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The timeless attraction of Africa

The way in which we travel may be in constant flux, but some things remain the same. Brian Jackman reflects on Africa’s enduring appeal
ANNABELLE JACKMAN

The tiny six-seater bush plane bucked viciously in the hot African sky. As we drew closer to our destination we reduced altitude, bouncing from thermal to thermal over an infinity of open plains on which herds of buffalo stampeded away beneath our wings and elephant shook their huge ears at us as we zoomed overhead to land at Governors’ Camp in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve.

It was 1974, my first visit to Africa, and even before I had stepped out of the plane I knew it would be love at first sight. The rains had just ended and the kiangazi had begun, the dry season that would tempt the migrating herbivores to pour in from the Serengeti. The ripening oat grass had not yet been eaten down. Instead it stood tall, rippling in the wind like the waves of the sea towards a horizon so far away it seemed like the edge of the world.

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