What made me fall in love with Africa?
Now this might seem an odd question to open my blog with, but I think it cuts to the crux of everything I want to tell you. It defines why I do what I do, why I love it & why I wake up every morning excited about my day. It inspires me, motivates me and even when the travel world is seemingly falling apart (thanks Covid-19), it reminds me to push on and continue following my passion. Now, I am not going to give you the answer to this question just yet. Instead I am going to unpack it, bit by bit & little by little so by the end you too are as in love with Africa as I am (well, that’s the hope anyway).
An introduction is in order…
My name is Glen and I have been with Rhino Africa for the past four years. Born in South Africa, I started working in the hotel industry and as a flight attendant in my early twenties. Following that I worked on Cruise Ships in the Caribbean and Europe, so I have been in the hospitality industry for all of my life.
I am very proud to be a Rhino and thoroughly enjoy working with such amazing people and in an industry I love. Rhino Africa is an incredible company and I love their dedication to making an impact on our continent in protecting endangered wildlife, educating rural children and safeguarding our wild spaces.
What is so special about Rhino Africa?
Coming back to South Africa from working internationally most of my life, Rhino Africa opened my eyes to Africa again. The company is founded on the principle that we don’t sell anything we haven’t experienced, so off I went to experience Africa on various “educational trips” – as they are called in the industry.
Even though I live in Cape Town, I got to explore my home city as a tourist. I stayed in the Cape Winelands and went on trips through the Garden Route – all to make sure that I had the expert knowledge to be able to advise and guide my guests about their own African holiday. This is when I decided that my days of living abroad were over, Cape Town was most definitely my home and Rhino Africa was the company I wanted to be working for.
One of my favourite safari destinations
Picking one favourite safari destination, for someone who loves Africa and safaris, is like asking a parent to decide which child they love most. We all secretly know it’s the youngest (because they always get away with everything) and seem to know exactly how to tug at your heart-strings most. So for me, this is the “youngest child” of my favourite safari experiences, the incredible Tanzania. It is simply a magical place to go, to see and to experience.
Tanzania’s Northern Circuit
From the title, it might appear that you are heading to watch a Formula One race event, but I assure you that you are not. Referred to as the “Northern Circuit” because Tanzania has two distinct traditional safari routes which are often followed as they offer exceptional game viewing as well as a thorough experience of each unique part of the country. Tanzania is huge – so trying to get as much done in one safari ultimately means that your logistics have to work very well. Doing either the northern or southern circuit allows guests to experience the best of that area in the time they have available.
We started, as all classic northern circuits do, in Arusha. This town acts as a safari hub with everyone flying in and out of here when coming to do a Tanzania safari. One night here is great to experience a little of the culture and heritage and it always gets the excitement level right up knowing you will be in Africa’s wilderness the very next day.
From here we left early the next day and flew to Tarangire National Park. This park which is famous for their huge elephant population which congregate around the Tarangire River during the dry season. It also has an incredible number of huge baobabs and is also a great birding destination with a staggering 495 species on offer.
From here we headed up north towards Lake Manyara. Few times in life do you find a place which just settles your soul. As I arrived at Little Chem Chem I know that I was in a very special place. The attention to detail and care they take over every guest is astonishing and I will never forget the carefree manner in which everything just happened – perfectly seamless. Two memorable moments for me here was firstly dinning under the stars one night. It was a clear sky, no moon, and the stars were brighter than I think I had ever seen before. The second was waking up one night to a rather strange harsh coughing sound, only to realise that there was a leopard outside my suite. Nothing beats Africa!
From here we headed up the escarpment of the Ngorongoro Crater and a stay at the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. This lodge is really setting the benchmark for eco-travel and I was amazed at how far they were pushing the boundaries in providing exclusive luxury & being eco-friendly too. The lodge is simply fantastic and the decor is out of this world. I must say that I particularly enjoyed the small treats & biscuits in a box on your arrival – always a lovely touch. Another phenomenal property with a strong eco-friendly stance is Gibbs Farm, which I would also highly recommend. They believe in using and growing everything from their own property, even the bacon.
Onto the famous Serengeti. What is there to tell you that you don’t already know? The vast open plateaus, the endless horizons dotted with wildlife, the incredible people, the amazing lodges – it really does have it all. I personally loved Serengeti Pioneer Camp which is set on top of a hill overlooking the Serengeti plains. A sunset here is very difficult to match (even in Africa) and with the most wonderful staff I always love sending guests here to experience that authentic “Out of Africa” feeling.
Everyone loves the bush!
If you have read this far down my blog, well done, I am impressed. I am also not going to go on and on about the amazing wildlife in Africa, or the exceptional people, or scenery – because everyone should know that by now.
But, what I am going to tell you is simple. We often search endlessly for something more or something better – often in vain. And I find that real pleasure comes from fully appreciating the simplicity of beautiful experience. For me, having my first cup of coffee in the African bush (sometimes with some Amarula, yes) & looking out over the wildness to the start of a new day fills me with such joy and pleasure. It is something which speaks to my soul. It is something which connects me with who I am & what I love.
There are so many of these small moments in every African trip – and far too many for me to try highlight. But there is a reason so many people come back to Africa year after year and a reason why so many people are seeking the wild open spaces after a year like this one. Africa provides moments of pure bliss like nowhere else on earth. And so simply put, this is why I love Africa and this is why I firmly believe that everyone should come to Africa because it will change you.
So… What made me fall in love with Africa?
To finally answer the question. It is really simple actually. Rhino Africa helped me fall in love with Africa – it provided the opportunity to experience the most incredible places on earth. It helped ignite my passion for my beautiful country and continent and it allows me to help others fall in love with Africa everyday and show them how magical it really is. I have yet to meet someone who has returned from Africa unchanged, there is just too much natural beauty not significantly change you. Contact Rhino Africa to make your Africa dreams a reality.