First Time in Africa: a 19-year-old’s perspective

Having just returned from her last adventure to South Africa and Mozambique with her family, Angela suggested I catch up with her 19-year-old son, Jan, whose first time it was in Africa.

He took me from the top:

‘Well…we flew into Johannesburg, where, first of all, we were picked up by a Rolls Royce [provided by The Residence]. Not exactly what I anticipated. I guess you have certain expectations of Africa before going for the first time; this definitely wasn’t one of them.

‘We went to the Soweto apartheid museum on the first day, which was very heavy but so interesting. I didn’t know much about it before, but it turned out to be one of the most interesting and enlightening parts of the trip.

‘Skipping forward a bit though, my favourite part was at Jamala.’

He goes on to tell me about an incident in Madikwe, a fairly new concession where most of the animals haven’t yet become habituated i.e. they’re wild (!). A pack of about 15 wild dog had got through the boma fence chasing an impala when the electricity was momentarily switched off to let said impala out, ten feet from Jan’s room. ‘As if this wasn’t enough’, he goes on to tell me, ‘a group of hyaena got in from the other side. All for an impala. Difficult to know who won in the end, but it was vicious’. I should add that neither spotted hyaena nor wild dog would ever attack humans – sightings like this only ever happen after hours, albeit rarely – making this all the more spectacular.

‘So, a lot happened in my first 48 hours in Africa. I thought I was just lucky, but it didn’t stop there. The following morning, we were having breakfast and a huge herd of elephants came for a drink at the waterhole right next to us.’

I was then treated to a gruesome tale of eating spicey fried worms, taking a helicopter to and from Benguerra Island in the pouring rain, coming across a pack of dwarf mongoose (Jan’s favourite animal), experiencing the Oyster box’s famous KwaZulu Natal curry, spending the best part of a night next to a couple of rhinos after the safari vehicle got a flat tyre and dancing the night away with the locals on Azura’s white sands.

We concluded there, after Jan told me he had to shoot off to find himself a job since becoming skint at a festival this weekend – the fast lane of university life getting the better of him. So there it is. A snippet into the life of a 19-year-old film student. Who knows, perhaps a future destination specialist. For now, if you’re thinking of travelling to South Africa or Mozambique, do get in touch with Angela or Hannah, they’d love to chat.

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