It is a sad and seemingly entrenched fact that our impression of Africa – particularly sub-Saharan Africa – is of a place whose histories are somehow less stage worthy than those of Europe, the Americas and Asia.
The truth is Africa’s as old as it gets. It’s the birth place of our species. The way of the Sans people of southern Africa is tens of thousands of years in the making. Northern Sudan is home to some the world’s earliest archaeological examples of a civilisation in its absolute prime. The Bantu invasions have had, over the last two millennia, a profound effect on the continent’s many cultures. The rest of the world’s relationship with Africa is historically important, but ought, in our opinion, to be seen in relation to everything else that has made Africa what it is today.
While our portfolio of safaris can hardly be said to rectify the imbalance, history and culture are, for us, part and parcel of unlocking the key to understanding how to preserve Africa’s wildernesses. On top of this, Journeys by Design offers a number of trips whose basis is unashamedly historical. Beginning in the north, our journeys into northern Sudan are designed to engage with the extraordinary achievements of the Nubian empires. In Ethiopia, our itineraries in the northern circuit look at the history of ancient Christianity, by way of its beautifully preserved churches, customs and iconography. In northern Kenya, in the seasoned hands of Richard Leakey, we are offered the rare opportunity to find out for ourselves, along the eastern shores of Lake Turkana, exactly why East Africa is known as the cradle of mankind. In Mozambique, via the architectural delights of Ilha de Mozambique, and following 600 year old trade routes, we have created itineraries that investigate the culturally enriching effects of the east African market place.
By no means the only pre-history and history based itineraries on our books, the above examples are representative of an attempt to adventurously engage in Africa’s past, in such a way as to ensure a style of travel that is as educational as it is hands-on, as inspiring as it is exciting.