The world is bigger than we could ever possibly imagine, and it’s scary to think we will never even scratch the surface in this lifetime. Even if we do travel to the same places, we see the world through different eyes, creating a unique experience. As I dive head first into travel, I am inspired by each of your adventures and am starting Sonderlust Secrets as a series showcasing this. Interested in being featured?
In 2012 in my final year at university, I travelled to Africa for the first time. I spent five weeks exploring six countries in East Africa including Mozambique, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Botswana and South Africa.
My first trip to Africa ultimately altered my perspective of what I knew and thought about travel; the many unique and once-in-a-lifetime experiences I encountered in Africa were unlike anything I had ever experienced before. They encouraged an increase in confidence and independence where I took more risks without hesitation, and where I started to learn how to enjoy travelling on my own.
Today on Sonderlust Secrets, I am excited to share with you five of my once-in-a-lifetime experiences I had on my travels through Africa, and which you too can experience when you travel there!
5 Once in a Lifetime Experiences in Africa
1. Elephant encounter
An amazing experience in Livingstone, Zambia is exploring the Victoria Falls National Park on an elephant-back safari! What is an elephant-back safari I hear you ask? It is where you spot wildlife, but you get to do it while riding on the back of an elephant! The elephant handlers at Zambezi Elephant Trails work with the elephants everyday and have established a very special connection and friendship with them. The staff strongly believes in an elephant experience rather than just an elephant ride! The best part of the elephant-back safari is at the end, where you are given the opportunity to interact with your elephant! I was given a bag of food and encouraged to sit on the elephant’s knee to thank and reward him for such a wonderful day!
2. Walking with lions
Walking with lions is another unforgettable experience I had in Livingstone, Zambia. For some travellers, walking with lions sounds like a scary adventure, but I can assure you it is completely safe and well worth it! The lion encounter is part of an active conservation program where rescued lion cubs are rehabilitated and then released back into the wild, ensuring a safe and secure future. Walking and watching young lion cubs play, hunt and interact within their natural environment was a spectacular sight, and best of all, you have the opportunity to capture these beautiful moments on camera!
3. Flying over the Victoria Falls in a Helicopter
Flying over the Victoria Falls is an experience you can only have in Africa. Stretching over 1.7 kilometres in width and at 108 metres high, the Victoria Falls is one of the most impressive waterfalls to be found anywhere in the world, making it one of the world’s Seven Natural Wonders. This is just one of the stunning photos you can capture of the falls from the air.
4. Spotting the Big 5 on Safari
One of the most enjoyable experiences you can have in Africa is going on safari! I was lucky enough to go on safari three times during my trip, visiting Chobe National Park in Botswana, and the famous Kruger National Park in South Africa. It is an incredible sight to see African animals in their natural habitat; especially when on safari as you can get quite close to the animals and take some great photos! Make sure you try and spot the Big 5, which includes the African elephant, rhinoceros, leopard, buffalo and lion. Below is a photo of the only male lion I spotted on safari in Chobe National Park, Botswana.
5. Sharing Love and Joy with the most beautiful African Children
I was lucky enough to spend the first ten days of my Africa trip volunteering in a children’s orphanage in Pemba, Mozambique with Iris Global. I spent time talking, playing and giving many hugs and smiles to orphaned children who had been living on the streets until Iris Global adopted them into their family. It was an experience that tested the capacity of my heart to love and connect with people and I learnt how to show compassion to others. I would highly recommend volunteering or visiting a Primary School, pre-school or day-care centre in Africa where you can give something back to the community and make a difference!
The once-in-a-lifetime adventures I had in Africa are experiences I will never forget, and highly recommend to anyone travelling there. Africa opens up new ways of travel, where you have opportunities to step outside of your comfort zone, and be daring enough to try things completely different. In addition, these once-in-a-lifetime experiences will inevitably make your travel adventures and stories all the more authentic, meaningful and possibly life altering. I hope that through sharing my experiences in Africa with you that I have peaked your interest into making Africa your next travel destination so you too can experience the ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ adventure that I did.
Bec Clipsham from ‘The World as Bec Sees It’ is a 24-year old Primary Teacher from Sydney, Australia with a severe case of wanderlust. With four continents and thirty countries under her belt (with plans to see more) she has just started in the travel blogging world sharing her travel stories, adventures and tips. She is a pianist of fifteen years, an avid cat lover, enjoys learning foreign languages and strongly believes you can have your cake and eat it too: Work in the job of your dreams and travel the world.