s good and bad, you see the warts and all but they will welcome you as if you were family without question. Thus your experiences with the cop and on the street. Such a precious commodity there and quite unlike so many other places in the world. Cherish your visit for that.”

      If so, then you know that the comment you posted for this article about Africa is not true, as I have a history of exploring more than one side to a country or an issue — and you would know that my thoughts pertaining to Africa are similar to those in your comment about Manila.

      I will be the first to admit that Africa has its problems and issues — as do all continents and countries around the world — and I have clearly documented some of them in the articles which are linked in this article; but as I said: “that is part of the beauty and intrigue of Africa”…

      …and I still maintain that Africa is not a “****hole.”

  8. Anyone have the numbers on how many Americans emigrate to Africa in search of a better life?

    Nobody builds a makeshift raft to float from Florida to Cuba.

    Very few Americans, I suspect, pay a coyote thousands of dollars to sneak them into El Salvador.

  9. Is this a joke? I’ve had to work in Africa over the past 20 years in almost every African country and I can confirm, the ENTIRE CONTINENT OF AFRICA IS A COMPLETE SH*THOLE!

    1. Imagine if I would have written an article whose title was “Africa IS a ‘****hole’”, AlohaDaveKennedy — complete with unfavorable photographs, which I do have.

      I would then have people commenting about how racist and conservative I am and how far to the right I am slanted and biased, of which I have also been accused in the past.

      I am neither liberal nor conservative; neither left nor right; and did not vote for either Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump for president of the United States — but why spoil the fun of commenters who want to label me as such?

      As for your links, I do not defend those issues at all and actually thank you for listing them to bring about awareness — but Africa is not the only continent which has issues pertaining to the horrendous treatment of fellow human beings…

  10. Does anyone have a clear evidence that your beloved president actually mentioned specific countries? Africa has a beautiful nature, but as a countries they are s***hole places for sure. From no other places are more illegal intruders to worldwide than from Africa. Why is that? Low education,corruption.Your beloved president,even when he spoke or will spoke about that,did not mean nature, which all you bloggers and etc.are pointing. People there are lack of education and responsibility for giving a birth of child without knowledge with what resources they will be raised.
    What right someone has to intrude illegally to other country? Any law? A human right?
    You not gonna win a fight against illegal intruders in US, until hireing illegals would be a criminal act with serious consequences. And your beloved blacks in US. When 14% of total inhabitants makes 52% of murders, who’s fault is it?

    1. You are spot on…and the author is simply perpetuating what is likely a false narrative. Sure there are educated and worthy people from foreign countries…and those that merit consideration will be. But easily the vast majority of people from third world countries have little to offer. I recommend that if these people who the liberals praise, stay home and make an effort to improve their countries…and not run away from their problems. Because in most cases they lay their problems on our door step.

      1. All I have done is merely dispute a blanket statement, Terrill.

        I have mentioned in numerous articles in the past that there is good and bad in everything…

  11. What a beautifully written woke article. Africa is not a shithole. You clearly have pretty pictures ! So it can’t be a shithole! And you were treated nicely! And then you flew home to the United States where you could blog about it . Nothing sounds shithole to me.

  12. I work in a hospital with nurses from the Carribean and the Philippines who are fluent in several languages including English, doctors and pharmacists from Nigeria who speak English better than most of us. Their kids grow up to be 100% assimilated Americans. They may not come from wealthy countries, but came in search for a better life.

    1. Well stated, JJ. I had to laugh at the post from America First who couldn’t punctuate a sentence correctly. Pot/kettle?

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