Surviving Your African Safaris…

4 Dec

Another GSP release from Author of the Week: Steve Foreman.

Surviving Your African Safaris by Steve Foreman

It is important to note that safaris and adventurous holidays in Africa can be, by their very nature and the environments in which they take place, culturally challenging, physically demanding, risky to health, potentially dangerous, and, without the correct preparation and skills, horribly disastrous! The type of preparedness one undergoes is usually based on previous personal experience and the pre-departure advice supplied by the travel companies who organise your trip (tour operators and safari outfitters). These elements vary enormously, from individual to individual and from company to company. This book is intended to cover all the aspects and contingencies one might encounter, by providing a selection of advice, checklists, guidelines and essays, designed to help the reader, whatever role or position in the group, to have an enjoyable and successful trip.

Excerpt:

      Introductory Message to the Reader

You may be going on an African safari or adventure holiday as a member of an organised group of paying clients, or you may be the actual Guide or Trip Leader responsible for the group. Alternatively you may be an individual already living or working in Africa and organising your own safari, perhaps with your family or some visiting friends. Whoever you are, it is important to note that safaris and adventurous holidays in Africa can be, by their very nature and the environments in which they take place, culturally challenging, physically demanding, risky to health, potentially dangerous, and, without the correct preparation and skills, horribly disastrous! The type of preparedness one undergoes is usually based on previous personal experience and the pre-departure advice supplied by the travel companies who organise trips professionally (tour operators and safari outfitters). These elements vary enormously from individual to individual and from company to company. This book is intended to cover all the aspects and contingencies one might encounter, by providing a selection of advice, checklists, and guidelines, designed to help the reader, whatever your role or position in the group, to have an enjoyable and successful trip.

                                   True Adventure . . . or Adventure Travel?

What makes men risk life and health, and voluntarily endure great hardships, simply to travel in lands where few, or in some cases any civilised men have gone or wish to go? Adventurers and explorers always have been faced with this question. In some way or another they have been asked, ‘Why do you do it?’ The responses they have given are interesting. Also, the kind of answer has varied with the era. Until the end of the eighteenth century, for example, the pragmatic answer was sufficient. Should some useful purpose be found for the trip—to seek an economic passage through a landmass, to discover a new sea route, or to found a colony in a fertile land—then these kinds of imperialistic answers were given and accepted as entirely satisfactory. Should the inquisitor push for individual motives, simple and selfish answers came easily forth and were readily accepted: to do something to gain personal honour and increase one’s wealth was an esteemed favourite. In the nineteenth century such motives as patriotism, science, and the desire to improve the uncivilised lifestyle of heathen natives were enthusiastically received as valid excuses for men to wander and explore. Today, while explorer-adventurers still use the old pragmatic answers—with such modern touches as the need for film-making, or to further the advances of some of the newer sciences—they find the deeper questions more difficult to answer, and sometimes are unable to translate their reasons into coherent sentences, expressing their irritation with those who demand explanations—as in the famous but fatuous answer to the question of why men climb mountains: “Because they are there!”

Although in these modern times we rarely question the value of adventure travel, the true adventurer still follows a course of activity that seems, logically, in conflict with man’s basic aspirations to the good life, the best he can obtain in food, shelter, and all those other physical, mental and spiritual comforts that characterise our concept of civilization. Yet the adventurer is always from a civilised culture, and exploration is an advanced intellectual concept. The primitive or half-civilised man may travel to new regions in search of sustenance, refuge, or financial gain, but he is always driven there by necessity or greed, and it unusual for him to record what he has observed. The true adventurer goes only to see and to tell others what he has seen, or attempts to conquer, in one way or another, with great or insignificant effect, a journey or a mountain, a desert or a passion, a myth or a jungle or an ice cap. It seems incredible, considering the hardships and dangers that, even in this modern age, lie in wait for them, that men would willingly do this. This conquering spirit lurks in all men, I imagine, at both extremities of the scale. In some it is weak and easily satisfied by books or TV, or by the challenge of an overgrown flowerbed or some financial goal; in others it is a ruling passion that forces them to don a heavy rucksack and fling themselves off to the remotest regions of the planet.

“Adventure”, according to Collins Thesaurus, is defined as: escapade; quest; exploration; expedition; daring act; risk; dare; heroic act. However, in modern times, the word itself has become synthesised with the advent of so-called ‘Adventure Travel’ companies, who run commercial, organised trips to destinations previously reserved for the true explorers and gung ho, go-it-alone adventurers. However, where the true adventurer deliberately turns his back on his homeland and its niceties and throws himself into strange and often hostile or dangerous environments where his life is daily at risk, the tourists who join an organised adventure holiday have nothing much more to worry about than their own fitness and level of endurance, and their return air ticket. They are advised beforehand what personal clothing and equipment they will need to bring, and what dangers or adverse conditions to expect on their trip. All the real risk factors (the need for navigation, contingency plans, survival protocols) are buffered or eliminated by the tour guide and the parameters of company policy. On guided trips, you are mothered through the tangles of bureaucracy and the back streets of crime, steered away from dodgy food outlets and risky water sources, and told at what altitude you should start taking your Diamox. However, while commercial adventure holidays and safaris can lack any real excitement or true high-risk adventure, and the chances of being killed by a charging buffalo or freezing high-altitude temperatures are seriously reduced by the presence of your professional guide or trip leader, guided trips are still the best way, from economic, safety, and time-wise perspectives, to undergo adventurous holidays and to gain enough experience to eventually go it alone. You will get the chance to assess your own levels of tolerance and aptitude, calibrate your boundaries of risk and danger, and decide for yourself whether the trip was really “adventurous” or not. There are no real surprises waiting around the next corner for adventure holidaymakers—only the myriad footprints of their predecessors—and the occasional screaming Talibanshee with a kilo of Semtex strapped to his belly.

Travel is one of the greatest manifestations of personal freedom, and the freedom of choice. The warnings and travel advisories issued by government offices are always far more extreme than the threat. They are covering their backs, exempting themselves from possible repercussions and claims. Should we adhere to and obey these warnings and travel bans? My personal answer is always, “No!” I refuse to be made a prisoner of diplomatic panic-mongers and fanatic religious extremists. Of course, I won’t walk purposefully into a so-called “hot-spot” or “no-go” area, but I will not be deterred from travelling to the places of my choice, or, once I am there, be coerced into abandoning that place by anything less than a rifle muzzle pointing at my head.

Links:

http://www.gypsyshadow.com/SteveForeman.html#SurvivingExc

Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Surviving-African-Safaris-Steve-Foreman-ebook/dp/B009FDY6BC/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1386172867&sr=8-1&keywords=surviving+your+african+safari

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: