Africa is, as Africans love to say, not a place for sissies. Exotic and unpredictable, this is no bland, homogenous, one-size-fits-all continent. It is a brave, ballsy world with plenty of paradoxes. We asked a panel of experts – the well-travelled, the well-versed, the well-heeled – for their 50 Wildest African Experiences...
Africa is, as Africans love to say, is not a place for sissies.
Exotic and unpredictable, this is no bland, homogenous, one-size-fits-all continent. It is a brave, ballsy world with plenty of paradoxes. Highlife SA, the in-flight magazine of BA/Comair, asked a panel of experts – the well-travelled, the well-versed, the well-heeled – for some of their Wildest African Experiences...
AfrikaBurn, SA: Not a hell of a lot survives out in the Tankwa Karoo. there’s a tyre-punishing road leading to it, and then miles and miles of beautiful desolation. Then, every April, along come the Burners – with their Bedouin tents, contraptions that swing gigantic balls of fire through the air, and everything they need to endure.
Their mission? To party like tomorrow will never come and create a community free of commerce, but high on imagination. It’s a zany vision of Utopia. 25-30 April 2012, afrikaburn.com
Lake of Stars, Malawi: This magical three-day party on the palm-fringed shore of lake Malawi features more than 70 acts from around the world. lakeofstars.org
Oppikoppi, SA: You know you’re in for a rowdy gathering when online advice for this annual rock music event includes: 'we don’t recommend sleep or rest ... write on your wrist beforehand which band you want to see and when. people are then able to assist if required.' 9-11 August, oppikoppi.co.za
Festival au Desert, Mali: Every year in January world musicians – from Ali Farke Toure to Manu Chao – gather two hours north of Timbuktu to play in the sand, amidst nomadic tuaregs and a growing international crowd. festival-au-desert.org
Gabao Hip Hop Festival, Gabon: Used even in presidential election campaigns, hip hop is big in Gabon – which is why the country’s two biggest cities, Libreville and Port-Gentil, are home to the largest hip hop festival on the continent. 5-8 July, thisisafrica.me
Wildest Places To Stay
Chole Mjini, Tanzania: It’s just a tiny speck in the Indian Ocean, near Mafia, the least-visited archipelago off the Tanzanian coast. Very Robinson Crusoe: you get there by dhow, sleep in open-sided treehouses, dive in some of the world’s richest coral reefs, feast on fresh fish, and fall asleep to the lullaby of the marine reserve waters trickling through mangrove roots. The lodge comprises just nine treehouses; no electricity makes for night skies as incredible as the surrounding sea. cholemjini.com
Oddballs, Botswana: There is no budget way to see the Okavango delta, that great oasis in the harsh and beautiful Kalahari Desert, but one of the best-value camps – one that still connects you to the wild untamed heart of this strange jungle – is Oddballs' Palm Island luxury lodge. It’s a small, remote riverside habitué tucked beneath the shade of aged jackal-berry and sausage trees, away from the buzz of motorboats and jam-packed, zebra-striped safari vehicles. oddballscamp.com
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