Most of Rothschild Safaris’ Travel Designers were born and lived in Africa. I started life in the middle of the Kalahari desert…
and raised my children in the middle of Zambia. This meant that most of my friends also had their children in the middle of nowhere on the Dark Continent.
It was perfectly ordinary for me to have children growing up on Zambezi Sand islands where they were taught to watch for crocodiles, lost their dogs to snake bites, were chased by baboons on play dates, all had malaria multiple times and had their favourite climbing tree under their bedroom window eaten by a herd of elephant overnight.***
Maybe the question should rather be:
Am I too biased to answer this question?
Very possibly. So, I asked the babies young adults instead. The reply was a unanimous and overwhelming:
The reason they are so enthusiastic is, of course, because they have never managed to reproduce the fun they had growing up in Africa anywhere else in the civilised world (eventually they have all had to move away to attend Big School and University).
They are not wrong.
Where else can you go to school in your pajamas, share breakfast with monkeys, ride around in jeeps, go for outrides next to elephants, have sleepovers that last the entire weekend (everyone lives that far apart) and have giraffe towers for traffic jams?
And they are wrong.
I’m going to tell you why.
Africa is a sneaky teacher.
In between the entertainment. The bush walks and the exciting sightings. Sleeping in tents and toasting marshmallows on giant fires she will give your children many opportunities to learn incredible truths like:
Clean water and regular meals are scarce commodities for many
Time is a fluid concept
‘If you think you are too small to make a difference you have not spent the night with a mosquito’
Smiling can get you incredibly far in life
The earth and her wildlife is astounding. We absolutely have to do everything we can to preserve it.
And the most important lesson:
Joy is a choice you make. It is not dependent on worldly goods or luck.
You may say ‘But these lessons are the same lessons Africa teach grown ups’ and you will be right. But while Africa is a fast worker and a couple of weeks on Safari is often all the time she needs, adults are also quick to forget. When Africa writes these thoughts on the tender hearts of young humans however, it is only the beginning of a long conversation.
And you will get to stand back and watch the friendship blossoming for years, patting yourself on the back and feeling clever and superior for having made the introduction.