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Digital Subscriptions > Travel Africa > October-December 2019 > MAKING CONNECTIONS


Why do we travel? What are we seeking?

Each of us will have our own reasons. Perhaps it is simply to discover new lands, to learn about foreign cultures or to admire wildlife we treasure but cannot see at home. Maybe it is something deeper: to challenge our perceptions or to take ourselves out of our comfort zone.

Reza Pakravan is a world record-holding adventurer listed and one of the world’s most seasoned travellers. He does nothing in small measure. Reza has recently returned from a grand expedition making him the first person in modern history to travel the length of the Sahel – traversing Africa through a band of land that separates the Sahara from the temperate habitats and forests to the south. He ventured into areas that most of us will never dream of visiting, but his experiences enrich us nonetheless. Perhaps, in our own small way, each of us are explorers.

These are his reflections.

Left to right: I started my journey at Gorée Island, off the coast of Senegal, the place from where slaves were shipped to lands they did not know; with the priest (white robe) who conducted the N’deup ceremony to rid me of bad spirits; women growing vegetables within the Great Green Wall, evidence that the tree planting project aimed at halting desertification in the Sahel region is bringing productive life back to the region

My aim was to look behind the headlines for the myriad untold stories that stretch the limits of the imagination and force us to reconsider our understanding of what connects us as human beings

One week after I returned from my trip, a journalist called me for an interview. Once I had related my journey to him, there was a strange silence. “But,” he eventually said, “why on Earth did you go there?”

“Because of my job,” I replied. “I’m an explorer.” Another odd silence. And then: “Do explorers even exist anymore?”

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About Travel Africa

Our love for lions - why are they so captivating? • Reza Pakravan, crossing the Sahel • Lower Zambezi Valley accommodation guide • Planning the ultimate self-drive trip around Namibia • Route 62, in praise of Padstalle • Plus Botswana behind the pics; Family safaris; Tipping; Chimps in Tanzania; Zakouma; Uganda adrenaline and much more!