You can understand it only if you breathe it.
Safari, or journey in Swahili, cannot but evoke stories of times, not long past, of fearless explorers that penetrated the black continent for the first time in the 19th century, opening the the way for adventurous European travellers who, for sheer pleasure, would be in contact with the wild and unspoiled nature of equatorial Africa a century later.
Safari. The image of gas lanterns, canvas tents, folding chairs, mosquito netting hung over beds, binoculars resting on yellowed maps, ostrich eggs and refined flatware on elegantly set camping tables is recalled in our mind’s eye, a brilliant sunset in the background that darkens the savanna and outlines the profiles of zebras, elephants and the other extraordinary animals that have always lived in these inhospitable lands.
Enormous tracts of natural parks, the difficult endeavor of reaching them, the lack of electric connections and roads are the difficulties faced with living in the middle of nowhere and that have preserved these idyllic images, transforming the savage underdevelopment of these places into a luxury only reachable today using a means of transport that can bear enormous stress.
Even though a few camps and companies, more keen on doing business than evoking emotions, present an altered image of these African adventures in some ways, it is very easy to stay far away from the chaotic mini-buses overflowing with plastic tourism, with their self service in steel and tile flooring, positioned in front of fake watering holes where animals come to drink, truly, in front of a noisy mass of tourists. Trips that don’t deserve to be retold, much less offered.
Staying in small luxury lodges or tented camps, however, means immersing oneself in the exotic tales of sightings, still today told in the evening, around a fire, under an incredible starry sky, and together with the odd companion on the adventure.
This is, even today, a Safari, one worthy of being experienced and retold: images of infinite horizons, close-ups of exotic animals, small lodges immersed in the silence of the rushing river that offer new explorers hospitality without disturbing the nature that surrounds and lives around them, the nature that comes to drink at the river and that struggles for survival. These are the scenes that not even great authors have been able to thoroughly describe and that you can only understand by breathing them in.